Category Archives: Art

“Everything you can imagine is real.” ― Pablo Picasso

Travel Your Road

“Stop comparing where you’re at with where everyone else is. It doesn’t move you farther ahead, improve your situation, or help you find peace. It just feeds your shame, fuels your feelings of inadequacy, & ultimately, it keeps you stuck. The reality is that there is no one correct path in life. Everyone has their own unique journey.”
— Daniell Koepke

According to ‘the Internet’ Daniell Koepke is the founder of a Tumblr called the ‘Internal Acceptance Movement’ (IAM) which discusses recovery, self care, mental health, body image, self acceptance & issues of social justice.

At first I thought, “sounds like a bunch of hippy crap…”
“Platitudes & promises…”

I visited the site & started to look around. There are a lot of saccharine things; catch-phrases & clichés. However, I found that a lot of her Tumblr was relevant. They may sound fanciful but, when you think them through, a lot of the quotes & points Daniell makes resonate & remind me to stay on task. To not get caught up in petty arguments or feel rejected or neglected. I am in control of how I feel, no one else. How I react to a situation is entirely up to me even if I am baited.

On bad days I fall for the bait every single time. When I am feeling insecure or suspicious everything that is said & done around me makes me feel bad about who I am & I question my worth. There are a few people who remain in my life that seem to have the ability to take control of my self-confidence & flush it away. On good days, which is most of the time, I don’t even notice those people or I pity them.

My aim is to become indifferent to them. To see the barbs they throw at me & care not if they hit me. That would be a glorious experience.

Maybe someday.

Led Astray – © Ben Good Earth Art Photography

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Back In The Tori Forest

I have had 4 days with the new Tori Amos album: Unrepentant Geraldines & although I have only heard it all the way through, oh, about 30 times I feel I can safely say this is an unrepentant masterpiece.

It is Tori back to where we all want her deep down – at the piano with a soft drum & guitar hum, suitably, in the background. Her voice floats over a range of tracks that explore stories of unapologetic & unrepentant women through art & from various points of view. A shapely yet delicate web of experience, memory & desire have made up this album & I could not help but feel it must have taken significant time to compose. I have since read that Tori wrote these songs “in secret”*. Through this solitude Tori has produced some of her most melodious & distinctive sounding songs to date.

There are epic tales in these odes (‘Wedding Day’, ‘Wild Way’), beautiful, haunting lyrics that whisper & curl around you as lullabies do (‘Weatherman’, ‘Invisible Boy’, Maids of Elfen-mare), fun & bizarre tunes (‘Giant’s Rolling Pin’ & ‘Rose Dover’), a duet with her daughter, Tash (‘Promise’) that would touch the heart of any mum & then there are those special few that will be your favourites (‘Trouble’s Lament’, ‘Oysters’).

I was lucky enough to get hold of the deluxe edition of ‘Unrepentant Geraldines’ which has one extra track & for me it was everything I felt was missing from the album & this track remains my favourite: ‘Forest of Glass’. I found the darkness & depth of the track completed an incredible album. An unrepentant album. And as ever, I remain, an unrepentant Tori Amos fan.

Forest Of Glass – Tori Amos

Steal me away
Steal me away
From where I stand
Although I’m kneeling down
On the ground
Steal me away
Steal me away
From where I stand
Although I’m kneeling down
On the ground
The owl hoots & the moon beams through
A doubt awakes a voice dares to ask
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
If you love him you will follow him even ’til
His forest of glass
Forest of glass
His
Robbing the muse
Is, Is that what I’ve done
They turn & laugh
Back you do cannot do
We are the robin’s muse
& we will sing for you
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
The owl hoots & the moon beams through
A doubt awakes a voice dares to ask
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
If you love him you will follow him even ’til
His forest of glass
Forest of glass
His
Steal me away
Steal me away
From where I stand
Although I’m kneeling down
On the ground
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
In his forest of glass
Forest of glass

Mirror Sculptures by Rob Mulholland

Mirror Sculptures by Rob Mulholland

*Tori Amos on ‘secret songs’ and SA“. IOL. 26 March 2014

Happy 450th Mr Shakespeare

It has been 450 years since William Shakespeare was born – a very long time.

It has been 20 years since I saw ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ performed in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with my wise Aunt Jan Marie – a long time.

I fell in love & his words have adorned the margins of every notebook I have scrawled in since.

So happy birthday Mr Shakespeare, you understood me then & you understand me now…

“Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen & shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school.
& though she be but little, she is fierce.”
— Helena in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare, 1590-5196

Oil on canvas by Joseph Mallord William Turner ‘Queen Mab’s Cave’ inspired by ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ & exhibited in 1846:

Queen Mab's Cave - by Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Place Called Nirvana

Like teens all over the world, to me, the death of Kurt Cobain was devastating. I was 14. It was the day after my birthday. 

20 years on as I watched Nirvana inducted into the American Hall of Fame I thought about Kurt constantly. For days sentiment hit me in a big way. I still have ‘In Utero’ (my favourite Nirvana album) on repeat wherever I go. The lyrics to ‘Very Ape‘ spurn me on.

I read Kurt’s journals daily in a sleek black hard-covered book that was published after his death which contains scanned pages from his journals, notebooks, bits of paper, letters he wrote – even his suicide note. I laugh & shake my head at how much of it is filled with his dark humour. Anguish, yes, but he had such a good sense of humour.

Today I looked through my own journals from around that time. The 1990’s were my teen years & Nirvana’s influence on my mind & my writing was clear. I found a poem I wrote which is made up of different Nirvana song titles. I laughed again… & shake my head…

A Place Called NIRVANA

You are like Lithium
& you Rape my Spirit.
Your Apologies Smell Like Bleach
& Buzz from your mouth.

As you Come In Bloom,
I hear your Heart-Shaped lies
Sifting through me like an Aneurysm.

A girl about to Turnaround,
My Lips are Beeswax & Hairspray,
Holding in Tourette like words
That could Drain You
Of the Territorial Plateau.
On which you Sliver.

Nevermind this (New Wave) Downer.
Last Night I Slept with Polly,
Then Sold her Sunbeam for a Gun
So I could Burn Out & Fade Away.

Written by Violet Ashes 1994
© Violet Ashes 2014

Journals & In Utero

Journals & In Utero

Violet Ashes Sunsets

For my 30th birthday my family bought me a new camera. A Canon EOS 450D. I had always wanted to try my hand at ‘real’ photography – yes I was the annoying person at parties with the camera out – but I had never had a decent camera to really stretch myself.

I have been practicing with this camera for on/off 4 years now. So this year I decided I would do something that would stretch me & ensure that I learn – fast.

I started a Tumblr photo blog – http://violetashes-sunset.tumblr.com

The aim? Take & present a photo of the sunset every day of the year 2014.

Each day I go out & take a photo of the sunset. Then I come inside, choose the best one & post it to the blog along with some words about sunsets.

I try hard to lay off Photoshop & only soften or sharpen the images with the occasional crop & colour saturation enhancement. This can be hard sometimes – especially when presented with a gloriously colourful sunset. It is easy to get digitally carried away – so I have learned to just take my shot & when it is a nice shot with lots of colours, I cross-post to Instagram (http://instagram.com/violet_ashes) with some fancy filters just for fun. That way I get it out of my system & keep my photos for the Tumblr as natural as possible.

I have tried to take the shot from approximately the same position every day – but sometimes I am out & about so I take it from a different location. On the odd occasion I simply cannot do it I ask a friend to ‘guest’ for me that day – which has produced a couple of really nice shots.

It is only April & already I have learned so much from this project – not only about photography but about commitment & patience. Getting that ‘perfect shot’ is harder than I thought it would be. I have learned all about my camera & I am still learning.

As I approach taking photo number 100, I look back on what I was taking at the start of the year &, already I can see how far I have come.

I feel positive about this project – it gives me a sense of accomplishment & satisfaction that I can produce something beautiful. I am gaining confidence, not just with photography but in my writing & presentation of myself to the world as an artistic person. It is a learning curve & I am happy to be on the journey.

Sunset 70 11 March 2014

Sunset 70 11 March 2014

Things Have Changed This Is Not The Movies

Travel Alone by Neslihans

Travel Alone by Neslihans

Things have been hectic for the last few weeks & weeks are turning into months since we lost our second baby. Corsmor & I have tried many times to sit down & talk, to discuss the future, but every time we do life interrupts us with phones, doorbells & distraction.

My writing is on hold again with so many other obligations, I worry every day that I may lose my ideas or that my characters will run back to their forests. Gone forever. In my mind they have lives I struggle to ignore. I keep thinking about all those movies where life is perfect. Movies with whole neighbourhoods of families that support each other – the evil always coming from the outside in, not the other way around.

In the movies people go off the grid all the time. They say “no” without consequence. In the movies family & friends are sensitive to your feelings & understand when you need them to leave you alone. In the movies, people support you when you need them & they don’t try to push you to be something you’re not. In the movies family & friendship are not a one way street. In the movies miscarriage trumps someone else’s dentist appointment, writers are heroes & everyone can have babies.

In the movies.

In real life there is no such fairy tale. The real world crashes in on your every private moment. The hours between dusk & dawn are no longer sacred. Those minutes in bed between the kisses good night & the kisses good morning are under threat of interruption.

Since these last few hectic weeks have ‘tornadoed’ through our home I have found myself growing angry & restless. I am fed up with the world outside. I want some time, time in the dark. Radio silence.

Music is one thing I use to disappear out of real life. I have found myself with a whole new playlist on my hands this year. Expressing so many different emotions.

This song by Bob Dylan is, at the moment, at the top of the list; because after the last few hectic weeks having to bury so much inside I feel different. My perspective on what is important to me has shifted. What I need to focus on is me & my writing. If there is to be a baby or a writing career then the focus needs to come higher on the priority list & that may mean some relationships have to suffer, well then so be it “I used to care, but things have changed.”

Things Have Changed – Bob Dylan
A worried man with a worried mind
No one in front of me & nothing behind
There’s a woman on my lap & she’s drinking champagne
Got white skin, got assassin’s eyes
I’m looking up into the sapphire tinted skies
I’m well dressed, waiting on the last train
Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
Any minute now I’m expecting all hell to break loose
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED
This place ain’t doing me any good
I’m in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood
Just for a second there I thought I saw something move
Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag
Ain’t no shot cuffs, gonna dress in drag
Only a fool in here would think he’s got anything to prove
Lot of water under the bridge, Lot of other stuff too
Don’t get up gentlemen, I’m only passing through
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED
I’ve been walking forty miles of bad road
If the bible is right, the world will explode
I’ve been trying to get as far away from myself as I can
Some things are too hot to touch
The human mind can only stand so much
You can’t win with a losing hand
Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet
Putting her in a wheel barrow & wheeling her down the street
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED
I hurt easy, I just don’t show it
You can hurt someone & not even know it
The next sixty seconds could be like an eternity
Gonna get low down, gonna fly high
All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie
I’m in love with a woman who don’t even appeal to me
Mr. Jinx & Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake
I’m not that eager to make a mistake
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED

Clair de Lune (Moonlight)

I awoke screaming this morning with a man standing over the top of me. In those few seconds I was submerged in decades of memories & my heart pounded out of control. As my eyes focussed & my ears warmed up I heard Corsmor whisper,
    “Hey it’s only me… are you okay?”
I closed my eyes again, slowly. My eyelids visible to me as they shut out the light. Confusion & then relief. As I rubbed my sore neck & shoulders it was then I realised my skin was clammy with sweat & I was shaking uncontrollably.

I got myself up & shook the horror somewhere deep down while I showered & washed off the nightmares that I could not remember. The water was hot enough to burn my skin right to the bone; boil me alive. I stayed that way for an hour or more.

When finally I did get out of the shower, I saw myself in the foggy mirror, my naked body looking small & overwhelmed with red & stinging scars. As I dried my hair I remembered moonlight from my dreams. I wrapped a towel around myself & walked barefoot to my piano where I sat down. The notes from ‘Clair de Lune’ filled my mind. My fingers shook on the keys & I stroked them like a long-lost pet,
“can I remember how to play… this?” I whispered
Then, like the rusty magic of a teenage boy my fingers floated & pressed on the keys, I knew the tune & it knew me. Then came calm, unimaginable.

This tune is part of the soundtrack of my life – first heard as a girl. I dreamed of one day seeing Paris, of walking streets unknown, unseen. Lying somewhere on the grass staring up at a new night sky – stars I have never seen – in a place of beauty rivalled only by the music it makes in my mind.

(visit YouTube to hear – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LXl4y6D-QI)

Moonlight in Paris