Thursday, August 30, 2007

2007 Geelong acquisitive print awards

from w
I had to choose one item to write a poem or story for a forthcoming gig organized by Geelong Writers with the Gallery so I quickly sketched Anne-Maree Hunters' The tower of Babel 2006 made from cut-out cardboard and quite small 55 x 50 by 50 more or less. Scenes were painted on it such as an igloo, a grass hut, the Sydney Opera House and there were cut-outs like windows. Words - perhaps Biblical covered the inside of the carboard. The artist used screen-printing as her concession to the title of the award.

I decided maybe I could write about an eccentric elderly grandfather with a disorder that stops him leaving his seven storey tower which is filled with books, paintings and cats. Well, maybe. The mind boggles a bit at the suggestions of building a tower towards God, labyrinths, secret passages, locked doors and the current obsession with ego and towers.

My mind is clogged with hayfever and a kind of flu so it's too woolly to write anything yet. I liked John Ryrie's Aesop's lamp, a linocut and also Marco Luccio The Eiffel tower, but found the obsession with a kind of 19th century detail in some prints just too much. Not that I dislike 19th century engravings and lithographs. One based on Constance Cummings picture of the Kauvadra Mountains in Fiji I like, perhaps because of the subject matter and knowing that in those days they did not have an ease with making instant pictures like we do these days.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Music is my comfort zone

from w
Last night a friend and I went to a Lutheran church in North Geelong for a concert by Robin Mann (from Adelaide) to introduce his new book of contemporary Christian music. We have sung many of his songs over the past twenty years. I'd met him a few times at music workshops and conferences.

The band last night consisted of a piano, violin, guitar, drums and Robin with his two guitars. His songs do not rely upon religious jargon and old-fashioned mixed metaphors but are stories, feelings, aspects of life's journey. Wonderful songs - soft, smooth to very loud and energetic.
It was a great time of community singing so I only did a very quick sketch and the guitar looks a bit awkward - I was too busy singing.

One song with words by Julie Perrin, music by Robin Mann is 'Deep Stillness' written for a Uniting Church Youth Convention I think.

For you, deep stillness of the silent inland
For you, deep blue of the desert skies
For you, flame red of the rocks and stones
For you, sweet water from hidden springs.
From the edges seek the heartlands
and when you're burnt by the journey
may the cool winds of the hovering Spirit
soothe and replenish you.
In the name of Christ,
In the name of Christ

© 1997 Robin Mann. Words: Julie Perrin

Robin Mann has a website and his song books and CDs can be purchased on-line.

Labels: ,

when writers read their work

from w
Some writers aren't great at presenting their work, read too fast, speak too softly, get entangled with the microphone, while others enchant with their integrity and pacing. The Geelong Writers group meets informally one Sunday afternoon a month for coffee/wine, etc. and readings. Yesterday I went to this gathering at Beav's Bar as usual and as usual, was not always enchanted.

One older man always wants to shock - so rather than scowl at his words I drew him! A woman read her story and I didn't listen - I drew. During another reading I noticed that members of the audience were in various poses as if in a drawing class so I drew this lovely young couple.

However one reader did entrance with his carefully thought out words as he read poems about loss and alienation of the Aboriginal tribes from the southwest coast of Victoria. He was an elderly humble man who spoke quietly but clearly and that was the highlight of the afternoon.

Afterwards I went to the Art Gallery to look at the Print Prize works - linocuts, etc. As the Geelong Writers is co-hosting an event in October relating words to pictures, I chose an item about the Tower of Babel to write either a poem or a story. There's plenty of scope there.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Songroom - way to go!

from w
While politicians make reactionary decisions about downgrading subjects like music, physical education and art in Australian schools, there are not-for-profit organisations doing great work because they realize the value of these subjects. Such as the Songroom - website here. Children from Collingwood's St Joseph's Primary School will perform tonight at the Sofitel in Melbourne.

notes from website: The Song Room is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing music and arts programs in Australian schools and communities. So far, The Song Room has provided the gift of music and performing arts to over 70,000 students, and continues to develop innovative new programs to suit a wide range of communities.

Recent Australian research showed that as few as 23% of government school students have access to music at school. Our vision is that all Australian children and communities will have access to music and performing arts programs; a vision that is supported by a recent national survey that found 87% of respondents believe that every Australian child should have the opportunity to study music in school.

Worldwide research has indicated that children benefit greatly from having music and arts as part of their learning experience. Wide-ranging positive educational and personal outcomes can be achieved with long-lasting outcomes including improved self-esteem, teamwork, academic results and communication skills, thereby greatly improving their future opportunities and contributions.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shoulder bag and tapestry purse

from w
One of the art bloggers, Andrea Joseph posted a lovely drawing of the contents of her bag - not every messy - so I had a go at drawing my Fiji pattern shoulder bag, my mother's tapestry purse, and so on. But I just got into a tangle like the straps on my shoulder bag. I used my A4 sketchbook and a blue biro, then changed it to black with Picasa. One time, Christmas shopping season, this tapestry purse was stolen from my bag when I was buying cards, but the thief put it into a Red Cross bin (after taking the cash) and I actually got it back - with my ID cards! A thoughtful thief perhaps!


Monday, August 20, 2007

Pond at 21st Century garden

Sunday, August 19, 2007

from the 21st century garden

from w
This morning was sunny so I went to the Geelong Botanical Garden and looked mainly at the different kinds of South African and Mexican plants and noticed that so many are similar but with distinctive differences. Oh well, the theory of evolution is okay with me.

Instead of taking a 20 minute walk back home I decided to walk 10 minutes in the opposite direction to take a bus at Pevensy Gardens. Well, the bus driver didn't see me at all and swished past. Do I look like a gnarled old peppercorn tree? I guess my black clothes were not distinctive enough. And then the half hour walk was probably a good idea anyway.

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Doodling with white ink

from w
I was just trying out a pen with white ink but the paper is a bit absorbent, and then I added a bit of biro. One of a turtle, the other of owls up a tree. both less than A5 in size. I am a bit distracted these days to do much.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

late winter flowers

from w
Seems like spring is not too far away even after this very cold winter. Here is a sample from the garden, some self-sown, and the ivy is creeping all over a fence that may have to come down now that the neighbour wants to pull down his little white wooden cottage and build four units to fill most of the block. His new driveway will be along that old fence so looks like a costly business for him and us. What will happen to our two giant gums and a palm tree I wonder. The almond blossoms are already falling but the apricot has barely started budding yet. The orchid alas is deteriorating and already three of the flowers are closing up and going black at the edges.

Labels: ,

Wrapping trees at Geelong College

from w
Geelong College is using its annual arts week to wrap century old elm trees in bright pink fabric. They are inspired by the Bulgarian born artist, Christo who is famous for his wrapping of coastlines and other objects and landscapes. The pink fabric is to focus on Breast Cancer Week, an important reminder to women these days. The photo was taken by Mike Dugdale and published in the Geelong Advertiser today.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Africa on my mind

from w
After reading 'The Canal House' at the weekend, attending a small prayer group focussing on Christian teachers/translaters/pastors who work with African communities, watching part of a DVD of 'The Last King of Scotland' until I turned away in horror, and then going to the Watoto concert last night, I have been inundated wtih images of Africa, particularly of Uganda. The theme of fundraising for non-government organisations was predominant in my thinking. The concert was amazing with all the bright faced, confident children, jumping, dancing, performing joyful and sad songs with energy and grace and speaking into the microphone telling their names and stories.

There were about 1400 people at the Barrabool Hills Baptist church last night and we got a very loud projection (two of them) giving data and stories with the wrap up of asking for donations and to buy CDs, DVDs, etc. A3 glossy brochures were handed out too. Apparently there are several Watoto choirs performing around the world which is amazing because most of the children are young - I wonder when they do their school work. The Watoto village is a wonderful setup with orphans adopted into families of about ten and these children have a great opportunity to turn around their lives from poverty or being kidnapped as child soldiers.

Then I thought of the Bushikori project, also in Uganda, a small caring community which developed from Pastor Sam's wish for something better. A few years ago several people in the Geelong community felt compelled to support Sam in this project and it has developed slowly and very well. Sam died in an accident and his widow Ann continued the work. They do not have glossy brochures, appealing children's choirs but they do an admirable job. A description of the work being carried out at Bushikori is on this blogger's site.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Read The Canal House

from w
Yesterday and today I read Lee's novel The Canal House - published four years ago but I had not heard of it before. It's an excellent read about a journalist, a photographer, a doctor and the consequences of small decisions. The book has sections based on place: Uganda, England, Italy, East Timor. Obviously the writer knows his settings from personal travel because the detail is excellent. The narrative is well paced and the author is astute about the consequences of civil war, greed, opportunists, 'do-gooders' and non-government organisations. It's ultimately tragic - accidents happen to good people so it's not a sentimental read at all. The title however only relates to one section of the book - a time-out period for two main characters and does not do justice to the scope of the plot and material.

some comments about the book:
Lee's second novel, The Canal House, was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in 2003. The Australian edition was published by HarperCollins.

Kirkus: "Lee spans three continents, mixing high-stakes suspense with erotic intrigue.... A gripping storyline, rich in detail, shaped by a traveler who has talked the talk and walked the walk."

Denver Post: "A story presented in prose so fine it nearly sings, peopled with characters who burn themselves into your mind and heart."

PW: "There's no denying the eloquence and terror of Lee's vistas of contemporary war in the world's more obscure corners."

Included in Book Magazine's "50 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time."

Lee is currently Chairman of the International Freedom to Write Committee of PEN Center USA and is the international representative for that writers' organization.

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A guy from Ballarat visits Smorgies in Geelong

from w
I found this blogger's adventures hilarious when he visited Geelong.

LOCKED UP in Geelong
No kidding! last night i was locked up in Geelong and here's why...
Me and friends went to Smorgies restaurant. I parked my car on the pier in the picture. After tea we went to time zone and had a very amusing time. 10:15pm we are returning to the peer to go to our cars, my friends didn't park their cars on the peer but i did......We returned to find the pier gate was locked and my car was behind it. My friends were laughing a lot at my situation. I decided to ring the Geelong Police...

Labels: ,

Friday, August 10, 2007

After painting the kitchen

from w
Exhausted after cleaning, painting, shifting furniture, putting it back, chucking out, I didn't want to go and drink kava tonight. Instead I made sketches of objects in my new colourful kitchen with yellow walls, now wanting everything to mix and match - blue lino and tiles, yellow wall, white and brown cupboards and window trim. So far it's neat, but how long will it last?

Now we've started to tidy up the laundry, almost chucking out everything and I had to go and hunt for my shoes which had gone out! Now shoes are on shelves instead of thrown down like a dog's breakfast.

The watercolour pencil pictures are of my favourite mug and a banner I made years ago and found when I started emptying a shelf of the linen cupboard, my pic of two grass trees now on the kitchen wall, daisies from the front garden, a bowl of fruit and sugar bowl, and a Thai wall hanging.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Remember Hiroshima August 6th

from w
I watched a TV program yesterday which was well-timed. It was about Helen Caldicott, the Australian doctor who has for decades wanted to save the planet from nuclear disaster. Her passion continues unabated despite the often lack of interest and the uphill battle to be heard. I met her a few years back when she spoke to an audience at the Geelong Hospital, mainly medical staff, and I was mightily impressed. Some people these days find her single-minded approach too much, even shrill, because she will not take no for an answer. However her message is still timely - when someone mutters that the Australian government is interested in putting a nuclear station near us - at Avalon or Point Wilson, just across Corio Bay! No way! I still think we should leave uranium in the ground.

Labels: ,

Katie Pye; Clothes for Modern Lovers

from w
The other day I did two sketches of Katie's costume designs at the gallery in Federation Square and didn't know what to do with them. However today I decided just to place them in front of some 1880s drawings of women, and also I cut up a postcard from the gallery of another of Katie's designs. I am glad I did not dress in those tightly waisted dressed of many years ago!


Saturday, August 04, 2007

To be a Van Goph or not to be

from w
Over the years I have looked at the paintings in the Melbourne Gallery and admired the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. There has always been this small Head of a man attributed to Van Goph and apparently valued at $5 million. It wasn't painted in the thick brush style of Van Goph, but okay, I'm not one to question the experts. I really love Van Goph's flower paintings, starry nights, wild grassy fields, but this particular portrait was a bit ordinary.

Well, this weekend at least two of the Australian papers ran a story of the announcement by a probably embarrassed National Gallery Director of Victoria - after intensive research and sampling of the paint, etc. - that this was not a Van Goph after all!

Senior Arts writer of The Australian newspaper, Gabriella Coslovich, wrote that in August last year when the painting was exhibited at the Edinbugh Festival an art critic of the Sunday Times questioned its authenticity so the next twelve months a forensic kind of investigation was conducted on the painting.

Not that it's a deliberate fake, but it's by someone from the same time. Well, now the value is really knocked down! That's how silly the 'valuation' is on paintings by 'Big Names'! So when a rooster becomes a feather duster as they say, what then is the value of this 'ordinary' painting?

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Constant Gardener - from book to movie

from w
I read the novel a couple of years ago and only this week watched the DVD of The Constant Gardener, a 2005 major motion picture directed by Fernando Meirelles, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisse. I liked it as a book and now as a film because it has the right mix of love story, exploration of social justice issues, intrigue, Kenya as the main setting.

The DVD also provides lots of extra details – why they filmed in Kenya, deleted scenes, adaptation from novel to screen, behind the making of the film – all of which adds to my appreciation of the movie.

GAVIN BOND writes:
the inescapable relevance of the modern plight and poverty of the third world this film remains totally challenging, thought provoking while still being entertaining. Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (City Of God) makes an outstanding English-speaking film debut as he successfully melds an intelligent politically fuelled suspense thriller with an earthy romantic drama which proves to be both suspenseful and moving. Even better is the use of "real" African landscapes and settings and dazzling hand held camera work which keeps this film totally grounded in reality and while fans of the traditional "spy action flick genre" (yawn) may come out of this screening slightly under whelmed by the lack of pyrotechnics and car chases, discerning viewers will applaud this intelligent and provocative "masterpiece" which perfectly captures the grimy political climate of this corrupt conservative age we are currently immersed in!

Plot summary (copy and paste from internet also)

Justin Quayle, a British diplomat in Nairobi, is told that his activist wife, Tessa, was raped and killed while traveling with a doctor friend in a desolate region of Africa. Investigating on his own, Quayle discovers that her rape and murder, reportedly done by her friend, may have had more sinister roots. Justin learns that Tessa uncovered a corporate scandal. KVH (Karel Vita Hudson), a large pharmaceutical company working under the cover of AIDS tests and treatments, is testing a tuberculosis drug that has severe side effects. Rather than help the test trial subjects and begin again with new medicine, KVH covered up the side effects reported in the tests, and only improved the drug in anticipation of a massive, multi-resistant tuberculosis outbreak.

Justin travels the world, often under assumed identities, in order to reconstruct the circumstances leading to Tessa's murder. As he begins to piece together Tessa's final report on the fraudulent drug tests, he learns that the roots of the conspiracy stretch further than he could have imagined; to a German pharmawatch company, an African aid station, and most disturbingly to him, corrupt politicians in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Is it close to the truth? Is the pharmaceutical industry so close to world capitalism, exploitation and cover-ups?

Labels: ,