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.

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

 

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 ”

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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 .

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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

Illustrations and my cheesy fudgy squishy brain.

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Its been a journey of building the confidence to take on the job – my first full book illustration commission  . My own scaredy cat brain had stopped me from drawing for almost 20 years ! Yes! It’s true ! I stopped drawing for 20 years ! But that’s another story that I’ll share in another blog one day . It’s a good one for anyone like me , in their mid 40s … heading towards 50… who thought  they were all dried up , on the decline and didn’t  have much to offer the creative world .

Its been a learning journey , as I’ve drawn the pictures,  to  keep persisting and pushing through , even when my drawing brain seemed to turn into a cheesy fudgy squishy   brain .

It’s been a journey of my own scaredy cat brain , as I felt anxiety and possibly even fear at times , when I’ve worried that the author , psychology professor Dr Allison Waters , wouldn’t like my work .

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But , I persisted ! I worked through the  scaredy cat cheesy fudgy squishy brain days and I’m SOooo close to being finished and ready to take on some more projects .. like a possible job with a big children’s book  publishing firm here in Australia illustrating a series of chapter books  …. ( woohoo!) . It’s not definite yet , but I need give my cheesy, fudgy squishy scaredy cat brain the flick ( “give it the flick” is “throw it away” in Aussie slang) and GIVE IT A GO !

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Love to all !

Sandy

 

 

Running to the finish line of a book illustration

I’m  on the countdown , nearing the finishing line and hurtling up the home straits – yep I’m finally getting closer to completing the illustrations for my FIRST EVER  book illustration commission – ‘Jessie and the Scaredy Cat Brain ” by the lovely  Dr Allison Waters .

“Jessie ” is a book about a girl with anxiety . It’s going to be used by Dr Waters in her research and therapy to help children with anxiety . Which is just beautiful .

 

 

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In fact , little anxious Jessie, her Scaredy Cat Brain and Happy Cat Brain  have become buddies of mine .

I have to say though , they’ve  gotten up my nose and , indeed caused me , their artist designer , to want to say very unkind inappropriate things to them when they have raised my levels of anxiety when the little darlings have refused to sit still long enough for me draw them in a different pose, or when they don’t seem to want stay around long enough for me to find a way of positioning them on the page  .. but they are pretty annoyingly cute and endearing at the same time . I love them . I do . Really .

But , even though this project is drawing to a close , some late nights of work in the art studio are still to be had .

 

 

 

Love to all

Sandy

Running to the finish line of a book illustration

I’m  on the countdown , nearing the finishing line and hurtling up the home straits – yep I’m finally getting closer to completing the illustrations for my FIRST EVER  book illustration commission – ‘Jessie and the Scaredy Cat Brain ” by the lovely  Dr Allison Waters .

“Jessie ” is a book about a girl with anxiety . It’s going to be used by Dr Waters in her research and therapy to help children with anxiety . Which is just beautiful .

 

 

IMG_1550

 

In fact , little anxious Jessie, her Scaredy Cat Brain and Happy Cat Brain  have become buddies of mine .

I have to say though , they’ve  at times gotten up my nose and , indeed caused me , their artist designer , to want to say very unkind inappropriate things to them when they have raised my levels of anxiety when the little darlings have refused to sit still long enough for me draw them in a different pose, or when they don’t seem to want stay around long enough for me to find a way of positioning them on the page  .. but they are pretty annoyingly cute and endearing at the same time . I love them . I do . Really .

But , even though this project is drawing to a close , some late nights of work in the art studio are still to be had .

Lets just hope I don’t have to foster out Jessie and her feline friends before I finish .

Orrrrr…..

 

 

Love to all

Sandy

Swings

When I was a kid , I wanted to fly .

I mean , literally , FLY

Like  in the sky , kind of fly

Not in an aeroplane .

Not with wings , like a fairy .

But basically kind of take off , from the ground and , well , soar , up into the blue yonder .

I took to running down the ginormous grassy hills in my school playground , arms stretched out , optimistically waiting for my little legs to lift off .

News Flash :

It didn’t work .

So , the next best thing, was to go on the awesomely huge and cool grey steel 1970’s  swingset  in our backyard and try to tap into the invisible laws of aerodynamics and magic .

I’ll let you decide if that one worked.

And so , when the 52 Week Illustration Challenge topic was “Swing” …

Well, I had to draw this cartoon and stick it right in my illustration portfolio

Enjoy !

xo

Sandy

 

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For Olive – and why I draw for kids 

IMG_0509So, my  blog post today is dedicated  to a precious girl , called Olive , aged 10 . I hope you get to see this Olive .

I’ll explain why ….

Olive, your dad visited our home to do a pest inspection this morning , which was really cool , because our house needed a pest inspection because the teeny tiny  little ants that keep trooping into in our bathroom are driving me INSANE  . I hate them , the little  sods.( apologies  to all any ant lovers out there)

And Olive, we also don’t really want our humble abode to be eaten by another type of ant – termites .And your lovely pest inspector dude dad sprayed our ever growing termites nest in the front yard so they won’t eat up our house ( more little sods ) which is nice.

But, as usual, I digress…

The reason this pest inspection was extra specially cool though Olive, was actually because I ended up having a nice chat with your pest inspector dude dad about martial arts, the tough lifestyle of a chef, ( his former occupation) , difficult rude customers , being a parent, and , you know ,other  boring stuff that grown ups talk about..

And THEN we talked about REALLY awesome stuff like ” life” and ” why there are so many annoying hypocritical Christians in the world ” and “unicorns ”

And , as well as enjoying the chat , your Dad made me reflect , that I am really super blessed to be doing all this illustration work for kids .

I am blessed , Olive, that I have some big publishers now wanting to put my messy scratchy artwork in their files for future children’s books.

That’s UBER exciting

BUT

Even though that’s great – the reason I am REALLY blessed is because I can draw crazy pictures which will be going in books , that will bring happiness to children , just like you Olive-  precious daughter of  the pest inspector dude , who gave up his chefs job which involved long shifts that kept him from his little girl (you) and that had left him too tired to interact with her (you) when he wasn’t working so he left that job, so he could be with you a whole lot more.

Because….

He loves you so much . That was obvious .

So Olive, I hope you get to read this post.

You are on my heart , because I have a 10 year old daughter too and her dad and I love her just as much as your dad does .

Which is why I drew Cupcake Marshmallow Sunshine the Unicorn for my girl  …and for kids just like you .

I draw for you guys

I hope you enjoy   your own limited edition autographed print of Cupcake the Unicorn that I sent home with your Dad today after he killed the sodding ants 🐜

Much love to you Olive

and

all my beautiful readers,

Sandy

Toby the cat now has his rightful place on his throne … and also in my illustration portfolio .

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Toby does indeed run the house of my friend , Margie .

Unlike Margie , our resident family furry baby is Domino the Border Collie . Domino runs “around ” our house – constantly – usually chasing invisible monsters .. but he doesn’t  run the house …

Margie – I feel your pain …