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Posts Tagged ‘Art’

I am an entrepreneur and my work is as a sexologist. It is good to be able to say that with confidence now, although it has taken a while to get there. My employment life transition is just one of many global transitions at the moment and the zeitgeist is not a happy one overall. I am endeavouring to make a positive contribution to the world through sex-positive and pleasure-focused education, as well as through being kind in my daily interactions. What is good for me about the change is that I can teach with integrity and good pedagogy in my own business and not have to comply with a university system that is being run as a business and not as an educational institution.

Letting go of the place that was a key part of my identity for 14 years was hard. There is a grief that comes with change, even if the change is wanted, and that is how it was with me letting go of the university. It took a conscious effort to focus on good things and not on the negative aspects. I was known and valued at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University, and being there was part of my identity. I did some excellent teaching. Students remember my lectures years later, and as recently as last weekend a woman told me her language use re body parts with her daughter (using accurate terminology for genitals) was influenced by the content of my sex education lecture and the theatrical drama with which it was delivered. There is a greater freedom to teach using transformative learning while being self employed. I had huge fun with lecture writing; these slides are from 2011’s lecture.

Lots of things helped me be grounded and move on.  Claire, my admin assistant, has been a champion of my work and linked me to some useful ideas and resources, as well as giving practical assistance. An aspect of the job she loved was helping to care for Flynn and Fergus, the rescue dogs I fostered for nine weeks. Her support is making a big difference.

Joining the Synergize Hub gave me a new community, one which includes and values me, and where I can access business support. It is a co-working space in central Bendigo. The people are diverse, with shared values and a range of business types. I love going there, and am now treasurer! That is an opportunity outside my comfort zone where I will learn new skills. Every time I go there I receive a nugget of wisdom, and lately I realise I am contributing as well. It is an awesome place to be nurtured and supported as I develop my business, and to offer support in return.

The business is growing slowly. I’m getting more confident to put myself out there, do promotion, and make things happen rather than wait for them to come to me. The pace is ok for me, and I’ll step it up as I become more settled. I have beautbusiness cardsiful business cards designed by Dale Harris of Studio Ink, and have re-vamped the website I established during my NEIS course in 2014. I painted the artwork in the background.

Putting myself out there includes submitting an installation to the Queer Country art exhibition, associated with the Bendigo Queer Film Festival. It is a positive statement on ageing and sexuality, with a bedside table holding a reading light, glasses and case, copy of Joan Price’s Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50, lube, and a flogger.

Note that on the windowsill behind me is a business card holder with business cards. There is a hustle here, and a hustle there, everywhere a hustle hustle. The holder (which Claire refers to as ‘couches’ as they look a bit like a psychiatrist’s couch) was 3-d printed by the fabulously supportive Jim.

I’m feeling really grounded in my business now. I have something valuable to give, and people from all walks of life are supporting and encouraging it. The counselling practice is taking off. My ideas are flowing and I’m writing and delivering good workshops, with plans for lots more. Check out my website for details. Invite me to speak!

It is a good place to be.

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Madrid updated

I can come and go on my ticket, so went out from the Renia Sophia Museum to a bar for some raciones for lunch. I had tortilla draped with roasted red capsicum, and sardines in oil, vinegar, onion, tomato and herbs. Some bread and a glass of white wine completed a very satisfying and culturally correct meal. And for a total if about five euros!

The Thyssen-Bornemisza museum was also wonderful. Initially a private collection, now government run, it has a brilliant representation of art covering two thousand years. Some very significant works are in the collection, and also many Spanish artists whose work is of a quality equal to any other, but who are not as well known. The 
Impressionist collection is particularly good. After two full days in these two huge galleries I felt saturated with art. If you squeezed me I’m sure a painting would pop out. I did not think I would cope with the Prado, and had been feeling isolated in Madrid, not finding other English speakers, so decided to go somewhere smaller and look for a hostel with shared rooms where I had a greater chance of making friends. When I was in Spain last time we had talked of going to Lisbon and I still was interested in that so I booked a flight for Monday and a lovely sounding hostel. I wanted to see the Prado still so planned to return to Madrid.

On Sunday I visited the Sorolla Museum. Sorolla was an artist working in the early twentieth century, a beautiful Impressionist artist. The museum is his house. Nancy had recommended I visit. The house was a grand mansion, but still feeling relaxed and friendly. Sorolla’s work is everywhere, and he has lots of informal paintings of his family, at home and at the beach. Sorolla said he painted light as his main subject and the works reflect this (pun intended). I compared the gallery to Heide, perhaps unfairly because he was clearly more wealthy and living in a more established city, but Heide seems more dingy and lacking energy in comparison. As it was Sunday it was free, as would be the Prado in the evening. I walked around a part of the city that 
was different from where I was staying, newer and grander. I saw on the map that there was a natural history museum, so went there, and walked back to the hostel for a siesta.

The Prado was free on Sunday night, and although I had a ticket already and was planning a full day there when I returned from Lisbon I decided to visit while there was an opportunity. The queue was about three city blocks long! I joined the end, wondering if I would get in, and enjoyed talking to a Dutch couple behind me. At five promptly the line started moving and we were efficiently processed into the gallery. This time I wasn’t going to look at everything, but be selective.

I checked out the Goya,  Velasquez and Bosch paintings. Decided that the Bosch I’d seen in Brussels were easier to look at and I’d rather examine the Garden of Earthly Delights in reproduction. Decided I didn’t need to return.
I also checked out the route to the airport on the train so in the morning I wouldn’t be stressed about missing my early plane. I worked out I’d have to catch the first train at six. As I walked to the station at 5.50 I wondered how safe it was, but there were people everywhere, some coming home from partying, some going to work, and 
the station was well lit and warm. By the time I changed to the third line to the airport it was standing room only. Unlike Melbourne there is a cheap and simple way to get to the airport by train.

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Madrid

I love Madrid. There is a buzz when arriving at a new city, knowing no one, with the excitement of discovery and the knowledge that I can do anything and go anywhere. This buzz is helped to be positive by the aid of a guidebook, hotel booking and a map.

It is easy to go from the Ave fast train from Barcelona to the metro, the signs are clear. I buy a ten trip ticket for convenience but might not use them all as I prefer walking. I’d only managed to book for one night but when I found my hostal I asked about staying for four nights. I’d have to move rooms, one was very small and had no tv. The tv is all in spanish and I don’t speak Spanish I replied, in Spanish, so was upgraded to a double room for my first two nights instead of the single I’d booked, for the same price. So far so good!

 On the metro there had been some teenagers playing loud rap music and mucking around. They were not threatening, they laughed and smiled and their clothes were very well thought out and new. Interesting how we judge people by their clothes. I like Madrid style. It’s bright and funky. My hostal is very central and, to my delight, in the middle of a shoe shop district. I have fallen in love with a pair of Camper shoes. Maybe…. I walked around for about three hours, looking at everything, stopping for a felafel and salad. Eventually I found a bar advertising wifi. Its theme was American country, the wifi password was elvis, but the beer was cold and the seat comfortable. And the wifi was fast. Today I decided to visit Picasso’s Guernica first, as it is a must for Madrid.

I walked to the gallery, Reina Sophia the destination for the day. It is beautiful. I thought I´d see the Guernica first. It was not as powerful as I’d expected. I think its power comes from the political message and the aura around it. There is a lot of political art represented here, mostly about the horror and futility of war. Included are films such as one by Bunuel which depicts the life of people in the countryside. It is a hard life and the film ends with the death of a baby. We see the child’s peaceful face and the grieving mother, then the father takes it off to the cemetery, a journey that involves fording rivers and climbing to a high place. I feel a real affinity with early twentieth century art. I have a knowledge and feeling for the times. A Buster Keaton comedyhelps to lighten the mood after that.

Learning art history at uni was very useful. I can come and go on my ticket, so went out to a bar for some raciones for lunch. I had tortilla draped with roasted red capsicum, and sardines in oil, vinegar, onion, tomato and herbs. Some bread and a glass of white wine completed a very satisfying and culturally correct meal, all for about five euros. Relaxed in the beautiful courtyard of the gallery, had a coffe in the cafe and a chat with another tourist (who had also been a pilgrim) then got back into more serious art, excited to find a Rothco there in the modern section.

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