Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Across the valley, Inspired Wednesday

This is the view from the top of the house paddock looking north across the valley, ploughed paddocks showing up red.
Weaver of Grass (Pat on my side bar) on her blog has thrown out a challenge to see if we can come up with those who have inspired us.
I find this incredibly difficult as I have so many hats. I suppose in an appreciation of the arts and literature I would first have to say my father, he died the year we were married so 50 years ago, a professor at the university in the field of Botany but one of those who managed to also study arts, the law as well as science.
Books were his passion with painting a close second.
As both my parents painted I didnt. Infact when I married at 19 and lived on a pretty primitive farm I sewed as we had no money and when we had children I made clothes and taught myself to embroider and to smock out of books.
It was as the children grew I started to breed my ponies, all of the Welsh breeds in time, and became a member of that community, which I still belong to, the love of horses probably stemmed from one of my mothers brothers who rode all his life.
Then another phase, my garden Beth Chatto and Christopher Lloyd, although English were a huge influence on how to go about planning a garden using color and positioning plants and many books later I had a garden that was in the Australian Open Garden Scheme. Not any longer, my back and joints began not to like me so I looked for something to do while I waited for them to recover before going out to weed some more.
Into my life came Joy Martin of Things I like, I met Joy at a doll and teddy bear fair and couldnt believe that people made cloth dolls like the ones I saw in Susan Oroyans books, and so became my love affair with cloth dolls and those who taught them. Patti Culea and Barbara Willis were two very influential teachers, and trips to America to look at the doll scene there in the late 1999 and 2001 were an eye opener.
But some where in amongst all that was the desire to sketch and do more with textiles. I honestly think that Jean Littlejohn and Jan Beaney were the ones who started me sketching, textile artists they are but in the first book of theirs I bought so much depended on sketching as well as the use of threads and texture.
They were followed closely, or even possibly at about the same time by my now friend and mentor Dale Rolleson of The Thread Studio, Dale has been terribly influential in her on line Playways group and by the seductive 'stuff' she sells and tells us about.
My art teacher Lorraine Lewitzka has also been very influential, I dont paint any thing like the way she does but she has taught me a huge amount about how to use watercolor and how to paint in my own style.
Books, well this house is falling apart under the weight of books, but wherever my muse has taken me books have been incredibly important, as I have learnt so much from them when I cannot get to a teacher to show me how.
Last but not least, the area I live in and my wonderfully supportive (at times!) husband, who only complains a bit when I buy another book but always tells me that he loves and appreciates what I do.
And now to finish a wonderfully visual Haiku by Buson.

On the temple's great
bronze bell,
a butterfly sleeps
in the noon sun

I think my trips to Japan have also been a wonderful influence.


Derrick said...

Hello Penny,

Just visiting via Weaver. You seem to be surrounded by inspiration. Glad that you are able to put it to practise. Your painting across the valley is great.

Arija said...

Your view looks quite similar to mine, except for the pine plantation. Just discovered you are no more than 100k down the road from us. Weré on the edge of the Barossa in the eastern foothills.
Isn't it wonderfu that there are so many things we want to do, yet so little least we are not bored.

Golden West said...

I agree with Arija - there just aren't enough hours in a day to suit me - so much to do! Your watercolors have a wonderful quality - thanks for sharing!

Jane Moxey said...

Keeping busy and interested in many things is such a great way to go! I'm glad you have so many things to inspire you! I produced a DVD starring Judith Baker Montano, the queen of Crazy Quilting. Her new work has branched from the traditional into more landscapey applications of stitches and lovely threads and ribbons, all inspired by her stunning photographs. Her website is and there you'll find info about her upcoming book which looks scrumptious! I know she teaches in Oz from time to time!

Jane Moxey said...

Oops... is the right spelling of Judith's website! Sorry.

Dianne said...

the painting is lovely
the colors are so warm and pull me in
how wonderful to have so much inspiration

your comment about the weight of the books in your home made me laugh

my son constantly looks at my piles and piles and mutters - "we're going to have to reinforce the floor"

The Weaver of Grass said...

A lovely read Penny. Beaney and Littlejohn's sketch books are an inspiration to me too, although I am pretty awful at sketching. Their books are all on my shelf and I think their sketch books are works of art in themselves. It is lovely that you have such a wide range of inspiring people to name. Thank you so much for taking part.

Celeste Maia said...

Lovely painting, Penny, the colors are lush and the composition is very good. It looks almost like stained glass, it is so luminous. Ah a house falling down with the weight of books is my kind of house. You have a full life, always so interested in so many things, that is what keeps you so young.
Your comment about your PM made me laugh, but from this distance, I still prefer him to the previous PM who thought Bush was so great.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

What a lovely post and painting. Your father certainly sounds an inspirational man. We meet so many people in life, as mentors and friends, it is amazing.

Jeff said...

Nice painting. I really like your use of unexpected colors. I keep wanting to try a landscape like this, but am a bit intimidated by the scope of it all.

Penny said...

Thank you every one for the comments. I have spent half the day looking at other people's blogs, so many wonderful ones out there, thank you for looking at mine. I could have expanded on this one, into history, geography and poetry but felt I had gone on for too long as it was.

BT said...

What an interesting read Penny, it was a journey through you life and I so enjoyed it. I am steeped in textiles and you might enjoy my inspirational blog post. Not many words, lots of photos! What fun this meme has been.

Keith said...

Hey Penny, was good to read your background... and to hear that things are looking bright.

Robyn said...

WONDERFUL landscape, Penny - composition, palette, everything. I wish it were mine!

Lovely to have the opportunity to learn a little more about you too - and there is much to ponder in this beautiful haiku.