Thursday, May 31, 2007

GPAC courtyard

from w
After our bookclub meeting in the GPAC cafe - where we had been discussing 'The Bookseller of Kabul' I had ten minutes before chasing after a bus so I did a sketch in the courtyard of the Geelong Performing Arts Centre. I noticed that there was an old church there, which today is used for studios and shops. I coloured the pencil drawing at home but got a bit hectic with the colours ... and lazy with the stonework.

I changed it to black and white using Picasa to see the difference.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A sand mandala - subject or technique

from w
Once again we are privileged to have Tibetan monks in our community sharing their artwork and philosophy with us. There is a Buddhist temple/community just outside Geelong and in early June the Dalai Lama will be visiting Geelong. Information about the Drolkar Buddhist centre and special events is here.

I saw them last time at the local Art Gallery but this year they will be at the Wool Museum. Here subject and technique are both intriguing. Notes here from local Arts Bulletin.

Tibetan Monks at National Wool Museum
Creation of the Spectacular Sand Mandala

As part of the Sacred Footsteps from the Roof of the World Australian Tour, Tibetan Monks will create a sand mandala at the National Wool Museum. Leading up to the Dalai Lama's visit to Geelong, the Monks' Tour will share some of the most distinctive aspects of Tibetan culture with the people of Geelong and promote peace and cross-cultural relationships. The mandala is created by the monks to remind us of the cycle of life and death and to generate positive energy for the benefit of all beings. The intricate design is carefully recreated according to ancient texts and is constructed on a hard flat surface using copper funnels filled with various colours of dyed crushed marble. Visitors to the National Wool Museum have a unique opportunity to view the creation of this amazingly detailed work of art.

Dates: 30 May to 3 June 2007
Time: 9.30am to 5pm daily
Venue: National Wool Museum, 26 Morrabool Street, Geelong
Cost: Free entry to see Sand Mandala (normal Museum entry costs and times apply to all other exhibitions).
Contact: (03) 5227 0701

Quote of the Week:
"I must see new things and investigate them. I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds."
- Egon Schiele

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Painting - subject or technique

from w
I visited an art exhibition the other day of recent paintings by Leigh Chiller. All were landscapes (I think) but when I looked close at the way the paint was painted onto the canvas it seemed he used thick paint manipulated by something like a credit card. Not a brush in sight - or not many. This made me think about the difference between subject matter in a painting and the interest in technique.

In some pictures the technique is almost invisible as the emphasis is on the subject - such as the pic here taken of Fiji Institute of Technology students looking at a painting.

Leigh Chiller's work however demands that the viewer guess what the picture is about.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Peace article with pic by Judy Green

from w
An article in Saturday's Age newspaper was illustrated by my cousin's daughter, Judy Green, so here is her picture.

The writer of the article, Steven Pinker from Harvard University, says that there has been a decline in violence over the centuries. It certainly does not seem so because in the present time we are inundated with images and stories in the daily news about atrocities and man's inhumanity to man. However he said we are moving forward.

Perhaps today there are many people out there who do recognize violence as obscene and that something ought to be done about it.

Are we getting kinder and gentler?

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

More pictures of Buckley's Falls

from w
I did not use Photo-edit this time! However I did some more work on the sketches I made on Friday morning at Buckley's Falls where the water is flowing again. I added a bit of pastel and white paint, etc. to the original drawings. The sepia versions were made just by clicking on a button before I scanned.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Exploring colours and shapes using Photo-edit

from w
Some readers of this site don't like manipulation of drawings and paintings but I like to see what happens when a drawing is reshaped and altered. The original pics were mostly about A4 in size, in pencil, felt-pen, watercolour or pastel (I think) though one of a fern started off as an etching. If I had time some of these little samples could be painted onto canvas but I am not a patient person.
Here goes:

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Buckleys Falls near Geelong

from w
Peceli and I prepared a picnic and sketching equipment and drove to Buckleys Falls where there is an old paper mill that has been there for many years. The river is flowing, even the waterfall. We sketched trees, rocks, water and the old building. Later I'll do something more serious with the sketches which were done very quickly.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Classical music for crying babies

from w
I heard about this on the radio this morning and was intrigued. At first I thought they had a lineup of babies howling on Eb G Bb or in a minor key or something! But what a nice idea it is - 45 minutes for mums and their little kids. Soothing Faure perhaps? Not the Bruch Violin Concerto slow movement I heard this morning which was brilliant.

from the radio station website: 3MBS - FM about 203 on the dial, the best station for 'classical' music in Victoria.

3MBS Cry Baby Classical Concerts - Music for children of all ages!

The City of Yarra and 3MBS proudly present the first in a series of Cry Baby Classical Concerts for babies, children and adults.

Music for children will be performed live by the Darcy Quartet (pictured) as part of the Fitzroy Town Hall Reopening Celebrations. These concerts are specifically designed for parents with babies and young children.....

Time: 2:00pm (45 mins)
Where: Reading Room of the Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier Street.

These events are free and all are welcome! 3MBS FM, in conjunction with the Reopening Celebrations for Fitzroy Town Hall....

Numerous studies around the world have concluded that playing music to babies in the womb and in the early years helps build the neural bridges along which thoughts and information travel.

Research suggests it creates a feeling of calm; helping babies to be soothed by classical music.

Music for children will be performed live and babies and adults are all welcome.
3MBS FM is now installed in our beautiful new premises in the St Euphrasia Building at the Abbotsford Convent. We will always continue to promote classical music not only through broadcasting but through music education, appreciation and live performances such as the Cry Baby Classical Concerts.

The music of Mozart and Beethoven will still be alive in 30 years when your baby is an adult and you can guarantee 3MBS FM will be part of it!

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

The garden is greening up

from w
Two of the plants in the garden seem to be thriving at present, the succulants and the fuschia, so here are two pics of them.
I've just installed an updated security suite for the computer and the firewall doesn't seem to like Picasa so I had to muck about to get these on file. I can't send emails at present so I've done something stupid. I probably clicked too many times on something.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The value of a Rothco painting

from w
A painting by Rothco called White Centre (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) was sold this week for $US$73 million which is $A88 million. Unbelievable! Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld might say. It was pwmed bu US banker, David Rockefleller and sold in New York. Picture from today's Age newspaper so the shadow is NOT part of the painting, nor the mirror shadows from another page in the paper!

But, look at the wall painted in Melbourne and the climbing men made out of milk crates and it's value is probably minus $5000 for a clean-up job! Which one do I like better? Both are okay I suppose.

What do you think of the absurb prices put on paintings in the commercial world of 'names', and the perception of 'value' or most probably rise in 'value' in the future?

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Tom Hanks coming to the Youyangs

from w
About twenty minutes drive from Geelong the Youyangs hills rise from a flat plain. It's a good place for picnics and climbing and a National Park. However it's going to be invaded soon by a film crew and our nearby hills turned into a Pacific island!
I drew a sketch while on a train to Melbourne last Friday.

from Melbourne Herald Sun:
Spielberg's Pacific solution
April 24.

BIG-wig producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have a huge job ahead of them as they embark on filming in Melbourne and country Victoria. Confidential believes Hanks and Spielberg are planning to shoot some of their new HBO mini-series, The Pacific, in the You Yangs of all places.

Turning the humble mountain range in winter into a Pacific island will be quite a challenge, but luckily they have $150 million to make it happen.

The 10-episode series, a sequel to Spielberg's World War II epic Band of Brothers, is being touted as the priciest mini-series ever.

Pre-production for the filming is believed to be under way, with crew gathering in Melbourne from around the world. Filming will take place at the Docklands studios, as well as the You Yangs, until early next year.

Speculation in the industry is that Spielberg has booked the Melbourne Central City Studios for up to four years, with other projects on the agenda. Apparently, LA-based film execs are attracted to Melbourne, not just for the cheap rates, but for our quality cafes and restaurants. Everyone loves a good coffee.

On Monday there was a twister over the Youyangs and many motorists took photos on their mobiles. Here is one from Brendan Tyrrol that was in the local paper.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Divided House - a story

from w
M and J Adventures posted in their blog about a car cut in half after a marital dispute. I am posting a story here about a similar situation - but about a house divided. It's fictional and a bit long but if you are interested, read on. I read this story at an art exchibition at the Geelong Gallery.

The Divided House

Story written after viewing Rick Amor’s painting ‘The Philosophy Department’ 1994 gouache on paper.
He sits without writing and his knees are aching, toes gouty. He tries to focus, to block out the trivia, glottolalia, the insistent contradictory voices. I WANT TO ASK THE BIG QUESTIONS IN LIFE.

She said he was not grounded enough for her. He was unworldly, he didn’t even notice dribbles and food staining his vest. Says he’s a nocturnal animal, and then mutters something about a pointy head, a fake IQ.

These are chiaroscuro evenings of writer’s block in his Italianate tower, given by a Jesuit friend. The computer is idling at this stage, pushed back, as he prefers the contours of his own handwriting. He bends over pages, cover the A4 notebook with squiggles, word maps, question marks. The light is a small lamp and above a narrow window separates him from the city smog. This is the ‘Philosophy Department,’ as she called it. A joke then.

The ‘Why’ is harder than ‘ How’ when he sees before him his friend’s bleak face at the funeral, mourning loss of kin, knowing the possibilities of accident and error. Yes, we are part of an animal kingdom. He is the philosopher who does not know why as he pores over texts on texts, over centuries of riveting questions.
The ugly split house is loaded onto two trucks, moved snail-like across the verge into the wide road, turned awkwardly and announced by Vic Roads men in orange vests. The trucks negotiate the lights and turn towards a recycled life in another suburb - with a younger couple, without the spats of difference and history of unloving.
Act One is over for him. She’ll get half the house, a friend had joked, and he’d sold it in two pieces. Barely two pieces of silver for her.. Now as she idles with her new man at Surfers.

He had stood on the grass, watched the dissolution, the detritus of fifteen years, bricks left idle from a chimney, a fence down. The hearth became cold ash. Once was the focus of the living years. Glitches in life brought a parting.
She used to ring him at the rented tower, until he took away the phone in order to concentrate. She used to cajole him, insist he take time off to smell the roses, as she naively put it. ‘Leave your books. Notice the sunshine, even on a chilly day,’ she said. He went with her to the You Yangs on her birthday, ‘See,’ she said, ‘clouds do hover like a tail of light. And the mountaintop beckons beyond the fire blackened trees. Look beyond the sighing casuarinas. See the fine fields, laid out, ordered, the grid of trees and lanes and civilization. Listen to the laughter of young people as they stride up the walking tracks.’

She did go on and on.

Being misled by a beautiful shape, he had admired the flowerlike lines on the wood. But what a deception. It was only a sawn cut tree trunk, abused, cut off, for lichen and moss, and orange fungi to thrive.

‘If you want to write, dear,’ she’d said, ‘Write about the ambience of the everyday. You talk in abstractions all the time, touch that broken tree, run your hand along the scorched trunk. Get real with the world. Your philosopher’s tower is not lovely, not ivory at all. It’s dark, old-fashioned, 19th century. There’s no need to pretend to be the hero of La Boheme.’ She pulled a bunch of leaves from a wattle, stripped them, then said, ‘Don’t be a jellyfish as life swells about you.’

That was just about the last thing she’d said before …

What was she on about? He looked up ‘jellyfish’ on the internet. A grey shape morphed, grew larger until it nearly exploded across the screen, then faded away. He understood the allusion – to be tossed by waves, pushed by currents, without goal in mind, letting chance rule actions. A jellyfish is 95 percent water, 3 per cent salt, 2 per cent protein. He got the drift, it’s about no plan, no ultimate destination. A wanderer without a home and then you meet other drifters and call that a deep and meaningful, a network, a lifestyle but there’s no potency. Then you are crying, but without passion.

‘Je ne sai quoi!’ I don’t know what I know any more.

I know where I’m going, I know who’s going with me I know who I love.. She used to sing that and mean it when they were young and graceful with poems in their heads spilling out to please each other.

Spineless, he now drifts, carried along by the awkward circumstances of the divorce. Jellyfish are called a medusa.. That’s the adult.. Dangerous. His wife, she is the medusa. Most dangerous is the Australian box jelly – toxins are more potent than cobra venom. However the leatherback sea turtle eats them. He will be that leatherback eh!

Does she really think he is floundering, a groper, a fumbler? Of course she does
All the lonely people, where do they come from?

Let me take you by the hand and walk you through the streets of … Her contralto voice haunts him still and he knows she will be singing to some one else any time now.

Jellyfish belong to phylum Cnidaria, and - listen to this – they have a reputation for stinging. Yes he’ll sting her. She’ won’t even get half the house when the cheque comes in. And she’ll find that it’s an empty block when she returns from Surfers. A pile of bricks where the family hearth was.

Humans fear jellyfish, let her know fear.

Oh, here’s a problem. Jellyfish have no heart, blood, brain or gills. Sounds like Dorothy tripping on that yellow brick road with an assortment of friends, but they have a goal don’t they, to see the Wizard of Oz. They feed on zooplankton which includes other jellyfish, ah cannibals they are as humans all are, biting off one another, snapping, snarling, teeth on edge.

They usually perish in rough water. He drives the pen furiously into the page, tearing it.

They are 650 millions years old, older than the shark. So there Jan. Not happy Jan. He looks down at his notebook – he have covered twenty pages with words, drawings, maps, but everything is circular, going back all the time to the spineless creature that he is.

But the venom is there, lurking.

He decides it’s time to leave the tower, to go home. He stands up awkwardly, rubs his shins for the wintry pain Then he remembers that the house is gone, divided into two strange halves, shifted to another suburb. He’s only got this borrowed room without a kitchen. He’ll have to eat at Makkas.

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More pictures from Footscray

from w
Two pictures I drew at the market on Friday were of vegetables that I don't normally see in the shops in Geelong.

The third picture is a sad tale. Lying down in front of a disused shop not far from the market was a middle-aged woman, about forty perhaps with a begging plate. She asked us for coins. I said, 'Are you waiting for your dole?' She said no. I was so surprised to see a beggar here, and a woman just lying down on the hard cement. Do you give money to beggars or not? We did not this time. Peceli said he should have talked with her more, ask her to stand up at least. We were wondering just what was her story. I did not draw the woman on the spot, just did a sketch later on, remembering her.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

My Mothers Day outing to Footscray

from w
As Peceli and I will both be busy tomorrow - and in different places - yesterday was my Mothers Day outing - a trip by train to Footscray, an interesting multicultural suburb of Melbourne. It only cost $5 from North Geelong to Footscray return each. We wandered around the ethnic shops and then bought loads of fresh vegetables, pork and fish at the market. We had cappucino in an African shop and a conversation with a man from Eritrea who gave us a complimentary cup of strong coffee made with cinnamon and ginger. Great! Our lunch was in one area of Footscray market - a seafood noodle soup. I sketched a Chinese couple nearby who gave me their names and seemed pleased with my drawing!

I don't need flowers and jewelry for Mothers Day. I just wish that people were kind to one another, and there is mutual responsibility and nurturing in family life and in society.

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If I were a rich woman...

from w
Coriyule auction is on today, and if I had a million or more, would I buy it? Okay, no, but this mansion that once was the home of two pioneer women, Anne Drysdale and Caroline Newcombe, has beautiful Gothic shapes in windows and archways. It would make a lovely retreat house or a place for women to take a break from the routines of daily life. Apparently though, it is need of some repairs and renovation is just not my thing!

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Drawings of trees near Geelong

from w
Two A5 drawings with a bit of colour of two trees not far from Geelong.

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Picasso's girls are 100 years old

from w
The famous painting that turned the tide from impressionists and realists to a new way of seeing shapes is now a hundred years old. Picasso's painting of the girls from Avignon. This is amazing painting that he actually kept hidden for many years at first. So what do you think of Picasso? I think he is masterful, though I don't like all of his pictures, he still is an amazing painter.

quoted from website of Museum of Modern Art New York:
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) is often celebrated as a cornerstone of modernism. Described as the "core of Picasso's laboratory" by the French writer and poet André Breton (Rubin, Studies in Modern Art 3, p. 177), the work jolted the imagination of Picasso's contemporaries and generations of artists since. This crucial milestone in the development of modern art has remained an iconic fixture in MoMA's collection since its acquisition in 1939.

Pictured at top:
Pablo Picasso. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. 1907. Oil on canvas, 8' x 7' 8" (243.9 x 233.7 cm). Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest. © 2003 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A tangle of computer cables

from w
After the nagging of friends that they can't get us on the phone AT ALL TIMES we decided to go broadband. Well, the bill arrived before the modem arrived, but okay, now we are ALMOST in business. But the steps stalled and the modem won't connect and one of the lights won't go on! Three phone calls to the tech people got somewhere but not all the way. The last guy was very patient with me as I don't know the names of everything. He finally said that the problem is possibly with the telephone cable which is 15 metres long to the extension phone. (Five metres wound up on something I don't know the name of.) A sixteen year old lad got all the plug ins in the right spot but it won't work yet! So we are on dial-up until we try a 5 metre telephone cable and get two filters! I don't know why we bothered to change!

The drawing is of course not exactly technical - probably the cables are in the wrong sockets. Anyway it has been a very frustrating two days and we haven't solved it yet. They reckon it takes fifteen minutes to set up!
LATER after 9 p.m. Hoorah! This evening a friend came around, an expert in IT who works at Deakin Uni. and he did something mysterious to cables and plugs etc and the broadband now works! Even phone calls get through while on the net! Thank you Geoff!


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Westfield development in Geelong

from w
Despite many protests, the bulldozers are in pulling down buildings and preparing to 'upgrade' the supermarket and shops both sides of Yarra Street in downtown Geelong. The artist's view of the glass bridge may look enticing but it's not what many people want. We like our view of sea and sky! My two minute sketch doesn't do it justice but it's a nice clean look which will be spoilt by the greed of capitalists and the shareholders wanting more and more dividends with their plans for 'development'. Hey, what's wrong with shopping strips and family businesses? The Geelong Council caved into 'development' and there's only one teeny problem left - who owns the air above the street where there will be pylons to hold up the glass cage?
While they change to look of this part of the city, there will be no supermarket in central Geelong for six months. Okay, we will shop elsewhere, particularly in our own suburbs and perhaps never go back!

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Red-eared slider turtle not wanted in Oz

from w
Lorna Edwards wrote in the Age newspaper yesterday about an unwelcome pest that has invaded some of our waterways, even dumped in a pond in Blackburn Lake Sanctuary in Melbourne. This is the red-eared slider turtle who gobbles up everything in sight. Illegally importing reptiles like this one can get you 10 years in gaol!

Other uninvited pests in Australia include the rabbit which was brought to the Geelong area in 1859 by Thomas Austin and they soon were in plague proportions across eastern Australia and by 1894 to West Australia.

And of course the horrid cane toads! About a hundred of them were brought from Hawaii to control cane beetles in Queensland's sugar crops in 1935. Now they are eating their way south and westwards!

BUT I do like little frogs. Just look at those slitted eyes, the eyes of a prince in waiting, sly with a little bit of cunning as he holds his grip on life, awkwardly allowing his limbs to look unseemly, belly up, making him less attractive that he really thinks he is. I do like him.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A music woman imagines

from w
One more in the series on music in my life. This is an odd one in the series - a music woman writing music creates a different scenario, another place and time, an imagined music woman.

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