Anyone Can Paint

So one of my challenges for 2020 was to produce a decent piece of art by the end of June. Some of you may have seen my initial posts where I was practising sketching etcetera, but then a little thing got in the way (global pandemic), and I really left this challenge by the wayside.

Such is 2020 I suppose.

But with the deadline approaching, I took the time on the weekend to stop by Officerworks and grab myself some painting supplies to see if I could salvage the whole thing.

To give a bit more background, this challenge wasn’t just an instance of me wanting to better myself, it was actually spurred on by a discussion I was having with a colleague about painting. He was showing me some work by a favourite artist (Ben Quilty), and I commented that ‘anyone can paint’, so he ended up challenging me to produce something in six months.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to belittle or trivialise artistic skill here. My sister is an amazing artist and she works hard to perfect her craft. What I meant by the comment ‘anyone can paint’ is that I see this kind of thing is a skill, and if you are willing to put in the time and effort, anyone can develop their artistic abilities. We won’t all be Monet’s, or Quilty’s; but I think you can show massive improvement in the initial stages of picking up any new skill. 

I think the same thing when I see bodybuilders and super-fit people. Yes it is impressive, but again it is something anyone can do. I think the same thing about a lot in life. I don’t like the idea that some people are naturally talented, and believe a lot of what we can achieve is down to hard work and perseverance. We might have some inclination towards certain skills, but if you want to do something (develop painting skills, earn a muscular physique, play an instrument, write a novel, etcetera), you have the ability to make it happen.

So perhaps taking my claim to the extreme, I waited around for the majority of my six month deadline, and then chose the last two days to actually attempt to paint anything. I think the last time I painted was likely in 1997 in secondary school, so it is fitting that I used the same methodology of waiting until the last moment to complete my homework that I applied throughout my schooling.

I initially tried a portrait of Tony, then a printed off paint by numbers template, but ultimately decided to paint his VW as people are tough subjects to paint (with minimal practise).

So this is the ultimate result. A few hours work, and I am pretty happy with the result. Sure it isn’t really comparable to what professional artists can do, or even hobbyists, or simple enthusiasts; but I really enjoyed the process, and think I did a reasonably impressive attempt.

MM

Fourteen

Fourteen years ago, for the briefest of moments, my son was the newest member of humanity. It is weird to think that at one point, we were all the youngest humans on earth, but back in 2006, for approximately 233 milliseconds, that title was held by my son.

And while he may have quickly faded from world importance soon after, for the past fourteen years he has never strayed from being the central point for my wife and I.

I was a relatively young father, and I cannot recommend highly enough the experience of being a parent not only for the happiness it will directly bring into your life, or for the love and fulfilment that you will feel every day. But also because it helps you grow, and find direction in your own life.

Being a part of Harrison’s life is the greatest privilege. Being able to watch him grow, to guide him through life, and then watch as he develops into his own person, following his own path; it fills me with pride every day.

Today he is fourteen years old. He is at the point in his life where he is starting to choose the electives in school which will allow him to take agency of his own education like never before.  He is also training for his next black belt (that will be his 4th by the way), and the fact that he has been training as a martial artist for over a decade blows my mind!

He is a compassionate young man, always concerned about others. His creativity, curiosity, and passion for reading knows no bounds. If you give him the chance he will talk your ear off on any number of things, but he is also considerate, and takes the time to listen.

He has emerged from our recent COVID19 isolation more resilient than before, and perhaps even a millimeter or two taller than his mum (almost)!

Put simply he is my son, and while I think fatherhood is simultaneously the hardest and easiest thing I have ever done, I wouldn’t change anything.

So Happy Birthday Harrison!

Dad rant complete.

We didn’t see this coming…

I’m not annoyed at our scientists, or politicians, or anything for not seeing COVID-19 coming. Scientists had always said this was a possible scenario, and many governments had some sort of contingency plan. But I have to say; where were the astrologists on this one? Why wasn’t everyone’s horoscopes starting to suspiciously align a few months ago? Were peoples tarot readings warning of the coming isolations? Were people’s psychics giving them a heads up to include a few extra rolls of toilet paper for the coming weeks?

I mean they really dropped the ball on this one.

Its almost as if all of that stuff is a whole lot of bullshit…

COVIDSafe App Thoughts

COVIDSafe app | Australian Government Department of Health

Some quick thoughts I chucked up on Facebook to get peoples opinions on the new COVIDSafe app released by the Australian government, and my ultimate decision.

Original post:

Ok everyone, give me your point of view on the Coronavirus tracking app.

I am most likely going to get it, because I feel like this is an important way for us to tackle the health emergency we are all living through.

I get that there can be privacy issues, but considering the amount of my data already being mined by corporations, I am willing to give up a bit more for the good of our nation’s health. And if there ever is a push for this data being used elsewhere by the government down the track, we can always delete the app. And if that becomes a problem (i.e. we are forced to keep the app), then this is a whole new battle for a different day.
I mean I know it is a lot to trust the government with, but at this point in history if we don’t put this kind of faith in the government, then we are in trouble. If we step up and take on this duty, perhaps our government will step up and earn it.

What is everyone thinking?

I got some good replies, with I think a lot of people like myself who are cautious, but willing to do what they feel is the right thing. Overall I was glad to see so many rational thoughts on the subject, and no conspiracy theory rants and anti-government tirades.

My final thoughts as posted in reply:

Thanks everyone for your comments. At the end of the day I see the trade off I am making by getting this app as being more positive than the negative. While I see the risks in giving out more data to a government that has not been good at managing our data in the past, they are also the only government we have at the moment, and this is the moment in history we find ourselves in.

Furthermore, as far as i can tell, this app doesn’t actually track your location, but instead simply logs contact between other users of the app and reports these to a central database, so that these contact points can be utilised down the track to follow any infections. And this reporting is also something that you op in to. So the data isn’t even as significant as being able to track where you are, or have been, and seems to be quite voluntary in its dissemination.

And if the worst case scenario simply means that we have to be vigilant for any future changes or overreach, I am fine with that; keeping an eye on what our government is doing is kind of our job as a populus anyway.

So I am going to get the app. I would encourage you to as well, but I understand if you don’t. This isn’t like social distancing, where I think you have a moral imperative to take this action, or proper washing of hands, where it is just stupid not to join in. This is more of a ‘if you want things to get better quicker, do this’ kind of thing.

But hey, I am an introvert anyway, so social isolation is suiting me quite well.

Anyone else have any interesting takes? I would love to see them try and release this kind of app in the United States with their current government/electorate.

MM

Keeping an Eye on the Democratic Primary

When Trump was elected, I would keep an eye on his Twitter feed daily, fascinated by the bizarre spectacle taking place in American politics. But it didn’t take long for fatigue to set in, until I got to the point that even Stephen Colbert’s monologues couldn’t keep me interested (only Bill Maher has staying power for me, because at least he swears and gets properly frustrated with things).

So I have been interested to watch as Bernie Sanders has been rising in popularity, and eventually taking over as the front runner for the Democratic Primary. I would love to see what Bernie could do with the presidency, and to see America start to take the lead in world issues again would be great. But I am still pessimistic of his chances.

Here is the current forecasting from FiveThirtyEight; lets see how the South Carolina primary changes things tomorrow morning:

Before SC

 

January 07, 2020 at 10:48PM

One of my challenges for 2020 is to produce a decent piece of artwork by the end of June. So I figured I would post each weeks progress as I start to try and develop my artistic skills.
I have never been much of a creative sketcher, and was always better at technical drawings, or imitations. So this weeks bit of art is a copy of a mouse photo I found online. Not too bad for my first attempt.
#2020ArtProject #musmusculus #amw from Instagram: https://ift.tt/2QugsKu

January 06, 2020 at 03:36PM

Sometimes I ask people if they know about some fact only to find they have absolutely no idea what it is (the example today was the Chernobyl disaster), and I am amazed they don’t know about it. I wonder how it is that someone has gone their whole life without knowing this seemingly basic fact of the world, or history. You see similar videos on YouTube where general members of the public are quizzed on the street (usually on current events, history, or geography), with the aim being to show how ignorant people are, and then more ‘educated’ people lament the populations ignorance.
But really, it just makes me think: “Geez, what are all the things that I don’t know that other people would be amazed at my ignorance of?”. What whole sections of human experience am I not aware of my own limited understanding of. It makes me more enthralled at the enormity of the human experience, rather than despair at people lack of certain knowledge.
Just a random thought.
#randomthoughtforarandomphoto #amw from Instagram: https://ift.tt/2sSdnux

November 11, 2019 at 08:54PM

Book 56 for 2019: The Wisdom of Wolves.
I have read a couple of books on wolves lately, American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West, and The Last Wolf. Both were great books about these animals, both in their reintroduction into Yellowstone, and then a reflection on their lost place within Scotland.
This new book delves into an experimental observation of a pack of wolves living with a couple of American documentarians, and portrays the inner lives of these animals. Warning; you may get the feels… #2019inBooks #wolves #amw from Instagram: https://ift.tt/2q4okYu

November 04, 2019 at 11:48PM

Book 55 for 2019: Charles Darwin – Autobiographies.
Just starting this book tonight. I have yet to delve into Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle, but figured this little book might be a good appetizer.
It is strange to read a book where the publishers introduction has to spend so much time trying to justify the printing of the book, when it seems pretty clear that Darwin didn’t want these writings to reach the public eye. Rather he wanted some of his inner story put down for his family to read in the future; something he wishes he had to peer into the mind of his famous grandfather.
#2019inbooks #charlesdarwin #reluctantautobiographer #amw from Instagram: https://ift.tt/36x97zL