Fresh wet paint mixed over older dried-out layers, blended in items from my recycling bin - a takeaway container, a styrofoam meat tray and an empty strawberry punnet. A cheap roller alongside $6 test pots of wall paint from Bunnings. And two big fists full of brushes and sponges - almost the top of the line from what was on offer at the $2 shop.
As artists we might trade on the romantic image of days spent drawing and designing, painting and interpreting, imagining new ways of seeing the world and changing societies' relationship with itself.
And while we we might do some of that, I have a family to support, so I'm not out there sending myself broke on expensive art supplies and gallery openings. This is my reality, cheap and cheerful, and most importantly - accessible.
You can do this too.
Last year I realised that my life was seriously out of balance. I was focused on nurturing everyone but myself. And while I set about consciously putting aside more "me" time - which quickly became more art time - I just wanted to get started. The doing was more important than the outcome.
Art supplies can be confusing not only because of the range available, but the variety of different opinions as to what is the "best" product, the best way of applying it, and the best tool to do it with.
So don't wait. Start with what you can get, that is easy and accessible and fits with your lifestyle. Don't allow any excuse, including product research, to let you delay putting time aside for you. Just do it.
My 10-year old asked me in the car this morning what I do when they are at school. I told her that today I had a report to finish and some preparation for tomorrow's consultancy job, and if I finish those I will paint. Sagely she responded "Because it calms you down". Well yes, but... "And because its your other job, " she added. "But it does calm you down doesn't it?"
Well, yes it does. For me it promotes mental health because when I take stock of my life these days, I know I am putting in plenty of time for me. Time spent on activities that nurture my unique essence and purpose in life.
And perhaps I didn't even realise that I was "not calm" before but I guess my kids are grateful for the side effects.
And you can do this too.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!