Sunday, January 12, 2014

Summer Bears

As you might be aware, I often infuse my work with some underlying concept, based upon a love and concern for the environment and the beasties that dwell on our planet. My recently released 'Summer Bears' series was no different. Habitat loss and increasing temperatures threaten many species around the planet.
Black Bear 2013

The series was partially inspired by my cat, who has hyperthyroidism. The first summer, just before she was diagnosed and put on thyroid medication, I noticed that she wasn't coping with the heat particularly well. Placing ice-blocks in her drinking water seemed to alleviate her discomfort.
Panda Bear  2013
From that spark of an idea, I started thinking about what could be done to help other animals, who were used to cooler climates, to cool down. It was here that Summer Bears came about. These particular bears are not in the wild, as you can see by the cushions they are sitting on.
Sun Bear  2013
Each have been given a frozen treat to help them to cool down, away from their natural environments and in climates that they wouldn't naturally be found in.

Photo essay from the NZ Herald
My mum and a friend of mine drew my attention to this cute photo essay in the New Zealand Herald. Rio Zoo has been coming up with similar solutions to help the animals cope with temperatures of up to 48 degrees. Again an example of how similar we are to our animal cousins.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year!

This gorgeous image is by Griottes

I hope you and yours have all had a wonderful Festive Season. My little family and I have had a lovely time which involved far too much food and wine and lots of rambling conversations and catching up with other family members. As you might have guessed, one of my (many) New Years resolutions is to get back into blogging again. As well as being a useful means to convey some of the concepts that surround a new series of illustrations, I find that it can help me to clarify some of my own thinking process and ideas. Hopefully you as a reader, find some of my posts interesting too. If not I apologise :)

sorry, original source for this image is unknown 

It seems that many of us exhaled a collective sigh of relief as 2013 ticked over into 2014. I had seen a few images like the one above, asking for 2014 'to be good'. It wasn't until a friend on facebook made the connection that so many people commented that 2013 had been a terrible year for them; I know that has been the case for quite a few of my friends. Is it to do with our subconscious being superstitious at the number of the year? Have many people found it tough floundering through yet another year of recession? Or did many people have events that were sad and significant occur? Hopefully you yourself had a good year in  2013.

Woodhill Forest

One of my missions this year, is to make the time to get out in nature more. When life gets too busy, it can be so easy to bury yourself in work, forgetting about doing the things that you love and that inspire you. Getting out at Woodhill on my mountain bike was a fabulous way to start the year. Sadly it has been so long, that my family members whose butts I normally kick, kicked mine. I am determined that that shall never happen again!

Coastline at Mount Manuganui
Another thing which I aspire to do this year, is being grateful for all of the positive things that happen in my life. Not only on a grand scale but also all of the little happenings that occur daily. Some people go as far as making gratitude jars, I aim to just make a mental note at the time of the event or a little quite summary at the end of the day. For me I aim to balance out the frustrations that occur in daily life by focusing more on the positive and to consciously count my blessings, which are many.

A sunset sky at Matakanaval
Hanging out with friends and getting to see some of my favourite bands live is also something that brings me great joy. Starting the year dancing to Fat Freddies Drop and Shapeshifter for me is now mandatory I think. What makes you happy? How to you like to start your year?
So far 2014, you have bought me fun, good people, laughter and a truckload of ideas to explore in my painting. It hasn't even been a week yet, but already I like you a lot!