I started painting this rock today and then I said to myself, stuff it, I’m going to paint this rock with my right hand!
koru hand painted rocks
And so I carried on, painfully at times lol painting this rock with my right hand. I’m left-handed, but there are sports that I can play right-handed such as golf. And I also use scissors with my right hand but the funny thing is, I can only use scissors with my right hand, not my left-hand but I can play a few sports with both hands, on both sides!
Don’t ask me about the scissors bit, I have no idea where that came from! But I reckon my ability to play sports such as golf have been because I hung out with my Dad on the golf course quite a bit as his caddie. He was also a sportsman that dabbled in many sports so it rubbed off on us kids.
So anyway, this rock took me longer than normal – of course – and it was, how should I put it – frustrating at times!! But I realised I need to do it more often because when I had finished, I felt SO different! I felt like I had really achieved something (with a time difference of course!) and my whole being felt different. I also felt like a child painting too which was kinda cool – it was like tapping into my creative child again.

And Todd says it’s the golden egg and I like that too.
Jo x

Light and Happiness

When I think of red and yellow I remember my assignments I used to do in primary school. Yellow borders of koru and wriggly squiggles surrounding words telling stories that I can’t remember. But I remember the colour and the patterns.
koru hand painted rocks
When I think of red and yellow I remember the waiata (song) – red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue… I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too…listen with your eyes, listen with your eyes and sing everything you see…
Now I don’t actually know if these words are correct but as a child they were right for me at the time, and they are all I can remember!
Red and yellow – my favourite colours when I was a child. They make me happy, I think about sunshine, sunrays, sunlight and energy. These colours strong in my mind, I wonder if our connection to colour changes as we grow? I love red and yellow and painting this rock today took me straight back to when I was a child but now my favourite colours are purple and green…
A lighthearted kōrero today, these colours make me feel light and full of happiness, so sharing light and happiness today.
Jo x

A Moment of Reverence

I am always in awe of nature – the rhythms, shapes, colours, sounds, movements…
When you see something in nature that resonates with your soul, that really touches you…how does that make you feel? Like standing at the foot of a majestic mountain, or a raging river, or looking into a flower. Connection…
Today’s kohatu is inspired by the kōrari – the beautiful flower that sprouts from our native harakeke (flax).
koru hand painted rocks
Eight of our nine harakeke plants that we’ve been growing over the past three years have produced beautiful kōrari – I’m so amazed at how beautiful they are! I’ve seen many korari in my lifetime but these kōrari are something else! Or is it that I am seeing with new eyes?
I removed some of the kōrari from the flax bush because I wanted the growth to go into the rau (leaves) and a couple of days later, the flowers opened up and out came this wonderful array of colour! Even after they had been removed from the plant! So I sat and observed nature’s awesome-ness, such reverence, it was a moment of grace for me.
And so when I look at this rock from all angles, I’ve rotated it 360 degrees – it is all of nature. And the stalk – the manawa line, the heart line that runs through the centre and holds everything together, supporting the beautiful flowers, it reaches up to the sky and down into the depths of the earth.

The colours are vibrant and strong, they challenge how I use colour in my paintings and inspire me to find the colours for them. Each turn of the stone reveals a new kōrari, a new kōrero that speaks nature – reflected back to me again and again and again.
Many of you will have a favourite rock but this rock for me is the rock of all rocks.
Day 302 and this rock says everything I want to say about life, who I am, the transformations, the journeys… this is all the rocks I’ve painted so far and all the rocks and stories that are to come.
Jo x

Recycled Green

Green is one of my favourite colours (with purple) and I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I haven’t used green for a long long time! And the only reason I have green today is that this is a recycled rock from the rock pile that already had green paint on it!
koru hand painted rocks
I don’t actually have any green paint in my paint collection right now, perhaps it’s been for a reason but it just hasn’t been there to choose from so when I saw this rock in the rock pile – it was screaming at me – pick me pick me! And I felt like it needed to be a green day today – so here it is.
And this rock has been out in the elements for a while which is why the paint looks quite weathered and worn and peeling off.
So while we’re on the subject of “green” there were lots of calls for being “green” today.
I went out to the compost this morning and got a big shock when I opened the bin and there were heaps of worms all around the edges of the bin, hanging off the sides, inside, outside – there were SO SO many – I’ve never seen anything like it! The warm weather and the rain perhaps but these wormy worms were in heaven!
I weeded the garden today which is hard for me at times because I actually like the weeds, the dandelion leaves that taste great in a salad and some of the pretty weed flowers. It was great to get my hands in the earth again, to be inspired and then be able to eat the lettuce that our hands had grown with Papatūānuku.
And one last “green” thought for the day – sending much aroha to ngā tohorā… There have been strandings of whales in Papamoa today near Tauranga. One of the whales has died and the other two are being helped out to sea again. And the one question that people are probably asking is, are these strandings and the death of this whale because of the Rena incident and the oil spill?
Signs are presenting themselves everyday, mother nature is having her say, enough is enough. No more.
I read a wonderful quote today by Anne Frank – I read the diary of Anne Frank when I was teenager and was very much inspired by this woman’s life. She said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Start now.
jo x

Listening to Hearts

I visited the Osteopath today – don’t you just love the French, they’re so passionate and expressive when they speak – well this one is anyway!
koru hand painted rocks
Anyway, while he was fixing me up and talking a lot lol, we got onto history and where we come from and I realised that some people just don’t get it and in order to understand, fully understand someone else’s perspective, you really have to put yourself in their feet. And even then, that is hard to do if you don’t feel what they feel.
And that is where the conversation went to – because I was saying that our people have a history and it is hard when that history is in your blood and is a part of who you are and yes we have to take responsibility for who we are today, we must heal from the past, but for most people it is not easy.
He got what I was saying but he wasn’t really listening. He was wanting to share his perspective assuming he knew my perspective but wasn’t really listening.

He made a really good point though about traveling the world and experiencing another land, another culture because it takes you away from your own little hub, your own experiences and history, just for a little while, into someone else’s history. And when we’re there, we realise that we are not the only ones in this world who are suffering, or who have suffered or whose ancestors have suffered, we are not the only ones.
And so the conversation went all over the place and it came back to what we have in our heads and what we have in our hearts. And at the end of the day – what is in the heart is what matters, and if there is something there to heal, then we need to heal it – because our hearts are where we feel and it’s bad enough when we deny how we feel but worse when we have heavy hearts that remain heavy for a long time, sometimes forever.
So I left there with more than what I went for – he is a fantastic osteopath by the way and read my body immediately. I take my hat off to people who can do that in an instant. And as I’ve said, everyone you meet has a message for you and I’m still trying to digest this one as there were so many parts to it!
And one last thing, our conversation ended on common ground talking about water and rocks and rock art and he mentioned a cave in France with some of the oldest rock art in the world. I have heard about this and will visit there one day. And our conversations about art and being an artist weren’t for nothing because when I was leaving, he says, I’m not an artist, but I am starting to paint more and more… and in that moment I heard his heart and I realised that my listening to him go on and on lol enabled him to get to that heart place and what he really wanted to say… and it was such a relief!
Jo x

The Artist’s Way

I’ve been fully aware that ever since I returned from overseas, the rocks I have painted have definitely taken a turn. No longer do they always begin with the koru, they are now starting from anywhere.
koru hand painted rock
A part of that for me was about stepping out into the unknown, letting go of what I thought was the only thing I’ve known and allowing something different to come through.
It was about trusting, taking a risk and as I near the end of the year for this project I remember that first day in January – oh boy, that first day was such a huge risk – my self-imposed risks of rejection, criticism and not being good enough, I have traded these for acceptance, change and growth. I’m so glad I took that risk.
This rock I’m dedicating to my friend Jacq who lately has just blossomed with her creativity! She is following the path of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron which some of you may know, but as long as I’ve known her she has always been an artist at heart like many of us – she has just rekindled that fire again to create. And I’m sure she’ll agree it is so good for your soul.
So here’s to the artist’s way and creativity and all artists around the world who choose the path less travelled! Art is not about creating good art in the eyes of others. Art is personal, it can be whatever you want it to be and the most successful art, is art from the heart because that is the art that is enduring and the art that people will remember.
Jo x