A New Perspective

I have been trying for a while to think about the angle of my blog. What do I want to write about? What are my strengths, passions, gifts? It would be easy to focus on the subjects of art, being a Mum or family life but I really wanted to zone in on something that combines everything. In chatting with Michael (my hubby) he pointed out that one of the things I do, as an artist is see things differently.
Every day I see beauty in things that those around me miss. This is not because I’m amazing or special but because my eye is tuned in, as a creative to observe. These quotes say it best:

‘I walk in the garden, I look at the flowers and shrubs and trees and discover in them an exquisiteness of contour, a vitality of edge, or a vigour of spring, as well as an infinite variety of colour that no artefact I have seen in the last sixty years can rival…each day, as I look, I wonder where my eyes were yesterday.’

— Bernhard Berenson

‘When you look at a wall spotted with stains…you may discover a resemblance to various landscapes, beautiful with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees. Or again, you may see battles and figures in action, or strange faces and costumes, and an endless variety of objects which you could reduce to complete and well-drawn figures.’

— Leonardo Da Vinci

‘There is nothing insignificant in the world. It all depends on how one looks at it.’

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There is so much truth in these statements. Every day I see the smallest patch of colour, shade of light, shadow, form, texture, shape or object that resembles something interesting. I am hoping to bring this aspect into my blog as I freshen it up with a new perspective.

You may have noticed the blog name change. For many years, maybe ten or twelve my blog has been ‘Amanda’s Musings’ but I felt the need for change. This verse has also been carefully considered and is what has inspired the name choice:

Be still, and know that I am God Ps46

As a Christian I am firm believer in God having created the earth and this is what inspires me as I observe. I have had some struggles in the past which has influenced my thoughts but at no point did I not see God at work. I am still seeing him in my life, in our family life, in the difficulties and in the every day. When I observe these creative angles around me my thoughts turn to him.

I’m looking forward to sharing more of my observations and how creativity and art can be part of the every day.


Oh dear. Its been 6 months since I last blogged. How did that happen? Business? Lack of ideas? Loss of interest? Possibly a dash of all three. I think I have forgotten how to blog its been so long! These days I just don’t know what to blog about. The older I get the more introverted I get and the less willing I am to share personal information. In many ways I shrink back too, afraid of speaking openly for the fear of being shot down. Having said all of that, I don’t want to close off my blog entirely so I will have to work out what to write about.
I’m fairly indecisive at times, feeling like I want to say something or settle on an idea but not knowing quite what I want or how to get there. Frustrating really. This applies here too. I suppose I’m not completely sure as to what I want out of my blog these days. In the past the momentum came from keeping record, receiving comments, being brave and saying what I want to say. Now days these things are not so important to me. I think, like most people I am trying to keep up with every day life and consider these things not too interesting to talk about.
I will have to work on it if I’m to keep this blog.
Any ideas (if you are reading).
Ranty, brainstormy post finished. :)

52 Lists. List 6 My Favourite Colours

This is a bit of a fun list. As an artists I’ve always said that I couldn’t choose which is my favourite colour because an artist can’t play favourites but really, there are some that I love more than others. I tend to use a lot of Paynes Grey in my paintings but the others I only use when needed. Here’s the list! What are your favourites?

List 5. List of Pets I’ve Owned

As I continue on with my attempt at 52 lists, I realise that I’m very behind, we are a fair way into the year and I’m only up to list 5! Still, this one is a bit nostalgic and it was fun to think back over the pets I’ve had in the past. I’ve included our current pets too including the first cat I’ve ever had, George.
I’ve loved all our pets but the one that was with me the longest was Shana. She was our mini dachshund and was loved by a lot of people. There were a few times when friends looked after her for long stretches of time and each time those friends wanted to keep her! She was naughty though, the list of things she destroyed or ate included:
gum boots
a rose bush
many dog beds including a cane one
the garden hose
a friends ivy vine (chewed the vine off at the bottom!)
all the linoleum in our kitchen (which was old and she pulled it up)
many many newspapers
her own soft toys

She also knew many words, at one stage I counted 50 words that she responded to. I still miss her, she was with us fro 16 years. She loved Christmas morning (yes, she really did rush down and sit in front of the tree, swimming at the beach (using her tail as a rudder) and being up high (short legs will do that to you). She was a total Houdini despite her stature. She could climb up on anything and find a way to escape. This is Shana:

Here is the list

and of course, this is George, our current and first cat (Shana would have not approved of us owning a cat!):

52 Lists. List 4. Favourite US Artists

52 Lists. List 4. Favourite US Artists

It was only recently that I realised that I do in fact have quite a few American artists on my favourites list. I think it was after visiting two recent exhibitions here in Sydney, one at the Art Gallery of USA called ‘America’ and the other being the Chuck Close Exhibition at the MCA. I have always loved Norman Rockwell, I don’t really care if he is seen as an illustrator, in my mind he is still an artist. I have always loved the beautiful work of Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent, their portraiture draws me in every time. I have several artists on the list who are not painters. Man Ray and Dorothea Lange were photographers, Joseph Cornell was an assemblage artist. I am drawn to each of them for different reasons. Here’s the list!


iphone Oct to Dec 14 847
Me at the Chuck Close exhibition last year (on my 40th!)

Blog Feature

I am very privileged to be currently featured over on Kelly’s blog, Be A Fun Mum. For about a year now I’ve been putting drawings and messages on my girls’ lunch wrapping (I use a type of greaseproof baking paper to wrap their lunches, this was similar to what my lunch was wrapped in when I was a kid. Its not waterproof and therefore doesn’t repel the markers. Similar to this one). I use Sharpies to draw the images and I am careful to not allow the marker to seep through the paper and mark the sandwich.

Kelly has featured every sandwich art design that I’ve done this year in number order! I write the number in the corner of the wrap for myself to keep track. I don’t know why I take a photo but I think its just because of my methodical, routine nature. I tend to be a bit pernickety about remembering to do some things every day. So far there are 24 sandwich images even though they have been at school for longer. This is because they each have a lunch order every Friday, so that’s 4 images a week.
Why do I draw on their sandwiches? Hmmmmm let me see:
1. Its fun, makes a routine task interesting.
2. Its a challenge – for me to think of something new each day.
3. Its fun for them, nice to get a message or picture each day.

So, pop on over to Kelly’s blog and take a look at the post. I won’t add any images here, you’ll need to go over there to take a peek. :)

52 Lists. List 3. Countries I’ve Visited

I used to be able to list off the countries I’ve been to very quickly but this time I had to think about it. I suppose that means that this list is a lot less significant to me than it used to be. I love that we have visited these countries, my hubby can add Peru and Mexico to this list plus he’s visited the US twice. Still, for me I feel privileged to have been able to visit the places on this list. Some of these are rich countries and some are poor. They were all interesting. I used to count New Zealand but the truth is that we landed there for one hour on the way to LA so its only added at the bottom. We also traveled within Niger right to the border of Nigeria, it was so close that there were Nigerian sellers on the Niger side of the border.

Our time in Europe was part of a world trip we did not long after we were married. We spent 7 weeks away going to the US then through Europe and finally the UK. When I think about it we have been to the UK three times and France twice. We lived in England for six months before going to live in Niger for a year.

The trip to Papua New Guinea was quite long I suppose, 7 weeks visiting my parents however Singapore was only a day and a night.

My favourite place to visit? That’s a really hard question because each place had so many good (and bad) experiences creating memories that will last forever. I did love England, it coincided well with my love of history. Our trip to the US was basically Illinois and we visited Chicago and a few towns outside of the city (although we did go up into Ohio). Its really too hard to choose my favourite on the list.

Places I want to visit…..perhaps that can be the next list! (its a long one). Of course I didn’t include Australia on the list seeing as we live here but I suppose that would bring the list to 14. Here’s the list:


Here’s a few photos of some of our overseas trips……memories!

Amanda and Michael England sign
Us, Kimball and Rob - England sign
One side was England, one side was Scotland. The second photo taken with our good friend Kimball from Illinois in the USA (whom we visited there) and his cousin.

Amanda in the snow in Austria
First time we saw real snow, this is in Austria on top of Snow Mountain.

Amanda with backpack
Backpacking in France

France - Amanda and E.Tower
At the Eiffel Tower

Italy - Venice pigeons
My hubby in Venice, Italy

USA - Chicago Baseball
At Wrigley Field watching the Cubs v the Diamondbacks in Chicago

Michael and elephant sign
On the roadside in Benin, Africa

Us with a Wodabe man in Niger, Africa

Amanda and Michael hut
We stayed in a hut overnight in a small village called Say (sigh) in Niger

A and M with villagers
Visiting with local villagers not far from my parents house in Papua New Guinea (West New Britain)

I could go on, there are so many memories and so many photos!

The Taking Stock List

Seeing as I have started doing Pip’s 52 Lists (which I need to do a couple more of this week), I thought I would take her up on the offer of copying and using her list for taking stock. Its a great idea. Ta for all the inspiration Pip!
Here goes:

Making :granny squares in bright colours of my choice. Limiting my colours but enjoying the process.
Cooking :not a lot. Just the usual dinner for the family. Its not really my thing.
Drinking :Mainly tea, liptons of course.
Reading:Verses from 1 and 2 Peter mostly.
Wanting:a lot more patience.
Looking:at a lot of art related blogs, links etc…
Playing:too much candy crush.
Deciding:whether my current painting is finished or not.
Wishing:I didn’t have to go to sleep at night, waste of time!
Enjoying:seeing maturity in my girls.
Waiting:to get five poultry paintings framed.
Liking:twitter a lot. I love how I can connect with all sorts of people, famous and not famous.
Wondering:about a few things to do with my youngest daughter.
Loving:the fact that my eldest daughter can now hang out the washing, even if it is for $1.
Pondering:the meaning of 2 Peter 1:5-9
Considering:how to throw myself into ministry more.
Buying:art supplies, stationery supplies or a combo of those two things.
Watching:Mad Men season 4 while painting.
Hoping:that all the work I’ve entered into the Easter Show is accepted.
Marvelling:at creation, really.
Cringing:every time my girls fall over.
Needing:to remember to do a food meal plan thing.
Questioning:loyalty and how long you need to keep it.
Smelling:oil paint.
Wearing:my paint jeans most days with lovely paint splatter all over them.
Following:Gods lead in regards to my artwork.
Noticing:that this Sydney humidity is hanging around a bit much.
Knowing:with total confidence that God sees the bigger picture.
Thinking:that I’m amazed that this week I’ve won two online competitions!! Its been ages since I’d won anything.
Admiring:my favourite artists here in Sydney, Evert Ploeg, Mellissa Read-Devine, Olivia Alexander (and her always happy attitude).
Sorting:the pile of papers that always seems to grow on my bench (without watering).
Buying:prints of my artwork to sell on Etsy soon. (yes!)
Getting:tired of all the violence everywhere.
Bookmarking:lots of art lesson sites, so much awesomeness out there.
Coveting:success, but this is not a good thing.
Disliking:my tendency towards stress increasing so fast.
Opening:up to the idea of kids art classes being successful next term.
Giggling:at stupid memes on facebook.
Feeling:much happier within myself since I made a big decision.
Snacking:on peanut butter on toast too often. Salsa too.
Comforting:my girls through all sorts of girlish upsets
Wishing:the crows feet weren’t appearing on the sides of my face already.
Helping:locals learn how to draw in my little art class.
Hearing:traffic on the busy road outside.

52 Lists. List 2. Favourite Movies

For list 2 I am listing my favourite movies of all time. I’m sure I could easily add more to this list (especially from the 1980s-1990s) but this is it. Number 1 is Forrest Gump, I’m a huge Tom Hanks fan and this one has been a fav for a very long time. I must have seen it over 50 times (used to put it on during housework etc) and even saw it in Flemish once.
Without going through the why of all of these I will explain one or two more. The Great Escape is one that I used to watch with my Dad on a yearly basis. Lots of good memories there. The Princess Bride is one of the most awesome movies ever made. lots of youth group memories watching this. The rest, I love the stories, the characters and themes.
What are your favourite movies? I’d love to hear.


Learning about Faith

Learning about Faith


One of the best ways for me to spend some quiet time with Jesus is to use my notebook for what I call visual devotions. I write down links, draw arrows, have dot points, illustrations, references and use colour. As a visual artist this is the best way for me to remember what I’m looking at and to keep me coming back.

The passage I’ve been looking at lately is 2 Peter 1: 5-9 which reads:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness;
and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, perseverance;
and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, mutual affection;
and to mutual affection, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

I have started at the top and have been examining each virtue mentioned.

Goodness is always thought of as moral, doing something that gains you favour, behaving yourself etc… but in looking deeper I discovered it represents genuine unselfishness, kindness, generosity, honest and good conduct. These things aren’t done in order to gain anything for ourselves but are an outworking of the faith we have that Jesus has saved us.

Knowledge is often thought of as having a head full of facts, something to show of, something that can cause pride or arrogance or self-righteousness etc…In looking deeper I discovered that this word actually refers to wisdom and understanding of who God is, enlightenment of God’s hope, maturity as a child of God, seeing the whole truth and true righteousness (as given by God).


Its always good to go over the true context and meaning of words used in our modern translations of Scripture and get to the real intent set out by the author. Our modern interpretations often totally change the meaning of a verse.

Next on the list is self-control. It will be interesting to see what that comes out as.