2011 Australian Flood Appeal

So I’m sitting here… safe and dry in our 4WD. We’re parked under our daughter’s carport and have been here for more than a month now. We turned up here to hide when the rains started… mainly to stay dry for a while. And then the flood came…

We haven’t had a whole lot of trauma associated with the flood in our part of the world, thank whatever powers that be. Not really… not when you take into account the horror and tragedy that have impacted on the rest of our state. And now, so much more of our country seems to be disappearing beneath the torrent of flood.

I feel kind of useless here. Sure, we knew a couple of families who needed a little help with the clean-up around their yards, but the SES guys did such a great job cleaning up that we weren’t needed. We’ve sneakily fostered our son’s dog for the duration, but we can’t foster animals for the long term because we have no yard to house them in. We’ve been there to listen and support our friends, offered advice etc… the little that we could do. Most around here take a flood in their stride, so there’s not really much supporting or advising to do. We’re not wealthy people, so a large monetary donation is out of the question. I can’t help with heavy clean-up work because I have a bad back.  We have no special skills… no useful equipment… no extra goods to donate. All we could really do while we were sitting here dry and safe under the carport is upload photos and keep track of everything happening via updates on the net, … but I still feel like I haven’t done enough.

It’s kind of frustrating.

And so I started thinking hard on this one. I thought about all the people in all the communities affected by this flood. It started playing on my mind… all the news reports… the number of times that I have had to phone, text or email someone to make sure they’re ok… the bad news… the humour… the pride. Finally I decided that it was going to do my head in if I didn’t at least TRY to do something else. And so…

I gathered together all those multi-facets of my personality to try and nut this problem out. After the initial general murmuring and jostling, we sat down around a beer, a bong and a packet of Samboy Tomato Sauce chips… and we had a little meeting…

‘What can I do to help out?’ I asked myselves as we all found comfy chairs.

‘Well,’ my outrageous arty side replied. ‘I can paint… I could make an art piece and offer it up for auction. It’ll be brown and violent and full of Aussie tenaciousness…”

‘You’re pretty full of yourself, aren’t you?’ that bitchy side spat venomously. Outrageous arty side glared at that bitchy side, who had that frustrating smile on her face. She just loves making trouble… and she loves picking outrageous arty side any chance she can… sometimes she reacts in completely unpredictable ways and that bitchy side loves anarchy.

We all know that she stirs shit for fun… but we’re also thankful that she’s there for us when we need her,  so we put up with it, lovingly even. None of us chastise her… not really.

‘Come on now, don’t start fighting already,’ mother said… but gently. ‘We’re here to try and solve some problems, not make more.’ Mother is the only one of us who really has any control over bitchy. She sulks with a flourish, but to her credit, she sits down dutifully. Then another small voice speaks up.

‘She has a point though,’ whispered the scared little girl. ‘We’ve never tried to sell our art before. What makes you think that this could work?’

‘What makes you think that it won’t?’ asked pride, a little too harshly.

‘Arty side is pretty good, you know,’ agrees confident independant woman. ‘You guys never give her enough credit.’

There were a few quiet murmurs from hope, compassion and will, until now sitting quietly in the corner, munching on chips.

‘So what would we do with it?’ asked practical is best. ‘We’re not famous and we don’t have any real contacts with the art world. Where would we offer it for auction?’

‘The Green Bus!’ happy tree-hugging hippy chic in the tie-dyed headband shouted… then looked nervously around to see if she’d reacted a little too strongly… then giggled.

Hope, compassion and will shifted their chairs a little closer to the conversation. We all saw this as a good sign. Perhaps… if those guys were gaining some interest…

‘The Green Bus…’ mother mused. ‘That’s not a bad idea.’

‘And Twitter… and RedBubble… don’t forget them.’ Geeky emo chic suddenly became interested in the conversation and jumped in with heaps of techie ideas. But to be honest, she gets so intense and geeky sometimes that most of us just lose track of where she’s going and turn off. To save geeky emo chic from doing her pills because no-one was listening to her, we gave her some new glitter pens and an A4 size notebook and sent her off with the pedantic whining one (’cause she would have just been a pain in the arse anyway) to make a long and detailed list of it all… all the while assuring both of them that they were doing a great job.

Suddenly brutal honesty spoke up with the thought that we’d all put off speaking. We all sighed…

‘How much can we raise… really?’ she asked. ‘What if our effort comes to nought?’

‘It won’t,’ the dreamer injected. ‘None of it will be for nought. We may raise $20… we may raise $200… but not one cent of it will be for nought. Every little bit helps, even if it’s to buoy the spirits. Sometimes the outcome of an experience is more rewarding than mere dollars and cents, you know. Has anyone ever thought of that?’ A short silence ensued as we mentally slapped ourselves in the head for being so worried about our artistic ‘value’… probably broken by the munching of chips, or something similar…

‘I don’t want to be responsible for handling any money,’ stressed out slapper whinged.

‘I hope we can’t get in trouble for this,’ worrier worried. ‘What about the legal stuff?’

Suddenly a gale blew through the meeting, sending papers flying willy nilly… several of us gasped.

‘Legal stuff? What legal stuff could there be?’ the great aussie battler bawled, her voice a mixture of the recent thunder and the sound a wayward cow makes as it floats past your front verandah. ‘What’re they gonna sue us for tryin’ to help our mates out in a rough patch?’

‘Yeah, fuck’m if they don’t like it,’ the bitchy one called from the corner. It kind of surprised us that she agreed with someone… for a minute or two we all just kinda stared at each other.

‘So, we’re really gonna do this, huh?’ the wild pioneer asked, her smile radiating sunshine and beautiful birdsong into the air around her head. ‘I’m proud of you guys.’

Suddenly scared little girl started to whimper.

‘But I”m scared,’ she cried softly. Mother came and scooped her up gently in her arms.

‘We all are,’ she whispered, ‘but we’re all here for each other. That’s why we have to try.’ Little girl smiled and mother hugged her close and tucked her into bed with her teddy.

The meeting continued and all details were discussed rather peacefully after that… surprisingly. It’s been generally agreed that while we may not know everything (Note: bitchy side and pride both wish it duly noted that they are NOT in agreement with the rest of those soft-headed pussies), we would very much like to give this a real go.

Details were passed to verbally eloquent and somewhat humorous to try to pass on to the rest of human civilisation…

Yeah, I know… I’m probably crazy. But I am an artist… we don’t call artists crazy. We call them eccentric.

So here’s the piece, some close detail and information on how you can be a part of this auction. Please get involved if you can… if you can’t, then perhaps you might know of someone else who might be interested. Let’s see how much we can make for our Aussie Flood Appeal.

This piece remains unnamed (at present). As a part of this prize, the winning bidder will be given the opportunity to name the piece and a dedication will be inscribed on the back, along with date and artist details.

2011 Australian Flood Appeal PhoenixArt

I envisioned doing a painting that would convey our land, from our distinctive red lands to our productive black dirt. As I plastered water paints onto my canvas, I pictured the land engulfed by the thick brown flood water that so many of us have become accustomed to in recent weeks. I added water, diluting the paint… and as I watched the resulting drips I saw gouges and furrows dug from the land as raging waters tried to escape. I saw rivers and creeks, flowing and overflowing into areas where water normally doesn’t go.

2011 Australian Flood Appeal PhoenixArt Top Left Detail

As I flicked water and paint with my fingers, I saw rain and wind and rising water, bringing with it deluges that overtake all manner of material ‘things’ and carry them as flotsam on the inland tide. More flicking, and several shades of mud splotches appeared, sticky and brown, grey and smelly. To finish this piece, I ‘drowned’ the whole thing in a dirty brown concoction of paint, water… and some small leaves and dirt. This was an homage, of sorts… to the many other artworks of mine to have been destroyed by rain or flood. And then I saw the retreat of the water, and the result of ‘inundation’… the ‘stuff’ left behind, the property drowned and ruined. Carefully, I lifted the piece out of the water, and was pleased to see small pieces of dirt and leaves left behind to mimic the detritus left behind for so many of us to clean up.

2011 Australian Flood Appeal PhoenixArt Bottom Right Detail

This multi-media piece has been created with water paints on a D/1616 Mont Marte 46x46cm (18″x18″) mounted canvas. In creating it I have also used small leaves, twigs and flowers which have been sealed to the canvas with artists’ sealant.

We here, on The Green Bus will be privately auctioning this piece to raise funds for the 2011 Flood Relief Effort in Australia. However, we don’t want any money to change hands during this transaction… well, not through our hands anyway. What we ask is that the winning bidder donate an amount equivalent to their winning bid to any Flood Assistance charity of their choosing. Whether that be here in QLD or another part of Aus, we don’t care. Whether you’d prefer to donate to The Premier’s Fund, help to fund an animal shelter, or even if you’d like to donate to a more specified smaller appeal that’s been organisation closer to your own home community… that’s completely up to you. All we ask is that the proceeds go to helping our mates out.

Make your bids here, in the form of a comment on this post. Remember, I can see your email address, so please don’t bid if you don’t mean it. We’ll keep bidding open for… oh, let’s tentatively say a couple of weeks? Let’s say the 1st of February (QLD time… AEST… +10GMT) We’ll keep track of them and announce any new bids on Twitter as they come along. At the end of the auction we’ll ask the winning bidder to make their donation and provide us with proof of payment in the form of an official receipt or email from their chosen Flood Relief Fund. When we receive that confirmation, the piece will be shipped out ASAP.

So there you go… that’s my convoluted contribution. I guess now it’s just up to you guys…. if you like.

‘Gerrat it mates…’

‘Yeah come on… have a go.’

‘… if you don’t mind, that is…’

‘God, you’re such a suck-up.’

‘Man that was hard… I’m tired now.’

‘I’m hungry…’ …



  1. Nikki said,

    January 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    What a great idea, to have the winner choose their charity of choice, I think that’s excellent! Off to retweet this now 🙂

  2. twistyman said,

    January 16, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    I like your idea and initiative Tina…

    something good from the bad isn’t just artistic…but a poignant part of healing… more so seeing bad memories turned into a piece of art…

    and as I’m sure we all have seen worldwide that 60% of whatever $’s are given seem to be absconded with by (insert name/group here)….
    and never really used to help the soul..just the materialistic side..

    Sadly I saw one of your TV reporters that had been reporting the flood story and now she IS the story as her place was flooded, and by the sounds of it unless its a flood on tuesday at 12:46 and under full moon the insurance won’t pay…


    and your gestures are surely what the affected will appreciate….

    My best to My good friends..
    The Damn Aussies….

    stay safe my friends…Bob.

    • Tina said,

      January 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

      Things are tough for a good deal of us right now, Bob. Watching news reports made me cry at first., and I know that many others felt just as I did. But I also feel a massive pride when watching my neighbours band together and help each other out. If anything good has come of this, it’s the realisation that it really is ok to help someone out just because they need it… or at least try to.

      Thanks Bob. All the best, my friend… xx

  3. GOF said,

    January 19, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Your meeting of great minds came up with a wonderful idea Tina, and the art work really depicts the disaster so well.

    We felt similarly helpless….if we lived closer we would have driven there with shovels and buckets to do some cleaning up….in the end we just collected the small amount of money we could afford and donated it in Cairns yesterday. Sadly we know it was woefully inadequate in light of the number of people suffering, but I guess every little bit helps.

    Wishing you well with your project.

    • Tina said,

      January 19, 2011 at 10:38 am

      Thanks GOF. I thought it might be a fun project. I’m glad to see that others do too 😎

      Got a little dirty yesterday, btw. Couldn’t help myself, I always loved making mud pies as a kid… shame this stuff smells like that slurry that runs out the side of a cattle truck when it stops next to you at the lights… *little gagging smiley* 😉

  4. Smellyhed said,

    January 21, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I would love to make a bid!! Even if you do only make $20, imagine if everyone donated $20! I live in Brisbane, my home was luckily missed by the flood waters by metres, and I workas a chef at VIctoria Point, a good 50 minute drive away. The day that the floods were to peak was the deadest day that I have ever worked and it warmed my heart that people out there, safe from the floods were sitting at home worrying, watching the news, keeping up to date with it all and with their hearts going out to the flood victims. The very next day was back the other end if the scale…. People were out to lunch and dinner, partying to late as if nothing were wrong! Now I understand that life goes on and u can’t dwell in the past.. But this is the very next day.. The waters hadn’t even receeded yet!! All day I couldnt help thinking…. How about you have water with ur lunch and donate the $44 you were going to spend on a bottle of wine.. Or skip lunch entirely, make it yourself, donate the lot… Do u really need 8 rum and cokes tonight? How about just 6 instead, you will still go home drunk and the flood appeal has just made $14! As well as chef, I also work in our cocktail bar of a night time and we are currently taking donations for the flood appeal, as many other businesses are doing and since the flood I have not taken home a single tip!! I may not have done much as an individual but if we all did it?? Who knows!! If everyone gave up one creature comfort (whether it be lunch, or a massage, a coffee, or a new skirt, a pedicure…. I think u get my drift) for one week or one day even and donated that money, in my opinion that would make one hell of a difference.. While we are out getting our hair done, and going clothes shopping and lunching with our friends, people have lost loved ones and everything they own….

    So I want to continue doing my bit (as little as it may be)!! My official starting bid will be $20…… Let’s get this started!!!!

    • Tina said,

      January 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

      Thanks for starting us off smellyhed 😎 Official bid stands at $20…

      Love your comment, by the way. I love that you’ve decided to help out in the little ways that you can. It can sometimes be dis-heartening to see people carrying on with extravagance when you have to go home past others who are having a really hard time. If nothing else, this atmosphere of caring is contagious. Your small contributions may well inspire others who can contribute more… it happens every day. I hope that you’re proud of yourself, because I am. XX

      Thanks heaps for our starting bid. Let’s see if we can inspire a few more… we might even have a bit of fun along the way… 😎

      Bidding’s open ladies and gents…

  5. January 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    After reading your post this go round (I skimmed it a few days ago…), I admire your efforts and your creative outlets of art and writing. I like what you said: “Yeah, I know… I’m probably crazy. But I am an artist… we don’t call artists crazy. We call them eccentric.”… heeheehee ;D … I can relate, lol. I wish you the best w/the auction here (nice job by the way after really reading the descriptions this time) and it’d be nice to bid but alas I cannot. Take Care!

    • Tina said,

      January 30, 2011 at 8:56 am

      Thanks for your kind words das.

      There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of eccentricity, in my opinion. The world would be a somewhat boring place without it. I’m glad I could give you a smile 😉

      Take care of you

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