Art, Books and a Handsome Scotsman


An artistic life...

I am not an artist, I can not draw to save my life...but once upon a time,  I had a yearning to create on paper and canvas. This epiphany happened ten years ago, when we were living in Sydney, Australia. Life was full...we had just bought a house, a puppy, our four children were ages 3 -13,  Mr. H was a travelling man and I wanted to learn to paint. It seemed an impossible notion.
As luck would have it, when on home leave in America, I met an artist, who turned out to be one of my mother's art teachers, twenty years earlier. Kismet..we started you do..and I told her my story.  She suggested that on our return to Sydney, I find an art teacher with a private studio and start one on one classes. I decided if their was a will, their was a way and flew off to Sydney with a mission. My exploration had begun.

The world turns in marvelous ways. I mentioned my quest to an artistic friend, Evelyn, who knew just the person. Enter Sonja.

Sonja, a talented artist and teacher was a dream come true. She had an amazing studio, filled with atmospheric light. It was sensational, she was sensational. It wasn't just an art lesson, it was a life lesson. Before I could begin she wanted me to find my inspiration, in art, words, music...wherever I felt it. I filled volumes of books with ideas and images to help me find my way. My first creation was the painting "Collage of Life". I had an idea and she helped me put it onto canvas. The ideas spilled on from there. My greatest challenge was drawing, gripping fear was more like it but she managed to get me through that as well. She told me not to look at what others were doing but to look to myself and realise that my vision was what mattered and to be comfortable with my "unique" style. Well..that is one way to look at it.

Agony and Agony...drawing.

Work in progress, Collage of Life.

In between the lesson we chatted about music, books, cinema...all the things that inspired us. When I look back at our sessions together, I can see that she had a strong influence on my artistic life. My bookshelf grew in leaps and bounds. Poetry, art history, design, art, literature and historical fiction. Amongst other things, Sonja introduced me to series of books by the author Diana Gabaldon. From that point on, if someone were to ask for a good story...the kind of story you can get lost in, I would say the Outlander novels..

The Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon via

A handsome Scotsman...

Ok..I admit it, I am a soft touch for romance in a story, an even softer touch when it happens to be a handsome Scotsman. If you live in the USA you may have read or seen the TV version of Outlander. When I first heard about the TV show I was reluctant. I was quite happy with the Claire Randall and  Jamie Fraser of my imagination these past ten years, why risk it? One look at Sam Heughan, the actor who plays James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser, Laird of Lallybroch and I thought better of my reservations. Surely it wouldn't hurt to watch just one episode...

Sam Heughan in the role of
James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser
Laird of Lollybroch
Actors, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, the heroine of the novel,
Claire Beauchamp Randall/Fraser via

I watched it and I was in...hook, line and sinker.  I happily spent  my remaining weeks at Tahilla Farm catching up on episodes as they appeared on Starz TV. Then the unthinkable happened when I returned to Vietnam, I lost all connection to Starz and any chance of seeing the remaining episodes. Blast! I took immediate action, went to my bookshelf, pulled out the first book and decided to devote myself to all eight novels. I have lots of flying time coming up in the next three months. I am sure I will be good for all eight books...after all, I have an amazing cast to fill my imagination. Easy!

Cast of Outlander via

In case you think I am a crazy lassie...well, I am...but...I have to say, all the actors are remarkable.  This story is rich in history and life..and it is woven though Scotland. Can't get any better than that in my books.

I think Sonja would agree.

Hopefully, the video clip below is working, if not, you can view it here.

I leave you this fine Monday with thoughts of 
art, books and a handsome Scotsman.
If you have any of the above in your life...would love to hear about it!

Best wishes for a wonderful week!
Jeanne xx

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