Canowindra Flood 2022 The Reed Bends But Does Not Break

Canowindra Flood 2022 The Reed Bends But Does Not Break


Canowindra Floods 2022 – “The Reed Bends But Does Not Break”

When the floods hit Canowindra in November 2022, it took everybody by surprise. Unlike Eugowra, 30 km down the road, our town was not all but destroyed. However, there were several homes flooded and many businesses along Gaskill St directly affected.

A friend of mine has a cabin in her back yard that backs onto the Belubula River flood plain. The water flooded up to the windows of the cabin both inside and out. The cabin was being used for storage. My friend lost photos, books and many precious items that recalled her life growing up in Germany.

Cabin Flood 2022

Cabin 2022 Canowindra Flood

I helped her with the clean-up. As we opened the door the first thing you see was how much mud and silt coated everything and the thick glue like sludge that used to be the carpet.

I quickly noticed an art canvas lying in the mud. It had streaks across it where the muddy flood water had ran across its surface. The canvas was ruined and was destined for the ever-growing council pick up pile on the nature strip – or was it? I brought it home with an idea forming.

My imagination realised this canvas had a story to tell – a story of survival. Over the streaks of mud from the flood water I painted some reeds. The water reed is known to bend in the wind and rain but not break. It is a reminder of the resilience of communities like ours when faced with traumatic events such as floods.

How strong are our country towns and our local people. Some have lost everything and yet say they will rebuild. Some come close to death yet say they would never leave. This painting reminds us that natures forces, disaster and trauma may bend us, but need not break us.

I’d like to say personally how inspiring many of the locals are who have come through this latest disaster with heads held high. As well as the many, many helpers who have done the awesome, dirty, smelly and often unseen job of post flood clean up.


Canowindra’s Gaskill St

Site of our monthly Palms Markets. Extremely fast moving water

Creativity Vs Despair

Creativity Vs Despair

About a friend

The title of this Blog could be “Creativity overcomes Despair”. But either way you look at creativity it’s worth trying. A friend sent me some photos yesterday. Stuck at home with two kids under 2 and a husband on night shifts, she inspired me with photos of cardboard cutouts of bugs for her son to paint and little clay toadstools for her son to find in the garden. How cool is that! I wish she’d been my mum. 


We all could easily give into despair right now as just having the TV on for any length of time can lead down that path. So much is happening in the world and not much of it is good news. Can I suggest you turn off the news and be creative? 

There are options

The world is full of wonder and I see it in the people I mix with. My dad, who’s 91, is doing a latch hook rug of autumn colours which is gorgeous. Friends who I garden for are loving the new growth and planting possibilities of this season. My husband has gotten out his model aircraft and is building it again. So much we can do. 

Give it a go

Some of you may day say “I haven’t a creative bone in my body”. But try something new – plant a plant, make a hanging mobile of keys. Cut out something, paint something, take photos of something, cook something, write in a journal, write a poem, write a memory. 

Over breakfast this morning Russ read some memories of a friend of ours from Broken Hill. We were both transported to the very scene and felt that we could both see very clearly our friend in those particular circumstances. It was so much fun remembering those times. You don’t have to show anyone just try. 


We all need to break the despair cycle and it may make a mess (my husband has taken over the dining table with his hobby) but what the heck if it keeps the black dog at bay it’s worth it. The white dog in our lives loves creativity and I feel we all are made to create, just like our Heavenly Father who has made such amazing creations in nature. 

Anyway, try it.

The Perfect Art Workshop Scene

The Perfect Art Workshop Scene

The Perfect Art Workshop Scene

A friend of mine came up with the idea of a backyard Art Workshop. Her own backyard has the ideal view with Mt Nangar on the horizon, a homestead in the mid-ground and an olive grove in the foreground. It’s the perfect scene.

Eight enthusiastic women signed up and we enjoyed a beautiful sunny afternoon creating masterpieces. Wine and a wonderful charcuterie platter set the stage for a wonderful time.

Wine and charcuterie platterGetting Started

To get everyone started painting the perfect art workshop scene, I began with a landscape painting lesson. This involved some art basics such as perspective, composition and colour management. The ladies experience ranged from complete newbies to dabblers in art. I impressed with how focused everyone was even after a few wines. A great afternoon was had by all with eight diverse paintings were created.  

Expressions of Interest

There are so many amazing landscape scenes in the area around Canowindra to inspire the artist in all of us.  We have wineries with amazing views such as Rosnay Organic Wines and Wallington Wines and they would love to welcome a small group of budding or experienced artists to visit and capture the scenes on canvas.
Costs will be around $120 per person.  This includes an art lesson, art supplies, wine (or an alternative for non drinkers such as myself), and a delicious food platter to share throughout the afternoon.  Transport can be arranged to and from the workshop for $30pp for those who would appreciate a “Plan B”.  Let me know if you are interested in participating in an art experience and workshop like this in the future.

The Painting Process

In the Head

Before I put brush to canvas a lot has already happened in my brain. I visualise the painting, play with the composition and consider options – all in my head.

In this blog I will lead you through my process for creating a “Sue Hodge masterpiece”. The painting I am working on is a commissioned work and the client wants something rural based featuring the colours and life in the country.


Naturally with spring in full bloom, so there is lots of inspiration around. I’ve chosen a wheat field in a contemporary impressionism style.  A farmer maybe deeply concerned as there will be paterson’s curse and dandelions growing in the crop. There will be bees, bugs and grasshoppers also at work. I have a lot of fun day dreaming about what could be in a small patch of paddock.

So much life and fun can be captured making the creative process extremely enjoyable and fascinating. Having fun whilst painting is important to me because it will come through in the finished work. Now that the thinking, imagining, dreaming stage is done it is time for the doing stage.

Down to Business

It is essential that I get the base and background right. Generally, if I get the background right the rest will flow.

For the sky I put a blue wash down to make the rest of the paint stand out. The sky has a very bright sun in it with blue broad brush strokes to emphasise movement and motion and is inspired by Van Gogh skies. I love Van Gogh. Once I’m happy with the sky I move on to the horizon. Using the one third rule – one third from the top I put in a curved horizon line. This gives it that impressionistic style.  “What I feel rather than what is real” is how I describe impressionism.

 The Horizon line has a thin orange line across it to connect it with the sun’s light. The curve of the earth in a portrait format creates more depth in the painting. So moving down the picture starting with lighter coloured wheat I move forward. I need to take care not to clutter the space so the main feature plants (paterson’s curse), animals and bugs will be visible. The bugs will be subtle, producing a game of “spot the bug”. This makes it fun and interesting for the viewer. 

Enter the painting

So there are 3 sections. The Sky, the mid-ground, and the foreground. The foreground will have several striking wheat stalks and a feature paterson’s curse plant. The Paterson’s curse plant is the focus of the composition and leads your eye in and through the painting. 

As you look and travel into the painting more and more can be discovered.  Amongst the plants are grasshoppers, ladybugs, bees, spiders, maybe a mouse or two and ants etc. 

So the goal is a fun, enjoyable painting with pleasant surprises, loads of life and subtle activity, presented with Colour | Movement | Passion.

Hope you can enjoy the process and the finished work.

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

Some people call it fate, some karma, some call it luck or just coincidence. When things go our way we often contemplate a cause or surmise the source.  But when things go wrong how often do we blame God and say it’s just not fair? (I like to do the opposite). I was recently having a discussion with a dear friend about how some people wallow in their grief or despair when life doesn’t go their way. With Covid restrictions and the bad news constantly on the TV it is easy to excuse negativity and despondency.

However, if you really look for that rainbow above the dark clouds of despair, it’s there and you will find it – no matter how bad your circumstances are. Recently I haven’t had time to be depressed because God has being reminding me that there are many great things happening in my world.

On Q&I recently the subject of discussion was failure and it got me thinking we have all had failures and grief to bear. None of us are protected from loss, sickness or real confusion and pain but how do we move on? My husband is a great example to me of someone who moves on. After two near fatal accidents in his life, one of which took his right leg, he still finds something each day to get up for – but that’s his story.

For me at the moment, life’s just been too good. First, I didn’t quite know how we’d afford meat given our current budget. A friend gave me a whole stack of lamb to use – “out of the Blue”.  I was getting a bit sad that my website wasn’t moving paintings on, when “out of the blue” I got a great commission. Then Russ gets his licence back – yay! no more driving him around. The scenery at the moment is to die for. I hope you all have the opportunity to look out at the world around us. The new blossoms, the green and yellow fields. The birds, the flowers, it’s gorgeous at the moment.

Then to top it all off, my husband did some housework. It may not sound special but it’s not easy for him to vacuum our place. I got home from work yesterday and found he’d vacuumed and mopped – “out of the Blue ” How good is that!

Anyway in my world I thank my Heavenly Father for all that is good. Whatever you put the source down to, good things are always happening. Try and get into the habit of looking for those wonderful things that can happen in your day. As for me I have a new painting to start, one with lots of colour, life and fun.
Stay tuned . . .

Want to purchase this painting?  Click here