For my soul to sing…

I have been immersed in literacy. The National AATE/ALEA conference in Canberra was amazing. Inspired by literacy in so many ways but now I am home I need to find my balance between my 2 worlds. The lune ‘clearing a space for my soul to sing’ buzzed around in my head. Yes I have started a journal page on this. The clearing helps shift the sense of restlessness I get when I have been immersed in another world for so long. I  left work at the end of the term with the buzz of my story workshop presentation clouding me. I did this with my sister Lynne Bury. It was an amazing, scary experience but it went well. Looks like we will re-visit a version of this for the ALEA state conference. Never thought I would speak at a national English conference but the challenging learning curve was good, especially as it was shared with Lynne who has had previous experience in presenting.

I know I am rambelling but I needed to let go of the conference and let the learning settle and process. Clearing my space and my head to step back into my studio and continue my discoveries.

As an artist I experienced the joy of listening to Graeme Base and Tony Flowers who’s illustrations and writing is inspiring. I love playing and it is amazing to just allow the ideas to flow. I know I will play with the golden ratio as a frame for composition. Tony Flowers talked about this. I have played with the rule of thirds and have always loved the spiral flow so this is something knew. Of course this is a point of reference for me and I will let intuition be my strongest guide but am starting to realise that I have used this unconsciously as it does create a composition that is pleasing to the eye.

I am realising that one of the reasons that I love blogging ( apart from the wonderful community of like minded bloggers) is that it is a space where I regularly write and share in ways that are informed by all the literacy learning that I have had. I’m dyslexic and have found my way to English through my art and not the other way around. This visual literacy has enabled me to expand my world in so many ways and the visual language will always be my first language. When I became TESOL trained, I was told that I would need to learn anotherlanguage. What the lecturer did not realise ( and probably would not understand) was that English was my second language. This idea that what we see informs our world is powerful. I will never forget taking my daughter up in a light plane over the Great Australian Bite to view the whales. The assumption was that she would understand what she was seeing. When we landed I went to share my excitement about the flight and seeing the whales. She had not seen them. She did not recognise the dark patches in the water seen from an aerial view as whales. She did not have that visual language.  As a dyslexic, this hightened visual awareness kicks in at a very early age. The theory is that dyslexics have a heightened visual awareness from birth. We see the world visually and this is a powerful gift (‘The Gift of Dyslexia’ by Ronald D Davis) and cognitively smarter than average but so often do not succeed in the traditional school setting as our world is so higHly visual.  I believe this is another reason art is so important as it allows us to find our own path to learning from our individual strengths. The visual language of art is the same language of analysis, inquiry, synthesis of meaning and a search for deeper understanding as used in written literacy. We just call it by different names. So wether we are talking about the elements of design or the grammar of visual design, the need is to recognise that power in the way we name things… that these 2 ideas are not seperate but connected and inform each other. English and art have so much to learn from each other…especially in this digital age where the image has become central in the way we view our world.

I know I digress but art and English are both powerful forms of meaning making that are central to me and my world. I am an artist. I am a teacher. Both worlds offer incredible insights into my life and the world around me. This is a far more literary post than I originally imagined. I know that this post was part of the space clearing that I needed to step back into my artist. Our worlds are complex and multiple. How we navigate them and the stories we tell shape who we are. This is just a fragment of my story but explains a bit more of what shapes me, my world and my art.

Now I can step back into my artist and feel that balance that feeds my soul and creates from that soul space that shapes who I am when I step out into my worlds.

I

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