Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wattle Bird

Its been another busy few weeks!  Our local community Art and Craft Show, which is usually held in January but was postponed this year due to the chaos after our local bushfire disaster, came on the same weekend as my babies 2nd birthday.  Last year I entered the craft section, with lots of trees4thewood products.  This year, I decided to enter the art section as well.  It gave me an incentive to finish this painting that I started more than 2 years ago.  

I was a little concerned about entering my paintings as they are different from the oils of local landscape scenes and watercolours of historic buildings that are the usual fare at the show, but I decided to brave the strange looks!  And it paid off! To my great surprise, "Wattlebird" won the main prize, as well as the portraiture category!  I was really not expecting this ... I didn't go to the opening/award night and I didn't even know that the award involved a cash prize! 

It was a big weekend, as I mentioned, because we celebrated the 2nd birthday of our miracle baby.  I began this painting before she was born, not knowing that I was about to enter the darkest and most difficult days of my life.  Our number 5 baby was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome before she was born.  It is one of the most severe congenital heart defects and until 20 or so years ago, the babies did not survive.  To cut a long story short I spent more than 4 months in Melbourne, 1000 klms from home, and watched her go through 5 open heart surgeries.  She nearly died 3 times,  and I didn't get to hold her till she was 5 weeks old.  She was on life support for 3 months and ended up with a brain injury as well, resulting in Cerebral Palsy. She is a tough little bird! Despite all of that she loves life and lives it to the full.  Our family is so blessed to have her.  Celebrating her 2nd birthday with friends meant so much to us - probably more than it meant to her!  

There are 2 questions that I've been asked over and over again since the art show - 
How do you get the time to paint?
Why is she wearing a blindfold?
The answer to the first is ...  it took me more than 2 years to finish it!  And I make the time, because making art keeps me mentally healthy.
The answer to the second is ... the blindfold is actually a bandage, and a symbol of healing - I guess since its over her eyes, its a symbol of "healing" the way I see / perceive / understand things.  I think its really nice that it was started before our big adventure, and I can say I certainly have a new outlook on life since our gorgeous girl came along.  Life can be quite poetic at times.