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Using art to decorate my home!

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Well those exercises have really helped a lot!  I have managed to do them every day and even Dad is still going at it with his resistance bands!

Time for a change

Now that I am no longer that stiff, Mom and I started redecorating my studio.  This is something that I have wanted to do for a fair amount of time.  I didn’t want to make too many changes, just a few things here and there.  This is my creative space after all and it works for me, but a change can help to inspire a person, right?

I already have a good idea of what I want to do, but basically a few new furniture pieces and a little bit of paint here and there.  In fact, I have already found something that I will use in my lounge.  Mom and I were shopping the other day and I found an fabulous oversized wooden wall clock that is going to hang over my fire place.  It has the most amazing clock face and old style hands with gold numbers.  Mom wanted it, but she could see that I had set my sights on it!

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We decided to repaint one wall in the room.  All the walls are a brilliant white, but we changed the biggest one to a nice sky blue.  It really looks amazing and reminds me of the sky, while the white walls look like clouds!  Dad says its perfect for me because I always have my head in the clouds!  He is right!  Your altitude determines your attitude!

My sister Carly had a great idea.  She said that we should hang some of the artwork from my art workshops for kids with disabilities.   There are some really talented kids in my classes and I hung up their work with pride.  Don’t worry, it was not their originals.  We make photocopies of each child’s work so we can watch their progress and help them along.

I picked up a few cushions that complimented this artwork. I went to an op shop and they had a huge range of eclectic cushion covers that I could choose from. With some digging, I found a couple that suited the new paintings and the place just look fantastic!

What about the house?

Redecorating my art studio has got me thinking about making a change or two to my house as well.  There comes a time when a girl has to splash out a bit.  I have lived there for a few years, but not really done much since I moved in.

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I like to use colour and space in my artwork so why not apply that to my home redesign.  I am first going to start with just one room, otherwise I know I will get carried away and be trying to finish three area’s at once instead of focussing on one at a time.  I spend a lot of time in the lounge area when I am not in my studio, so that is where I will start.

I also found these perfect red cushions that already look incredible on my leather couch.  I could not help myself; I just had to put them out immediately.  They work so well with the leather and they are so comfortable.  I already tried them out during an afternoon nap on the couch.

Tomorrow I am going to pick out some paints and then Dad and I will start painting.  The lounge is going to look really good by the time we are finished.  I wonder which room I will pick next…

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My “Learn to Sketch” workshop for kids with disabilities

This day is dragging sooo slowly!  I can’t wait for tomorrow as I will be running my second “Learn to Sketch” workshop, although I shouldn’t wish away the time as we still have a few things to do to make sure we are totally ready.

Mom’s great idea

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My mom originally came up with the idea for the workshops.  It is a way that I can help that they too have an exhibition someday just like me!

Mom also wants to make sure that the parents get a break from care, so on the day we have care givers come in who help with the kids while I lead the class in sketching.   The parents are welcome to watch and some even join in which is always fun.  Other parents choose to take some time off and head out to the city.

Workshop structure

We will break the workshop into two sessions.

  • Session 1: Here we will sketch a basic object.  For this workshop I have chosen a travel wallet that looks a lot like this one after I saw my sister’s one lying on the table when she recently returned from her trip to Thailand.  It is made of leather and would be something that would be great to try and draw because it is a nice easy shape.  It also has beautiful textures that we can use to try to learn basic shading techniques.  The other great thing about it is that it is filled with detail for example, the zipper and press studs on the wallet.
  • Session 2: We will move outside for this session. All the kids will get to relax on some picnic rugs on the lawn as we draw the old oak tree at the bottom of the garden.  I love to sit outside on a picnic rug and just sketch things I see.  It’s how I started out and that’s why I want to do the same with the kids.  Drawing the old oak tree is a little more difficult, but the kids can choose to draw any part of it. I knew I defintiely wanted to get the kids outside so ordered a few picnic rugs from this wonderful store which delivered them to my door!

More to come

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I really love having these workshops and I already have plans for extending them to other parts of the city.  I think giving the parents of these kids a little break is a great idea and they really appreciate it.  I can also share my love of art with all these children and help them find hidden talents they might not be aware of.  I also love helping the children realise that their disability doesn’t have to hold them back in life and that they can do anything that they set their minds to.

Flexibility is key!

I have really struggled with a lot of stiffness lately and Mom suggested that a trip to my physiotherapist would probably help.

I have been in and out of doctor’s offices my whole life, so I don’t really like going if I don’t have to.  I decided that it was probably better that I go as the stiffness seemed to set in after I had painted for an extended session, which is pretty much every day.  As I have said before, I don’t like letting my disability hold my art back, and I find that I get more inspiration as I paint for longer periods of time.   Mom says I don’t want to go because I am stubborn, like my Dad!  She might have a point!

Anyway, the visit to the physiotherapist didn’t last long.  She said that it’s nothing to be concerned about and she gave me a number of exercises to do. They will help to ease the stiffness now and more importantly, work those muscles so that I should not suffer with that degree of stiffness in the future when I work for long periods.

Exercise is fun?

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How do I feel about this?  Hmmm, well I am not a great fan of exercise, but they seem easy enough to do.  Here are a few of the things they want me to do each day if possible.

  • Swimming. I really don’t mind this one!   I am a little bit of a water baby actually.  The physiotherapist says that swimming is a great way to use all the muscles in your body, so to start off in the morning they suggest that I swim for around 10 – 15 minutes.    If it’s a little cold outside, I will just go down to the local gym and swim in their heated pool.
  • Stretching. Ideally the physiotherapist says I should stretch in the mornings when I wake up and in the evenings when I go to bed.  This will help to keep my muscles loose and flexible.  She gave me stretches especially for my shoulders and neck where I tend to tense up and get stiffness quite easily.
  • Resistance/Strength training. This one I was not too sure about to begin with.  In my mind I was seeing visits to the gym, dumbbells, weights and all those strange machines.   The physiotherapist said that this is one way to do it, but she wants me to be able to do exercises at home.  She suggested that I get resistance bands.  They are perfect to do low intensity resistance and strength training.  We got a set on the way home and I tried the exercises straight away.  They are very easy, but you can feel the muscles working.  Dad was pretty impressed, he said he would go get a resistance band as well and join me every day!  Let’s see how long that lasts!

Actually these exercises are not that bad!  I think they will definitely help me and that’s all I need!  I just want to be able to carry on painting!

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My first exhibition

Only a week to go till my first ever exhibition!  I have dreamed of this moment every day since I started painting.  I love painting and now I can share my passion with others and I can’t wait!

Mom is so proud!

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My whole family is super excited for me, especially my mom.  She said to me the other day, “Vicky, I am so proud of you.  Your art is helping to show that people with disabilities can achieve whatever they put their minds to.”  She is right you know. I have never let my disability hold me back!  Every day I am determined to do what I have set my mind on and with the help of my family, friends and my own willpower I can achieve anything!

Let me tell you a little more about my exhibition.  It is called “Beautiful Down Under – Landscape Art of Australia” and it is taking place in the Café Nouveau, a lovely little place in town.  It really is a unique idea, an eatery by day (they make the best toasted sandwiches) and an art gallery by night.  They focus on displaying the work of local artists and approached me about a month ago to have an exhibition.

Mom and I had had a few meetings with the owner, Claudia.  These were basically to discuss the logistics and finer details for the evening.  We popped in last night to see another exhibition and just to get a feel for everything.  I like to plan ahead and know exactly what to expect!

What a beautiful venue

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floor lampI was amazed how beautiful the venue looks by night!  They use lighting to such a great effect and it helps to turn the artwork into the real stars of the evening.

Each painting is lit by a pendant light which hangs down from the ceiling and illuminates the area where the painting is found.  The lights themselves are thoroughly modern and silver in colour and they provide just enough light for each painting.  It really creates a unique atmosphere, quite cozy in fact.

To maintain the cozy feeling, floor lamps have been placed strategically throughout the middle of the venue where the fabulous glass pendant lights do not provide any lighting.  This is also where the food and drinks tables are situated.  The floor lamps are beautiful as well; we just need to be careful with them, I don’t want any broken!

In a week’s time, my art will be up on the walls with people inspecting it!  I am excited and nervous at the same time!  When it all finally happens, I hope I don’t get too overwhelmed.

First things first though! On Wednesday I have an art workshop for kids with disabilities.   This will be the second one I am running and if the first is anything to go by our sides will be sore from all the laughter!

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Flexibility is key!

I have really struggled with a lot of stiffness lately and Mom suggested that a trip to my physiotherapist would probably help.

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I have been in and out of doctor’s offices my whole life, so I don’t really like going if I don’t have to.  I decided that it was probably better that I go as the stiffness seemed to set in after I had painted for an extended session, which is pretty much every day.  As I have said before, I don’t like letting my disability hold my art back, and I find that I get more inspiration as I paint for longer periods of time.   Mom says I don’t want to go because I am stubborn, like my Dad!  She might have a point!

Anyway, the visit to the physiotherapist didn’t last long.  She said that it’s nothing to be concerned about and she gave me a number of exercises to do. They will help to ease the stiffness now and more importantly, work those muscles so that I should not suffer with that degree of stiffness in the future when I work for long periods.

Exercise is fun?

How do I feel about this?  Hmmm, well I am not a great fan of exercise, but they seem easy enough to do.  Here are a few of the things they want me to do each day if possible.

  • Swimming. I really don’t mind this one!   I am a little bit of a water baby actually.  The physiotherapist says that swimming is a great way to use all the muscles in your body, so to start off in the morning they suggest that I swim for around 10 – 15 minutes.    If it’s a little cold outside, I will just go down to the local gym and swim in their heated pool.

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  • Stretching. Ideally the physiotherapist says I should stretch in the mornings when I wake up and in the evenings when I go to bed.  This will help to keep my muscles loose and flexible.  She gave me stretches especially for my shoulders and neck where I tend to tense up and get stiffness quite easily.
  • Resistance/Strength training. This one I was not too sure about to begin with.  In my mind I was seeing visits to the gym, dumbbells, weights and all those strange machines.   The physiotherapist said that this is one way to do it, but she wants me to be able to do exercises at home.  She suggested that I get resistance bands similar to these ones.  They are perfect to do low intensity resistance and strength training.  We got a set on the way home and I tried the exercises straight away.  They are very easy, but you can feel the muscles working.  Dad was pretty impressed, he said he would go get a resistance band as well and join me every day!  Let’s see how long that lasts!

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Actually these exercises are not that bad!  I think they will definitely help me and that’s all I need!  I just want to be able to carry on painting!

Arty Party!

I can’t stop smiling!   My exhibition was a massive success!  I was even interviewed by the local radio news and my picture appeared in the local paper the next day.  Dad says I am the family’s first celebrity!

The thing I was most happy about is that I received orders for five of my landscape works, how amazing is that?  I really could not be happier!

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Mom’s gift

I have wanted a record player for some time now, but never got around to buying one for myself.  Mom decided to get one for me and gave it to me as a gift halfway through our party.  Dad brought out all his old records and soon everybody was dancing and singing along to Grease!  You should see my Dad’s dance moves!  Who knew he could do that? So many people were asking Mum where she got it so she had to let slip that she bought it online at this store: https://www.rockitrecordplayers.com.au/shop/

Everyone really had a great time including the kids from the workshop who all were smiling from ear to ear!

Celebrations!

I had a great idea to celebrate!  I asked Mom and Dad if we could hold a party in their back garden for friends, family and kids from my workshop.  I think a party will be a great way to just finish off what has been the most amazing couple of weeks of my life.  Once again, I have not let my disability hold me back!  Art is my way of showing what people with disabilities are capable of and I am so thankful for that.

We decided that Dad would barbeque for all the guests.   He is a great chef actually!  Mom suggested that we setup a “Smoothie Bar” as a refreshment station.  Carly is a fitness freak and she drinks smoothies every morning, so she volunteered to man the bar.  The kids from the workshop will love the smoothies for sure!

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Mom and I drew up some invitations and sent them out.   The party was scheduled for the next Saturday.

The morning of the party arrived and many things had to be setup.  We hired a fancy metal bar and some stunning modern bar stools and set them out by the old oak tree.  Carly and her friends started cutting fruit for the smoothies.  Wow, they had a lot to cut up, I am glad I missed out on that!

At 2pm everybody started arriving and the party began. The bar stools were fun!  Not only did they look great, but they could be adjusted up and down.  Everybody took turns sitting on them at their highest level and then pulling the lever which made the seat slowly float down to the bottom.  It felt like you were travelling on air.  Of course the “Smoothie Bar” was a great hit!  Carly sure knows how to make some mean smoothies!

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