Thursday, May 31, 2012

Final Faces

Having completely lost count as I ended up not doing one a day, so here they all are and let's hope I made the 29!

Turns out there was just one face missing from the 29 ... and then she arrived just in time ;)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Format shifting

I have spent the past few days immersed in music - Spotify is something I have wished for for a long time and I am busy reclaiming my music.

Yes - reclaiming. While others online have been angry that Spotify was released in Australia this week, claiming artists will lose out on sales because people won't buy music on iTunes or elsewhere if they can listen to it for "free', I am celebrating getting back a collection of music I haven't been able to listen to for a long time.

I got my very first record at my 13th birthday party. It was a Skyhooks single, Party to End All Parties. and I still have it! That was 1976 and music was beginning to really make an impact on my life. In the final two or three years of primary school, I had begun to listen to the radio and had lots of favourite (mainly British) bands that I would read about in the magazines I got each month. Countdown began at the same time I began listening to pop music and brought my soundtrack to me every week. School was were we talked about who had been on the show and the songs we liked.

As soon as I was 13, I was able to go to the local shopping centre with friends on Friday nights, with my $5 pocket money in hand - with which I could buy a pie, a Coke and a single. We would pick up the 3XY Top $0 chart and hang around in Brash's or Myer listening to records played on headets for customers to hear before deciding to buy.

When I had extra money or a birthday or Christmas gift, I would get compilation albums, which were filled with singles! It was years before I bought my first real album - in my teens it was all about the singles: that is what we saw and heard on Countdown or the radio and that was what we wanted to own. These were the wonder years - disco, punk, pop and more competed for our love. You either liked Skyhooks or Sherbet (the two local Aussie groups) and you hated the other. You roller-skated to one set of music and discoed to another. You knew the words to ABBA and the Sex Pistols hits.

As the world clocked over into the 1980s, my life changed a lot - I left school and only a couple of years later, home. In the early eighties, we were in the "recession we had to have" and I had short term jobs and long term unemployment. When I had money, I went to the disco with my friends and we danced to a whole new generation of music. But I wasn't buying music. Vinyl was giving way to cassettes and both were outside my budget. My boyfriend bought the occasional tape, including one compilation that was our sole music source on a drive to the NSW south coast and while we holidayed: those songs still all go together in my brain and when I hear one, I am back on that trip!

In 1983, we married and our first child was born in 1984. Now we really had no money for music! But the radio filled the gap - FM had transformed our listening choices and we had farewelled 3XY and replaced it with Triple M happily. In 1985, we clustered around our TV to watch Live Aid, which we taped on the radio - we stayed up the whole night, despite having a one year old! Nowadays I can watch the whole concert at leisure - I have it on DVD! if only we had known ;)

Over the next few years, the new technology of cassettes were nudged aside by CDs. The first we ever bought was Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell, replacing the taped copy of my brother in law's vinyl edition. But it was to be years until we could really afford to buy CDs and for a long time, the kids had a bigger collection than I did!

But eventually I was able to start building a CD collection, gathering all the music I had missed out on in the lean years and replacing - where possible - my vinyl collection, which I could only play if we dragged out an old turntable. And then .... iTunes! Suddenly I could buy music, song by song or a whole album at at time, sitting at my computer. Combined with my CDs, my history was starting to come into one place!

And now Spotify! Well, hands-down winner! Unlike the piracy of programs like Limewire, this is legit, more reliable and has such a wide collection, it is only the rarest songs I can't listen to. And the artists do get a very small royalty when they are played.

Given the money I have spent (some songs I have in four formats - single, album, CD and digital - and I have all the Countdown CDs and DVDs!), the advertising I have listened to on the radio and the fact that I know the lyrics as well (if not better) than the artists, I have no qualms about not buying the music. I will pay the premium that allows me to hear the music on my laptop, phone or tablet - and stream in my car via bluetooth, because that pays for a service I am using. I just hope this format stays for a while, because I really like having all my favourites in one place!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Today's faces

It has been a sad week. As a teenager, I spend hours every week dancing to the big disco hits, either in my bedroom, the local underage disco or my best friends' lounge rooms. I know all the moves, all the lyrics and defended disco when it became daggy. I even remember a song called "Death, death, death to disco"

Well, this week it felt like that came true. Losing a second Bee Gee and Donna Summer within days made me sad. That great concert on the other side is starting to fill up with my own teen idols and it is a side of getting older that you don't understand until you get there. It is not only your own mortality rearing in the future but also the reality that those years behind you were a time-capsule of popular culture that stamps you with the era in which you grew up. While many of my peers think of themselves as 80s girls, I have always tended more to the 70s as my place in time.

The coincidence of me today joining Spotify and tuning in to playlists of 70s disco made the subject of my faces easy to choose.

I planned to do 29 faces in May - I didn't plan on also being unwell. So I have some missing days, but the month isn't over so I might still get to fill the gaps. So here is a mish-mash of sketches and pages in my book of Days.

There are one or two that haven't made it into the camera yet, hopefully I will get to them tomorrow, count what I have done and work to catch up to where I should be ... today is day 24 or 29, so still time to do it!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

THAT TIME magazine cover

Unless you have been hiding under a rock these past few days, you are probably aware of the debate caused by this issue of TIME magazine and the cover photo.

The image has managed to push buttons on just about every "side" of the great parenting divide. Firstly - and less obviously - the headline manages to fuel the Mummy Wars (Good Enough? springs to mind more quickly than Man Enough, the actual pun we presume it was based on). Then there is the confronting image of a 3yo breastfeeding (many commentators suggest the child is much older! I think we can take his mother's word on his age - he is almost 4!) and finally, there is the staged aspect of the photo, which is designed to shock, but doesn't depict the real closeness between mother and child when breastfeeding.

And then there is the actual topic of the article - the growth of attachment parenting over the past 20 years since Dr William Sears published The Baby Book.

Dr Sears had, in fact, been a well-respected author before 1992 and his books Nightime Parenting and The Fussy baby shaped my own parenting choices in the 1980s. By the time my third child was born in 1991, I was fully-embracing attachment parenting - my son breastfed until he weaned 3 months before his third birthday. He bed-shared until he was three and was sling-worn almost constantly in his first half-year of life and less often in his second six months as he was a happier baby once he become mobile himself.

I have written before how I not only have no regret about these practices, but have seen my three children become wonderful adults,with none of the "predicted" negative outcomes of these practices eventuating.

My "spoiled" babies in 2011
My Google Reader this week has over-flowed with media and blog response to the magazine, its cover and its article. As you would expect, opinion has been divided. There has been cricitism of the mother in the photo Jamie Lynne Grumet, for exposing her son to ridicule in the future. There has been debate about how old is too old to breastfeed - the definitive answer from Katherine Dettwyler's research  says the minimum predicted age for a natural age of weaning in humans is 2.5 years, with a maximum of 7.0 years.

The three practices which combined, are labelled as attachment parenting - full-term breastfeeding, bed-sharing and baby-wearing - are not new. Dr Sears didn't invent them. They didn't suddenly appear in the 1990s, they have been practiced for millennia. Around the world, they are considered normal, unremarkable and essential.

Image Detail Image Detail Image Detail

It is insulting to suggest these cultures only continue those practices because of poverty, lack of resources or poor education - they do so because they work and they see no reason to change them. It should not be overlooked that the alternatives - formula feeding, cots, prams etc - require the purchase of equipment ... and that perhaps marketing has more to do with the change of practices in the western world than any wisdom.

It really is TIME the western world - and, dare I say, especially America - got over their desire to distance themselves from our mammalian state and the ancient practices of human parenting. The majority of "modern" methods of child-rearing have only been around for decades and could still be considered to be in the experimental stage, with outcomes we perhaps see all around us but are blind to connect with the movement to separate mothers and children from each other and the rest of society. Our young may not be at risk of attack by predators as our ancestors were, but perhaps there are greater risks than death to children who are trained to ignore their natural sleep patterns, appetite control, need for nurturing and innate dependence in infancy. We know that many modern diseases are more prevalent in those who were formula-fed as infants. What isn't acknowledged is the connection between mental health problems and the unnatural practices of strict routines, separation from mother, premature weaning etc. We are seeing concern about practices such as controlled-crying (often masked as "controlled comforting") by organisations such as the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Inc (AAIMHI) in its 2002 position paper (revised in 2004) on controlled crying. 'AAIMHI is concerned that the widely practised technique of controlled crying is not consistent with what infants need for their optimal emotional and psychological health, and may have unintended negative consequences.' You can read the background to these concerns in a PDF document that can be downloaded from the AAIMHI's website

The magazine cover has achieved one great thing - it has the mainstream media talking about things that mostly don't get that sort of exposure. From what I can see, most Australian media outlets have covered the story and it has been great to see Australian Breastfeeding Association asked for opinion, alongside people like Pinky McKay who support attachment parenting and respectful infant care.

I guess the proof is in the pudding - as the first wave of children raised under the umbrella of "attachment parenting" become adults, we can look to them to see the actual affects, rather than those projected by the doomsayers.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Faces # 5,6 & 7

I was awy on the weekend and am still in catch up mode, but did take my art kit with me and drew a face Saturday night. I just didn't get any time on Sunday, so I am one behind, but am taking that as one of the two *spare* days in the month ;)

Although I began this project drawing stylised faces in my Book of Days, I became entranced when I tried sketching with my graphite mechanical pencil into my visual journal and am enjoying playing and seeing what happens. This is a technique i haven't done since high school, but I love the way the graphite and paper work together :)

Face # 5
Face # 6
Face # 7 
I am not thinking too hard about technical correctness, that will come later ;)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Face # 4

Face # 4 ... proportions aren't right but I liked shading and highlighting with the graphite and eraser, so practice makes perfect!!!

And face # 3's BOD page finished

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Face # 3

Face # 3 - page is work in progress, but face is done!

(I just can't bring myself to cover up those wonderful breast shaped cakes on the other page!)

This one passed muster - well, the Facebook photo tagging software asked me if I wanted to tag the face as someone!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Face #1

May 1st.
Took about two hours, including waiting for drying ... intervals filled with knitting ... all while watching Life Book vids :)

29 Faces

You know I like a challenge - Photo A Day, Project Life, LOAD ... so...

29 Faces. I am slowly starting to ignore my Inner Critic (IC), who always declares "You can't draw! You can't Paint!" and embracing portraits in my Life Book classes and Book of Days art journalling, so I thought 29 days of Faces in May would really put IC in her place (or prove her correct once and for all!). That and the fact that Effy Wild is doing it in Book of Days, so I figure she will inspire me to stay on track ;)

Fitting that this quote came up on Facebook today :)

And you can all play along at home, as I blog my daily art :)