Art Studio and Life #8 featuring artworks and painting

Hello lovely family and friends!

Thank you very much for all your kind comments on my beautiful website. Some of you have congratulated me as if a whole new world is opening up for me. Actually, I had a less glamorous website previously, I have been out there in the digital realm for quite a few years, and the difference it has made to my life = very little. It’s rather like having your name in fancy type in a phone directory (remember those?), someone has to actually want to look you up.

So don’t be misled by the glamour. In Botswana I had won the Cameras for Conservation Wildlife Artist of the Year award for two years in a row, and was building up a decent career, albeit it as a big fish in a small pond.

Then we emigrated to New Zealand. It’s lovely living here, but career wise for me, moving to NZ was rather like landing on a snake in the game Snakes and Ladders, I am back down near the beginning, a minnow in the sea.

In order to reduce the stress of earning very little, and to pay for dentists and such, I have taken on a part-time job as a cleaner for our church, which owns and operates from a cinema complex. In Botswana I had a wonderful part-time housekeeper Sylvia, who used to come in for a couple of hours every morning. She was so happy to have the work and I was SO HAPPY that she cleaned for us. She used to find both my incompetence, and my deep gratitude very amusing. There is many a time now that I think “Look Sylvie, look at me cleaning!” (Shades of Roo saying “Look at me swimming!” in Winnie the Pooh.)

 On Mondays and Fridays, I clean, lugging around an industrial vacuum cleaner that looks like R2D2. It falls over about as often R2D2 too.

I don’t love cleaning, but I am grateful to have a job that makes life better for people. The job suits me because I like working by myself as it is peaceful, and it gives me time to think.

Moving from the ridiculous to the sublime –

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, I rejoice, and I paint!

Such is the glamorous and gloriously rich tapestry of my life.

I wanted a change from painting glasses, so I decided to paint something different and colourful (what a surprise). I studied theology and psychology, and I continually read books and articles about human functioning because I am still trying to figure out how I and other people work, and how to change and grow. Did you know that when we sleep, only our conscious mind is asleep, and our subconscious and unconscious are working busily? Our conscious mind is like a gatekeeper who only allows what we deem acceptable into our conscious thoughts. Unusual things can be threatening, so we block them out. When we sleep however, all the undealt with things swim to the surface, trying to catch our attention. We can grow if we are willing to spend time asking ourselves what our dreams are trying to tell us. Dreams can be awkward and uncomfortable, but vibrant and beautiful too, so I decided to try and paint that.

Sea of dreams, oil on canvas. 90cm x 60 cm. (available US $ 900, NZ $ 1500) Prints coming

The desert symbolises our conscious mind (and I just love deserts), and the fish represent our dreams and inner wisdom, unexpected, beautiful and awkward. Surreal art is rather like that. You daydream, and all sorts of things just want to be painted. I don’t always know why I want to paint them, just that I do. And symbolic things mean different things to different people, which is what makes it interesting. This painting would mean something different to you than it does for me, not that this tiny image gives you much idea of what the life size painting is like… I have a plan for a painting that includes desert dunes, a moon, a polar bear and some magnolia flowers, how random is that? I can’t tell you what it means, I just find it oddly satisfying when I look at it. Sometimes you only know what a painting means later on, but it is so strange that I will probably never paint it.

 Rather than showing the painting process, I’ll show you close ups.

Can you believe that that is a fish’s face? Ugly but cute box fish.

Trying to hide

So many transparent washes of colour to make them glow

We three adventurers

Gorgeous Mandarin fish with another great face

So lovely friends, may it be well with your soul in the rich tapestry of your life, and may you dream dreams and see visions.

XX Barbie


  1. Tumi

    Awesome post Barbie! 🙂

    • Barbara Podmore

      Why, thank you! Awesome website, thanks Tumi!

  2. Dan Button

    Ah – the Botswanan Oryx painting! My favourite – the very one I’d been trying to remember from many years ago…

    So, what happens when your subconscious is a desert and your normal mind thinks of the surreal?

    • Barbara Podmore

      So, what happens when your subconscious is a desert and your normal mind thinks of the surreal? – you become an artist or a theologian!

  3. Xandi

    Thank you for this lovely post. Thoughtful, colourful, and interesting!

    • Barbara Podmore

      Thanks Xandi, glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Judy Hatty

    Love the fish and the drunk cat! Priceless…
    You have me thinking about my dreams, which are sometimes rather disturbing. I wonder where they could possibly have come from – like suddenly dreaming about people I know, but have not seen, or thought about, for years!? Maybe that is when I should contact them and share the dream…They will be surprised 😲 Jx

    • Barbara Podmore

      Sometime we dream about people, and it’s actually about them, and sometimes it is about an aspect of ourself that is like them? With dreams, it can help to ask ourself (actually our subconscious) what we are trying to tell ourselves. To give you an example of my own, years ago I dreamt that a young, muscled and sweaty man was trying to hug me, which made me feel very uncomfortable. The feeling was so strong that I spend some time really pondering and praying for insight. I had recently been making more of an effort to make friends with people, but that I was unpractised (young and clumsy) at it and sometimes overwhelmed them by being too much in their space, like the sweaty (nervous and overeager) young man. It was a very helpful insight!

  5. Fiona Mordaunt

    Rain Song
    Rock-a-bye raindrops
    Fall from the sky;
    They tap dance on the tiles
    A wild lullaby.

    The gush through the gutters.
    On smooth windowpanes,
    They scribble and scrabble,
    Then gargle down drains

    To Spatter and scatter
    In silvery streams
    With a cradle of wind
    And Rockabye dreams.

    -Andrew Fusek Peters

    • Barbara Podmore

      Love it! After living in a desert ( beautiful Botswana) my oldest son Sam and I deeply appreciate and love rain.

  6. Laurie

    Painting your dreams… now that’s an interesting idea!!
    Keep up the great blog and humour Barbs.

    • Barbara Podmore

      Glad you are enjoying it! It’s really fun for me writing it

  7. Cathy Sheppard

    Another great blog Barbie, and another exquisite painting. I totally love your picture that won the award too! It’s breathtaking.

    • Barbara Podmore

      Why, thank you Cathy. I think it is the best wildlife painting I have ever done…

  8. Janet Whelan

    Magnificent photo at the top, Barbie….and beautiful sea of dreams…. Feels wonderfully three dimensional. Thanks for sharing!

    • Barbara Podmore

      Thank you for commenting Janet! I really appreciate it.

  9. Sandra Fletcher

    Hi Barbie, loving your blog 😊

    • Barbara Podmore

      Excellent, that makes me very happy Sandra!

  10. Gareth Williams

    Thanks for sharing your gifts.

    • Barbara Podmore

      Thank you for not minding me sharing my gifts…

  11. Chris

    I really love that Gemsbok painting…

    • Barbara Podmore

      It’s my favorite of the wildlife paintings I have done, very minimalist.

  12. Chris

    Love your humour – the R2D2 vacuum cleaner and the drunk cat made me smile, and that’s so lovely to be made to smile… a gift in a sometimes dreary world 🙂
    Dreams are incredibly fascinating!
    There is a kiwi counsellor called Margaret Bowater ( who I think has very interesting insights on this topic) for anyone interested in learning more!

    • Barbara Podmore

      Great Chris! Yes, I think humour is like Nutella on bread, makes the crusty bits more palatable!

  13. Brenda Adamson

    Loved your blog today Barbie and the insight about dreams. Your painting depicts it perfectly

    • Barbara Podmore

      Oh great, Thank you Brenda! Dream are so intriguing. I read that when you dream of a person, that person is probably a part of yourself that needs work or integration, which is very challenging.

  14. Francis Podmore

    Wonderful colourtiful fish and jellyfish (:-)) Do you rmbr the exquisite and delicate pulsating moon jellyfish we saw at UShaka?
    How about a painting with seahorses? Or sea dragons?

    • Barbara Podmore

      I actually have plans for two separate paintings with a sea dragon, and a sea horse. The problem is not imaginations, it is time!