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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Home sweet home~snippets from the New Year!


Happy New Year sweet friends!

May it be a year of wonder and possibility for you,

Much laughter and love

and an abundance of serendipitous moments,

lush happenings

and peace in each present moment :)

 My word for 2013 is CLARITY

I know that many of you can relate.....
as creative souls with a multitude of ideas
all shooting off in different directions at once
a tendency to work on many things at the same time
and then to succumb to moments of overwhelm


I know I'm not alone in this!


it is

for me this means working on 

simplifying my world,



setting up systems

to make things flow more easily

and so it is.....

We started the year with some reassessing of things. 
a realization that for many reasons music would take a backseat for a while.
So out to the recording studio we went for a makeover and now thanks to Airbnb we are able to rent it out for those who want to come visit  beautiful Jervis Bay!


 Studio Cantamar!

Over the years our family has moved out to the studio several times (including this year for 17 days over January) to rent out our home for the Summer.
Not for everyone I know, but for us it has been a strategy to get ahead a little financially and our experiences have always been positive.
More often than not we end up being invited back into our own home for dinner and vino and this year was no exception when this beautiful family came to stay! 

 i gave this very talented girl an impromptu art class

 in which she painted this stunning masterpiece. Well done Miss Ruby! You are an an artist in the making for sure!

Our home always seems to attract lovely people!. By doing up the recording studio as a little B&B we get to stay in our own house and still meet awesome people.

When the studio is not being rented we have been taking in Couchsurfers and this has also been a fab experience with three lovely German travellers joining us for Christmas festivities!

and speaking of Christmas look what Santa (aka Marco) bought me!
I am in love with my new bike and have been whizzing along the bike path by the beach like a teenager!

I also spent the last part of 2012 and beginning of 2013 getting a book proposal together for North Light so please keep your fingers crossed for me. I should know something by next week. I think I'm supposed to keep it a secret so "shhhh! Don't tell anyone!"

 There's always a furry helper around in our home! :) Gingy thinks he has something to say in my proposed book!

Of course after 5 1/2 months away from mi amor we are enjoying some romantic, chillaxing time together...

 and I've been doing a fair bit of this

 and of course some of that!

 and just before you get too relaxed we've had some of the hottest days on record this Summer so you can imagine my surprise when I opened the fridge one morning to find this little (actually rather large!) creature hiding out inside the door!!!!!

 One gorgeous day Santana asked if I would give her a mini workshop so she could paint something to hang in her new home ( she just moved out for the 2nd time yesterday to start University in Wollongong).
She's always been a little unsure about her painting skills so I was over the moon to spend this time with her....we both started with some words that had meaning for us, mine from a Morcheeba song "The Sea".
  and then we dripped and sploshed and layered
 she hasn't quite finished hers yet

 but we both had a lot of fun

 and I think she overcame some of that "paint" anxiety! :) Don't you?

Night Dive. Tracy Verdugo. 2013. acrylic/ink on canvas. 3'x4' (91x121cm). $2500

 Mine ended up as a memory of a late night dive on the Great Barrier Reef many, many moons ago! and yes the colours underwater really were that intense!

Elefante. Tracy Verdugo. acrylic/ink on canvas.18x13cm. $100

I've also been having fun continuing on with my Little Creatures series and am excited to be teaching a workshop on how to paint your own whimsical animals at the fantabulous Art Is You retreat in Petaluma California this September. Registration opens Feb 1st. Would love to see you there!

 Once all of our guests had left and we were back in our home it was time to unpack and declutter. After years of having our furniture one way I decided to rearrange the sun room to make this inviting little nook. At first I used an embroidered Mexican thrift store dress as a table runner...
 but then I found this adorable hand embroidered perfect sized tablecloth at a garage sale for $2!! 
Now that made my weekend!

 I'm also super excited to be taking this class online from the ever so talented Misty Mawn
I drew this image from her week 1 assignments and am just loving the class and absolutely recommend it! 
Misty just returned from teaching in Orvieto, Italy and posted the most delish photos on her blog...


guess what?

I have just confirmed dates to teach in Orvieto as well

Sept 20-26, 2015. 

Now that's plenty of time to start saving your pennies. Who wants to join me? :)))

 Finishing up the month grateful for all that is and stopping to notice the beauty all around me.
 A chance glimpse of these beautiful pink and grey galahs through the guest bedroom window had me running for my camera and crawling across the floor commando style before sneakily slithering up onto the bed and stretching my arm skywards to take this shot. (the things I do in order to share my life with you! ;p )

After this I felt inspired to paint some feathered friends so in one awesome day ( between interruptions "mum, you're supposed to be helping me pack!", mum, where's that form I need to hand in first day of school? "Honey, any chance of some lunch?", "Hi dad, no not busy at all. Would you like a cuppa?"
 I painted this birdy...*note my attempt to subdue my palette

 then this one....* note I cant help myself, the colour is back!

and lastly this one with his big ol' claw and missing tail (in my attempt to get really loose I forgot the tail ok!) For all his flaws I might like him the best! :)

 and after I'd had enough of birds I started on some fish 

and more underwater memories
 and then yesterday it was time to say goodbye to Santana for a second time. After a few months of living in Sydney she had come home for the Summer. 

It has been sooooooooooo amazingly wonderful having our whole family together for a couple for months but now its time for her to move onto the next chapter. 
Having been accepted into Wollongong uni she and two friends I adore have found a little cottage together and yesterday the dads rented this truck and moved them all in.

 I truly thought I was okay this time until I lay in bed last night and thought about her empty room and cried silently for a while against Marcos shoulder. 
Its hard isn't it?

 Then this morning she sent me pics of her room, already put together so stylishly.....

 and this blackboard that she made last week from an old piece of ply and a broken easel I was going to take to the tip. 
On it she and Rosie have written their first quote to welcome friends to their home and remind them of the important things

The true meaning of life

is to plant trees

under whose shade

you do not expect to sit 

~ Nelson Henderson

Wowza! This poignant thought from two 19 year old girls just starting their adventures!
Makes me feel like as parents we've done a pretty good job :)

Makes me kinda want to cry again too
in a good way.......

Until next time
i leave you with this thought

may you set sail with your dreams this year
 or at least go for a little paddle somewhere you haven't been before

lots of love Tracy xoxo

ps don't forget today is your last chance to leave a comment on my 2012 recap post ( the one before this one) to win an original painting. I'm drawing the lucky winner tomorrow!!!! :))) Good luck all!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

2012~The year of Brave.New.Dreams and Possibilities

 70, 000 plus miles travelled in 2012, living the reality of what was, only months before, a dream. 

i apologise in advance for the length of this post. it was a massive year and if you are kind enough to read all the way to the end and leave me a little hello in the comments section i will put your name in a hat or a bucket with everyone else's and one of you will win a painting...okay now go make yourself a cuppa and settle in :)

in January i launched an exhibition of new paintings in our little village of Huskisson
and hung out with the beautiful Louise Gale when she came to visit!

 and then...up, up and away!

January~ An International exhibition in Koh Samui Thailand..who moi?? Pinch!

 The whole family got to come...we enjoyed some new beverages!  

 shopped a little-well a lot!

 i got to judge a mural competition and had to pick a winner (so hard!) from these talented Thai artists

 we hiked to a hidden waterfall

 explored the nearby islands

 rode on these beautiful creatures through the jungle :)

 Painted my own mural and giggled with these two cuties

had our feet nibbled by fish ( not my favourite thing!)

and rode madly in a tuk tuk through the streets of Bangkok with Sienna

 back home in April I taught my very first Paint Mojo workshop in a stable

with a bevy of enthusiastic and talented students :)

 March through July I continued to explore new possibilities

 in paint

 continuing my studies in Fine Arts through Curtin University

 and celebrating High Distinctions for my work.

we also released our brand new CD three years in the making which you can listen to and purchase here.

 i continued to give thanks for the bounty and beauty of my life, this man who walks through the world with such a big heart, who doesn't always get it right (who does?) but loves us in the hugest way.....and i him

 these beauties always reminding me to slow down

 and relax into the moment

 and these two beauties that make my heart overflow with love every day.

 in June I launched a new exhibition of paintings

before flying off to sunny Qld thanks to my gracious and lovely host Christine Desbiens

 Flying solo like a wide eyed girl, soaking in the newness of every experience, lapping up the freshness of a new perspective.

 i shared wonderful creative time with this gorgeous group and also shared the revelation of having my biological father ( who I had never met!) walk into the workshop unexpectedly at the end of Day One!! I have not yet written about this experience at any length but it has been an incredibly positive event  and continues to unfold in lovely ways.

 i thank these women for their energy, love and support

over that momentous weekend~ my first interstate Paint Mojo workshop!

July was a month of change and goodbyes when first we saw Marco off on a business venture to Thailand. Unfortunately it didn't work out as we had hoped but life is for learning and loving and all is as its meant to be...

then it was time to say goodbye to my sweet girl Santana when she grew wings and decided to try living on her own in the big city...she too is now back at home and ready to begin studying next year closer to home :))

 In August I flew to Melbourne (big thanks to Liza baker and Wini Dougall)

and another round of mojo sharing began...a little colder than the previous but still just as much fun!
and then it was up, up and away again......this time just Sienna and I, our little family halved for a time,
we landed in a spectacular California Summer for a month of settling in, getting Sienna enrolled in school, hanging at the beach.. 

catching up with dear friends
and family!
enjoying some of these :)

and lots of this!
I fell in love with Orly Avineri when she graciously invited me to come to her San Diego workshop in September..

 we explored Hollywood and Venice beach with Sienna and my nieces Kira and Keely :)

and I got myself ready for my upcoming teaching tour with cards and prints to sell...


made my video lesson for Life Book and then I was off!! 

Firstly to Petaluma where I truly became part of the Art Is You family!
Warm, wonderful, wild and weird in the best way!


 I got to meet all of the wonderful artists and teachers that I have been reading about for all of these years AND I was one of them!! Pinch me again!

Four days of teaching and learning and meeting awesome people. So excited to be teaching there again this year!

 Then it was back to Southern California where my sweet friend Christy opened her home for us to Mojo in!!

 i painted this little demo there and left it as a gift for my hostess with the mostest :)

i think everyone found their mojo very successfully!!

and then i was off to the East Coast for more Feelgood painting at Art Is You in Stamford CT.

 on my day off my beautiful friend Mary Leigh took me into NY for a day of sightseeing

 She was the best guide ever!

 then lucky me got to hang out with these wonderful women at the home of Sallianne McLelland, a woman with one of the biggest hearts I know....

I got to know incredible women like Kecia

 who gifted me this very swish vintage prom dress and made me the beautiful necklace i am wearing with it. thank you Kecia you are awesome!

I also got to spend three days in Hoboken with my lovely friend Louise and we explored New York each day and didn't get home till the early hours each morning...I cannot for the life of me find the folder with those pics (except for this one of us lining up for a falafel from Sam which was delish!) but we had a LOT of FUN..the highlight being the last night when Louise took me to an underground piano bar in the West End where we and 60 or so other patrons sang showtunes at the top of our lungs till 2am :)

from NY I flew back to the West Coast to meet my honey and celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We booked this cute place through airbnb in La Mission, Baja California

and celebrated with lobster and margaritas....5 days together out of 5 and a half months was way too short...

 and then it was on to Texas where the very heartful Selah Gay had put together the most wonderful retreat for me to teach at...

this is the sign she had made to greet the students

 and here she is creating something beautiful

and these are the wonderful women of the Lotus Ranch, Wimberley, Paint Mojo Retreat

 after the retreat had finished i met up with my sweet friend Emily and we spent the day roaming the missions of San Antonio together and then it was on to Austin where the gorgeous Jessica Brogan showed me the best of this funky city and we put our heads together and hatched some plans for some wonderful future events. Thank you Em and Jessica....i think your pics are in that same missing folder!

 From Texas it was off to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Thank you so much to Phyllis Peterson who was such a caring and sweet host, looking after me in her home as I battled a horrible cough/cold/allergy attack. She dosed me up on various remedies and I taught two separate sold out workshops at the beautiful Random Arts owned by the vivacious and funny Jane Powell.

on my day off Phyllis and Jane took me to Asheville where we had the best tacos at White Duck Taco and then wandered the streets looking at the galleries.
 I was over the moon to find one of my art heroes Jonas Gerard  in his studio and have to admit i blushed profusely as he wooed me with his charm....

after a week in North Carolina, enjoying the Southern hospitality it was time for a road trip

 so i hopped in my rental car and took off to Savannah!

spending the night in this charming historical home which i also found on air bnb.

 Savannah had my heart the moment i arrived but its far too romantic a place to wander alone....

 from Savannah i drove on to St Pete beach Florida, Thanks to my beautiful friend e'Layne Koenigsberg
(and Lora) for sharing their home and lives with me for the week and for organising such a wonderful event.

 I was blown away for the whole trip (and beyond) at the depth, talent and wisdom of the women who came to these workshops seeking to learn and share and grow.

i truly feel blessed to be able to do what i do and if i can, in some small way encourage others to follow their creative bliss the way i have mine it makes my heart smile wide. 

 Are you still there...i know this is long but i don't know how to make it shorter and if you get all the way to the end i would love for you to leave a comment. 

everyone who does will go into the draw to win one of my "little creatures" original paintings.. :)

one like this but not this one as its already in its new home......soooo with the workshops finished it was time for some down time.

 I said goodbye to the girls and picked Sienna up at the airport in Tampa and we headed to Orlando for three days of fun! after we had ridden every roller coaster (twice!!) we headed South for a very special meeting...

Tony (my biological father) had told me that his sister lived in Florida. 
Soon after he and i met, my Aunty Robbie contacted me by email, so warm and caring, a beautiful spirit welcoming me into their family. When we worked out that I would be in Florida around Thanksgiving she invited Sienna and i to come spend it with her and her family.

 i still dont have words to really describe this experience of finding family you never knew
or how you feel like a part of you had somehow been missing and now its not. 

Its also tricky because feelings can be hurt and i love my mum and dad that brought me up and my other mum that brought me into this world and i don't want them to feel that in finding joy in this new family i am in any way diminishing the love i have for them


so that's all i will say for now

 is that enough to digest?

what a year, right?

i love you all and thank you so much for supporting me through this HUGE journey. 
i wish you every happiness in 2013 and hope that you will leave me a comment so i can send one of you a painting.

if i have missed anyone out its not because you are not important its because i am sometimes a little ditzy and this was a very long post to put together....

HAPPY 2013!!!

lots of love Tracy xoxox

be happy!

and live your own soulful adventure!