Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Reflection: Everything has a crack in it.

Dear Helen, on Christmas morning.

So we stuck with no gift giving outside of our immediate family. BUT We are not bound by rules... and so when our son in Europe found himself travelling alone, we shared the cost of a contiki tour. And when we heard that our niece, who lives overseas, is back in Australia with her sister - we bought a ticket for our daughter to fly over to see her cousins - so the girls can be together again, the first time in YEARS. And no we are not cashed up, but we don't buy the latest cars, or buy into the idea that we need the latest gadgets, and yes our house needs repairs. And our eldest son came home unexpectedly (and leaves today on Boxing Day) - so we put together a pamper pack of all the worst food possible (not for me! Urgh) to take back with him (he is working on the wheat bins during his uni holidays). 

Our greatest gift to our extended family was the wonderful, cruelty free lunch prepared by our teenage daughter. When we arrived at the garden at her grandparents apartment block, we found my father extremely stressed because the rest of the family wasn't there on time. He was worried about his blood pressure, and looked small and elderly (something I often forget) - and I wanted to say - this is not what Christmas is about. My father - who had been to church just a short time before, was upset about the trivial,on this remembrance day of the birth of his saviour... and so when the rest of the family arrived it felt strained. AND yet - the love my daughter had put into the food - vegan, mostly gluten free, and the grace with which she offered it to her family, calmed the atmosphere. This is what Christmas is about. 

Riva and I had sat together as our priest Helen had shared a story about how everything has a crack. And as she sent us off with a blessing she said, "And may the God of love bring messengers of light to shine love through the cracks in your life today." And so he did. 

And Helen gave me a gift... a holding cross carved by artisans from a single piece of wood pruned from the very olive wood trees that have scattered the landscape around Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. And a handmade card with a very meaningful and personal message. Dear Helen - a messenger of light shining love through the cracks in my life.  

Asta xxxx

Monday, December 2, 2013

How many paintings do you have to paint to create one good one?

Part of my 365 Challenge
600... that is how many photos one photographer took in order to come up with 7 absolutely brilliant ones!*

I have now painted 338 paintings. How many are good? Are any brilliant? Maybe only 2 or 3. I was hurt to see a comment on my FB art page today - 'Some real kindergarten stuff...'. I wrote a long reply justifying myself. Then I went back and deleted it. Instead I replied - "Yep, so true. Of course.'

Of course there will be more bad paintings than good paintings. Of course. But buried in amongst them will be some gems, worth celebrating. And I could talk about the journey and the showing up, the discipline. Or even about sickness, lack of resources, and squeezing painting around commitments. But instead, today, I will celebrate what I have painted well.

This painting is on its way to live in Ontario in the famous Tiny House there!

Peace be with you my friends,

Asta x

*Sean Gentry's article at petapixel.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The polar bear series and looking on the bright side.

From my 365 paintings challenge, and recent book 'Buoyancy'.

Hi everyone,

I try to look on the bright side of things. Seems I am doing okay in that area. I am stuck in bed with a nasty flu like cold. I just proudly told the kids that I have a temperature, to which they replied - So you are proud of that? Maybe. It is my first for the year, and after countless daily hot flushes, and night sweats, it is actually nice to be able to have a regular temperature. It reminds me of when I had my first regular headache. It's a family legend. I was so proud of it, after suffering from debilitating migraines from the age of nine.
So while I am in bed I am reading, playing with really simple paintings for my challenge, and researching... oh and I made a little book that is available at My book is called 'Buoyancy' and features my polar bear series (some followers at my fb paintings page gave me a kind push.) And I am loving prolonged cuddles with my cat and one of my greyhounds. Maybe I won't feel like this tomorrow, maybe I will. I hope I do.

Peace be with you my friends,

Asta x

Monday, September 16, 2013


From Perth, Australia to Arizona. 
I am just about to start a commissioned painting of a greyhound. I am so looking forward to doing this one. This gentle man first asked me to paint the beloved greyhound of a friend who has cancer. He wanted Trippy to be beside her in hospital, even if only in a painting. And strangely I am painting more animal companions for the sick and/ or dying. It is a wonderful thing to do, and I pray as I paint, both for the person's gentle transition (or possible healing) and for the pet who may be left behind. And I lift up that loving bond they both have.

Recently I asked, at my facebook page, for photos of my art in their new homes. Here is a print sent to the US from my city in down under Australia. It makes me so happy to know that others see the soul and value of each animal I paint.

I continue to live simply, and joyfully. My sole source of income comes from my art. At this stage it is very little... I would like that to grow so that I have more options, but at this stage I find that with very little I can still give a great deal. Giving does not need to be financial. I have donated many paintings and prints which have been sold to raise funds for charities that are close to my heart. Most of all I love painting as a means to show someone that I care, as prayer, and to educate the heart so that others might live gently and kindly with our fellow creatures on earth. Oh and I love to paint purely for joy!!!

Back soon...

Asta xxx

Here is the facebook link if you want to follow my challenge-

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy Homeless Hudson

Hudson's melting eyes

and his concerned foster mum...

I am sitting on the floor, Hudson is on the sofa behind me (of course) and his paw is on my shoulder, his eyes are soft. He looks completely content. So different to the situation only weeks ago.
The evening he arrived at my home. 

I am writing this as therapy. I have never fostered an animal I have rescued before. It feels lonely. It reminds me of childbirth. Ultimately it is up to you, though you might have people supporting you in the background. Others are not living your day to day life, they may not have the same commitment and concern. I never intended to do the fostering, but I had to take on that responsibility when I couldn't find anyone in a position to do so. Not everyone is prepared to bend over backwards for a black, male ex-racing greyhound with some scrapes and bumps.

Our relationship was sealed with the phone call from the ranger, at that country pound. Once I knew about him I couldn't leave him there. And in all honesty I am so grateful to have him. My gentle giant with the melting eyes. He has confirmed to me that the welfare of animals is indeed a calling for me, and that greyhounds are my first priority as far as that is concerned.

Just days after arrival. Happy Hudson. 
If I could wave a wand our house would have doors, the boys (my male greyhound and Hudson) would not challenge each other, and could be safely left alone. All three greyhounds could be easily walked together. My cat would curl up beside his beautiful velvet black coat. And our council would be thanking me for having three dogs at my place. He would join our family. But it can't happen.

 Every night that I sleep between the boys in our lounge room, instead of my bed with my husband, I feel a sadness. And without a possible adopter (the original potential adopter has cats!) the weeks ahead seem troublesome. I wonder  what to do when I have to be away for a day... even just an hour or so. What about the weekend away in September?

Loves being loved.

I am grateful for the power of social media. Without it I would not have been able to raise awareness of his plight, nor had the finances for his initial vet work, coats, bed, worming and flea treatment and food. A friend drove him up from the pound to me, and paid his fee (stopping frequently because he was unwell). And one humble woman has quietly supported me, and financed a lot of what he has needed, all while going through terrible personal trauma.

My daughter and Hudson.
Now I look him in his trusting eyes and know that my heart will break when he leaves me (as he must), all the while longing for him to find the right person to stare into his eyes and love him as I do... or as my daughter and son do.

You might not be able to take Hudson into your life, but if you are in a position to rescue a dog (especially a greyhound) please consider it. They out give us at every turn.

Hudson you are a special, mellow fellow. May you find that person who will recognise that. Be blessed my  big cuddly bug. So glad we rescued you!

Your God Mum,

Asta x

We are in Perth, Western Australia. If you know anyone who might love Hudson, please let them know about us.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Asta Lander's 365 Paintings Challenge

Painted as a fundraiser for Free the Bears Fund
How it all began...

Actually I have no idea how it began. For so many years I would not paint because I thought I couldn't, though I longed to, so very much. I was terrified of not being able to.

 I was nursing a wound from my childhood that told me that my painting was mediocre. For me mediocre meant 'failure', and why would you continue with something that you were a failure at? (Actually all of that was probably my very sensitive reaction to one incident.) Over the years I did every other kind of art form, and though some I am good at (and I do want to get back to them) it was painting that was whispering in my ear... luring me back. And then I discovered Luci Walker's Happy Accident Art. And fell into my own happy accident. I did something she suggests. I sat down with the colours I love, a piece of  paper ( or was it canvas?) and I painted with no agenda. Swirls and colours and joy spilled out and I was on my way to healing. It was a spiritual ah ha moment.

And then we moved house... and as we moved I painted my way to peace, through the grief of loss and change, and the excitement and yet uncertainty of returning to where I once lived,. And then this ridiculous idea popped into my head - paint one completed painting a day for a year! And so I did! And so I am.

And some days I get them done early. Some days I am up until after midnight. Some days they come easy... some days it is a slog. Some are probably good - some are certainly not. Sometimes I have to be satisfied with mediocre. But regardless, one painting is painted a day.

I never plan my paintings. They can be a reflection of what I am reading, a cause I am exploring, a song, a longing, a grief, a meditation, a prayer, a joy, colours, as a gift, as a means of standing in solidarity with a person or animal (usually in pain), to fund raise, to educate...  what I love to paint the most is feeling.. soul... usually I try to paint that into the eyes. Painting is an expression of my Christian Franciscan spirituality. Painting has taken over my world. I live in a happy little painterly world!!!

My art is selling, mostly prints. Early next year I will have an exhibition. Money is coming... trickling in. And though I am scathing of money, I should not be, for in our world a little is needed. There is no way of getting around it. It reminds me of that book I read long ago - now what is the title? Something like - 'Do what you love and the money will come.' With the money I can meet commitments that are important to me. I am so very grateful.

Is there something inside you that is dying to get out? Something that is pressing hard against your heart?  I have a journal for my art where I jot down ideas, poetry, quotes, contacts, sales and so on. On the cover there is a quote that says it all for me- 'And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to bloom' by Anais Nin. Yes that was me. Is that you? Well go and do the seemingly impossible. I know you can, because I am living it.

Go in peace to love and serve the world in your own unique way,

Asta xxxx

Sunday, February 3, 2013

35/ 365 paintings challenge

'Never let me go'


Christ is my comfort 34/365 paintings

I wasn't sleeping because something was making me sad, so I got up in the dark and found myself painting Christ who feels my pain. 'And Jesus wept'.

May you know that he weeps for you.

Asta x

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

32/365 Paintings Challenge

Painted after catching up with an old friend. As you can probably tell - I was feeling pretty joyful.
Paint supplies are low. I never seem to have enough and yet it stretches. A friend dropped in a couple of tubes she no longer needs. So glad of that. An addiction I have to keep feeding.

Asta x

Thursday, January 31, 2013

31/365 paintings challenge

Flowers. I don't have any in my garden right now so I am painting my own.

Asta x

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

30 paintings

How did I do that? 30!!!

An elderly Franciscan brother has been enmbraced by Sister bodily death and is joyously being greeted by our maker God. Death has sent Flemming where his hope lay. This was going through my mind as I painted today.


Asta x

Monday, January 28, 2013

29/365 Paintings Challenge

28/365 Paintings challenge

This painting is far darker than the photo makes it look.But it is late at night and I can't find the light I need for a decent photo. We had a busy day, with my brother and his family visiting...which is why I painted late. I must admit that when I start in the evening it takes every ounce of will power to get started.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

25/365 paintings challenge

Finished basic course with alternatives to violence project. Two full on days. Not all that happy with today's painting but at least I have kept up with the commitment.

Asta x

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

24/365 paintings challenge

Off to alternatives to violence traning today.

Asta x

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

25/365 paintings challenge

16 years ago God answered my prayer for a daughter. Happy Birthday

Monday, January 21, 2013

22/365 paintings challenge: future daughter

Tomorrow my baby girl turns 16. It will be the echo day of her birth, one of the most joyous days of my life! After the birth of my boys my heart's desire was for a girl to complete our family.

The painting is for her, in honour of the elegant and gracious young woman that she is becoming.

Proud mum,

Asta x

21st day, 365 paintings challenge

Yay 21 paintings! Just a little nervous that I have two full days coming up...non violence training and a long commute. Also my daughter's birthday. This will be my biggest challenge yet.
Paint your world with your passion -
Asta x

Sunday, January 20, 2013

20/365 paintings challenge

Tomorrow I will celebrate 21 days of painting. They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit. I know this to be true because I have started to dream of making sure I fit my painting in.

Painting everyday is giving me confidence in other areas of my life. I have always wanted to try out being vegan...and now I feel brave enough to give it a go. I have signed up for the 30 day vegan challenge.

Peace, joy and goodwill to all.
Asta x

Saturday, January 19, 2013

19/365 paintings challenge

Today I heard a young man died. I am so saddened by that news. I used the process of painting to ponder 'crossing to the other side'. I was also thinking about the fabulous story - ' The Great Divorce' by C S Lewis. His vision of life after death had much to teach me about the 'perils' of attachment here now. An excellent book for those challenging themselves to let go of clutter, physical and mental.

Asta x

Thursday, January 17, 2013

18/365 Paintings Challenge

Got up really early to do this but only finishing now at 11.30.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

17/365 Paintings challenge.

I painted this one with my children's Godmother in mind. She wants a vibrant painting of a tree for her new home. Not sure if she will like these colours though. I might try painting another tree or two with different colour combinations.

As I have been painting I made myself 'watch' a dvd on veganism. It was disturbing. I am almost surprised at the joy in this tree...perhaps it is  because I found myself praying for respect and kindness to all living creatures. I kept thinking of St Francis calling all things brother and sister. Preaching to fish and birds.
You only have to look in the eyes of gentle cows...or greyhounds to know they deserve to be treated gently as brothers and sisters.


Asta x

Monday, January 14, 2013

15/365 Paintings Challenge

Place...I have always longed for a sense of place. Since we have come back to our old home, after 8 years, I feel I have that a little now. A basic house on a small and ordinary suburban block. I didn't expect to feel this way, but I am glad I do.


Asta x

Sunday, January 13, 2013

14/365 Paintings Challenge

I think this one might be political. I wasn't sure what I was painting...I guess it was on my heart. It is simple (husband's words) and not as fussy (son's thoughts) so I suspect it might not be so popular, but this one speaks to me at a deep level. Can you guess what it might be about? It might mean something different to you, or nothing at all. And that is all okay. I think it might actually be a few things to me, when I think about it.

Yesterday on FB I had the most amazing reaction to that day's painting. I could not keep the smile off my face. It certainly helps spur me on. Seems others like colour too. Certainly we all like 'place'.

I came across a 365 Journal the other day. I was tempted to get it (even though it is not essential and not secondhand) but I was put off by the physical reminder of how far I have to go.

A friend who is working on a large gardening project is doing a bit every day. I posted on her page these words - inch by inch is cinch. We shall see.

Asta x

13/365 Paintings Challenge

This was inspired by a photo of a colourful courtyard in London.


Asta x

Friday, January 11, 2013

12/365 Paintings Challenge

I was reading a YA novel called 'Greylands' by Isobelle Carmody. Hell for me would be Greylands - a dull place with no colour. And actually for the protagonist it is a place of grief and loss, a place he visits after his mother dies. It isn't a good place.

A challenge to paint without colour was posted under one of my paintings on Facebook. It might be a good exercise but I want to paint the world in joy, and colour is my vehicle of choice. No Greylands for me.


Asta x

Thursday, January 10, 2013

11/365 Painting Challenge - Cleo

I wonder if I will ever be able to paint natural hair colour.


Asta x

10/365 paintings challenge - Lady in Red.

I took my daughter out today so I was late painting.  After my initial panic that I wouldn't get it done, I settled down to a wonderful night of painting. That said I really hope this doesn't happen to often. I much prefer to paint before I go out then I don't have it hanging over me. That makes it sound like a burden, but it is more like an itch I have to scratch.

Peace and joy,

Asta x

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

9/365 Paintings Challenge

I had a friend in this painting...she just gave me so much joy. May you feel the same.

Can you help me name this painting? I'm thinking it could be the subject's name.

Asta x

Monday, January 7, 2013

8/365 Paintings Challenge.

I'm calling this one Fancy Pants Valance. It was inspired by gypsy style bedding I'd seen in a book. Its about A5 in size because I'm low on supplies. I will have to restock ASAP. Thankfully a friend is bringing around some preloved acrylic paints on Friday.

I have to share that Blue Eyed Hippy has an admirer and is sold. I am thrilled. She's going to a lovely home!!!

Peace, joy and colour,

Asta x

Sunday, January 6, 2013

7/365 paintings challenge

A storm has  dumped its rain on us. It is hot, humid and dull outside but the plants are glistening, and with uncontrollable fires in a favourite part of Australia at the moment, I am giving thanks with colour.

Asta x

Saturday, January 5, 2013

6/365 Paintings Challenge - Epiphany

We sang carol's at church today - The Epiphany of our Lord, and I was happy to be an Anglican. I love the long Christmas season. So in honour of all that ( and what I have been meditating on) today's subject of my painting has been named Epiphany.

Peace and all good dear friends,

Asta x

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 5/ Asta's 365 Paintings Challenge

Blue Eyed Hippy.

She was inspired by Sumara Brown - who looks good in a hat, and face painting Kristie Pansini.

Thanks for all the Facebook support!!! I value each and every 'like' and comment. Today was hard. Trying not to think about the next 360....

Asta x

Thursday, January 3, 2013

4/365 paintings - Bright Spot

A gloriously bright corner where I imagine snuggling up with a good book. I hope it brings you joy. - Asta x

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

3/365 paintings - Lynda by default

I thought I was painting myself but apparently (according to my kids) I might have painted my friend Lynda. We have often been mistaken for each other. Once a lady said to me, "I have been to lots of your funerals." I was a little confused - what??? - until I remembered the similarity between Lynda and myself -in our appearance and our work in the same church. Lynda is an Anglican priest and I was honoured to briefly support her as her assistant. I miss her now that I have moved, but we did talk on the phone for well over two hours just the other day.
Asta x

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 2, 365 paintings

This is the way I imagine my friend's little girl as a woman.
Asta x