Leanne Barrett

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Exhibition Tour with Stephanie Owen Reeder

There is always something new to discover at the National Library of Australia's (NLA) Story Time exhibition.

Today Stephanie Owen Reeder, author of Story Time Stars, guided members of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) though the exhibition. She picked a selection of exhibits that would give writers and illustrators insights into the process in creating books.

To being the tour Stephanie showed us the first Australian children's book, A Mother's Offering to her Children, written by Charlotte Waring Atkinson

Charlotte is the 4th-great grandmother of authors Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell. At a recent book talk Kate revealed that even family members cannot handle this book due to its fragility. However it can be viewed as an online version.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Exhibition: Story Time: Australian Children's Literature

Last night's opening exhibition crowd deemed the new National Library of Australia exhibition, Story Time: Australian Children's Literature, presented in association with the National Centre for Australian Children's Literature, a huge success. 

They were a buzz with excitement and even squealed with delight as each new story was discovered on the walls and in the display cases. 

I guarantee that book lovers of all ages will adore this new exhibition, as it takes you on a journey down memory lane. 

Remember your childhood favourites; Seven Little Australians, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie,  Mary Poppins and Blinky Bill.

Rediscover books from your children's childhood: Possum Magic, Koala Lou, Animalia, Max, The Hidden Forrest and The Arrival.

Or discover some newer childhood favourites: Where is the Green Sheep?, Dinosaurs Love Cheese and The 65-Story Treehouse.

Friday, 16 August 2019

CBCA 2019 Book of the Year Awards Winners

Today in Canberra we celebrated the 2019 CBCA Book of the Year Award at the National Library of Australia. 

What I love about this event is the opportunity to celebrate children's literature and to catch up with my tribe. 

Before the announcement of the winners, the audience was entertained by two talented group of students. 

Students from St Bede's Primary School, Braidwood, performed a voice and action montage showing how Reading is Our Secret Power. The students had the powers of strength, flexibility, speed but most importantly reading. With the secret power of reading they said, 'We can do anything with the power of reading.'  

The second performance was by students from Canberra Girls Grammar School, who retold the story of Noni The Pony Rescues a Joey by Alison Lester, using a great set of face masks.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

CBCA 13th National Conference

Each year there are a wide range of conferences and events that authors and illustrators have to choose from and 2019 is a bumper year of them. This year some of the big ones on Australian East Coast have included; SCBWI Sydney, Creative Kids Tales Writers' Festival Gymea NSW, KidLitVic Melbourne, CYA Brisbane (6-7 July) and CBCA Canberra.

It is sometimes a difficult decision to pick which ones to attend. Frankly, if the hip pocket was really deep, I would attend every single event on the calendar. However, as the CBCA one was going to be held in Canberra and just a 2 minute walk from my apartment in the city, it was a easy decision to attend.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Affirmation: Walk Mindfully. What do you notice today?

Today I selected my affirmation card #29: Walk mindfully. What do you notice today?

As an artist I know that it is important to partake in activities that can create inspiration. One of the things I like to do is to take a walk in a mindful manner. This kind of walk is not when I walk for exercise. Exercise walking is when I focus on strengthening my body. Mindful walking for me is a totally different activity.

When I walk mindfully I'm doing several things:

  • I am strengthening my mind.
  • I am letting my muse inspire my creativity.
  • I appreciate the beauty of the environment. 
  • I look at colour, shape, form, shadows and composition within nature.
  • I am building my own collection of reference photos.
  • I am experiencing joy and peacefulness.

By the end of a mindful walk my creative spirit is energised. 







Another post a bit like this one is Noticing the little things in life.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Daily Writing

Part of being a creative, is making sure that you give yourself the best chance for inspiration to flow in your life. To do this it is important to have a range of strategies in place. Some of the strategies can include:

  • Daily Writing.
  • Networking with other creatives.
  • Practising a daily challenge.
  • Doing things that you love.
  • Playing.
  • Making a mess.

I began my daily writing practise when I joined Jen Storer's Scribbles online creative writing course. I made a pledge on 27 November 2017 that I would write 3 pages every day. Jen says that it's important to write and write and write. Make a mess and just let your thoughts flow.


Another person that believes that daily writing is important is Julia Cameron, author of the book The Artist's Way. This book is a 12 week course in discovering and recovering your creative self. Julia talks about morning pages as a place where you write '...three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness...' Just write anything that comes into your head, it doesn't need to make sense, you are just clearing your mind to allow your creativity to flow. (P.S. Sometimes I only write two A4 pages a day.)

So how have I gone? 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Autumn Visits to The National Gallery of Australia

John Everett Millais, Spring (Apple blossoms), 1859
Autumn is my favourite time of the year. The morning air begins with a real freshness and the days are warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the changing colours of our many deciduous trees in Canberra. It's a season of change, and as April rushes towards May we suddenly realise that the year is skipping along and the NGA summer block buster is about to close.

This year we were delighted by the exhibition Love & Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate, closing 28 April 2019. While I have always loved this era of art, especially the wallpaper of Morris and Co,  Kate Forsyth's story Beauty in Thorns made me fall in love with this art era even more.   

When Kate's book Beauty in Thorns was launched she came to the National Library of Australia and spoke about the Artists their Stunners and Love. In this talk Kate took us into the world of some of the Pre-Raphaelite artists and their lovers. She showed us images of some of their artworks including John Everett Millais, Ophelia, 1851-2. So I knew that the NGA Exhibition Love & Desire was a must on my list of things to see this year. 

While looking at some of the artworks I made sure that I spent some time looking at the details within them. How the artists painted lace, shadows, skin and the decorative details plus how they painted birds.