Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's raining at last in Geelong

from w,
We have had long periods of soft rain for the past two days, very quiet in the night on the tile rooftop, but enough to soak into the garden, green up the grass. Also, because the spouting has a hole, to fill two large recycle bins with clean rain water! What a difference it has also made to the spirits of people. On Saturday morning about 7 a.m. Peceli was outside and called out to come and see something. Oh, a huge ginger cat sitting on a block of wood - one of the once feral kittens now grown up! No, not that he said, the recycle bin is totally full of water! Then yesterday I sketched a part of the back yard - where there is lots of cement (yes, it is rather too much but a former owner put it there for some reason) and there were actual puddles!


At a Rotary Art Exhibition

from w
Not satisfied with just looking at paintings, or handing out platters of food to guests (being one of the 'good' wives) I used my little A5 sketchbook to do pencil sketches of people looking at the paintings. This caused some interesting conversations. I coloured the pictures later and here are two of them.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

dalmatian pups pic for our grandchildren

from w
Cleaning out cupboards I came across two very very old paintings I must have done when I was about eleven, copied I guess from American Post or something like that. Indian Ink and a pen was used in those days. I don't think copying is a good idea but maybe it was a learning experience. Life in a country town those days was about chasing sheep and Border Collie dogs, clean air, climbing trees, swimming in an irrigation channel unsupervised. No TV. No computers. Anyway these are pics for the grandchildren in Fiji. Their artwork is probably very different - associated with computer games, videos, Spiderman and the rest!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Waterlilies and the making of a peace banner

from w
The red poppy is the symbol on our TV programs and in our newspapers today for Anzac Day. This is to recall the disastrous landing on Gallipoli in Turkey by Australian and New Zealand troops who died in their thousands, way back in 1925. It is almost Australia's national day, more important than the January 26th day remembering the landing of ships carrying soldiers and convicts into Sydney when 'white' settlement started in Australia.

However, I have decided that the water lily is a symbol for me to use today in making my little square of a peace banner. It is a project of our Interfaith Women's group. We met yesterday and worked on our 'squares'. I'm not a sewing kind of person these days so it's not easy for me. Shall I glue it all on? Or stitch around each secion? Anyway I just placed the bits I cut out with wonky scissors on the scanner so that I can have a clue where to put the leaves, etc. I am a temporary custodian of a sewing machine to eventually go overseas, but it's being repaired at present so I will have to sew by hand.

To me waterlilies look very calm and beautiful even though the ponds they grow in are often murky and muddy. Well, that's life. Sometimes a beautiful moment arrives out of the darkness and muddled and muddy existence we experience.
(posted later) Well, I just used craft glue and strips of black tape. It's rather a crudely designed square. Perhaps next time it will be more delicate rather than look like some mutated flowers. I scanned it again mixing b and w and perhaps that's how peace is these days. A glimmer, not a sentimental glow.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

flowers from Melva's garden

from w
I was given some unusual flowers after church last week and had them in a vase all the week. I drew a pic of them today and still don't know their name.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Murray Darling Rivers and drought

from w
I saw the TV news this morning and realize what Penny (from South Australia) was writing about in a comment. The Prime Minister has announced drastic measures about the Murray Darling basin to cut irrigation water to farmers along the Murray and Darling rivers of rain doesn't fall within six weeks. This is appalling as these areas are the food basket of Australia, producing so much fruit and vegetables. My hometown, Swan Hill, is in the middle of the situation and towns like Mildura, Robinvale, Swan Hill, Echuca and so on could lose their farms and infrastructure if irrigation water is cut. The rivers are drying up, there's no doubt about that but to cut irrigation would spell the end of food production there.

I looked up the ABC references for today on this site.

Drastic plan announced for Murray-Darling crisis

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Broadcast: 19/04/2007
Reporter: Paul Lockyer
The Prime Minister today announced a drastic proposal to cut off vital water to crops in the drought stricken Murray-Darling Basin unless rains fall in the next six to eight weeks. The plan would lead to immense economic and social fallout and marks the first time such drastic measures have been contemplated.
KERRY O'BRIEN: But first the latest water crisis, and the Prime Minister's revelation of the drastic proposal to cut off vital water to crops on tens of thousands of farms in the drought-stricken Murray-Darling basin unless heavy rains fall in the next six to eight weeks.

Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has called it a national disaster plan, with worse to come. He says the greenhouse nightmare has begun.

It's a plan that would lead to immense economic and social fallout. Never before have such extreme measures been contemplated.

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potplants survive on soapy water

from w
The plants close to the house get plenty of second-hand water from the washing machine, but the poor lemon tree down the yard looks dismal. This plant is okay though it looks a bit mutated by my drawing style.

I've been busy this week and not drawing much because I've decided to have a good chuck-out of old music, books, folders, drafts of thesis sort of things so have filled the recycle bin with ethnomusicological notes, etc. Found some memorabilia and good stuff in the clean-up though.

Today I played the music for the funeral of a Vietnam vet, a man in his early 60s. Lots of ex-soldiers were there and the RSL led a ceremony when the vets line up and place a red poppy on the coffin. It made me think of a cousin who was damaged by Agent Orange in Vietnam and he lost his way when he returned home. Today he is somewhere in the Philippines and the family have lost touch with him.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

We learn a lot from children

from w
Yesterday, Elizabeth, a little Fijian seven year old was showing me her paintings with luminous paint so I asked to borrow three of them. We've developed a nice connection and Peceli and I are like another set of grandparents to some of these migrant kids. She always shows me her new earrings, painted nails, bead-making items, and yesterday it was her new huge brushed out hairstyle. Last week it was African style plaiting! I asked if that was allowed at school - and it was. So one of the drawings is a self-portrait I presume. The others - one of flowers, and the second,is from her Sunday-school Easter Day story.

Then Michael, a thirteen year old collared me for much of the afternoon and told me about the films he has seen recently,including 'Borat', and he spelled out all the rotten jokes and racism in it, and then asked if Peceli and I could take him to see '300' as he can only go if accompanied by an adult! Not for me - too much violence! Anyway Michael (whose Dad is from Veisesei, Fiji) was enthusiastic about films and videos and at one stage, said 'Am I boring you?' Well, what could I say? I learnt a lot yesterday about how 'knowing' kids are these days about sex, politics, the lot!

When adults drive you crazy sometimes, it's good to sit and listen to children and their interests and views. Vinaka vakalevu, Elizabeth and Michael for the pleasure of your company after church at Altona Meadows yesterday.

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Pictures of Eastern Beach continued

from w
Here are some variations based on the drawings/paintings I did at Eastern Beach on Friday and one of a house in Watsons Rd - some cropping, editing with different colours, textures, lines.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Some views ot Eastern Beach

from w
After complaining in the last blog item about manipulating a photo of Eastern Beach in Geelong, here I am with four pictures I drew yesterday in that same vicinity. I coloured them this morning. Okay, so I have shifted shapes, colours, etc. of the footpath, water, etc. They are of a fountain, the bollards and swimming pools, palm trees, and part of the esplanade.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Faking photos of Eastern Beach

from w
Someone with not much imagination has embarked upon a publicity stunt costing about $200,000 to promote Geelong to tourists. They manipulated a view of part of Eastern Beach to look attractive... but hey, the grass is greener, the sea has changed colour, the sand is cleaner and wider, the umbrellas are now multicoloured, the children's playground has gone! A photo of the place being inhabited by fun-loving kids and families is surely more atractive - as per a pic in yesterday's Advertiser. I went down to the beach today and did some drawings (and will post later) and the place was buzzing. It's school holidays and there must have been a thousand people there.

But then, a painter uses his or her artistic license to select aspects of a landscape - as Peceli has done with this painting of the playground at Eastern Beach.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the meaning of gum leaves

from w
A few days ago our son told us one of his Aboriginal friends had died, a middle-aged man who he had worked with. Then Peceli was invited to a Memorial Service at the Wathaurong Co-operative yesterday. He said it was a huge gathering with about 600 cars parked nearby. Peceli brought back three gum leaves and said they represent the Aboriginal ancestors and were part of the ceremony of farewell.

Allan Browning (21 August 1954 - 26 March 2007) was a highly respected elder in the local Aboriginal community and yesterday tributes wre made from all kinds of groups, One Fire Reconciliation, the Mayor of Geelong, singers, the Victoria Police, the Department of Justice, family and friends. He was a gifted story-teller and passed on his cultural heritage to young people.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Prices of houses are going up in Geelong

from w
If you have over $2 million you can buy a three-bedroom penthouse overlooking Corio Bay. Hmmm. Not for the young couples, this one. Now that the Council has renovated the waterfront, the nearby land has became hot property and developers have put up a few of these boxes for those who want a view.

Now compare the cost with ordinary three-bedroom houses in the older suburbs - a house ten years ago might have sold for $90,000 but today would fetch $240,000. The brand new mansions in the newer suburbs are about $500,000. I don't know how young people can set up house these days!

The second building for sale has always interested me - Pevensy House - it is two blocks from where we used to live, and some of our parishioners lived at the back and across the road. It has recently been a Bed and Breakfast place. I always was interested in the tower and wondered what was it used for. I guess this house will be sold for a couple of million too.

The third building has a sorry tale behind it. It was once a pretty, traditional Presbyterian church, but became redundant when the Uniting Church was formed about 25 years ago (Methodist/Presbyterian/Congregational joined together) and it became a restaurant then a rather dodgy nightclub. Heavens above! Something went wrong with the lease and now it's being renovated into offices. Hmmm. Might be ghosts of some serious but scholarly Presbyterians there!

(added later, on Monday) Pevensy House sold for a little under $2 million on Saurday. I did a drawing of the tower on Friday and coloured it yesterday - took a bit of artist's license with the verandah though.

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Historical 'Coriyule' is for sale

from w
I usually throw out 90% of the Saturday papers with all the stuff on property and finance, but by chance I browsed through the Geelong Advertiser Property section for a change and found some beauties! 'Coriyule' is for sale! Two women pioneers of Geelong lived there, Caroline Newcombe (which our suburb is named after) and Anne Drysdale. Surely there are ghosts of genteel or not so gentle women around this deteriorating old house - about 20 minutes drive from Geelong. Yes, they say there is one ghost - of Anne, when visitors hear someone playing the piano! It was built about 1849 when Geelong was a very newly built town. These two women are famous for being lady squatters. I wonder who will buy... as it needs lots of repairs but it has 'presence'.

notes from heritage register of Coriyule.

Coriyule at Drysdale was built in 1849 for pioneer squatting partners, Anne Drysdale and Caroline Newcomb. Drysdale was an unmarried Scottish gentlewoman, who in 1839, aged 47, migrated to Port Phillip for health reasons. She was well educated and well connected, had owned a farm in Scotland, and intended to farm sheep in the colony. She first took up a squatting run at Boronggoop, on the Barwon River near Geelong, where she built a four room cottage. She formed a partnership with Caroline Newcomb, an Englishwoman who had come to Port Phillip in 1836 as governess to the children of John Batman, one of the founders of Melbourne, and together they ran the sheep station. They bought the lease of the nearby Coriyule run in 1843, and after obtaining the freehold in 1847, in 1849 commissioned Melbourne architect Charles Laing to design a new house on the run. The house was built on an eminence overlooking Corio Bay by Geelong builders: one named Henderson, who did the masonry and brickwork, and Brenton & Howell, who did the carpentry and joinery. The town which grew up near their station was named after Anne Drysdale.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Patterns in suburbia in Geelong

from w
While waiting for a bus with two recycled bags of shopping from 'Not Quite Right' and the veggie shop, ($30 plus $16) I noticed a house with many decorative surfaces - Spanish tiles, orange bricks, two cement birds, trimmed bushes, and a fancy fence. This is rather typical of our suburb of Newcomb - houses built in the 30s to 60s. I usually walk home - about 20 minutes away - but the bags were too heavy this time.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Barwon River on Easter Day

from w
About 5.30 p.m. yesterday we drove to near Landy Field Athletics track, parked the car and walked east along the bike/walking track - a place we had never explored previously. A nature reserve between factories and the Barwon River. I did two sketches in half an hour. I found an open space where families were resting or taking off in boats, some water-skiing. Afterwards we went to the Great Western pub for a fish dinner - Peceli had won a $20 voucher from playing golf a few weeks ago. Of course it cost more than $20 but was it was very pleasant.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter Day

May you and your family have a happy and blessed day.
The sun rises behind Alcoa and most Easter Sundays we drive to a good vantage in Eastern Park to watch the sun rise, this time from the boat ramps of the fishermen. I drew this quick pastel sketch when we returned home for breakfast.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

An optimistic day

from w
Since recovering from a bad cough, every breath now is easy, and each day is full of pleasure. Today was such as optimistic day. About 6 a.m. Peceli said, 'By the way we're having some visitors from Fiji coming to Geelong today.' He had met them last night in Melbourne - a group had come to see the Flower and Garden Show and had finished their workshops, etc. and some were at a home Peceli was visiting. 'Okay, what shall we show them?' I said, wondering how to tidy the house in time. We decided on a cuppa here, then the Botanical Gardens and the Holy Week Floral and Art displays at Wesley Church, then lunch at Smorgies. The sky was dull with a little rainy for a change. I rang two Fijian women in Geelong to join the group for some of the day.

Well, it was such a delight to talanoa with the four visitors from Suva who came down to Geelong with Josie, for Siteri to help me with the morning tea, and then for Ema to join us at the gardens. We strolled around amazed by the lovely shrubs, trees, and flowers - the ancient trees such as the gingko, the tropical plants in a hot-house, the dragon tree, the desert cactus plants, the ferns. Then at Wesley we saw the Holy Week story set out with symbolic objects, icons, flowers, quilts. Then we had lunch together at the restaurant at the end of a pier.

There are sometimes lovely days like this when we meet with old friends and new friends and for a few hours we switch off from the anxieties that also call our attention.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Wesley Art display for Holy Week in Geelong

from w.
This morning I went to Wesley Church to see the art display for Holy Week - at least ten displays focussing on the way to the Cross. Lots of symbols, some memorabilia, paintings, icons, quilts. I did a few sketches and two of them I painted. I. a hand-carved Celtic Cross from Iona. 2 a painting based on a collection of stones and leaves to represent the grave. I added the Jordan River. It was very yellow so I tried out some tints. The 'glowing' picture turned out to be a bit more than mysterious - it's quite strange! I used Picasa for the special effects!

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Playing about with photo-edit

from w
Using some recent pictures I made, I altered them a little to see what difference was made when colours are opposite, monotone, etc.

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