Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A little bit of practice

Thank you to all those who asked if I was alright after yesterdays bit of adventure. Sore and a bit battered but ok, and we even did a short walk this morning (see my other blog).
I have dusted the house but that is as far as I got as I was side tracked by trying a bit of painting practice.
I dont think any are particularly good and the last two are in my sketchbook with pretty awful paper so didnt quite do what I wanted them to do, and the bird is far too long, but it was fun. The washy flowers still dont look like much.
The first one was a practice in wet on wet and I had more fun with that.
I have been meaning to get my books out and do some more exercises and at last I am having a play.
Tomorrow is Adelaide and my mother, so I thought this quote by William Makepeace Thackeray could be appropriate.
Laughter is sunshine in a home.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Spring blossom

The flowering prunus by our bedroom door is flowering, I had to take this photo this morning as then we had blue sky, now it is overcast and threatening again. Not what was forecast.
After my tumble on the cliffs this morning ( see my other blog!) I sat while John collected the mail and did a couple of other jobs and sketched in the car park.
This is a mythical flower, out of the depths of my mind, something climbing on a trellis.
It was nice to feel a bit battered and bruised and mindlessly do this.
Here is a Haiku by So-In. I may have put this one up before, I cant remember.

Cherry blossoms, yes
They're beautiful...
But tonight
Don't miss the moon!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yesterday's lesson

This hasnt photographed very well and the scan was worse but the flowers were very pale. Not really finished yet but better than I thought.
I have hauled out some books and am going to go through some exercises if I have time. I need to hold the brush differently and use it in a way I am not used to but I know will make things better.
Poppies on cloth on my other blog today.
A bit of a slow day today as I spent a couple of hours in the garden this morning and then we were going for a walk but my knee is not liking me so I wandered down through the orchard where my grand daughter was doing a photo shoot and looked at a few ponies.
It looked as if I had fairies in the orchard as the girls were in their ballet costumes. Isabelle is doing photography in her last year at school.
John found this poem he really liked in last weeks Week end Australian. It reminded us so much of both our children at that age and our grand children.
It is by Michelle Dicinoski and is called;

Milk Teeth
Three year old Sophia leans into danger
like a sailor picks a fight. She swings
through mornings with a candy swagger and
stumbles home at night with her skin inked blue
from where she's assaulted the world.
Something in this child makes you think
she might be spared fear her whole life.
This afternoon in Woolworths she's
all liquored up on milk-tooth bravado
and rolls through the aisles on the trolley's prow.
Sit down, you say, it isn't safe,
but, arms outstretched to the world, Sophia shouts
her wish, her claim, her two- line love song:
I don't want to be safe
I want to be la la la.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yet more poppies

I had a very solid morning at my painting class and came away with it not finished and too tired to try and finish it.
So I went back to the poppies, and I promise I will eventually translate them into cloth.
The first was a lino cut I had done over which I stenciled with shiva sticks more poppies. I then painted over this with watercolour paint to try and tie it all together but it hasnt shown up terribly well.
The second was playing with some caran d'ashe aquacolour sticks which of course bled a bit when I washed over them. Some of that was stencil and some just poor drawing!
It was supposed to be a sunny day but ended up gloomy and grey and cold again.
So to cheer myself up a quote on laughter by Francoise Sagan.

It's impossible to speak highly enough
of the virtues, the dangers and the power
of shared laughter.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shiva stick and wrapping paper

I am sick of winter and will be glad to see sunny days and blue skies.
This is another of Gina's ideas, and this time I found the shiva sticks and a nice piece of wrapping paper from one of our Japanese trips. So once more my stencil of the poppy heads, using the shiva sticks on the paper which had a slight metallic design in it and then I painted over the top. Mindless enjoyable fun.
I am playing with other poppy patterns, I know I should do something else but at least these work and are relatively easy to cut out.
If I have time over the week end I will have a go using gelatin plates.
I am going to painting class tomorrow morning which should get me back into painting but Sunday and Monday are supposed to be clear and warmer so I hope to get into the garden I have seedlings I need to get out.
Not only am I sick of winter, I am sick of feeling tired.
I think maybe this quote from Ben Jonson is appropriate!
O health! health is the blessing of the rich!
the riches of the poor! who can buy thee at too dear a rate,
since there is no enjoying this world without thee?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More stencils and a disapointment

Here are a few more stencils done in my sketchbook with the negative and positive stencils glued to the page. I love this it is on going fun.
Gina has done a bit more on this but I havent had time to catch up see it here.
The disappointment is that of the Sketchbook Project run by the Art House Gallery in Brooklyn all I received was this envelope, with nothing in it and a note from the local postmaster saying that this is how it arrived.
I have emailed but dont know what the outcome will be. I dont know if it was opened or the sticky on the back wasnt strong enough.
The creek has been in flood and we are very soggy and still cold but at least at the moment the wind has calmed down a bit, but another front due through this evening.
Here is an anonymous poem from Voices 1. I am not sure what it means exactly but I like it.

Shine out , fair sun.

Shine out, fair sun, with all your heat,
show all your thousand-coloured light!
Black winter freezes to his seat;
the grey wolf howls he does so bite;
Crookt age on three knees creeps the street;
The boneless fish close quaking lies
and eats for cold his aching feet;
The stars in icicles arise;
Shine out, and make this winter night
our beauty's spring, our Prince of Light!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rough seas

I find sea one of the most difficult things to do in pen and ink, or even worse in watercolour!
I think a bit of this indicated the sea breaking on the rocks but perhaps not as much as I would like.
It is wet and wild again today. I think we are finally having a normal wintry month, certainly not the whole winter, perhaps with any luck we will get a another month of rain and a decent spring so the grass will grow.
Another foal this morning, poor little thing.
I am back into the Haiku and this one by Buson is rather fun.
Day darken! frogs say
by day... bring light!
Light! They cry
by night, old grumblers!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Roonka on the River Murray

If you go to my other blog there is more of an explanation on what we did yesterday (see my side bar).
I did these quick sketches yesterday, they didnt come out terribly well when I scanned them, I did them in a tiny book and added some water colour while I was standing up doing them.
The first is on the ruined house near where we had lunch and the second is of the billabong in front of the house, at least there was water in there and birds, lots of birds looking for nesting hollows, black swans and pelicans. Dead trees and live ones, bull rushes. The cliffs behing. I think you may have to click on them to see them better.
a lovely tiring day.
Todays Haiku is by Boncho.

The sun has gone down
beyond a dead tree
an old eagle's nest.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More Gina magic

I stood for 2 hours today watching the world file in to vote, some took my cards and others didnt, some took all and others made for another party.
We may know tonight who won but I think many still hadnt made their minds up as they walked through the door to vote.
I doubt very much if it will matter in the long run, somehow the sensible dont want to be politicians.
I came home terribly tired and a bit damp from the rain, I had lunch and a coffee and sat and read, fed the animals and decided as I had half cut out the stencils Gina had suggested we use, not the ones I had done before but I love these poppy heads, although it is the wrong time of the year here for them to appear.
I used one of the wondrous sprays with hints of sparkle in them as a base and on the first I used the bit I had cut out and over sprayed, with one small bit of the shape left after cutting. The other I used the shape left and a stencil brush and some acrylic paint It is fun and effective.
Here is a poem by Nancy Cato, from Australian Voices.

Summer vineyard

A million green butterflies
have lighted on the bare
vineyard slopes. Blindly they grope
in the air with their soft antennae.

They cannot fly away: held fast
until the autumn comes
with red and yellow fires of frost
slow-burning down the rows,
The butterflies, unwilling captives,
turn their wings to every wind that blows.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Iris and dragonfly

From my sketchbook.
A sunny day, cold and breezy, the odd shower.
A walk around rocks with crashing seas beside us.
A seal swimming and surfing on the waves.
Here a haiku by Buson.

Hazy morning:
as in a painting of a dream,
the people passing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sketchbook page

My scanner never seems to get my colour as deep as I would like. I had a few minutes last night to sketch little birds and flowers in my sketchbook. I went to Adelaide to see my mother, she looked better but who can tell. I did take her down the front where the sun shone and other people were having normal conversations. I would need that I think.
I had a terrible trip to town, high winds and blowing heavy rain, but I managed it in one piece, and then the sun came out and it was quite warm!
Coming home I met another front coming through just as I turned into the valley, sheets of white rain scudding across the road at me and I must admit to a moment of panic about fallen tree branches, we have had so many lately, but thankfully none on me.
So more wind and rain.
The little poem by George Wallace seemed appropriate as hay fever season, or colds will be upon us soon.
Ode to a sneeze

I sneezed a sneeze into the air.
It fell to earth I know not where,
but hard and froze were the looks of those
in whose vicinity I snoze.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rocks, weed and barnacles

A quick sketch, I think my barnacles are a bit big, although we do have rather large ones here.
A day of playing and nothing to show for it but lots of ideas to do down the track.
I found a heap of pencils and oil pastels and various other things in a drawer I was cleaning out and have now put them where I can find them easily (I hope!)
I have been to the physio, done a walk down to look at the weaned foals, and now cant work out which is which! Bad girl, should know them all.
John has put up what I hope will be a fox proof fence around the hen house, it is in a much larger yard so the wretches have two fences to get through now if they want to eat my hens.
I am still wandering through the Australian Voices and came across this poem of David Campbells which I have always loved. Actually I love most of his poems, a lovely Australian poet.

Mothers and daughters

The cruel girls we loved
are over forty,
their subtle daughters
have stolen their beauty;

And with a blue stare
of cool surprise,
they mock their anxious mothers
with their mothers' eyes

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Leaves and bugs

After yesterday, today it is back to the sketchbook and not doing a lot.
we did walk this morning, along the cliffs from Petrels Cove and nearly got blown away with the wind and the rain. It was a lovely walk but I was glad to get back in to the ute and get warm.
I have been playing in sketchbooks but not actually sketching, having a play with paint and stencils and other bits and bobs.
Here is another short poem from Australian Voices. It is by Michael Dransfield dont ask me what it means but its called,

Mouse Poem 1
small animals are born invisible,
only hawks can see them, and
each other.
They live the colour of their
landscape, even in death/ashgrey, or
in a fire, small crimson,
crying windmills.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I made mud

It is so long since I had any watercolour lessons I forgot all the rules about waiting for paint to dry and I made mud and splodges.
I think if I had stopped half way through I may have been ok, but of course when I got home I had to keep going and so made mud.
I really should know better.
I cant get the colour right in this scan either.
I suppose they do look a bit like daffodils.
I found in searching the bookcase, the one with many poetry books in it that there was an Australian Voices as well, I quite like this little verse by W Hart-Smith.

'Untidy room - untidy mind', he said
Oh what it is to have a mind uncluttered,
a simple mind, a mind without questions,
except about which side one's bread is buttered.

Friday, August 13, 2010

oil pastel resist and stencil

I was fiddling around with the oil pastel resist I did last night and I had a stencil I was doing something else with and threw it on the is and sprayed with a silver moon shadow mist. It doesnt show the silver as in reality it is all sparkly and lovely but I like the way the stencil throws a shadow over the whole thing.
Not sure how relevant this is to stitching but as a background for paper its super.
If you follow my other blog you will see that this is relevant, again from Voices 1 it is by D H Lawrence.
Sea weed
Sea weed sways and sways and swirls
as if swaying were its form of stillness;
and if it flushes against fierce rock
it slips over it as shadows do, without hurting itself.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hydrangea, oil pastel resist.

Gina is still giving me ideas in her sketchbook series, and I have known about this one but never tried it with oil pastels before.
On my desk is a bunch of dried hydrangea heads, the leaves are from my imagination. This then had some koh i noor ink/paint thrown over the top.
Fun and didnt take a lot of time and or thought which is good as I am tired after yesterday.
I have been having fun with the traditional verses I am finding in Voices 1 here is another.
A short Litany
From witches and wizards and longtail'd buzzards,
And creeping things that run in hedge bottoms,
Good Lord deliver us.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer moon

I am afraid I am pinching ideas from other people here, a mix of several things I have seen on other blogs. I dont think if it is for me and it is practice it is stealing but I am not sure. I cant even remember whose they were, just something I saw in passing while wandering in blog land and as I sat by the fire tonight it some how stuck.
The physio said I was not to lift, garden or vacuum for a week, or at least until she sees
me again. What bliss, I can sit back and cop out!
Any way the vacuuming is done, not by me but by my dear husband. He does try to look after me.
Tomorrow is Adelaide, I may not make it home without the back killing me but up I go. Cant not see my mother.
Here is a traditional verse from Voices 1.
Winter Wise
Walk fast in snow, in frost walk slow.
And still as you go tread on your toe;
When frost and snow are both together,
Sit by the fire, and spare shoe leather.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Pages from my sketchbook

This is more of the stuff I have been playing with from Gina's little tutorial on sketchbooks , which you can find here.
I found this exercise really very liberating once I got into it. I went over the original inked sketches done with a feather and an end of a seed head and with my small view finder found bits I thought I liked and traced them off and then scanned them and made some larger as my originals were tiny and then played with them, some with cheap texters for colour, some I doooled and some I did some improvements on the originals. Well I thought they were improvements.
It has been a lot of fun and I can see more areas I could play with.
I spent all morning tidying up, once more, a work room, the other one now needs to be done and I still havent finished my research on our State RPG for the Welsh Pony and Cob Society of Australia, although I have found most of what I want..
My back is killing me for some reason but I have made an appointment with the physio for tomorrow. Roll on tomorrow.
Another snippet from Voices 1 this by Thomas Hardy.

Horses Abroad

Horses in horsecloths, stand in a row
On board the huge ship that at last lets go:
Whither are they sailing? They do not know,
Nor what for, nor how -
They are horses of war.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Crazy cockatoo

This is the big white cockatoo who has been coming to eat the wheat and other seed I put out for the peacocks and other birds. He sits in the tree and screams at me.
No time to play with Gina's stuff today but I will I am still researching and probably will be for most of the week.
A Haiku by Issa, this is another from Voices1 and has a heading.
In the House

At the butterflies
the caged bird gazes,
just watch its eyes!

I find it interesting how different translators translate Japanese.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Small and silly

I am researching an article for the Welsh Pony and Cob Society of Australia on the formation of the first group here in South Australia. Harder than I thought as some how my box of minutes has gone missing so I am having to go through a lot of old newsletters etc. (I was an inaugural member and am now a past President of the Society and also an Honorary Life Member and was for many years the State publicity officer, as well as other things so I guess they thought I would know. I do but I have forgotten some of it!)
So not a lot of relevance on this blog but I did draw this last night while I was going through a rather nice book I bought while I was in London last year called Fashion Design Drawing Course by C Tatham and J Seaman. I bought it at the V & A heavens I could have done some very serious damage there.
I wondered if perhaps designing clothes was my thing! It isnt but the ideas in this book are good.
More from Voices 1, this is a nice little traditional two liner that is pretty appropriate at the moment as our broad beans were sown this week.

Sowing Beans

One for the mouse, one for the crow,
One to rot, one to grow.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Thanks to Gina

On her blog here Gina Ferrari has started a small sketchbook tutorial which is fun, I have only tried two of what she is suggesting so far, and as it is winter here, I chose some leaves and gum blossom and a dried seed head to try out her suggestions.
The first was using a broken feather, no linguini in this house, we eat pasta orrecchio! Which is not much use for drawing with. Any way blots and all here is my seed head.
One of her other suggestions was to use watered down household bleach on a painted page which I did. I have never tried bleach on paper, only on fabric so this was another fun idea to do.
I am looking forward to the next exercise which looks really interesting but I need I think to do more pen drawings and cut out a view finder.
Still freezing cold here, almost to the bone chilling cold. I have every heater on in the house I can find.
I have been having fun with Voices 1 and here is another short poem this one written by Carl Sandburg which I find so evocative. It is called
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Artist's Notebook Project

I know a lot are participating in the U.S. sketchbook project but this one is an Australian one, organised by Glenys Mann at Fibre Arts Australia. I cant get a direct link but google it.
As this is local I thought I would give it a try.
My book arrived the other day and I have been playing in it.
I decided not to have a theme, just go for it and felt that I would like some where to put some of the things I have been playing with, so as the latest has been lino cuts that is what I have started with, as well as a few of my Indian print blocks.
We will see how we go, the next is to cover it.
I had a play last night with one of my favorite things, little houses and village streets. Pen and then inktense pencils.
The sun has peeped through occasionally today, as well as a few showers, it is so nice to see the sun.
I have hauled out a poetry book I havent looked at for ages called Voices, this is the first one I dont have the other two, it was published in 1968, the year my youngest child was born and is edited by Geoffrey Summerfield. It has some lovely black and white illustrations and all sorts of gems like this one, which is traditional but I am not sure from where! North England perhaps?


Millery, millery, dusty poll,
How many zacks has thee astole?
Vour and twenty an' a peck,
Hang the miller up by's neck.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


With apologies to Basho

building nests,
a gum tree.

Adelaide today, still very cold and wet, my mother looked better, if she is or not time will tell.
John drove me up and back and said he could see why I came home so tired, it was a dreadful trip up, sheeting with rain.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


I am not very happy with this lino cut so I will take out all of that busy background and just let the pomegranite stand on its own. I spent a lot of time messing with this to not like it at all. When I took out bits of the background I felt it looked better.
Today we went wandering to look at a few galleries, found Jan Hylton's over at Clayton, she used to be the director of the SA art Gallery and is a lovely person. A gorgeous little studio with all sorts of bits and pieces, the sort of things I love, birds nests and her husband puts small assemblages together, there were shells, driftwood, as well as paintings and drawings. Jane does a bit of this and a bit of that, and she had done some wonderful fish prints, using an actual fish, something I have been threatening to do for ages and have never actually done. Next fish with big scales John brings in will be fair game. The fish Jane had done were the awful introduced carp, not the salmon as in the haiku below.
If you go to my other blog on the side bar you will see photos I took today at Pt Sturt on Lake Alexandrina and the amount of water that is now there compared to my blog post of July 2009.
So we were a bit heartened that things were not quite as bad as we thought.
The weather today with pouring rain and blowing wind and hail did give the illusion of a wet winter, which it has not been.
Lunch in a pub and a few cobwebs blown away.
Once more Basho has something to say.

Coldest days -
dried salmon,
gaunt pilgrim.