Friday, February 29, 2008

Its Friday Already

The week has flown by. I don't know where the time has gone and I really don't know what I've done all week. I haven't even done any artwork. Does that mean my creative frenzy is over? Hope not.
I have been concentrating on my exercise and trying real hard to lose the weight I've put on over the holidays. Especially that holiday stomach. The older you get the harder it is to shift the weight. That's probably where all my focus has been this week.
Zoe is very excited. She's going to Queensland with her mum and dad next week. She's having the week off school and going to Surfer's Paradise to go to Movie World, Sea World, Wet and Wild, Water World and any other "world" they can find. Julia won cheap accommodation on ebay so it was a spir of the moment thing. They will have a wonderful time and bring back many photos I bet.
Well its market day so I'd better stop rambling and be off.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Nothing much happening around here except catching up on some much needed chores. The creative frenzy I've been on lately has meant all other things have been piling up. Today is some washing and general cleaning and other boring stuff like that, groan.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stories of Old

Bob's Aunt Flo is turing 90 and is having a birthday lunch today. That's Bob's father's sister. Imagine being 90 and still driving a car! That means she was born in 1918. WOW the different eras she's seen. What stories she could tell.
I have always enjoyed the company of people older than me. They usually take life slower. Its as though its to make sure they don't miss those subtle things in life that are truly important. They see life with wise eyes and seem more patient. I could listen to their stories of the way things were in "the good old days" for hours. One of my favourite pastimes (that I miss so much) was to sit at Bob's Mum's kitchen table. It was always covered with a nice table cloth, usually checked fabric with some embroidery. She would make a cup of tea and tell me stories of the past. I think the story I enjoyed best was when it was announced WW2 was over. She explained the atmosphere so well I could almost hear the cheers of the crowd. The excitement and joy would wash over me as if I had been transported back in time.
When I was around 5 years old the person that I considered to be my best friend was a retired gentleman. I called him Uncle Arthur although he was no relation. I was his shadow and followed him everywhere. Under his bed he kept an old trunk filled with all his treasures. On rainy days he would pull out the trunk and show me old photographs and mementos of his life. These stories were better to me than any fairy stories and I would hang on his every word. Thats probably why I love to use vintage photographs in my artwork. Wonder why I've never realised that before. When I was around 10 we moved but Uncle Arthur would still visit me and take me to the movies. He came to my wedding and was still alive at the birth of my son.
Anyway enough reminiscence. Lets hope I'm lucky enough today to hear some of Flo's stories.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nature's Artwork

Went for a walk along the beach yesterday. The hot weather had finally subsided and it was good to get out of the house. I love walking along the beach and yesterday morning it was particularly beautiful. The sand was all rippled like it had captured the ripples of the water and frozen it in time. It felt good under my feet. Cool and damp. The ripples massaging the souls of my feet. This beach is Semaphore beach and before 10am its open for dogs to play on the sand or in the water or with each other. They are allowed off the lead and their humans follow them around carrying all number of things. Balls to chase, towels to dry them with, water to drink and plastic bags to pick up any little deposits that I would not want to step in. I always get this real sense of freedom when I walk on the beach. I seem to withdraw from the world a little bit and go deeper inside myself. Its nearly like the feeling I get when I work on my art. Life is good and I am happy :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rainbow Lorikeets

Gums trees are planted on the street where we live and there is one right outside our window. The gum trees are flowering now which attracts the Rainbow Lorikeets. The racket these birds make is amazing and I absolutely love waking up to their squawking. Its so loud that while talking on the phone I'm asked if I'm in an avery. For days now I've tried to get a good photo of them but this is the best I've got so far.
They move around so much feeding on the nectar its been really difficult but I will keep trying. When Bob and I lived in a rural area my favourite sound in spring time was the bonk bonk bonk of the frogs in the dam. I used to love laying on our bed at dusk listening to them calling each other. I really miss that. Living in the city the different seasons don't seem to be so pronounced. Its either hot or cold. You don't see the countryside changing from yellow to green as the rains come. You don't see lambs playing in spring and you certainly don't hear the frogs. But at least I have that flowering gum tree and the sound of the Rainbow Lorikeets.
Only did a little bit of painting today. I went to the Lion's Club garage sale which is on every Wednesday. Its just a big old shed filled with second hand stuff thats been donated. Lion's Club sell it for charity. I had a couple of good finds today. One was an old wooden chair, real sturdy and the other was a book publish in the 70's called A Small Book of Grave Humour. The book is shaped like a headstone and each page records an ephitaph from old headstones some of which don't exsist anymore. My favourite is this one.
the wife of JOHN FORD
Here's another I particularly liked and had a bit of a chuckle over.
16 Jan 1751
Good people as you
pass by
I pray you on me cast
an eye
For as you am so once
was I
And as I am so must
you be
Therefore prepare to
follow me
I corrected the spelling because it makes it easier to read. I just love old grave stones and have spent hours walking through cemeteries but have never found any as good as these.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Philosophical Day

As soon as the sun stopped blaring in the window yesterday I opened the curtains so I could paint. This happens just after noon. At first I had real trouble. Haven't painted (without any collage elements) for over a year. Probably close to 2 years I reckon. Of course I had to make it difficult for myself and have a drapery in my still life. Used to be good at drawing them but painting them is another story. Being out of practise doesn't help. It all started to come together once I went through all my art books to see how other artists tackle a drapery. I think the biggest problem was my paints drying so quickly because of the heat. Anyway its coming along and I'm enjoying the process. Not going to worry about the outcome ... yet.
Up to chapter 7 in Julia Cameron's Walking in This World. Its 12 weeks of practical strategies for creativity. Had a quick look at chapter 8 and I loved what Julia had written. "When we are in the midst of making something, in the actual creative act, we know we are who and what we are because we forget our public reception for a minute. We become the art itself instead of the artist who makes it. In the actual moment of making art we are blessedly anonymous." I call it "the zone". To me the zone is an amazing place that I resent having to leave to perform mundane tasks. Its a matter of consciousness, a place where I can live outside the restraints of the physical body. I can just be... Its peaceful and very very delicious. I hope thats what death feels like. Sounds like I'm having a philosophical day. Thats rare!
Off to the easel!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Visit From a Friend

No artwork was done yesterday but it was for a really good reason. My girlfriend Kris came to visit. As she too lives in country South Australia she stays overnight and travels home the next day. It was great catching up with her. We had pizza night. Bad I know, but its ok to have take away now and again and they do say that pizza is one of the better take aways to have. Lets hope thats true.
Still hot here but as soon as the sun moves a bit and stops shining in the window I will open the curtains and start on my painting. I have a real need to do a painting without any collage elements. Haven't done a whole painting for over a year and I'm really excited about starting. It is going to be a still life of some white objects; a bowl, an oil bottle, spice jar and a bit of a drapery on the side, all on a white table with a drawer on the front. Its all drawn up on the canvas and ready to go. It will be a bit of a challenge as I usually work in lots of colour. I like to set up the still live and take photos of it to see what the composition looks like, how the shadows are placed and what adjustments I need to make so its interesting. I move the objects around to get different aspects to choose from. Once the images are on the computer I can see which composition looks the best. I like to work from the photos as well as from the actual objects themself. Well enough rambling. Just need to finish a few household chores and its off to the easel. *insert happy smiling face here*

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hot Again

I'm about to start on a new piece of artwork but the weather has heated up again. I have real trouble creating in hot weather. The curtains are all closed to keep out the heat so there's not enough light. Forecast is 36 today (96.8F) with 37 tomorrow (98.6F) and its not meant to be cooling down till Wednesday where they forecast rain HA! Its flooding in Queensland with the highest rainfall in 90 years and here in South Australia nothing! Still on water restrictions. Only allowed to water the garden once a week with a hand held hose. Poor plants suffer when its so hot but the poor farmers are suffering more so I shouldn't complain. Summer will be over soon enough and then I'll be complaining about not enough sun. No pleasing some people hehehe.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Yay! I finished another piece. I hope this creative spell keeps going for awhile. This piece I've called Rosie because the old chevy is all pink and rosie. Its on a stretched canvas 50.8x40.6cm.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Thought I'd share some pics of the exhibition. The theme was Inspirations of the Orient. Orient simply means East and includes China, Japan. Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Laos, Egypt, Turkey, Phillippines and the smaller countries around Russia.

This painting is called Humphrey by Jen Hutchison and it was Julia and my favourite. Its on a very large canvas and although it didn't say what medium was used it looked like oils.

Here is Julia standing in front of her piece called Vision of a Geisha. Its gouache and acrylics on canvas.

Look how proud our little Zoe is with her work Blossom Dreams which is acrylic on bamboo mat. She received a "highly commended" certificate the second year running.

This one is entitled Passion that Flies and its about a Chinese love story. Its acrylic on canvas and painted by my best friend Vanita.

How amazing is this? Complete with cushions on the inside, it won first prize in the sculpture section. Zoe wants one in her bedroom. Entitled A Man's Home is his Castle by Gillian Hornabrook.

Painting section first prize winner Pera Hera by Trish Daniel, acrylic on canvas.

I absolutely loved piece in the photography section. Its part of a series of three entitled Moonlight at Dusk by Ingrid Wimbury.

The middle painting is by a friend of mine Kay Hole entitled What About Me and its an acrylic painting of a Vietnamese orphan.

Oil paintings by Nichola Clarke.

Julia and Zoe

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More about my Entry

Laura had sent me some dvd's. I particularly liked the techniques used by Carrie Burns Brown where she shows you how to stain tissue paper and alter newspaper etc. so I thought I would try it out.
The theme being Inspirations of the Orient made me think that red, black and gold would be good colours to use. I had bought some canvas on a roll and wanted to create something that resembled a wall hanging. When I found the hanging device (which is used to hang wall hangings or those beautiful exotic fabrics) and it was the exact width needed for the canvas I knew I was onto something.
I had real fun staining and altering the tissue paper and I had picked up a Chinese newspaper from the market which I altered. The weather was hot so luckily the papers didn't take long to dry (only minutes in the sun).
So there you have it. The title is Facing East and its constructed of layers of stained and altered tissue paper, altered newspaper and found papers on a piece of unstretched canvas. The top edge of the canvas is stapled to the back of the carved wooden hanging device and just hangs loosely like a piece of fabric (only stiffer because of all the medium used to glue the papers on). I had so much fun creating it, winning that prize is icing on the cake.
Laura, hope that answers all your questions :)

Taste of the Orient

Naracoorte which is situated in the south east of South Australia has an annual festival called The Taste Festival. This year's theme was Taste of the Orient. Naracoorte is in one of South Australia's wine regions so along with some delicious food there is plenty of wine to try. The gallery puts on an exhibition in conjunction with The Taste Festival and entries have to adhere to the theme. There is a sculpture, painting, textile, photography and children's section with each section offering a prize to the winner. There is also a prize for for the best thematic entry. That is for the entry that best captures the theme and is open to all entrants. Well blow me down, guess who won the best thematic entry?

More pics later. Will show you Julia's entry and Zoe's entry. Zoe is very pleased with herself as she received a "highly commended" certificate again this year and the judge had such nice things to say about her painting.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Waiting for Mr. Right

As you know I love to use vintage images in my work. This came about at seeing so many old photographs in antique shops. They were once somebody's loved ones, somebody's daughter or mother or brother or sister and now they lay unwanted and forgotten in a box in the back of an antique shop. Their identity is no longer known or their life's story. This always made me feel sad :( and I would wonder what their life was like. Who had loved them, who did they love, what was going on in their life when the photo was taken? Anyway I started using vintage images and create a new story around them, give them a new life so to speak so they would no longer be forgotten.

Waiting for Mr. Right
This little lady looked so sad and she's all dressed up so she must be waiting for her lover. Lets hope he is Mr. Right.
Back to the studio. I've already started a new piece and its calling me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


The trip went fine. It was real fun travelling with Julia and Zoe, being able to stop whenever we wanted to take photos and not having to worry what other people wanted.

Went swimming in the lake at Naracoorte. Its a human made lake/swimming pool. One side is like a little beach with sand and the other 3 sides are like a swimming pool.

Delivered our entries for the exhibition. The opening is on Friday night so we will be going back for that and staying for the Taste Festival. This year's theme is taste of the orient.

Been on a real creating frenzy in the last couple of days. Been in my studio creating and only coming out to do the usual everyday household chores. Haven't even been spending my usual time on the computer. So that's it for now because my easel is calling me and I have to take advantage of it while the urge is there. Will post pics soon.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

On the Road Again

I'm off to deliver my artwork for the Taste of the Orient exhibition in Naracoorte. Next weekend Naracoorte hosts their annual Taste Festival and the gallery puts on an exhibition in conjunction with the festival. My best friend Vanita is the art teacher in the local high school so thats how I got involved. Its about three and a half to four hour drive but thats nothing in Australia. Could go there and back on the one day but decided to stay over and spend time with Vanita.