In the Ocean

I drew this picture in mid June. 
I drew it, because at the time I wasn’t feeling great. I’ve had anxiety for a really long time, to the point now where I don’t really remember what it’s like to not feel it at all. It comes in waves, of feeling better or worse. The last time I’d felt it badly was during my mid twenties. This particular period had been building since November, and was mostly centred around my insecurities about my art and career. 
I drew this picture because I wanted to express how I was feeling. When I’m very anxious, it feels like a crushing weight. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a deep ocean, isolated in darkness. The water is crushing me, and I can’t move or breathe. I feel paralysed by my own thoughts. During these times I feel so afraid of doing the wrong thing, or messing up, that I find it hard to make decisions. I find it hard to stay motivated to try. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a deep ocean, and I’m all alone.



I drew this picture at the end of October. 
Melbourne’s second lockdown has eased, and the weather’s been getting warmer. I’m feeling a bit better. Still anxious, but it’s less overwhelming. During lockdown I’ve been working more on developing my art style. I’ve spent more time figuring out what things inspire me, and improving my technical skills. I’ve also made more of a conscious effort to improve my exercise, diet and self-care routines. 
I’ve been feeling a bit better, and I wanted to draw the picture again, and reframe those feelings of isolation and weight pressing on me. I wanted to show that sometimes it feels more like I’m being held in it. That I can exist in those hard feelings, while holding on to the knowledge and hope that things will improve.


Hope you’re all doing ok in your own battles. We’re all in it together, even in the times we feel alone. If you’re struggling, please reach out for support. Here are a couple of helplines, and you can also get in touch with your local GP to get a referral to mental health services.

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

https://www.lifeline.org.au/


Hello again!

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I decided to take a bit of a break this year from pursuing the illustration career. Mostly because my other job has been busier since the start of the pandemic, but also because I wanted to play around and experiment more with my art. I wanted the freedom to do that, without the pressure of feeling like I had to keep promoting myself. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m glad I’ve done that. I’m feeling a lot better mentally, and that’s the most important thing.

I’ll be back soon(ish), hope you’re all doing ok out there.x


Optimism

10 years ago, my family’s farm was burnt in the Black Saturday bushfires. No one in our family was harmed, and the house was saved. So we had it better than most. I remember the fear when I was stuck in Melbourne because of work, not being able to call them, and not knowing if they were safe. I remember when my grandfather drove my sister and brother out, that the car reeked of smoke. I remember when it was finally safe to drive up there how awful it was to see the place I had spent a large part of my childhood burnt and blackened.

I’ve found the start of the new year really tough. This bushfire season has been devastating, and I’ve been feeling so angry, anxious and heartbroken for weeks at the lack of political action on climate change. The human cost and the cost to our wildlife and natural landscape has been horrific, and the season isn’t over yet.

A lot of artists have been posting images of their reactions to the fires. Some of it incredibly moving and heartfelt. I felt as though I should too, but I didn’t feel as though I could add anything, or represent my feelings accurately. It felt too personal and too raw. Like no artwork I could produce would express the depth of pain and heartbreak we’re collectively feeling.

In the past week, one of the prep assignments for the Make Art that Sells course was to create an artwork inspired by the word ‘Optimism’.

I was reminded of Black Saturday. I thought about when the trees started to grow back. Bright green leaves against burnt black bark. I thought it was just the most wonderful, beautiful thing. I’m finding it very hard to be optimistic right now. But that memory, of that brilliant, vibrant, beautiful new growth. That’s something to hold on to. It’s going to take our environment a long time to recover, but it can, and we can help.

The best thing we can do, is to vote for political parties that have good environmental policies, and are willing to combat climate change meaningfully. If you’d also like to donate towards helping our environment recover here are a few that do good work. This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a place to start.

Australian Conservation Foundation - https://www.acf.org.au/
Australian Wildlife Conservancy - https://www.australianwildlife.org/
Carbon Neutral Charitable Fund - https://cncf.com.au/
Greening Australia - https://www.greeningaustralia.org.au/

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