Leanne Barrett

Thursday, 16 January 2020

The Inspiration of a New Calendar

The festive season is over, I've opened a new calendar and January 2020 is here. 

Questions and thoughts begin to flow around the topic of goals, the word of the year, what my calling is and most importantly what marks will I make on that blank page.

The first week or two of January have been about planning.
  • Participating in the Woman Unleashed (Amber Kuileimaijai Bonnici) online retreat Solstice and the Schulman Art (Miriam Schulman) workshop about The Art of Art Journaling
  • Brainstorming goals of 2020.
  • Refining the goals list into actionable, bite sized goals.
  • Selection of my word of the year. MOTIVATED
  • Reading and journaling about My Dream Life with the kikki.K (Kristina Karlsson) book Your Dream Life Starts Here
Now I'm feeling more focused and ready to paint with watercolour again. But as always after a break in creating with a specific medium (I'd been using acrylic paint in my art journal not watercolours) the fear of the blank page hits me.

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?