Perth art classes

The Scent of Peace and Possibility

Perth art classes

I remember that first day.

I had left what I thought was my ‘new life’ in Fiji, to start my ‘new life’ in Australia. It was my third Big Move in as many years. But when you’re eighteen you don’t think about the gravity of it, you don’t think of the uncertainties ahead. It was just what was happening in my life.

I remember pulling up into my aunt’s driveway at her house in Como for the first time. Noting the strangeness of an Australian native garden and the bark mulch that covered the earth.  I had grown up in Penang and then lived in Fiji – places of lush tropical gardens, green grass and thick foliage. I had never seen mulch. Never seen a tree as strange and beautiful as the Silver Princess gum, which weeped gracefully in her front yard.

But the thing that was most unusual was the air. It was clear and crisp and clean and different to anything I had experienced. And it’s scent was something I will never forget:

The scent of a new life, the scent of my first day in Australia.

Art Classes in Perth

I was unaware that soon I would be tasting whipped cream for the first time, (eating so much of it that I threw up!) and learning how to drive (I passed on the fourth go 🙂 And then before long … there would be first love, heart-break, marriage, setting up home, having a family, becoming a scientist, becoming an artist, losing my husband to cancer, gaining life-long friends, losing my mum to Alzheimers …

I was unaware of all of this that first day in my aunt’s driveway, as I breathed in the unfamiliar scents and noted the strange beauty around me that this was the place, Australia, that I would live a whole, full life.


So much of our days are focussed on the things we are striving towards – goals and resolutions and intentions that drive us forward. We need them, of course, to give us purpose and direction. It is the nature of a goal to be something you haven’t reached yet, so goals often leave us feeling ‘unfinished’, maybe even a little incomplete, until that goal is met.

Perhaps it’s just me, but when I focus a lot on my goals, I forget the Simple Good Things of the present.

It’s been a hot, dry summer in Perth and it hasn’t rained for a very long time. But it did today. And I remembered, as I walked in the damp forest, light rain on my face, that almost forgotten fragrance that Australian eucalypts emit, especially when it rains after a dry spell.

To me it is the scent of Peace and Possibility.

I remembered what a privilege it was to live in this beautiful, vast country. I felt a deep gratitude for the strange twists of life that brought me here, four decades ago, as an eighteen year old. I remembered the kindness of my aunt and cousins in giving me a home.

I remembered that no matter what the future holds, no matter what I do, reach, achieve or don’t … what a privilege it is right now, to walk in a forest, to have the companionship of a loyal dog, loving family, diverse and gorgeous friends. To write things that people read. To make things that people buy. To have the resources to turn inward in prayer and reflection or outward to counsellors and mentors when I need to.

Today, goals and dreams are less important than stepping outside and breathing in the scent of Peace and Possibility.

Art classes in Perth Hills

ART CLASSES IN PERTH – Coming up in my hills studio:

PAINTING FOR BEGINNERS – the One Day Intensive on Sat April 18, 2020.
“Wow! What a wonderfully creative day we all had. I organised 5 friends to attend ‘Painting for Beginners’ and this workshop surpassed my expectations. Malini was fun, warm, informative and very professional. She was a delight to be around and open to sharing all she had. We were so impressed with the gorgeous venue, the abundance of guidance provided and a day spent with friends where we could play, be curious and open to a new way of expressing ourselves in the world.” –Deidre Nevins, Feb 23, 2020.
Book PAINTING FOR BEGINNERS here on April 18.

PAINTING WITH TEXTURE – Two Day workshop on March 28 & 29, 2020.
“Painting with texture is something I’ve never done so I was fascinated to give it a go. I learnt so many awesome techniques & can’t wait to use texture on my newest paintings! Not only is she a wonderful teacher Malini is funny, kind & caring. At the end of just 2 days she had our whole class so comfortable with each other that we felt like a big family! This fun fulfilling work shop is definitely something you will benefit from & you won’t regret.”– Ebony Taylor, Perth

Hope to see you there!

Perth art classes with Malini Parker

Malini Parker is an artist, writer and teacher.
From her home studio perched over a fragrant forest,
she runs beginners art classes in Perth, Western Australia
that help awaken creativity and amplify joy!
Find out more here:

Comments 20

  1. Reading your beautiful words from a very wet Yorkshire in the UK. However, today the sun is out albeit it briefly and I am inspired to take my loyal four-legged companion out to smell the air and be present to what is around me.

    Much love and gratitude,

    Anisa x

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      So different on this side of the world!! Hot dry and “crispy”!! But of course we can always find things to be grateful for – no matter what! Thank you for reading my story and for your kind words. Much love x

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  2. Hi Malini, I so enjoyed reading your story. I agree, there is something astoundingly beautiful in the smell and colours of the Australian bush after/when it rains. Love it. I really enjoyed all of the photos in this post too. Thank you for sharing. xo Penny

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      It’s the little things, isn’t it?! So glad you could relate, Penny! Thank you for stopping by, and sharing your thoughts too. Xx

  3. So true, Mal! Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans… And the opportunities to show gratitude for right now, right here are what can give joy if we only look!

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  4. Thank you, Malini!

    Your brilliant writing moved me to happy tears- from a heart excited about the possibilities of future!

    Just got back to my apartment after collecting keys for our new home and reading this message filled my heart with so much hope and gratitude.

    The move to Perth, Australia has been a unique blend of shocks, surprises and discoveries. I do miss the tropical lushness I am all too familiar with and the warmth of friendship that is lost with distances traversed.

    Today your words brought back wonderful memories of both and I can’t help but feel immense gratitude for everything I had and everything that is yet to be…

    Thank you…. Thank you for sharing your light so generously….

    Much love,
    A kindred spirit

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      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and also for the eloquence of your words. Truly beautiful.

      I’m so glad that my little story came at a helpful time in your life. It is my wish and prayer that my writing sparks a little joy, a little hope in others – so you made my day!

      I wish you so much joy in all the wonderful possibilities that your new life holds! All the best to you my dear xx

  5. Hey Mal, just loved this blog. Peace & possibility & looking at the soooooo many things to be grateful for. It actually, has already helped with something I’ve been grappling with
    Thank you

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      Yay!! That’s wonderful Yve! (Writing these thoughts often help me with things I’m grappling with too).Thank you for reading and sharing x

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  6. Peace and possibility – that’s what I sort of look for, but at my (much older) age, but thought I’d not I find it unless in prayer and meditation. However, looking at the sun streaming in the window right now after the morning’s storm, can see nothing but tranquility and the wonderful shapes on our ceiling from DVD discs (thanks to a crazy husband who put them there).
    Finding peace these days for me is the joy at seeing my grand-children take the next step of their lives (one getting married this weekend), and the anticipation of seeing my daughter and grand-daughter in New Zealand in a few short weeks.
    The scent of Australia I take with me may be overtaken by the scent of NZ as such a green and lovely country.
    Thank you for reminding me of these important parts of our lives. Such a treasure in your writings. xxxxxxxxxx

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      I love reading your comments, Robin! There’s always a little slice of your life and travels and family in them!! Aaaah New Zealand… green and lovely indeed. have a wonderful time and all the best for the wedding, gosh what a milestone! much love xx

  7. Petrichor – the smell of rain after a long dry period. Last week I learnt this word via a FB post about Paul Kelly – he has written a song about it. I too love the smell of Australian bush after rain. I’m lucky to live in a Perth suburb with lots of small patches of bush. Thanks for reminding me how lucky we are Malini xx

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      Ooh cool word!! Thanks for petrichor – it doesn’t sound like what it is but I’ll take your word for it (haha, excuse the pun!)

      After I wrote that post, crazy huge storms hit Perth… hope they missed your place.

      Take care and thanks so much for reading my story! Xx

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