Splat

I’m still on the orange earthy theme – just can’t help myself when I start working with a colour! Sometimes it just goes on into the next rock!
koru hand painted rock
So I’ve called this one “splat” because I’m in a splat mood whatever that means! I felt like being loose with the paint brush today, slapped on the paint, didn’t wait for it to dry and then piled on another colour…wanting to let go of painting fine detail to enjoy the spiral going in and coming out…

I like this rock. Maybe because I totally let go of the outcome…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Manuka Honey

One of the many colours in this rock is called manuka honey. It is a creamy colour that is not visible but it is there! And as I write this I am listening to a Kuia from Ngāti Kuri talk about manuka honey and its healing properties. Saana Waitai Murray is her name and her whānau have created a sustainable business for themselves beekeeping in the far North creating pure manuka honey!! The best in the world she says! And by the way, this kuia has been instrumental in the Wai 262 claim.
I am inspired by what they are doing for themselves as a whanau and I think about the many opportunities there are for people to create their own businesses from something that they are passionate about and that they love to do!
koru hand painted rock
I see so many people working in a j-o-b that they are not happy in, working for someone else and fulfilling someone else’s dream. So many people say to me, “I love what you are doing, I wish I could do that!” But they still remain in their JOB. I can understand people need financial security but often at the expense of less time to enjoy the things they really love to do and add to that a whole lot of stress! But I think the biggest thing that is sacrificed is fulfillment, real fulfillment that can only come from doing what you love.

I wonder how many people can actually say that they are doing what they love?
This rock has many layers – it’s actually quite small but you can see its had a fair amount of paint piled on to it! I’m glad I was able to revive another rock from its doom and gloom in the corner haha!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – have started planning for the first book of kohatu! I’ve decided that instead of doing one book for the whole year I would have 3 or 4 books so its not such a big task to compile it and people get to enjoy the book before the year is over. I’m thinking A5 size, high quality digital print, spiral bound, colourful and sprinkled with some of the wonderful words that have accompanied the rocks – not just my words but everyone’s words! What do people think of this idea? Should I have one book or a few over the year? What do you think of the size and what would you be willing to pay for this book? Any other suggestions of what should go inside? Would love your feedback – thank-you!

Transform

I started painting this rock a while back. I can’t remember exactly when – maybe a year or two? It was one of those rocks that I started painting, then part way through I looked at it and didn’t like what I saw so it got put in the “not satisfied with this” pile.
koru hand painted rock
So I’ve breathed new life into this painting…the old purple paint underneath merged with the new layers of white and red paint…

I am reminded in the first layer of my need to be perfect, my desire to get it right but I embrace these new layers and what I have created today – this new story.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Saying NO to drilling

I watched a video today on Facebook – Te Whānau ā Apanui and others had come to tautoko (support) a flotilla of yachts in Auckland on their way to the East Cape in protest of the Government’s decision to allow oil giant Petrobras to drill for oil offshore. I had goose bumps watching them do their haka, just as I did watching a young Māori woman at parliament do her haka the other day in protest of the Takutai Moana bill. I am constantly in awe at our people’s stamina and courage to stand up for what we believe in and our ability to take action.
koru hand painted rock
On my flight from Auckland to Taranaki last week I sat next to a young Māori falla whose current job is working on oil rigs around the world. He had an answer for every question I asked…and he knew those rigs inside out. He knew many of my whanau who have worked on an oil rig or who are working on the rigs now and when I mention the young man that lost his life on a rig in Taranaki a few years back, he knew all about that too. 28 days on the rig and 28 days off the rig…not ideal, but it is their life…
At the end of last year I interviewed one of our pahake (elder) in Taranaki. He talked about the first oil rig that was established here in Aotearoa. These are his words…

“At the launching of shell Maui out Oaonui; at that time shell was a contract signed between Warren Freer who was minister of energy for labour and shell chairman international…that deal was signed at Oaonui. Robert Muldoon came into power a short time later…and that was the first oil rig ever built in NZ off the shore of Taranaki…
One of the old koroua was Mohi Wharepouri…Tainui, Waikato Maniapoto, Taranaki…I always remember fondly sitting by Mohi when he stood up and he said to Robert Muldoon and the chairman of the board, “Pakeha you bring a taniwha and you put it into Tangaroa. You upset Tangaroa, you upset me. From this day forth, whatever you do, we be watching…”
I believe if we continue to abuse our earth, to deplete our earth’s natural resources, there will be consequences and as we’ve seen recently, mother nature does not forget…I’m saying NO to drilling and I support all those who are making the journey to the East Cape. Kia kaha koutou! Ahakoa kaore au e tae atu a tinana, ka tae atu a wairua!
And finally – I feel like I’ve been going on forever with this post, but rā whānau ki a Māori TV – seven years old today – woohooooo!! You rock Māori TV!! I remembr this day seven years ago, we sat in front of the TV for the whole day, watching this amazing vision finally come to fruition for our people. And seven years on – still going strong!!! Too much MTV!!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Bless

The earth is shedding some skin, letting go of those things that no longer serve her or humanity and replacing them with love…
I know when I go through change, there is a shedding of skin, a detoxing of my physical body, an emotional cleansing and a spiritual release.
koru hand painted rock
I think about what can happen during detox; the initial stage of discomfort, headaches, agitation…I believe the earth is experiencing her own detoxing, her own release…
So much change in the world although I have no fear…
There are so many beautiful things happening and we need to remember these things too. From disaster comes connectedness, from death comes life, from change comes growth, learning and understanding…
I receive many email newsletters with special messages and this one arrived this morning…
“to bless means to wish, unconditionally and from the deepest chamber of your heart, unrestricted good for others…”
And everyday is a blessing and in each moment there are many things we can be grateful for.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Saying NO

I got a call from a research company tonight and was really annoyed that my evening had been interrupted!! I reacted and ended up sitting on the phone for a good 15 mins answering questions that I wasn’t really hearing because I was too busy reacting to the situation and mumbling under my breath! At another time I might have been ok to answer questions but this was the wrong time!
But it was my own fault! I could of said NO – but I didn’t! And I think in the end this is what really annoyed me, the fact that I should have said NO, but I didn’t.
koru hand painted rock
At times we don’t know how to say NO to people and end up in situations that we don’t really want to be in because we feel an obligation, or we don’t want to let anyone down or we are forever trying to please other people or…and the list goes on!
We fill our lives up by saying YES to everything that comes our way but at the expense sometimes of our own sanity or our own wellbeing.
I can remember many times trying to juggle many things at once, having sleepless nights, stressed, just to fulfill something that I couldn’t say NO to.
One of the things that I’ve found helpful in sorting out the no’s from the yes’s is knowing what my vision or purpose in life is – which totally skipped my mind when I was on the phone! For example, when I’m going through my emails, or sorting through paperwork I ask myself, does this piece of paper or this email or this thing contribute to my vision for my life? If the answer is NO then it gets deleted or thrown away. This is handy especially for those bigger decisions that need to be made. But of course you have to know who you are and what you’re about to be able to do this!! But it’s a very effective tool…
Ahhhh…I feel much better now that I have got that out…writing things is a great form of venting lol
Remember earth hour tonight at 8.30pm wherever you are in the world…and a BIG happy birthday to Nikolien…hope you have had a wonderful day!!!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Reflection

Today is Day 84! Wow! 84 days ago I decided that I would paint a rock a day…I remember that day…yes I’m going to do it, nah I’m not! Yes I will, no I won’t, yes I will, yes I did! The fact that I was going to be painting a rock a day was enough of a challenge for me, but to also tell the world about it? That was a major for me.
My first rock on Jan 1st 2011 was all about facing that fear I talk about above. Putting myself out there, opening myself up…here is that first post. http://on.fb.me/i65YQv
koru hand painted rocks
So what have I learnt after 84 days? Heaps!!!
I’ve learnt that I can commit to something and follow through with it.

I’ve learnt that if you do something enough it does become habit and becomes a part of who you are. This project, these rocks are very much a part of who I am. They are like my daily journal writings, my internal dialogue coming out on a rock and in the words I write with the rocks.
I’ve learnt that these rocks connect people, they connect me to people and they connect people to me. Those who choose to connect with these rocks, these rocks are for them.
I’ve also learnt that some people will stop by every single day but they will not say a word. These rocks are for them also.
I’ve learnt that not everyone will like what I do.
And I’ve learnt that that’s ok!
I’ve also learnt that many people love what I do, they love these rocks and I am humbled by all the attention they have been getting.
I’ve learnt so many things about myself and one of the most important things is that this is not about me at all.
The list could go on forever! Perhaps at Day 168 I will stop and reflect again…
Happy birthday to Gaye Ireland! This rock is for you…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Sea and Clouds

I flew home to Gisborne from Taranaki today and captured some wonderful photos from the sky. I was hoping to capture Taranaki maunga as we left but I was on the wrong side of the plane!! So settled for some of the rugged Taranaki coastline instead…which of course is beautiful!
koru hand painted rock
But as we left Wellington I looked across the water and there he was in the distance…aaaahhh…I felt like he was doing a big mihi to me…kia kaua e wareware kia hoki mai…it was a special moment…I also looked down to Poneke, to Wellington city and thought of those who marched to parliament to oppose the marine and coastal area bill…and saw this beautiful coastline in the distance…
I took some wonderful photos of some fluffy clouds before going into them on our descent and remembered as a child laying down in the grass observing them as they floated by. I used to see all sorts of shapes, patterns and faces…I felt like a kid again sitting at the window of the plane waiting for the next moment to capture on camera. From Taranaki to Wellington the falla next door was trying to have a conversation with me and all I was worried about was looking out the window lol. I even caught another plane on video – well I think it was a plane, it was moving pretty fast!!
You can see my photos I took today in this album: http://on.fb.me/gr3SY1
I’m not sure where I sit with this new marine and coastal area bill, I didn’t really understand the foreshore and seabed act but what I do know is that I have an intrinsic connection to the sea and the land and no matter what parliament says, or anyone for that matter, no one can take that away from me.
If you look closely you will be able to see the sea and clouds in this rock…The photos I took today are of the sea and the clouds and one photo is like a wave of cloud moving across the sky!
Arohanui,
Jo 🙂

Stop

Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to stop, relax and listen to whats going on around us and more importantly what is going on within us. I’ve been so busy this year, well actually last year’s busyness has flowed into this year. It’s been a good busy though, doing things that I’m passionate about and love to do but it’s so important to just take stock and breathe…
koru hand painted rock
Jacquie a good friend of mine texted me the other day from Australia, randomly as she does, but not really random because everything she says is always profound and important for me. Her words were words of encouragement reminding me of my many gifts that I have and that I should in her words, “write down what some of those things are today and each day till you’re exhausted”
So I’m sharing her thoughts with you today.
This evening, I had my artist talk at Puke Ariki and am so grateful for those who supported the kaupapa and gave their feedback this evening. It reminded me of the importance of my work and why I am so passionate about storytelling and art as a way of sharing messages and bringing about change.
And rā whānau ki a koe Gillybean!! Happy birthday! Hope you’ve had an awesome day kare!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I’ve now stopped to relax with…chocolate!! I’m listening within and its telling me that I SHOULD have chocolate, one for every gift that I have, and I have a few haha!!

Conscious Living

“Until something is raised to consciousness you really can’t respect it or treasure it”
I’m in the middle of putting the last touches to my video for tomorrows presentation and I came across these words from a dear friend…
koru hand painted rock
They will begin my video presentation tomorrow.
Kua hoki mai au ki Taranaki! I’ve come home for a couple of days to give an artist talk at Puke Ariki about the kaupapa that I’ve been working on for their latest exhibition. I’ve been gathering stories in the community about what they see as the future for Taranaki as it relates to sea, mountain, economy, community, neighbourhoods and energy. But I’ve realised, that for the community it is far more than that…
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Sun and the Earth

I’m not really into painting flowers on rocks but when miss Teia came home from school today, I listened to her story about the sun and the earth as I painted this rock…so today’s korero is all hers!
Jo: So what have you been up to at school today?
koru hand painted rock
Teia: Oh learning about the sun…The sun isn’t really the sun, it’s actually a star. But it doesn’t come out at night time so it’s actually a day star. You know we can have day stars too you know!
Jo: Oh.
Teia: And it’s very hot and if you stay in the sun too long you get sun burnt and that’s not good! It’s the hottest thing in the…in the thing…
Jo: (now laughing to myself)
Teia: And then the earth. And the earth is round but it has another thing around it. And then it has a hole. And the hole is getting bigger because we drive our cars around and smoke and gas gets everywhere. So we have to stop driving our cars to school. And the ice is melting at Antarctica. And the penguins are dying. And this lady she came to our school dressed as a penguin and someone said to her you’re not a penguin! Penguins are supposed to waddle!
Jo: (still listening)
Teia: So the hole is getting bigger and we have to stop – now!
Jo: Stop what?
Teia: Making the hole big!

Jo: So where is Antarctica?
Teia: It’s up the North Pole somewhere!
I hope you enjoyed that lesson on the sun and the earth – it actually went on for much longer than that but it certainly made my day!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I tried to make the painting as loose and as imperfect as possible and the gumboot in the photo is Teia’s gumboot 🙂

Landscapes of the Heart

I’ve been listening to stories today that I recorded in the Taranaki community at the end of last year. When I first had an overall view of the stories I saw there were similar thoughts and themes that ran through all of them. But when I listened more closely, I realised that the people and their stories were actually quite different.
koru hand painted rock
“Landscapes of the Heart” is a project I’ve been working on over the past few months with Puke Ariki museum in Taranaki as part of their current exhibition, ‘What If – The Future of Taranaki”. This exhibition asks the community a variety of questions about how they see the future of Taranaki as it relates to the mountain, sea, economy, energy, community and neighbourhoods.
The project uses storytelling as a way to engage with the community, to give them a voice and an opportunity to share their personal stories.

Why storytelling?
People feel valued when they are given this opportunity, they feel heard. They respond with an open mind and in many cases an open heart and a desire to want to share their stories…and of course there’s an element of trust that goes with this as well.
I believe in the power of stories to bring about change. I believe that through our storytelling we can connect with one another and we can see another’s point of view. We may not agree with it, but we can acknowledge it and see it as it is. And from this common place where all these stories and people meet, change can happen.
I’m grateful that I’ve been given this opportunity to hear these stories, but it is only the beginning…
On Wed 23rd March at 6pm (yes in three days time!!) I’m giving an artist talk at Puke Ariki in Taranaki where I will share more about this project and show some of the stories that I have gathered. If you are in Taranaki – would love to see you there!
Arohanui,
Jo x
The book that is in the photo is a book I’ve had for nearly fifteen years! It’s called, ‘Work With Passion – How to do What You Love for a Living’ by Nancy Anderson and has been a great reference book for me over the years.

Rona

I’m watching the night sky tonight, not because everyone is saying that there is going to be an extra big moon in the sky but because I always like to see the moon when its full. I feel the moon when it’s full…does anyone else feel that? You just know when it is in the sky, this massive circle…even when it is not visible, you know that it is there…
koru hand painted rock
One of the first stories I heard about the moon was in my bilingual class at intermediate. It was about Rona and how one night when the moon was full she went out into the darkness to fetch some water for her husband in a taha (calabash). She would fill her taha and each time she did the moon would hide which meant she couldn’t see where she was going. She would trip and the water would come pouring out so she would have to fill it again. She did this again and again until she got so irate with the moon that she cursed the moon…pōkokohua!

The moon was angry with her so he pulled her from the earth and carried her into the sky where she still resides today with the moon…Some people say that she can still be seen holding on to a ngaio tree which she held on to in an attempt to not be taken away…
We all have our stories about the moon. I know one thing for sure is that my ancestors were guided by the moon in their everyday life. They knew when the right time was to plant and they often made reference to the cycles of the moon…I am also affected by the moon…
I hope everyone is having a massive time at WOMAD this weekend – the biggest celebration of music, art and dance happening in Taranaki!!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Memorial

There was a memorial today for the recent Otautahi (Chch) earthquake and I’m so grateful that there was live coverage where we could all tune in. It was a HUGE turnout to remember those who had lost their lives and to support those who mourn their loss. The rescue workers were honoured for their work to save lives and to recover those who had perished. It was also a time for the community to band together as one to remember what had happened and to celebrate the human spirit that has been evident over the past few weeks.
koru hand painted rock
I don’t think I could ever know what it has been like for those in Otautahi although watching the TV coverage was hopeful and made you feel proud to be part of the wider Aotearoa community. The service honoured all cultures as the loss and devastation was felt in many parts of the world.
The koroua who opened the service articulated words of kotahitanga and at times funny, he gave a great analogy of us all being as one. And despite the religious overtones of the whole thing, it was easy to just put that aside and appreciate being alive…
There was a host of stunning waiata; Dave Dobbyn may have gotten older but he still sings his waiata like I remember it many years ago. And the Prince of Wales blessed us with his presence and a message from the Queen. Again, not too fussed about the waiata “God save our gracious Queen” but when Prince William stood and spoke on behalf of the royal family, he reminded me of his mother who was a great humanitarian and who would have been right there in the thick of things…
So again sending love and peace around the world today, to Otautahi and to Japan.

And to all those who will be celebrating at WOMAD over the weekend at home in Taranaki – enjoy!!!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I felt like painting three rocks today…

Ripples

Todd comes home today and tells me that he bumped into a woman downtown that says she has started painting a rock a day after seeing my rock of the day project! I thought how cool is that, that what I am doing with my rocks is actually inspiring others to do the same!
koru hand painted rock
I love that visual of a stone being dropped into water and causing ripples…and it only takes one stone…
And actually I’ve had many ripples created since I started this project and all I did was make a commitment to something I was passionate about and put it out there.
Just imagine what we could achieve in the world…peace, love, respect, caring…one ripple at a time…
Dropping a stone into the ocean to send ripples of aroha and peace around the world today. And sending our sunshine to Japan…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Praying Mantis

Have you ever sat and observed a praying mantis? I’ve been doing exactly that over the past few days – there’s been so many around. They seem to like the comfort of our home because whenever I try to put them outside, they just find their way back in! They are such amazing creatures!
koru hand painted rock
I am amazed at how alert and on to it they are. They have a certain elegance and beauty about them. One landed on my arm ( I only just realised they fly!) and just sat there, its reddish orangey eyes staring back at me! And the antennae were constantly moving, this one I think was eating although it could have just been licking its legs!
I have seen them in action before. One totally devoured a monarch caterpillar on our swan plant and all that was left of it was some black substance that was dripping to the ground. It was a great idea to put them on the swan plant to eat the aphids but what happens when the aphids run out? The caterpillars!
I like to think that these praying mantis around the place are a good tohu, a good sign. And I do believe we are connected to all living things and have felt very connected to these creatures over the past few days. And when looking this praying mantis in the eye today, it was like for a few moments our worlds had merged in to one…
Sending much aroha and peace around the world again today.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Heal

There are a lot of videos on the internet showing the devastation of the disaster in Japan, footage that you would not see on mainstream television. I can’t bring myself to watch it right now. The comments are painting a picture for me and it scares me to even take a look! A lot of healing to take place in the world, a lot of internal healing also.
koru hand painted rocks
I did see in the news that there was a 60 year old man rescued 15km out to sea. That is hope for me. That all is not doom and gloom and there still is life to preserve and hold on to. And every bit of hope there is, we need to hold on to. I celebrate with this man his life, and I also am sad that he will probably never see his wife again who was swept out to sea. And this is one of many many stories, I am sure will emerge. And the reality of many people not seeing their loved ones alive, ever again.
It’s a hot day today in Gisborne, it’s like summer has returned. Such a luxury. I thought about taking my new surfboard out in the sea and then my thoughts were of the people in Japan, the water and ocean that connects us, the loss of life out there…I just couldn’t bring myself to go there…wanting to respect the huge loss of life – it has really affected me.
A time to heal land, a time to heal people.

Self responsibility to heal.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – another soothing rock to paint, it is a pastel yellow colour called moonbean. The spiral is healing…

Sustain

This rock is full of a whole lot of stuff!
So many thoughts going around in my head at the moment. Many things happening in the world, planetary shifts, change, and plenty of internal shifts as well.
Today, I’ve been listening to stories I’ve captured on video about sustainability. It’s a funny word thats been thrown around quite a bit and used in many ways. In fact, its seen to be “cool” if you have some kind of “sustainability” attached to what you do. Many people I have talked to all have different views although one common thought is emerging and that is we need to look after our planet in order to sustain our existence on this earth. Because if we are not looking after our planet, then how can we expect our planet to look after us?
koru hand painted rocks
And our relationship with the earth is non- negotiable.
I watched in total disbelief as the tsunami in Japan totally engulfed everything in its way, this black mass moving across the land…the strength and power of the water was mind boggling and I imagine if you were in its pathway, theres a good chance you would not survive. The images and footage that have emerged are disturbing…
I think about my life, the relationships I have, my family and friends, the work that I do, the struggles, the triumphs, everything in my life that I am dealing with right now and then I see this and it puts everything into perspective for me.

What if we all ceased to exist on this earth? What if we were here today, gone tomorrow? In light of recent events, that is a very real possibility and that reality is increasing by the day. I imagine there are many around the world who are also questioning their lives and their existence…
I decided yesterday to create an evacuation plan. We’ve started stocking up on water and other things which will continue over the coming weeks. I never thought I would say it or even be doing it but the feeling to do this is so strong…
I feel even more passionate about my work than ever before. The stories I tell, the art I create, the messages I share are now more important than ever.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I have no anger at Papatuanuku for what has happened. I am sad for the loss of life and I am sad that it has come to this. But I also understand that this is mother nature’s way of healing herself, letting go of unnecessary things that no longer serve this planet, just as we humans go through a process of letting go to heal ourselves…

Japan

I feel for those in Japan right now. The media presents sometimes a conservative view of the effects on human life, perhaps to not instill fear in the people but the reality is right in front of our eyes. There is major loss of life, no doubt about that. And it is in times like this that there is a need for people to reach out to each other, to love and care for each other.
My thoughts also are still with those of our own whanau and friends in Otautahi who are trying to rebuild their lives and I can only imagine that this recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan has made them relive Feb 22nd all over again…
koru hand painted rocks
I feel like the work that we do and the messages that we have to share about looking after our earth, are so important now more than ever. Mother nature will always prevail and we have seen how powerful she can be. We have civil wars happening but this recent series of natural disasters reminds us of our vulnerability, our impermanence and our need to really take stock of our lives and how we exist.

What do we value? What are our beliefs about how the world should be and how do we exist on this planet?
I feel for everyone around the world and I feel for our earth. Sending much aroha at this time…
And again, I am grateful for life…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Silence

Silence…
I enjoyed the silence as I painted this rock, relaxing after a morning of sharing with art students…I am amazed at what can be achieved in silence. A still mind, reflection, contemplation, relaxation…
koru hand painted rock
Not too many words today although this rock speaks volumes!
Kia pai nga rangi whakata – have a good weekend.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – When choosing colours sometimes they jump out at me and at other times its not so obvious which ones to paint with. But I do like discovering new ways of using colours together, what they look like and how they feel. Thinking beyond the colour wheel and just painting with whatever colours I want to and whatever colours feel right at the time. And of course always a photographic exercise to find the perfect light 🙂

Planting the Seed

I had my first class today teaching art students about the business of being an artist. It was a great day! It’s not something that many artists or aspiring artists would want to be learning or would even think about learning and so being as practical and as creative as possible in the delivery was essential! At the end of the day, I realised how passionate I am about sharing what I have learnt with others and how much I want to give!
koru hand painted rocks
I think when you get older you start to think about how you can contribute to other people’s lives. That’s where I’m at, although I feel like I’ve been in this place for a while now! But your focus changes from being all about self to wanting to give to others. And at some stage you do have to pass on what you have learnt in the hope that this will inspire others to take what you’ve taught them, use it, turn it into something even better and then pass it on…
And I am also learning…Everyday I get to share with others is another day of learning…and I’m so grateful for that.
This rock is for Nikki’s Mum who turns 60 today – it’s so nice being able to paint a rock and then send it off to someone for them to enjoy!
Arohanui,
Jo x
A few of my photos lately have been all about light; well all my photography is about capturing the light in a certain way, capturing a mood or feeling but there has been some quite special natural light around lately…loving this photo, its soft but its hard, it has reflection and mood and I like the natural colours that appeared as a result of the way in which the light fell on the light box.

Te Ua

When I picked up this rock from outside it was full of water. It had been raining and the rock had absorbed a lot of the rain so my first thought was to dry the rock to paint on…but instead I left it wet and painted it! koru hand painted rock
It reminded me of how precious water is and the need to preserve it. I thought to myself, how cool that this rock can hold so much water and wouldn’t it be even more cool if every house in town had a water tank to catch the rain? It just makes sense doesn’t it? We put pipes in the land to drain the water but when it comes time to needing it, we have none! So appreciating the rain today, so refreshing and cleansing…and there’s something in that rock being able to hold water both physically and conceptually…hmm…
Today is March 9th and according to the Mayan calendar it is the beginning of the Unity Wave of Consciousness which will carry on for the next 18 days. It is also the last wave of the Nine Waves of Consciousness. I talk about this because this rock was painted for Drew and his wife whose 20th wedding anniversary it is today. Yay!!! When he called me to ask if I could paint them a rock, he mentioned this date as also a significant date in the Mayan calendar. Check out more info here unity wave
Much aroha to you both, hope you’ve had a fabulous day!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Crowns and Colonialism

Teia came home from school yesterday with a crown that she had made and quite happy with herself that she had done a brilliant job of it! And it was a beautiful crown, one of the better ones shes made so far. She’s probably created about 10 in all her 6 years of life…
koru hand painted rock
Which is my point really. What is up with all the crown making in mainstream schools? Since childcare and then kindergarten and now her second year in school, she is still making crowns!! And – of course the crown is already sized for her and comes with pre-made lines so that she can colour in the inside and then glue her pre-made shapes on to it!!! Do they think she can’t think for herself, that she can’t draw her own lines and create her own shapes the way she wants to create them?
She’s been doing art since she was a baby – and she is naturally visual and kinetic so she learns hands on as many of us do. Which by the way, can be an issue sometimes!! She has a studio at home where she creates every day when she comes home from school and on the weekends and then she goes to school and has her art made for her – in the form of a crown??
Hullo is all I can say and I don’t really know what has changed since I was in a mainstream school learning about how Captain Cook discovered Aotearoa!!
Actually, I take that back. Something HAS changed and that is the introduction of kura kaupapa Maori – Maori immersion schools in Aotearoa. That was one of the best things that happened for Maori and for Aotearoa.

Ma te wa – until tomorrow,
Jo x
PS – A mixture of colours in today’s rock – plum, green, white and red!! A bit of a burst of energy or possibly venting!

Samadhi

I was reading a post yesterday from Ray – a Vipassana meditation friend who had just come off a course serving for 11 days. And he was asking what had gone on in the world while he was on the course. It’s a bit like that when you have no contact with the outside world! I remember coming out of one course in 2001 to front page news that a plane had flown into the World Trade centre! Not great news to come out to but grateful for a balanced and equanimous mind at the time!
But seeing Ray’s post immediately took me back to my first Vipassana meditation course in 1999 and how that experience changed my life forever.
koru hand painted rocks
Not being able to talk for 10 days didn’t bother me. I could handle that, actually I welcomed the silence, peace and tranquility of the meditation centre. The challenge was more about the journey within that I was about to embark on. And how would I cope sitting from 4.30am until 9pm at night – just meditating – and doing this for 10 days! How would I cope??
But I survived, and my life is so much more richer because of it!! And I am a sucker for punishment so I went back for a few more courses over the next six years, just to make sure that the pain (physical and emotional!) was real and perhaps there was a possibility that it would no longer be there? No such luck! But it had become less!
Samadhi is a word that I remember well from my first course and if I could have right focus and right concentration of mind then this would help me get through each moment. And I find that I am still reaping the benefits in my life today. I am not perfect of course and at times I lose focus and get distracted, but less than I used to. And I have so much more awareness now, especially of self.
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Space In Between

I love this rock I’ve painted today. It’s one of my favorite rocks so far. It was very soothing to paint.
The weather is changing. It’s been raining for most of the day and I’ve been in a different space. An in between space where I’m neither her nor there, just in between. It’s kind of an odd feeling…a transitional space perhaps, reflective, just being…and there is probably some tired in there too! I woke this morning with a million and one ideas floating around in my mind which is great but now I’m tired!
koru hand painted rock
I feel the need to declutter again and let go of a few external and internal things and perhaps then I will see a clearer pathway and will venture out into another space. But for now, am embracing this space in between…
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I took this photo on my laptop. I quite liked the idea of having the rock and the paint and the metallic surface coming together. The dark grey colour in the middle is the natural colour of the rock, the other greyish colour is called delta grey and the creamy colour is called manuka honey.

Art

My art is not defined by another person. It is personal, intuitive and has many layers.

I believe we all have the ability to create art. Art is not just a painting on the wall or a sculpture or a design; art can be a song, a dance, a few words, any kind of expression of a person and who they are.
koru hand painted rocks
Art can make people smile, it can make people cry. It can make people angry. For me, art connects, it is emotional and changes something inside me. Art is about change. It is my hope that my art changes something inside another person. That is my intention.
Art should not be confined to within walls. Art should be everywhere, in every space…

Nature is a work of art, the most beautiful of all. When I look at a sunflower, a kina or a caterpillar, I see art. I am moved by that. When I look at people I see art. When I see something, I see it as a photograph, as light, as a work of art.
Imagine what the world would be like if we all realised the artist within? What would we see?
Arohanui,
Jo x

Autumn

I love Autumn. It’s in between summer and winter, not too hot, not too cold and the colours of autumn are so vibrant and exciting! Its still warm at the moment but you can feel a hint of coolness in the air…
I walked out to the garden today and was happy to see the monarch butterflies floating by. We didn’t see them for a while and our swan plants were empty for a couple of months! The kamokamo have finally come away for real after teasing us for a while last year and the beetroot are massive! We had forgotten we even planted them in the garden because they were buried under everything else!!
koru hand painted rocks
I wonder about the seasons though. Things are definitely changing, summer seems to extend out a bit further and I’m not sure why, but this year things have grown a lot slower. But – the weeds still manage to survive! Although, I like a garden full of dandelions! The leaves are yummy in salads and Teia and I Iove making oil with the flowers…but not as many dandelions this year either…the lawn should be covered by now for Teia and I to roll around in and take photos haha!
Or was I away from home so much over the past few months that I missed all the growth??
So I’m embracing this time of year, change of season, change of energy and looking forward to the coming months which will be full of creativity (of course!), overseas travel and sharing some of my learnings with others…
Ma te wa – until then,
Jo x

Orange

Feeling like sending lots and lots of aroha today to everyone wherever you are!!! I believe in the power of love and am feeling all the love flowing around Aotearoa right now!
koru hand painted rocks
I believe it is at times like this when we are vulnerable, that we reach out, we connect and we remember who we are and why we are here.

Arohanui ki a koutou katoa,
Jo 🙂
My rock is a pretty intense orange today – so hence the title!! I was quite taken with how intense it looked on the rock and then when I photographed it, it looked even more orange!! And much aroha to Jacq who called me today from Oz! Whenever we korero the words shared are always meaningful and profound. It never ceases to amaze me at how perfect the timing is – thanks Jacq xx

Risk Taking

I’ve always been a risk taker. When we were young, we were not “protected” children where our parents constantly worried about us and kept us safe. In fact it was quite the opposite and we probably should have been cared for better than we were! Love my parents to bits though, they brought us up the best way they knew how…and in hindsight this freedom as a child has enabled me to be open minded, creative and resilient.
koru hand painted rocks
We can only truly experience life I believe, if we allow ourselves to take risks and step outside our comfort zones. If we allow ourselves to feel, to really feel and express openly these feelings, to expose ourselves to those who are our worst critics and to face our worst fears, then this is risk taking…
If we are doing what we love and being who we are with no fear or no care about what others think, then we are risk taking. When I decided to be an artist full time six years ago, this was a huge risk, not only because I would no longer be getting a regular income but also because of the criticism I would receive from those who saw what I was doing as “impossible” and an “uncalculated risk” and how could I possibly live? Resilience is a big thing and teaching our children how to problem solve in this day and age will go a long way, believe me!
There is no greater joy than doing what I love and being who I am. I welcome challenges and the opportunity to take risks everyday because they remind me of my strength and resilience. Through opening my heart and my mind, I allow myself to step into the unknown, to make mistakes and just like a child, to be totally present with what is.
Life is one big risk, so we might as well risk all and make a good go of it!

Te Ao Mārama

An understanding…
te ao mārama – the world of light, life, earth, physical world
ao – the world, light, specific period, cloud, a day, dawning of the day
mārama – illuminating light, to understand, be clear, light
marama – moon, month
koru hand painted rock
And those are just the short answers!
I love our Māori language because it is so conceptual and every word is a story. I love going onto the marae and listening to our pahake speak in such poetical ways…it is one of the most beautiful languages I know…

Our tupuna (ancestors) were so connected to the environment and our language reflects this. They knew of planets in our solar system even before scientists had discovered them. They knew that the moon has an effect on the earth and that it also affects us as people living on the earth…They navigated by the stars in their journeys across the sea and they knew when the time was right for planting and what the weather would be – just by looking to the sky.
The Maori word for moon is marama. It is also the word that we use for month and just as the moon goes through its cycles every month, so a woman experiences her own cycles which are influenced by the moon…
Arohanui,
Jo 🙂
PS – Day 60 today – its been two months painting a rock a day – yay!!