HOW to Stay Calm and Stay Healthy!!!

Take a Billycan for a walk and focus on making, ART!!

Ok, its now the beginning of Term 2, everything has been turned on its end and I am now teaching online a Visual Arts course [digitally] for 12 -18 years olds.

We have been asked to return to the classroom to teach all online as the students stayed at home. Like all of us, I was anxious and apprehensive in returning to the work place.

Everyday for the past 60 days I have carried this can with me to document being here, being present. These drawings are my embodied experience during this time, cut out from the centre of a book that in itself will become an artwork, or at least a good place to hide shit in that big hole I have cut out of each and every page…. Cause really who is going to go to my shelf and say “Hey look, I think I’ll read how to Stay Calm and Stay Healthy!!!”

Self-help books were my Father’s go to, he had purchased many from Readers Digest over the years!

before he past, he had bought this same book [that had been repackaged by reader’s digest more than once] ‘Stay Calm, Stay Healthy’ he bought
4 times, I thought that was a sign!!

So it starts with ‘How to stay Calm and Stay Healthy’ no mention of how to deal with a pandemic!!! I read on, then decide to use this as my paper for M.A.D.E Walking Billycan drawings, in fact a better use for the text, this is what they look like.

I did this to Stay Calm and Stay Healthy and to counteract day-to-day pressures of returning to the work place during a pandemic! Not sure if I was holding any helm no matter what the sea, I just knew I was anxious, worried and frightened. I could only imagine how other more vunerable than me were dealing with the situation. Plus didnt want to go anywhere woutside my house.

Above are the first 14 days, obviously I hadn’t moved much I went to work, sat infront of a comoputer for 6 hours and I came home that was the day.

Not sure why some of these are loading sideways or blurry but it pretty much sums up the limited movement, yet nervous energy I was creating and sharing that through my body into the drawing, in the can!

There was one exceptional day when I took the very excited dogs for a walk on the beach. It was so energised the pen broke and this is the result.

Dog walk

Teaching during LOCK-Down

Beginning of Term 2 teaching in Queensland, no students only the staff on campus, all online delivery. Teaching a practical skills based learning subject online has many challenges which I’ve never done it before, so I’ll just jump straight in… I’ve got this, it’s in the can!!

I just have to keep moving.

Take time to be kind to yourself

I am so grateful I am a Teaching Artist and have an income and a creative mind to explore this new ‘living’ landscape we have found ourselves in. I am stronger, innovative and more resilient than I thought I was.

LOCKED-Down M.A.D.E Walking

Initially when Covid first started I came down with the Flu, I couldn’t get tested because I didn’t meet the criteria. Who could sure, so I isolated myself and stayed home for the next 14 days teaching and the next 14 days preparing term 2 teaching as an online program ready for schools return.

During this time I couldn’t walk far, for long or intensely and ran out of paper so I started to cut up and use old brochures, magazine and disused books to draw on. I kept the Billycan close and moved it as I moved…

I documented the paper before I used it to draw on and then after for 28 days before returning to teach on campus. Except the first day as I was so anxious of the entire situation the world was no in and how it made me feel was completely reflected in the first drawing. From a plumbing brochure of a woman washing her hands, after the drawing it seemed they were bleeding from all the washing.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

The image taken in the can

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Places I couldn’t go

The Maroochy River Golf Course brochure

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Festivals that weren’t going to happen

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Forgot this day to document the initial image from the Horizon Festival Program.

Day 22

Day 23

The Refinery Program brochure for its images of meeting places, people and happy gatherings

Day 24

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

Day 28

Forgot to take an image of the day before returning to the school campus

BILLYCAN PROJECT M.A.D.E Walking in Dalby

Dalby Billycan Project is an ALL age and ability activity, it works when you’re moving, skipping, slow walking, line dancing, shuffling, from a wheel chair and even moments of stillness creates a ‘SELFIE’ drawing. Each individual carries while walking/moving, a ‘Billycan’! Yes the iconic Australian boil a BILLYCAN – can, is especially kitted out to become a drawing machine. HOW? Inside there is a weighted pen suspended over paper that records the simplest of movements, even moments of stillness, capturing your swagger, your own personal drawing of how you move within the world creating a drawing as unique as your finger print. 

Artistically speaking this process is a cataloguing of impressions as cartographical, narratives of direct marks resulting from sequenced events that  is your experience of walking in the landscape. 

Thanks to this method of creating, the drawing is an artwork which emulsifies location and experience together into an inextricable whole. It also records a period of time, personal exertion that produces a narrative conveying physically the drawings relationship with them, who they are and how they move. 

These seemingly symmetrical but uneven drawings cannot be separated from the walk, the travel, the effort of self. Encouraging the community to engage in their own landscape to create drawings of their everyday in Dalby.

Now, scientifically, walking/moving increases the size of the brain regions linked to planning and memory and enhances creativity. From walking Walkers come away from the experience with an altered perception of place, having created a subjective map, people see things anew notice and reflect on their own algorithms which translates into art and strengthens their relationship with where they are in the world. A wondrous mind and body connection.

Dalby Billycan Project challenged the face of standard exercise and makes it a gentle creative pursuit  – with wellness on the side. ‘My challenge everyday now is not the calories I lose or how far I walk but the drawing I create today, and how to better it tomorrow.’ Annette Wegg

Hold the CAN

M.A.D.E Walking in Dalby Daily

Each day at 7am and 5pm I would walk a similar route around the centre of town, tracking, photographing and Billycan Drawing. Encouraging other walkers to do the same, to engage and have fun. In the creation of their own analogue selfie.

I met some beautiful people who not only took up a Billycan but have done some of the most amazing drawings to date. These were the two dog walkers Alan and Harry

Walking is immersive!

M.A.D.E Walking is Many Adventures Directly Experienced. It undoes the static, singular viewpoint upon a landscape; rather, the walker’s experience emphasises the embodied and temporal aspects of perceiving. Walking functions as an agent to connect people with place, it personalises engagement therefore to record this unique activity on paper is a beautiful and poetic symbiotic relationship with self and place creating a physical memento of the journey. 

This journey personifies the human experience of landscape as an experience of a body in motion in an environment that doesn’t stand still. In contemporary landscape art, this doubly mutable relationship of person to place is often made evident. Drawing and walking are usefully enlisted to highlight that mutability. Giving these drawings temporal extension because they make them part of a series of events that of being in the world, in that moment in time.

M.A.D.E Walking drawings are like signatures each drawing reveals the different qualities and characteristics of each person and how they move through the world which is as unique as an individuals fingerprint. We engage with this drawing as a narrative as we gather a sense of the drawing, following the lines with our eyes that have been laid down by its construction, so that the time of making is overlaid with the time of viewing. A network of accumulated traces left by your own movements, it is both sensory maps, inscribing a line of experiences, and story. Creating an embodied consciousness filled by the landscape.

The M.A.D.E Walking Billycan drawings are also a proto-linguistic object with social dimensions. This aspect of the work enables us to examine a shared language/experience (in this case, a circular drawing) of an individual while highlighting both physicality and codification as part of the workings of drawing as a language. Walking therefore immerses the ‘YOU’ in the landscape, not just in an observer’s role because it is imperative the walker has a connection between ground and foot. It is about the body in motion and through this artistic approach it communicates the experience of landscape, viewers are reminded, often via the enlisting of their own bodies, that both subjectivity and landscapes are active, flexible, and constructed. 

These are truely ‘selfie’ Drawings. 

Below: 39 days of walking, just in ‘Blue’