Iâ€™ve known for a long time that I donâ€™t see the world quite the same way as most people. Iâ€™ve been known to be weird, odd, out of step, Aquarian, or just plain strange. Iâ€™m good at getting the wrong end of the stick in a conversation, and in group learning, my answers are always off centre of the norm. But it is my way of viewing the world that makes me the artist I am. So here I am going to blatantly share some of my points of inspiration, some of those personal moments that just spark for me and make me want to create. And perhaps I can share that spark, too.
We haven’t been on holiday much at all over the last three years. Having children has marooned us temporarily, but a while back we took a weekend trip to Whyalla, approximately 230 kilometres/144 miles northwest of Adelaide (where I live). It reminded me of why I love to get away from suburbia.
I think when you are free of constraints and out travelling, you see the world from a different perspective. Too much of our time is spent rushing there, dashing here, closetting ourselves at whatever workstation gives us money, and we don’t have the time to stop and look, really look at the world around us.
Adelaide sits at the core of a unique weather pattern. Our changes in weather come from the west and wash over us in waves. Particularly in summer you can see the effect. The temperature will rise day by day, often into the high thirties or forties and then the wind will shift to the north as the high pressure zone passes overhead. The outback gets blown across our doorstep, sometimes its red dust leaving trackmarks on car paintwork, and then the low pressure change will march across the sky, clouds threatening, lightning flickering, the scent of hot bitumen steaming rain. The night will rumble and the next morning the temperature will be cold again. Only to start to rise in cycle over the next few days until the next change breaks over our heads.
And it is from the west, almost always from the west. But in winter the pattern is not so clear, blurred by scattered showers and cold winds.
Out on the road between the Flinders Ranges and the sea, there is very little to obstruct the view to the west. We could see for miles. It was winter. It was cold. And there was rain in the sky.
I used to think summer held all the beauty, but I think I underrated winter and missed a great deal. This time I could see the scattered showers that the weather report talked about. I could see them. A single cloud marching across the Spencer Gulf, a grey curtain beneath it merging with sea water. Another cloud, tangled in the mountain range, caught by elevation and collapsing under its own weight in a deluge of stream-filling proportions. There were so many of them. Isolated patches of rain sweeping from west to east across the plain like grey paintbrushes delivering green colour to the fields.
I saw the sun, rays slicing through cumulus to catch land, sea and cloud alike with its silver gold touch. While driving, the car would enter and leave a shower in moments, a solid downpour on struggling wipers to suddenly sunshine.
The lighting, the shadow, the green and the grey, they caught my attention, my admiration, and my memory.
I no longer have the time to dawdle as I once did. I did not get out the camera. I did not pause to stare. Travelling with little girls in the backseat is very different to travelling by ourselves. I just hope that in the future they will be able to see and appreciate the beauty around us.
And we can gaze in wonder together.
(thinking of rain while my house bakes in the sun)