Kainga – Home

We came home to Gisborne today. It’s so nice to be home and grounded for the next few weeks before heading off again!
I often think about home and where I consider home is. Home for me is in my tribal area of Te Arawa where I was born, where I grew up and where I lived for 24 years. This is where my mother comes from and where my roots are. I also have special places in Rotorua that I remember and connect to…
koru hand painted rocks
Taranaki is my home. This is also where my roots are, my father is from here and I am very connected to the whenua, to the land here. I have also lived here with the land and it is a very special place for me…actually Taranaki was home for me even before I had lived there.
When I was living in Auckland, this was also home, but not home like Rotorua and Taranaki. My connection to these areas are different, a more spiritual connection…
And now I’m living in Gisborne which I also call home but home in a different way as being this place where I live. My whakapapa links are not directly here and I don’t feel the same about this area as I do about Rotorua and Taranaki. It actually took me a while to settle here, but now I’m settled and its almost like a ‘noa’ feeling for me, unlike the spiritual, sacred connection I feel to my ‘homes’ in Taranaki and Rotorua.
But I also feel at home in other lands overseas. There are some places that I have been to such as Arizona, that I feel I have a spiritual connection to the land, almost like I’ve lived there before. And other lands I’ve visited, I feel very connected to.
I also wonder about my Scottish and Cornish roots and how I would feel in these lands. My gut feeling is that I would feel at home in these places because of my whakapapa connections. Even though I have not lived in Scotland or Cornwall, I have a strong urge to visit these places and I imagine whenever I do, it will be a spiritual journey home for me.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Just meant to be

On our way through Waverley today, we stopped off at a glass studio. It was outside this studio that I painted this rock. And yes there was a glass studio in Waverley! Here we met a couple who are both artists working in a variety of mediums including glass, clay and sculpture. So there was an immediate connection…
But what was also cool was the fact that we had connected with people who knew people we knew, they had lived in the same places and knew people we knew in those places and they had many things in common including a passion for the arts and a passion for doing what they love for a living!
koru hand painted rock
Actually, I find these connections quite exciting and if you are open enough and on to it enough to see them, they are around us all the time! You know when you meet people and it’s just meant to be? You just click with them and end up talking like you’ve known each other for years!
So it was a nice part of our journey today, but of course every part of the journey is important and just meant to be, including the yummy feijoa ice-cream I ate tonight! Ha!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Te Pā Harakeke

Tūngia te ururua kia tupu whakaritorito te tupu o te harakeke…
Cutting back the harakeke at Puniho over the past two days reminded me of an internal detox, not just physical but an emotional and spiritual detox too…an emptying out and letting go of things that are no longer needed, making room for growth and change. The whakatauki above talks about this also; by cutting back the harakeke, nurturing it, paying attention to it and putting it to good use, you allow it to grow and bear fruit once again….
koru hand painted rock
There were some challenging moments when cutting the harakeke; it had not been cut for a while and so the plant was thick and not able to breathe… so it was challenging physically and mentally – I remember saying to myself, one leaf at a time, one leaf at a time…it was a bit like when we are going through ‘stuff’ and you hit a block, you work through it and then you move forward, one step at a time…
And I love the pā harakeke as a representation of the whanau unit…it was wonderful to spend time with Jas, Rahera, Te Para and Hiona living on the whenua at home at Puniho, living as a whanau unit with the land where so many of the harakeke grow…and sharing some wonderful kōrero…
So the pā harakeke is being nurtured, the land is being nurtured, the whanau is being nurtured…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Mana Whenua

I’m looking out the window at the harakeke and tī-rākau swaying in the wind and am reminded of the whakatauki, “whatu ngaro ngaro te tangata, toi tū te whenua – people may perish but the land still remains.”
Power lines are down, road signs have been blown over but the land remains…
koru hand painted rocks
I’ve always known harakeke to be a resilient plant, to withstand the strength of the most fierce wind, rain, cold, dry and still its roots hold strongly to the earth. The land will always remain…
I am also reminded of our connection to the whenua and why we hold strongly our own roots to the earth – I am the land and the land is me…
Ka tukuna atu te kohatu mauri nei ki tāwahi hei kaitiaki hei oranga mō ngā tāngata whenua o te ao. Ngā mihi ki a Leonie Pihama, i tono mai ki a au. Māna te kohatu nei e kawe hei te wiki e tu mai nei…
Me te kupu whakamutunga ki a Matua Huirangi Waikerepuru – nāna i whakamohio mai ki a au i te tikanga o te mauri. Ko te mauri mai i te maunga tae atu ki te moana kei roto i te kohatu nei… just as the life giving waters flow from the mountain to the sea and so this rock carries those stories of that journey and is now going on another journey…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Tāwhirimātea

Hokia ki tō maunga kia purea ai koe e ngā hau a Tāwhirimātea
Return to your mountain to be cleansed by the winds of Tāwhirimātea
koru hand painted rock
Wow!! Kei te tino pupuhi te hau i te kainga nei! Arrived home in Taranaki last night (Sun) and wow – there’s a storm blowing through…Now staying at the marae out the coast at cousin Jason’s and Rahera’s house and yep we’ve definitely come home to be cleansed by the winds of Tāwhirimātea!! The power has just gone out so we’re sitting in the dark having a sing song while we wait for Rahera’s yummy curry for kai.
It’s times like this where you are just in awe of the elements, Tāwhirimātea has been blowing a gale all day and as much as we’ve been blown around – literally, it’s good to just stand in that wind and feel the strength and power…makes you feel so alive and free and powerless at the same time…
Its so nice to be home again, ahakoa ngā āhuatanga a Tāwhirimātea – cleansing for my wairua, for my spirit…
Arohanui,
Jo x

The Ego of War

Today in Aotearoa it is ANZAC day – a day to remember all those brave soldiers who went to war to fight for our country. Me mihi atu ki a rātou mā, rātou i tū kaha i te pakanga, ko rātou kāore i hoki mai…
I think about war, the war that my tūpuna fought in, the war that many of our tūpuna fought in and died. And I wonder, what this was all about? I wonder what it would have been like if my Dad went to war, perhaps I would not exist if he did? And whatever possesses someone to want to take another’s life? I’m still trying to understand that…
koru hand painted rock
I honour all those who fought in the war, for their bravery, for doing what they thought was right for their country, and for the many people who did not come home from the war. I also honour those whānau who bravely sent their loved ones off to war…
But I do not condone war at all. I do not believe that war is the way forward and I do not believe that it is a solution for any problem…
I think about our armed forces today and I ask, what are we preparing for? Why prepare for another war? Why?? I’m a firm believer in what you put out, you get back and I wonder how would things be in this country and the world if we constantly put out thoughts and actions of peace and aroha instead of war?
Ko ōku ake whakaaro mo te rangi nei…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Aranga

I’ve never really been one to celebrate Easter. When I was going to a Catholic school, we celebrated this time of year because its what you did at a Catholic school so it became a part of our lives. I vaguely remember having easter eggs when we were young, but I don’t remember any big celebration…
Like Christmas, I think Easter has lost it’s real meaning and has become another opportunity for commercialism and the promotion of products that actually don’t reflect what easter is about at all. Easter bunnies and easter eggs?
koru hand painted rocks

I’m not saying that Easter or Christmas is wrong or shouldn’t be celebrated, I just think that whatever our faith or beliefs, we need to remember what we are actually celebrating. What is Easter really about? You ask most kids these days and they’ll tell you its all about the chocolate!
For me it’s a time to celebrate life and for new beginnings…
Am sending heaps of aroha to Tam and Taare who got married today! Ngā mihi aroha ki a kōrua i tō kōrua rangi whakahirahira! Am celebrating your hononga today which has been a long time coming ne? Yay!!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Trusting the Process

I never know how these rocks are going to turn out until I’ve finished painting them, and they are never finished until I feel they are. Sometimes, they don’t come out like I thought they would, in fact I’ve been surprised quite a few times! There are some that resonate with me more than others, but ultimately, most of them are not for me or about me…
koru hand painted rocks
When I choose the colours, I choose without thinking. Often I’ll look at the colours and think hmm…these colours SO don’t go together but when they are on the rock, everything works and the colours are right for the stories that are shared through the words and the rocks themselves…and the photographs – they too tell their stories…
I still have that perfectionist inside of me, wanting to make every line right, to paint a perfect circle, the perfect circle of all circles lol but I’ve learnt that if I trust the process, each rock, painting and story appear in their own perfect time.
I’m on the road home to Taranaki āpōpō, looking forward to that, always a spiritual journey for me…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Kōauau

I’m still on the theme of breath today…I spent a good hour this morning trying to play a kōauau that Todd made me – not as easy as it seems! It’s all in how you use your breath, a bit like a normal flute…but once you get it, the sound is stunning…
koru hand painted rock
As I was painting this rock I was listening to Hirini Melbourne’s Te Waonui a Tāne, an album of Māori waiata (songs) relating to our ngahere (forests) and within these waiata you can hear the birds, the trees, the insects, the water…
My ancestors connection to the environment enabled them to create amazing sounds with instruments fashioned from nature…the spiritual sound of the kōauau pongaihu – the gourd flute played with the nose and also the nguru, another type of flute which can be played with the nose or mouth…such beautiful music created with the breath…
Arohanui,
Jo x
I’ve painted this rock for Saul’s Dad whose birthday it is today 🙂

Earth, Water, Air

I had a wonderful conversation with a good friend in Oz today. We always have wonderful conversations that are profound and timely.
She reminded me of my connection to the earth, the sensitivity I have to the land, my connection to water and my understanding of water as life, who we are and where we come from and to air, the breath of life and what it means to breathe in and breathe out…
koru hand painted rock
And this rock is representative of all these things…the rock has been cleansed and shaped by flowing water, the markings on this rock remind me of the natural markings and pigments that are of the earth and the air that we breathe that is of nature of the earth and of water…all connected in a life giving cycle…
Green…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Ants in Action

It’s a funny title for a post but have you sat and watched ants in action?
As I was painting this rock today, an ant walked by (literally!) carrying a piece of chocolate in it’s arms (or legs) I saw it carrying this massive thing that was twice its size and after a closer look I realised it was a piece of chocolate! God knows where the chocolate came from! 🙂
koru hand painted rock
I was really taken back by this ant’s determination – imagine carrying a piece of chocolate twice the size of you! Even better, imagine eating a block of chocolate, twice the size of you!
I’ve observed ants before and they are a pretty intelligent bunch. We get quite a few here so there’s plenty of opportunity to observe them and for such a small creature they have a pretty strong bite too!
One time I watched a whole army of ants go across some water, and you know what they did? They put leaves on the water and went across on them – I thought wow, now that is pretty clever! And they were all working together…which is the gist of my kōrero today.
I’ve seen heaps of things happening recently where people have rallied together and taken action on different kaupapa – all working together for a common cause. The re-building of communities after natural disasters, world wide calls to action to reduce poverty and hunger and locally, protests opposing the drilling for oil in our waters…
And then there were the ants…such tiny things with such a strong message.
Hei āpōpō – until tomorrow!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Completion = Control

Doesn’t it feel great to finish something? You know when you are doing something that needs to be done and you focus on it, you wanna throw it at the wall at times and then yay, it’s finished! Or even nearly finished is good too because you know you’re on the home straight – yus!
koru hand painted rock
Well guess what I’ve been completing today? TAX! Yes my tax and it feels bloody good to be in control of it all and getting it done! As an artist, it’s one of those things that kind of gets left to the last minute or gets put to the side for another day until another day never comes and then hullo, it’s all caught up with me and I’ve created an even huger (is this even a word?) task for myself!! So I’ve learnt my lesson and come up with a strategy to get my taxes done, to stay on top of it and be in control! And all this has come from not being in control by the way…
Its amazing what completion of things can do for your confidence and it’s all in the balance I reckon, giving time to it, staying on top of it and making it a habit.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Four Seasons In One Day

I’m in one of those breathe in breathe out moods where my wick is a bit shorter than normal lol – you know when things just really annoy you and you find it hard to be tolerant…
I find that the underlying beliefs, past experiences and habits that make up who I am, dictate to me how I react to a situation. In a way, if I’m not aware of them, they control my life…
koru hand painted rock
So anyway, that’s the mood I’m in – probably in line with the elements! We got our first real dose of winter today – the whole works! First the sun in the morning, then the clouds, then the cold with the rain, oh and then thunder and lightning!!

Don’t you just love the four seasons in one day thing…totally in line with my changing moods today!!! And to top it all off, it’s a full moon tonight! So am embracing these changing moods right now and thank nature for being so in tune with me haha!
And today’s rock is in total contrast to what I just wrote about…but you know what, I feel so much better now that I’ve got that off my chest!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Anga

I remember as a child listening to the sea inside a shell. I thought it was the most amazing thing being able to hear the sea even when I wasn’t there…I never grew up by the sea but our visits to Maketu and Taranaki were always times of anticipation and excitement. To smell the fresh salty air and to feel the ocean breeze was always a real buzz for me – a reconnection to home, a reconnection to Tangaroa…
koru hand painted rocks
So I’ve lived beside the sea for over 10 years now, in the west and now in the east and I treasure every day that I can be with Tangaroa and to experience his many wonderful gifts…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Peace & Calm

Am sending Papatūānuku peace and calm right now just after hearing of a severe aftershock in Christchurch, earthquake in North Queensland and tornadoes in the US…
I don’t know what to say other than it’s at times like this that you just want to send Papatuanuku and the world lots of aroha thoughts! Geez…hang in there Christchruch!
koru hand painted rock
And I know what a tornado feels like…I remember in Taranaki a few years ago, 2006 if I remember right, one swept through Rahotu. At the time you knew that things were not right, the wind speed got progressively worse, sideways rain and it felt like you were going to be swept away! Ross Bennett had come to rescue me because I had run out of petrol lol, not knowing that a tornado was brewing of course! And as quickly as it started, it stopped. If we had been a few metres another way I reckon we probably would have been right in it’s pathway!

So when it was all over, massive trees lay across the road and I couldn’t get home!
And then our massive earthquake in 2007 here in Gisborne – now that was not good! And I imagine that Christchurch’s earthquake would have been worse than that, but that was bad enough!!
So spreading some love and good vibes tonight to our planet and people around the world.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Black

This is the third time that I’ve painted black on to a rock and I must say I’m warming to it more and more!
Black has always been a dark and gloomy colour for me, one that you see lots of at tangi! I always make a point of not wearing black to tangi because there is already enough of it to go around! I wonder why people wear black to a funeral? Because it’s a sign of mourning? I’m thinking it’s a colonial thing, I couldn’t imagine my tupuna back in their day wearing black to a tangi…
koru hand painted rock
Black is also beautiful – there is something about black that is appealing…
And it certainly changes a mood…I’ve made a point over the past few years to remove black clothes from my wardrobe – its so easy to just go and put on black because it goes with everything, but now I’m all about the colour haha!

And I LOVE black and white photography! It makes everything so dramatic and allows you to feel a photo…
So my black kōrero for the day, nothing too heavy or emotionally draining lol or too long…very light-hearted so you know that the emotional drama queen is gonna come out again over the next few days haha!
Kia pai ngā rā whakata! – Have a good weekend!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – this rock still has some of the natural colour showing, I couldn’t bring myself to totally black it out! I think this black thing is also being influenced by Mel whose into black and who dropped off a black ‘paru’ art work for me the other day haha – she knows!

uku

I love uku and the works of art that are fashioned from Papatūānuku. There is something about clay – natural and of the earth, grounding…
koru hand painted rocks
We went to an exhibition opening tonight and although some of these students were first year art students, I was amazed at the work they had created and could see huge potential for them. It was very inspiring for me as an artist who has been creating for the past sixteen years to be experiencing these new works of art…very refreshing…
It reminded me of my first art course 17 years ago where I was discovering my own creativity and experiencing different mediums for the first time. I had finally reclaimed my creativity that was very much a part of me as a child but somehow got lost along the way…
And I talk about uku because there were some beautiful creations of uku tonight from students who had just started working in this medium. It was just so lovely to see and of course I couldn’t help myself and had to have one of those pieces!
But I always remember what it was like selling my first work of art – it’s such a buzz and gives you so much confidence to want to create more. Not because of the money, but because you have created something with meaning, that someone else wants. That feeling is so satisfying!
So I’m honouring these students and their creativity today and the path that they have chosen for themselves..
Arohanui,
Jo 🙂
Ra whānau ki a koe Waveney! This rock is coming to you! xo

Collective Consciousness

I believe in collective consciousness. I believe that as a global collective we can make a difference. We can bring about change, change that will affect all our lives here on earth, change that will affect the earth. I believe that what is affecting me here in Aotearoa is also affecting you in your part of the world. And what is affecting you is also affecting me. You are not alone in your world and I am not alone in mine, although I might try to pretend at times that parts of your world and parts of my world do not exist.
koru hand painted rocks
We are all connected…
I believe that the thoughts I have about the world, our planet, our universe all have an effect on me and my existence. I also believe that my thoughts affect all life on earth and everything that happens in this universe.
If I have the ability to have an effect on everything around me, the earth and all living things and the whole entire universe, then why am I not utilising this ability?
I remember many years ago reading, “your thoughts become your reality” and that is so true – I experience this everyday. So what reality do you want to create today?
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – another revived rock with many layers!

Challenge

It was a real challenge to paint this rock today. Layer upon layer upon layer and finally after the fourth layer – something that I felt happy with! It reminds me of my first big painting on canvas – my life mandala. There are at least 10 layers on that painting and I even stripped some of the paint off during one session! But painting that was like painting layers of my life, a process of letting go, working through, releasing…and this is what I felt today with this rock!
koru hand painted rock
It also reminds me of successfully bringing an idea to fruition – you keep trying and work hard until you get there! But often we try and then give up straight away because we don’t see immediate results. So we end up going from this idea to that idea and never really achieve anything!
If only we just persevered, we would have got there.

So this rock was a challenge but I have a real sense of satisfaction having worked through my frustration lol and having worked with the rock…there was a time where I wanted to just throw it into the ‘not satisfied pile’ and return to it at another time. But I don’t want to be adding to that pile anymore! And I know that whatever rock I paint is all meant to be!
Mission completed for the day! Hei āpōpō – until tomorrow.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – and because I was painting this rock for what seemed like forever, I had to be creative with my lighting for the photo!

Purple

It’s been one of those days where I’ve just felt like curling up with a book. One project has ended and a few others are waiting on the horizon but I’m just wanting to catch my breath for a little bit…
I’m in that in between space again; reflecting, resting and re-energising…
Purple. It’s one of my favourite colours with green. Purple has always been a wairua (spiritual) colour for me – deep; it implies a certain mood and feeling in me…
koru hand painted rocks
So am nurturing spirit today.
Arohanui,
Jo x

Six Pixels of Separation

Six Pixels of Separation – It’s the title of a book I’ve read at least five times by Mitch Joel and it speaks about how we are all connected. So if I don’t know you then I will probably know someone who knows you who knows someone you know that I know too…I think you get the picture!

Anyway…today I painted my 100th rock for 2011! I’ve been looking back over the past 99 days and am appreciating the wonderful kōrero that has been shared, the paintings that have been created with the kohatu and the fact that I’ve been able to share these with so many.
What started out as an exercise to be creating everyday has turned into many conversations connecting me to people, connecting people to people and connecting these special kohatu to people. I’ve also learnt a whole lot about FB and how it operates just through the posting of these rocks every day!
koru hand painted rock
So 100 kohatu down, another 265 to go – I still can’t believe 100 days has flown by already!
The kohatu have become a part of my landscape, they are my daily meditation, my one thing I do everyday and I’ve enjoyed sharing them with everyone! So honouring this achievement today… bring on the next 265 days!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – another revived rock – I’m really loving bringing all these paintings back to life.

Possible

I was inspired today by a kōrero from an Irish woman who had been blind from birth but didn’t realise she was blind until she was 17 years old. Her parents instilled in her from three years old, a belief that she could see and so she went about her life – physically blind but still able to see.
koru hand painted rocks
I was amazed at this story. She did have her challenges but her message was that anything is possible.

We put so many limits on what we can achieve, so we achieve small and do not reach our full potential.

I hate to sound so cliche with all this kōrero, but if we believe in what we do, if we set ourselves goals where the sky is the starting point, then the universe will provide whatever we need to achieve those goals. I firmly believe this because I have seen this happen over and over again in my life.
But a word of caution, be careful what you ask for, you might just get it!
Anything is possible.
Rā whānau ki a koe Toby Tahi – three years old today! May this rock be a reminder for you that anything is possible although I imagine right now as a three year old you will find great joy in touching it, looking at the lovely orange colours and adding it to your collection of play rocks!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – the link to hear this blind woman’s inspirational kōrero on TED http://bit.ly/dQnjMT

Pāua

We have some lovely Māori kupu and pāua is one of them!
pāua – A delicious seafood eaten by Māori especially yummy fried with onions, garlic and did I say creamed?
pāua – A clingy child (or an adult) in some cases. Can also be a close friend.
pāua – The name of the purple colour that is beneath the top layers of this rock.
pāua – the beautiful shell of many colours that houses the delicious seafood. Often used in traditional Māori carving.
koru hand painted rocks
The other day was a kina day, today is a pāua day! Perhaps a craving for a pāua now? Just one!
Also been thinking heaps about this drilling kaupapa and the NZ Government allowing other countries to come and drill in our waters…and the fact that we can’t just go and get a feed anymore like we used to due to the decline of kaimoana in our oceans and in many places it’s just too polluted and not safe to eat!
Sometimes I wish the world would just be sorted and we didn’t have to worry about all this stuff. An unlimited source of kaimoana wold be fantastic and there would be no need to drill for oil because we have enough brains and innovation to come up with alternative sources of energy!
Anyway, am watching Homai te Pakipaki on Māori TV – love it and love our people and their ability to entertain in the moment! And there’s some real hard case people on that programme and SO talented! Young falla singing right now – Tangaroa Te Tai, he’s got a wicked voice, and with a name like that, of course he would! But then all the kai waiata have been awesome!
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS Sometimes I use Māori kupu (see! kupu = word) and don’t translate so here is an online dictionary that I find handy for translating from english to Māori and Māori to english. http://maoridictionary.co.nz

Makariri

This is the first day that I’ve really felt the cold! I’m sitting with a blanket wrapped around me as I post this – not wanting to accept that winter is coming! Although I think I’ve softened a bit since living in the East. When I was living up the mountain in Taranaki – now that was cold! It snowed and you could see your breath – you know when you breathe on a cold frosty morning?
koru hand painted rock
I remember as a kid growing up in Waipa village in Rotorua, we would run around in bare feet, stand on the ice puddles and would love running on the frosty grass in the morning. But now, the slightest bit of cold and it’s under the blanket lol
I was walking this morning at 7am and it was cold but it’s that fresh brisk cold that lets you know you’re alive and that kick starts you into gear in the morning – when you can eventually drag yourself out of bed!
Now this is a sure sign that winter is coming – I didn’t paint fast enough to catch the natural light outside for a photo of this rock so I had to use the light box instead. Lucky I’m resourceful and have plan b’s, c’s and d’s aye!
This rock has many layers – it seemed to go on forever with layers of light blue and purple underneath, which is another reason why I missed the natural light – oh well!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Play

I don’t think we play enough! We take life too seriously sometimes – I know I do!
There are days where I wish I was a child again, with no responsibility, free to play whenever and wherever and not have to worry about the world and what is happening in it. Oh to be a child again! Just the other day in a post I was talking about self responsibility and now I want no responsibility lol And yesterday I was talking about planning and now I want to have no plans lol
koru hand painted rock
I was contributing to an online conversation today and after a couple of posts I realised that I’d much rather be playing outside in the garden and enjoying the sunshine and appreciating what I have right now…not that the conversation wasn’t important, because it was, but just in that moment I thought it would be so much better to be playing!
So a playfu rock today, the shape, the colours and the photo! It reminds me of a snail or a journey to the other side of the rainbow…where the pot of gold is waiting of course!
Sleep time I think…
Arohanui,
Jo x

Organise

Yesterday’s new moon has prompted me into another ‘getting organised’ mood. So today I’ve been doing exactly that! Getting myself organised for the months ahead, planning for new projects, revisiting ideas and turning them into action plans!
I’ve also been doing tax for what feels like forever but am feeling good about being in control of it and getting it done! So am balancing my creative pursuits with giving attention to the business side of things.
koru hand painted rock
This is what I am trying to instill in art students at the moment – that in order to be successful as an artist, to do what you love and create an income for yourself as a full time artist, you have to have the business sorted! Goal setting, planning and managing finances all need to be done just as much as the creation of art!
If you had asked me ten years ago, do business and art go together? I would have said no. I was too busy creating to be worried about anything else and having to deal with all that ‘stuff’, would just get in the way of my creativity. But after six years of being in business as an artist, I know now that to be successful, you have to be business savvy. Even if you have an accountant to do all your finances, its still important to know what is happening in your business and to plan plan plan!!
I asked the students the other day, “do you think you can be an artist in business?” Most said yes! Which was great! But I also gave them insight into some of the realities of being in business – not getting an income every week like you would if you had a job and the fact that success requires commitment; total commitment to your creativity and a total commitment to do whatever is required to be successful.
Bring on the rest of the year! It’s nice to see the eyes light up, hopeful, to hear the questions of enthusiasm and to know that these are more future artists to fill our universe!! 🙂
Arohanui,
Jo x

GDP

GDP = Gross Domestic Product
Why are we so concerned about gross domestic product?
Why do we value our economy more than we value community?
Why do we value the tangible things and fail to acknowledge the intangible?
koru hand painted rock
I studied economics in school because I thought it would be useful. I never really got it, even after studying hours on end for exams. I passed my exams (just!) but I still don’t get it.

My understanding of the situation here in Aotearoa now is that we value our economy more than we value our environment and our people. We give emphasis to those material things, those tangible things such as oil and milk that will give us the best return on our dollar but at the expense of our environment and our people. I don’t get this! Yes there are huge financial rewards and the creation of employment for people and the list does go on…but are these worth risking the earth? Really? And people?
I’m constantly baffled at how we continue to do what we’ve always done until it’s too late. Power and control – the cause of our demise I do believe. I wonder what our world would be like if we all just let go of a little bit of ego, just a little bit and actually started caring for one another and our environment? How different would things be?
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – another of my revived rocks from the “not satisfied with this” pile of rocks! You can see the old lines that I’ve covered over with the new ones 🙂

Paru

We went to a traditional dyeing wananga today and saw the most beautiful thing…PARU!
For those who don’t know what paru is, it is an amazing black mud, high in iron salts that is used by Māori as a natural dye, especially in weaving and for the dyeing of natural fibres and materials. This paru was as black as black can be! When you think you’ve seen black – you haven’t seen black until you’ve seen paru.
koru hand painted rock
As I was taking photos, Todd had scooped up some mud in his hands and described the feeling as “a dense, oily, silky, smooth texture that was soft and melted in your hands…” And very effective – the paru was not able to come off right away!
Apparently you know when there is paru somewhere because the water is brown and murky, but underneath lies your treasure – black gold as it is known to some people because it is highly valued and like gold.
Our tupuna (ancestors) were very resourceful and knew their environment so well. There were many trees that were used in the dyeing of fibres – some beautiful colours such as the vibrant orange yellow that comes from the raurekau and the natural brown mordent that comes from many of our native trees.
Nature can provide us with everything we need including a huge array of colours! I am SO looking forward to experimenting with the natural colours of the earth in my painting on kohatu and with my art in general.
I feel very blessed to have been given this knowledge to add to my kete. I was also given a koromiko tree today to add to our regenerating native garden. So grateful – but all just meant to be really!
Arohanui,
Jo x

Honour

I spoke to my Mum and Dad today. Mum in Rotorua and Dad in Te Puke. I’ve realised now that I am older, how important my mātua are to me. As a rangatahi, a young person, selfish and tied up in my own world, I took my parents for granted. Actually I took life for granted. Life was all about me. My sisters will say that as the youngest I was spoilt but of course, I don’t agree! But I will say, Mum and Dad were at times soft!
koru hand painted rock
We had a colourful upbringing and although at times it may not have been ideal, I am grateful for my experiences as a child that have instilled in me a resilience to bounce back from anything and an ability to be resourceful and solve problems.
Today I honour my mātua. I am grateful that they are still alive today and everyday I am thankful for that.
Arohanui,
Jo x
PS – I’ve used black paint again on this rock. I don’t use black much, in fact this is only the second time I’ve used it on a rock!