RE: A Letter of Complaint from an Illustrator, to her Genes.

Dear Cardiovascular Genes,

I am writing to express my extreme displeasure at your recent work performance.

You see due to your very VERY poor work performance, I have experienced an extremely unpleasant (and can I say, unexpectedly dramatic) issue with my lower anterior descending coronary artery – otherwise known as my “LAD”. Or, as the medical profession has nicknamed it (somewhat tactlessly can I  just say), the ‘Widowmaker Artery.’

I would be pleased, therefore, if you could read my story below, to ensure that this situation does not occur again in ANY OTHER ARTERY IN MY BODY.

So, here is my story, dear Cardiovascular Genes.

(I shall from herein call you CGs to keep things simple for you…)

(OH, and you may want to make yourself a cup of tea, or coffee…or poison …and find a chair to sit in as you read, as its not entirely a NICE story.)

Ok, let me begin…

About 4 weeks ago,  my gorgeous 12 year old daughter was chewing on her Vegemite toast whilst propping her cute  chin on her hand like she always does over our breakfast bench every morning. (Yes, dear CGs, I am the mother of 3 offspring, having also given birth to 2 equally gorgeous sons.) 

“Mum,” my gorgeous daughter asked me. “Could you have died?”

“Well, yeah. I could have sweetie,” I had to reply. 

My daughter and I enjoying time together at the Caloundra Markets. I am drinking a fruit smoothie. She is eating a deep fried curly potato on a stick. We shall be working on her diet…

You see, CGs,  I love my daughter ( and of course my sons) SO MUCH. She is smart (note: – you may want to take a page out of  the book of your much kinder Genetic siblings- “IQ Genes”- at this point CGs)  She is smart, as she so already knew the truth, because she unfortunately had watched me go into hospital for heart surgery as  a rather quiet and shaken person  one day and a day later, seen me come out of hospital a rather battered and bruised  person. NOT, what you want for your children. And something you may want to consider as you yourselves reproduce….

ANYWAY, Crapola Genes,(yes, that is what I shall  rename you henceforth), I knew that my smart 12 year old girl was just verbally processing the trauma we had  ALL been through as a family in the 2 weeks prior.

And this is my point.

This all occurred due to your wanton and careless disregard for me – your customer and, indeed your HOME.

I don’t know if it’s possible for you, but humour me anyway now and  imagine how I felt when I had found out 2 weeks prior, that I  was inches from death due to a 90% BLOCKAGE AND BLOOD CLOT IN MY LAD!! My body was a time bomb – ready to pop off this earth. And I had no idea.

( At this point, I do have to commend you on your Ninja- like stealth CGs.)

( In fact, you may want to consider another career as members of the MI5, as sneakiness is obviously where your talents lie) 

CGs, You are like Futoshi the NINJA, from the book Juno Jones Word Ninja.

But I digress…

Back to my story ….

2 weeks before this breakfast conversation with my daughter, I was sitting in my art studio, mobile phone in my right hand, listening to Dr Hadi, my cardiologist ’s voice echoing down the phone line.

Sandra – I have your results.” 

I was, at this point, completely and  totally oblivious to your machinations CGs. I was, instead, happy and snuggly and warm and gazing out the double glazed windows of my art studio   (which were , by the way doing THEIR job well, of keeping the heat inside the house and the cold outside the house. Take note of the good work ethic…) I’d just returned from my CT heart scan downtown.  A migraine that I’d been struggling with for a few days had finally cleared. And so, there I was sitting, with my feelings of lightness and excitement  and anticipation about a big yummy day ahead of art and illustration and not worried at all about any CT scan.

You see, I’ve always been a super-dooper-active-healthy girl, dear CGs. 

As a kid I hated cake and chocolate. Don’t believe me? Ask my mum,  because IT’s TRUE

In high school I would buy a tuna and salad bread roll instead of a sausage roll. 

REALLY. 

I kid you not.

I LOVED walking for miles and miles with the soul mate man of my life-  Nige,  and I jogged regularly up and down the hills of our 5 acres with my Domino the Wonder Dog.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a real fish and swum laps of the pool for fun ( I know – weird … Apparently when I was a toddler, I freaked out mum and dad by running excitedly into a deep pool, jumping in and sinking to the bottom, only to promptly bob right back up again to the surface, floating and laughing like a little pink cork.)

And in 1984, I came 1st in the Newcastle Highschool Year 7 Paddle Tennis Competition.

Anyway, I digress…

My point IS…

 I was a REALLY ANNOYINGLY FIT AND HEALTHY  PERSON! AND ONLY 47 FOR HEAVENS SAKE!!!!

But, my reverie of happiness bubble popped like a kiddies birthday balloon when I heard the following words from Dr Hadi.

“ You have a significantly blocked coronary artery,”

“ How soon can you get to a hospital for an angiogram and possible stent?” 

I finally spoke.

“Oh, oh , are you kidding?”

(It sounds rude now, but that’s actually what I said in my state of shock.)

“ No – I’m not Sandra. I’m going to try to get you into Lingard Private Hospital Newcastle with Dr Andrew Boyle as soon as I can. In the meantime, if you have any pain, ring 000 , start taking aspirin and don’t do any bungy jumping or marathons .”

(I have to confess, CGs, that at this point, I actually giggled nervously. I loved that he was being “doctor” funny. That’s SO my way of dealing with trauma. So, as some consolation, CGs, you did manage to bring some semblance of weird black frivolity in this whole horrible matter.)

But, as I hung up the phone, I lost my bundle.

How could this happen??!!

To me – a 47 year old children’s book illustrator and occupational therapist,  mother of 3, and wife to my soul mate of 32 years!!!

I’ll tell you how it happened!

BECAUSE OF YOU, YOU CRAPOLA GENES!!!!

I shall tell you your history, your background, just in case you didn’t already know Crapola Genes.  Honestly, when you hear this, you will hopefully realise that  you really should have known better than to keep propagating in other unwitting people. 

So…listen carefully.

In 1976, my paternal grandfather – Jock Stewart, aged just 66, died in his sleep of a massive heart attack. After 40 plus years of service in the Australian Police Force, having served our country not only as a policeman but also as a trainer of possibly thousands of NSW policeman – he passed away. And he, and my Grandma Stella Stewart had just started their retirement trip around Australia in a caravan. So very sad. My dad and his brothers followed in his footsteps with heart disease and have also had to have surgery to keep themselves alive.

Here is a picture I drew a while back of Grandfather Jock and Grandma Stella. Don’t they look happy? And since this tragedy occurred, my Dad and his 2 brothers have since found they also have heart disease and have all had to have surgery before the age of 65. Such an extremely poor long term performance and dreadful lack of Future Proofing on your part, can I just say.

But, wait there’s more…

…let me tell you about my mother’s side of the family.

My mum’s Aunt Greta died of a heart attack at the ripe old age of .. wait for it…32!!! Great Aunt Greta was a mum of 3 children – just like me!  Tragic!!! But did you care? NO! Nearly all of Aunt Greta’s siblings as well as my mum and  my 2 maternal uncles have  been diagnosed with heart disease  and have had to have heart disease related surgery.

But despite you and your lack of adherence for best practice exhibited in spectacularly awful fashion through your wanton disregard for my LAD artery, I am actually THANKFUL.

Yes, you heard me, I am THANKFUL.

Me and my Border Collie, Domino the Wonder Dog, looking thankful.

Have you drunk that poison yet, CGs? I hope not, because I want you to hear what I’m about to say…

Despite your pathetic attempt at taking me off this mortal coil, CGs, God, for some reason, has spared me from death – for now.

And I  am thankful that for whatever reason, I believe God has given me this second chance on life. He doesn’t always do that. He doesn’t always spare us humans from suffering and pain and death. 

That is why the death rate for the human race is 100%.  And why my mum has Parkinson’s Disease, and my grandfather and great aunt died way WAY too young.

So, although this I am writing in order to impart to you my extreme dissatisfaction, I actually want you to know, that I realise..

 .. that it’s not your fault that you are so hopeless at your job.

You can’t help the way you are made.

Our world, sadly, is not perfect.

And, can I just tell you, that I’m not giving up on your boss – your Maker – AKA – GOD.

God has given me so many things I love – like my soulmate Nige and my 3 children and my drawing and my chance to work as an Occupational Therapist. But that’s not why I’m not giving up on Him.

I’m not giving up on him because, as despite all the anxious times that you have caused me, CGs,  I have felt  God/ Jesus’ love. He really is my Father. And as my Father, he has been SO close by! I have had this crazy deep desire to read all about him and what he was like as he walked the earth – about how people just wanted to be around him and how crowds and crowds followed him everywhere.  And how He was kind and compassionate and healed people and spoke words of truth and words of love.

 And I kind of  realised, that even though you are “Crapola”  dear  CGs.  I knew my spiritual heart was with Him. In the middle of the night, as I lay in hospital attached like a robot to an ECG machine and and IV pole and a blood pressure monitor,  I was a  NOT a picture of tranquility. But even so, CGs, I had hope in my real heart- my spiritual heart. No matter what the outcome- life , or death. 

So, as I finish off.

I want you to know.

That I forgive you, Crapola Genes.

You’re imperfect… just like the rest of the world.

But I can deal with that.

BUT PLEASE DO NOT STUFF UP ANY OF MY OTHER ARTERIES!!!!!

( You might want to revisit the Mandatory Training Manual for Genes, page 1 section 35 on “ Keeping Your Human Being Alive” .)

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

Much appreciated.

Sandy Flett

Illustrator, Writer, OT, Artist, Mum of 3, Wife, Blocked Artery and Crapola Genes Survivor.

Mother’s Day and Stuff I Learnt from My Mum

This is my Mum. I love my mum.

So for this Mother’s Day I want to share my list of ….

“Why My Mum is Awesome and Things I Should Have Learnt from Her but Still Have a Ways to Go.”

1. Be Happy with Your Hair. My Mum has had the same hairstyle since she was 15 . She is now 74. That’s 59 years of being content with her hair. Not a bad record. And something that most women struggle with – ie “hair discontent.” I have not yet learnt this lesson.

2. Be Regal on the Inside. Because of her short vaguely curly hairstyle that she has had for 59 years, my mum sometimes looks a bit like The Queen- especially when the hairdresser over enthusiastically poofs her hair. Mum thinks this is amusing but yet, she happily depoofs her hair when she next has a shower. You see, my mum doesn’t need to look like a queen, because she is already regal on the inside and that, my friends, is more important. Not regal in a “I’m better than you “way, but regal in that she carries herself with dignity and deep kindness towards all other people.

3. Handwash your Woollens in “SoftlyWool Wash and DON’T HANG THEM ON THE WASHING LINE WITH PEGS!! Don’t , just don’t…( they will go all wobbly if you do.)

4. If you Get Parkinson’s Disease Don’t Whinge All The Time But Turn it Into Another Learning Experience Even if Your Body Freezes  A Lot and You Can’t Taste Anything You Eat and You Are in A Lot of Pain Pretty much Every Day.

5. Notice the Children who Can’t speak English or who Have Disability and Get Picked on by Other Kids and Other Teachers Who Should Know Better and Nurture Them even Though You already Way too Busy with Your own Stuff . In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, my mum was a school teacher. She was unique in her love for children of all backgrounds. I love that about her. I hope I have inherited a little bit of that from her.

6. Always Bake Scones using Cream and NOT BUTTER and DEFINITELY NO EGGS. Eggs and butter in scones are WRONG !WRONG!WRONG!But Mum’s scones are so RIGHT!RIGHT!RIGHT! without them and they taste so gooooood!!

7. Love God and read the Bible . A lot.

8. If it’s Cold – Wear a things close to your skin like a Singlet and a Spencer and TUCK THEM IN  TO YOUR UNDIES. It totally works. Big tick right there Mum.

9. Better Still- wear tights UNDER your slacks/jeans and OVER your undies and EVERYTHING into them as well. You will look like you’ve put on 10kgs, you will be WARM.

10. Love your Mum- Even if She isn’t Perfect. This is a portrait of my Mum’s Mum and Dad – Tom and Bertha Jean, – on their Wedding Day in the 1930s.

Nan Bertha Jean was tricky, but a product of a tricky childhood and as you can see, terrified on her wedding day, poor love.

So, this, my friends, is my list.

Mum, you are the queen of my heart.

Happy Mother’s Day.

And I hope others will learn from you like I still am.

Especially the undies bit.

“Juno Jones – Word Ninja”- coming soon to a bookstore near you.

In exactly 23 days from now, on the 30th April 2019, the Middle Grade chapter book, “Juno Jones Word Ninja “, written by Kate Gordon – the first ever published book that I have had the opportunity to illustrate – will be released!!!

And here it is ….

Tadaah!!!!

I’m just a teensy bit excited.

Ever since I read picture books as little Sandy, I’ve dreamed of illustrating  books. You know that part in Little Women, when Jo finds out her story is accepted for publishing in a magazine? Well, that was always my favourite part – even more so than we she marries the lovely German dude ( although I’ll never forgive her for jilting poor old Laurie ) If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about – READ THE BOOK! 

So look out world – I’m on a roll now. 

My CHD * (  see THIS blog post on this fascinating disorder..) is in full flight.

In fact, it’s flying so well, that I’ve taken taken the plunge into writing my own stories ( and thank you to the publishing editor who suggested I give it a burl – you know who you are. )  This person suggested that just perhaps, maybe, I should try writing my own stuff. And so, I am.  And – to quote my favourite man from my childhood in the 1970’s ( sorry Dad, apart from you) – secret agent, Maxwell Smart…

“AND LOVING IT!”

When I feel brave enough to tell you WHAT that writing actually entails, I’ll fill you in. Suffice to say, it’s silly stuff and its for kids. ( How unusual, I hear my closest friends say.)

But, for now, I’m a pleased as a possum that I’ve had the honour of illustrating the first in the series of…

“Juno Jones – Word Ninja!”

Sandy 

Note:

* Creativity Hyperactivity Disorder. A condition suffered by people like me who move rapidly from one crazy creative project to the other. CHD will not  found in the “bible for Psychiatrists” the DSM Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or the “DSM” . And, it’s not associated with any form of suffering, except maybe if you count a lack of income- as in the western world, being a “creative” rarely pays the bills…

Juno Jones will be released on 31st April 2019.

It is published by Yellow Brick Books and will be available in all good bookstores.

Or, you can find out more about Juno Jones, at Yellow Brick Books

OR, at these online bookstores

Kangas in Queenstown NZ

I have discovered that I like drawing kangaroos who are on holidays.

It may have something to do with my penchant for drawing silly things, but also due to  the many amusements I have had the pleasure to  indulged in, whilst being an Aussie overseas.

For instance, at the end of last year, my beloved and I had a wonderful break together , yet again, “across the ditch” last year in Queenstown , New Zealand.  (AKA “Ibiza for Australians” .)

I LOVE New Zealand and its people.

In fact , I do feel I could belong to the New Zealand Tourist Board, such is my love of the land.

And so (as my beloved and I  had done on several previous trips ) we ate of the delights of  fresh Kiwi produce,  imbibed in the world renowned New Zealand Pinot Noir , traipsed and sailed around the gorgeous Lake Wakatipu, climb the remarkable Remarkables (mountains) and just inhaled the fresh New Zealand air.

And, we rode “The Luge. ”

“The Luge” is a highlight of  New Zealand attractions for my beloved and I.

And also obviously for the rest of the several thousand Australians who also seemed to be a The Luge that day…

Here is an excerpt from The Skyline Luge website and you will understand why:

“Fast Paced Freedom

Take the driving seat with the gravity-fuelled Skyline Luge, the global thrill ride for all ages

Take a thrilling ride enjoyed by all ages and abilities. Our purpose built Luge carts put you in complete control as you take on over 800 metres of banked corners, tunnels and dippers. Once you’ve conquered the course, hop on the chairlift and do it all again, and again, and again. Gentle and leisurely or steep and adventurous, you’ll be hooked. Once is never enough.”

 

Say no more…

And so, as Australians, or Kangaroos in Queenstown, I had to capture the moment in art..

Enjoy .

xo Sandy

PS – I have recently learnt that kangaroos can kill a dog.

Not good.

 

 

Mistakes are my creative speciality

As a blogger and now also YouTube channel creator , I have come to realise that I have a special talent …in making dumb mistakes … stuff ups … bloopers.

I’d like to say my  stuff ups are done deliberately , as a ploy to make the children watching Kids Art School videos feel assured that even I ,  an illustrator /artist , make mistakes and hence therefore come to the realisation that it’s ok for  them to make mistakes too.

But no.

My mistakes come out quite swiftly and smoothly with no thought, planning  or effort at all…

Take for instance the several children I have named incorrectly in different sections of the show and on my Facebook page .

Or , the all too frequent mispronunciations of words , like for instance saying ” drun ” , instead of  “drawn”…

Oh

dear …

I have , however , decided to OWN these mistakes … and make them my speciality , so in fact , children watching can …

“…feel assured that even I , an illustrator /artist , make mistakes and hence come to the realisation that it’s ok for them to make mistakes too.”

 

love yous all !

Have a happy week owning your mistakes , just like me !

Xo

Sandy

 

check out my latest bloopers on my videos below for a some light entertainment . You might also learn how to draw an owl, a meerkat or a diplodocus dinosaur

 

 

 

A Celebratory Poem for the success of Kids Art School

Today , I celebrate the success of Kids Art School with and the release of a  Bumper Mega episode of Kids Art School ,

and also

with

a poem .

Hhhemmmm ….

An Ode to Kids Art School 

by Sandy Flett

 

Kids are drawing everwhere,

Within their homes ,

And on their chairs.

They’ve grabbed their pencils,

Pens and paper.

They’ve drawn their pics,

And I’m “ a- gaper”

With amazement,

And pure glee,

For what they’ve drun ,

I now  can see

is….

“Fantastical ”,

It’s “wonderful”.

It’s “splendiferul” ,

And “beautiful “.

It’s “colourful”,

”Creatiful”,

And  most of all”INCREDIFUL ! “

So keep on drawing,

All you kids,

I want to see,

What you have did!

And don’t forget ,

To “share”, “subscribe”

So we can spread

Kids Art School “vibe”

To more and more and more and more

Kids of the world

to draw GALORE !

 

 

( and make sure you check out the Bumper Mega episode of Kids Art School ….)

‘thanks everyone !

love to all my followers

Sandy

 

I have CHD – Creativity Hyperactivity Disorder

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Dear Reader,

I have a confession to make …

I am an addicted- to creating !

I feel I  have something I shall call “CHD “.

Creativity  Hyperactivity Disorder .

This , I realise, has been the case always , always, ALWAYS for me  …Since I could get my hands on anything that could possibly be turned into something else , I’ve been making stuff.

Aged 5 , having been inspired by the classic Australian Children’s preschool TV show , Playschool , which was filled with stories and songs and MAKING STUFF , I was continually sticking tissue boxes to aluminium milk bottle lids to pipe cleaners to any other piece of junk to make a something , like a car, or a dolls house or a boat or , anything that would logically (not) come from sticky tape, tissues boxes and milk bottle lids .And when my family moved out of the home I lived in until I was 8, my poor mother discovered  cardboard creations and other treasures for future craft creations ,  that I had squirrelled away in my bedroom cupboard  . ( She and dad had probably wondered at how little garbage actually made it to the garbage bin each week . It was all in my bedroom cupboard )

Years later , a plumber apparently found paint brushes that I’d stuffed down the laundry sink in a paint brush cleaning epic fail of mine . You can join the dots there .

Between the ages 9-11 , I was seriously addicted to papier-mâché . My poor mother patiently brewed litres and litres of  home made glue on the kitchen stove top, out of flour and water lovingly for me ,so I could paste thousands of tiny pieces of shredded newspaper to balloons ( to make heads OF COURSE). I made a pretty fabulous  “Captain Spork” head from the Muppet show . Pure genius .

In my teens I  painted , drew cartoons and created and choreographed  incredibley  fascinating  dances to my favourite pop songs that I had recorded from the “Top 40 Australia “  on my uber high tech double cassette tape player /radio and consequently performed to an audience of ..no one ( thankfully ) in my bedroom .

Late teens , I was creating my own clothes on my mother’s  old Singer sewing machine ( I was too impatient though to get the clothes finished and many of theses clothes fell to pieces very quickly ) . Again, my long suffering mother had to help me resurrect inummerable sewing disasters AND  comfort a cranky despairing budding seamstress who would be sobbing in a mess over the sewing machine .

And through all of these early years , a pencil, or a paintbrush were never too far away , as I dreamed of becoming an illustrator or cartoonist …

In my 20’s, the drawing and painting was pushed aside as I became heavily into song  writing . I even recorded a CD . A few loyal friends and family supported me and bought a few , which I believe now make brilliant drink coasters .

My 30s – well they don’t count as I was up to my neck in nappies , bottles , working part time . Just to find a moment to create a space for myself to slap on some makeup to cover up the sleep deprivation induced bags under my eyes was about all the creating I could manage .

But NOW , now , I’m in my 40s .And loving it ! My CHD has become wonderfully full blown. It’s  now  my beautiful husband  instead of my parents who is suffering patiently through my creative messes. BUT , the  fulfilment , happiness and basic  pure joy I get from making stuff is just , well , something I’m so thankful for !

I’m happy !!

I’m me !

I’m MAKIN’ STUFF

Drawings , paintings , portraits , writing cartoons , illustrating books , designing web pages…

And now ,

my You tube channel – Kids Art School

And I’m so excited  that my Kids Art School Youtube Channel has already reached across the globe as I would love other kids to draw  painting and just make huge  creative messes , just like me !

So welcome creative kids from….

…my home country , Australia , as well    Zimbabwe , and Poland , and Romania and Canada  and New Zealand and Turkey  and who know where else ?? I’d love it to reach the UK , and Singapore and South Africa and all across the world .

Having CHD is AWESOME !!

I hope you catch it too !

love to all

Xxoo

Sandy

A second YouTube Kids Art School video – “How to draw a pug ” goes to air .

Woooohoooooo! Kids Art school is taking off ! The channel has  had 88 views in less than 5 days – which isn’t bad ! I’m so hoping this new venture will be a way of reaching kids …and grown ups … who want to learn to draw but can’t afford to pay for lessons .

I’m also praying that kids watching the channel will grow in confidence in who they are , in their own unique gifts and abilities in drawing , as children made by a creator God who loves them. I know my passion for art and creating comes from Him and would love others to have that comfort in their lives too – the assurance that they are loved and they are special …

love to all !

Xo

Sandy

 

Sandy starts her Youtube “Kids Art School” ! Lesson 1 – “How to Draw a Sausage Dog”

 

I’ve just uploaded my first real kids art lesson on YouTube in my Kids Art School . It’s from a request from Maddie, aged 10 , and called   – “How to draw a sausage dog”. I’d love it if you could share this post  and let as many kids know as possible to help build up my subscriptions  on YouTube . My dream is  to help as many children as I can learn to draw ! Thanks guys !

Sandy

Having a personal creative space day and blue sausage dogs .

I needed a break today from some book and other  illustration commissions and just wanted to go with ” creative flow ”

IMG_1899

 

And so I drew a sausage dog .

A blue sausage dog .

Actually ,  a blue sausage dog with stripes and zig zags .

Actually , a  blue sausage dog with stripes and zig zags who wears a casual grin as she is comfortable in her own skin as she likes what she likes and doesn’t need to dress in the boring conservative manner of most sausage dogs .

ACTUALLY , a blue sausage dog with stripes and zig zags who therefore HATES  having to wear uniforms , DETESTS being organised by other sausage dogs , CANNOT STAND instruction manuals ,but, who loves SILLINESS  and  being CREATIVE and showing SELF EXPRESSION through art and music and clothing attire and who despite her love of being around OTHER  sausage dogs , feels feels most at ease when in her own arty space MAKING A HECK OF A BIG CREATIVE MESS .

ummm ….

This  drawing may have some deeper meaning .

IMG_1891

ITS SO FUN BEING A BLUE CREATIVE SAUSAGE DOG !

love to you all

Sandy

PS – A MESSAGE FOR A CERTAIN MISS MADDIE – I haven’t forgotten your request for a drawing instruction video of how to draw a sausage dog – watch this space over the next week or so ….

xo Sandy