Why do we take selfies?

Photographer Vivienne McMaster teaches others how to see the beauty around and within you. In an ‘August Break‘ photographic prompt this week she asks:

Why do we take selfies? Or why might we want to?
We may want to because it is a chance to feel seen, by ourselves.
Or because it allows us to tell the story of our day, of our lives.
Maybe because it is a tool for seeing ourselves in a new way.
And because we are as worthy of being in front of the camera as anyone else is.


Selfie with son

My favourite way of taking a selfie is when my arms wrapped around a loved one. My family and friends are my world and I feel humbled when I view upon my life from the outside looking in. This shot reminds me of my connectedness to family, our place of belonging in this world, the joy we experience when together, and that it’s these precious little moments that need to be remembered often. My son is growing stronger and smarter each and everyday, and although now he is not so keen to have me snapping happy in his face like I used to, he was super keen to be up front on this day – because we were in it together!

I encourage you to join ‘The August Break’ photographic project with me and take a selfie today. Let’s explore how it can be a way to connect with ourselves and the world that surrounds us!

#augustbreak Thanks Vivienne!



ways of seeing: through the lens again


After a month of purely focussing on paint as media for creating, I couldn’t wait to start shooting again. It’s spring time in the Southern Hemisphere and the sun shower on the weekend proved to be the best time to get out and snap some blossom and rain drop action. This image pleases my soul. There is nothing more comforting than the return of fresh growth and hope that comes with it.

Do children still swing?

'Why do I always have to swing this by myself?'

‘Why do I always have to swing this by myself?’

A continuation from the textured background series of painting that I’m exploring, this painting came out of a passing melancholic thought. I was thinking about how trees must love to see children swinging, and that not very often do children swing in trees these days. My son decided that he did not want like to play in the tree swing now that he’s older. Sad to hear, as he is only nearly eight years old. I have since taken the tree swing down and passed it on, but there was something about it, suspended there in the winds, that I miss. Has a part of my childhood been passed on, as a result?

Celebrating love: a glimpse of my vocation as Marriage Celebrant

With much gratitude and appreciation to Victoria & Alain for kindly sharing their special day with us, and Elysium Productions for the marvelous video.

Welcome to my Home

This is my physical space in the world.  In the rural countryside of Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, I live on a 12 acre shared property with 2 other families, our 4 dogs, 3 cows (one of which provides us with our daily delicious milk), a dozen chickens (whose eggs we consume with gratitude) and their rooster man, 50 alpacas (or so) including 9 new babies, and a miniature horse who runs the whole show. My partner, I and our 7 year old son live in a small board and batten home built by our neighbour, right smack in the middle of the farm. We get to enjoy all the benefits of farm life without working it.  Thank goodness! The hard work is carried out by the owners, who kindly have us living here as their tenants and close knit community.  It’s very important to me to have natural surroundings where I live. The moments that I have lived in suburbia, I have never quite settled as happily as I do when I have large open spaces around me. I can breathe more comfortably out here, without the traffic and hum of town or city life.  We like to call this is our ‘little spot of paradise’.

My even littler spot of paradise is my stand alone studio that is a skip, hop and a jump away from the house. As I walk past my handmade toadstools, may child self knows its time to come out to play. It is here that I escape from my household chores and have a space completely devoted to me and my creativity. I am surrounded by many books and little knick knacks that inspire me in some way.  The cows and horse are chewing grass out the window, the alpaca babies are chasing each other merrily. This place is my sanctuary. My awaiting water colour pencils are my trusted tools for making marks, as is my journal and ink nibbed pen for writing my innermost thoughts.  I write as a way to download thoughts, ideas, fears, frustrations, and epiphanies so that my mind can maintain some from of sanity. When I don’t write, I go mad.  There is only so much information that I can retain in that wee cavity that is my mind. It is the nature of me to have my head in the clouds and too far removed from physical reality, and it’s important for me to practice ways of keeping me grounded – another reason to be close to nature and the animals.  It is said that a few moments in a paddock with the alpacas, will give you the good vibes that of which you would get from swimming with a pod of dolphins. No wonder I love it here!

'Jerry' is the smallest and latest edition to the farm

‘Jerry’ is the smallest and latest edition to the farm at just two days old!

Toadstools growing right outside my studio door
Toadstools growing right outside my studio door

My private window from my desk looking out into my world and a day bed for day dreaming.

My private window from my desk looking out into my world and a day bed for day dreaming.

All too often my family find me cramming up the dining table with my stuff, and blurring the boundaries of my studio space.

All too often my family find me cramming up the dining table with my stuff, and blurring the boundaries of my studio space.

Tea for Thought – Gratitude


‘Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives around you’ – Eileen Caddy

‘Tea for Thought’ is a self-portrait project aiming to capture a glimpse of anything that I may be feeling, contemplating or reflecting upon during the meditative act of sipping my tea each day. By writing a few relative words (sometimes in the form of a quote) upon the dried tea bag each day, I intend to share with you a series of work inspired by this moment in time.  Its fellow tag featuring a doodle in the form of a mandala, painted or collaged by yours truly will accompany each tea bag.  I am looking forward to the accumulative result of my daily tea sipping musings.  Here’s the first of many to come…The deepest craving of human nature is to feel appreciated. Lets think about gratitude – the quality of being thankful!