Weekly Photography Challenge: Letters

This weeks challenge theme is “letters”, and I have lots of those! letters

As an artist with a love of text, and a writer with a love of art supplies, I naturally have a weakness for sets of alphabet stamps, and if they are cheap and cheerful ones for kids, like these colourful foam ones- I don’t mind at all.

letters 3

The “type -type alphabet in the box came from an art supply store in Portland, Oregon. I was very, very restrained in there – nothing like having to put everything in a suitcase and carry it for making one think twice about purchases! The other two are “cheap shop” bargains, and every bit as useful as the dearer sort!

letters 4 letters 5


The tissue paper under the box is from a burrito – I kept it because I really liked the way the text is laid out, and it had to be useful for something – like this post, for instance!

letters 2

I also have a little drawer, in which are stored appealing sentences from some of the old books I’ve altered. I keep them with vague intentions of one day using them to create the text of a hand-made book. There’s always something on the back-burner, waiting for its moment to arrive!

Friday Poem: Anzac

shadowI woke up quite early this morning, before dawn, and wrote this poem by the scarce moonlight. I confess that I then drifted back to sleep, thinking of  the farm boys and shop boys, dressed up in khaki and carrying rifles, who innocently disembarked as they were told to, on a lonely Turkish beach…99 years ago. All of the survivors, even those who lied about their age and were only fifteen at the time are now dead, and the tenor of the day, once a reminder to never do it again, is subtly changing to something rather different…

5.56 am
A fingernail paring
of moon
Bright in the window.

This is the morning
For early rising
A day of remembrance
And dawn services.

But I am afraid
of what is forgotten –
The futility
of war.

positiveI took the two photos after I and the sun were well and truly “up”. I find shadows fascinating and often photograph them – this time I decided to get the things casting the shadow as well.  They are, I think, appropriate for this post, because the unfortunate Anzac campaign cast a very long shadow in Australian society, not least by the absence of a generation of men.

Let’s not forget that there was no good reason, none at all.

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 12

Week 12 – I seem to be roughly halfway through the book, on another brown paper page. I’m very fond of plain brown paper – I generally use it for Christmas wrap, tied up with coloured string or embellished with stickers…Anyway, this weeks pages –as extra 3The mysterious script in the middle of the page is the autograph of a Gyuto monk, which my daughter brought home from a school camp for me. They went to see the monks making their famous sand mandala, and got to meet them. They are regular visitors to Australia, raising awareness of Tibetan Buddhism as well as the situation in their homeland. as extra 4

The lengthy interview with Tibetan monk and teacher, Sogyal Rinpoche, had to be folded concertina-style to fit on the page. I circled a quote that seemed particularly pertinent –

“At the end of the day, you may be successful, but what really remains is if you’ve helped others.”

By that measure, many “successful” people have failed utterly…

I coloured in the rinpoches robe, too, though perhaps not quite the traditional maroon.as extra 5

Facetiously I turned Kurt’s cigarette into an exploding cigar – don’t remember why…

That yellow scrap is from a box of Tibetan incense – herby and woody and quite different from the more floral Indian ones.as39 The following half-page is from a bedside note book, and has vague recollections of dreams scrawled on it, which include hearing a Nirvana song. Pasted below that, a piece of flocked and sparkly paper, and a deep and meaningful quote, from Leonardo da Vinci. The Age newspaper used to feature a Quote of the Day, which I often thought worth cutting out and keeping. I’ts cut out using a pair of scissors with a fancy edge – I bought three pairs in a pack with different patterns, but this is my favourite. I guess they are meant for more conventional scrapbooking, but, hey, you can do whatever you want with them!

Weekly Photography Challenge: On Top

Narrrapumulap 3This week’s photography challenge theme is “On Top’, whatever you want to make of that. Seeking inspiration in my back-catalogue, I came across a collection of photos from a visit to Narrapumelap, an amazing French Gothic-style homestead near the tiny hamlet of Wickliffe in western Victoria. We have visited every few years for over twenty – and enjoyed seeing the slow progress of restoration from a vandalised ruin. It’s not finished yet, but you can stay there now in what was once storerooms and is now a comfortable B&B set up.

The grandest feature of the building is the tower on top. Here is a view from up there of the roof of the house  and the large walled enclosure behind. Narrrapumulap 1

Our last visit was the first time that the tower was deemed safe enough for people to go up. I was standing on the tiny balcony to take these two photos – the second being one of the incredibly romantic little round windows of the tower. Originally there was a peaked roof on the tower, and putting it back is the owners next big project.

Narrrapumulap 2If you are ever in the area (it’s quite close to Hamilton), its a fascinating place to visit – private tours can be arranged, as well as accommodation, as well as the open days a couple of times a year. If you do visit, make sure you’ve got your camera!


Friday Poem: Prayer

Because it’s Good Friday…late light 3

Dear god
Dear Boddah of Compassion
Whatever name you choose
Or face you show
Love is your essence
Your heart is all compassion
In your hands is peace
And in your eyes is light
Light for my soul

Dear God
Dear Boddah of Compassion
A dark angel leads me
Leads me to the love of you
Broken on the wheel of compassion
I am finding perfect peace
Opening my eyes to darkness
I can see the Light of You

Dear God
Dear Boddah of Compassion
I can see the Light of You
Make me whole

late light 4I love the late slanting golden light that pours into the house on some autumn evenings. Whatever I was doing was quickly abandoned as I picked up the camera, and went on a quest to try to record it!late light 6

I don’t think that the fuzziness of this last shot detracts from the effect at all – quite the  opposite!

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 11

Another week, another brown Kraft paper page – Imagine Freedom!as33

There’s a bit of a Patriarchy/misogyny theme on this page, balanced with a side serve of FREEDOM. The horoscope is talking about the shall I go or shall I stay dilemma which everyone faces every now and then over something! The “Too Late” stamp came from the old Moyston Post Office – love it!as34

The photo on the left is of actress Leah Purcell – I kept it because it’s a great photo, although you’d never know who it is if I didn’t tell you. There’s a list of attributes I wish to cultivate – repeated several times through out the book – and a bit of a photo of me – just my Kurt shirt. That shirt was a 40th birthday present from my eldest son, and I wore it into shreds…There is also a quote from Montague Ullman-

“Confronting the truth about oneself and accepting it without being defensive about it or frightened by it is the essence of psychological healing.”

Wise words!as35

On this page, there’s a receipt for the Breeder’s “Pod” and the Meatpuppets’ “Huevos”. A good day at the record store, thirteen years ago. More quotes, too.

“To understand and to be understood is to be free.” – Daniel Johnston

“Genius begins where rules end.” – William Blake

Plus a label from a Koala  tea bag, a label from “Nirvana ” incense, and a snippet about Screaming Trees playing at the opening of the Seattle Experience Music Project.as38

And another of those tiny juice bottle poems…as36

P.S. That’s a scrap of the t-shirt stapled in next to the photo. I should mention that the holes in the pages are made with a two-hole punch, readily available where stationery supplies are sold. And who doesn’t love those places?!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Monument

Photo Challenge of the week – Monument – and a monumental decision to make… what monument? I’m not big on photographing official monuments, because I don’t think they’re very interesting, as a rule. And you can generally buy the postcard with the obvious/ideal POV anyway. So. There is a sort of monument in our rural hamlet, but it’s a monument to AFL*, and I’d rather not…

If you are a regular visitor, you’ll know we went to Washington State and Oregon in 2011, and now basically want to go and live there…This is more a memorial than a monument, in Aberdeen, Washington…KC dedication

The (micro) park had opened only a few months before – this is the guitar statue and it’s plaque.KC monument

Then there is the art-ful surround on the rubbish bin/trash can. Aberdeen has made a feature of tree guards  made in similar style – there’s a  Kurt Cobain one outside the music store in Wishkah Street.

KC bin

Underneath the bridge, fans have created another memorial of their own. Besides the masses of graffiti layered all over the underside of the bridge, Kurt’s name has been carved into the mud of the bank. Poetic!

KC carving


For the record, here is the tree guard, and Kurt’s star in the pavement. There are dozen’s of them around downtown for Aberdeen’s various famous citizens. You’d be surprised…

* Australian Rules Football, as mysterious to Americans as American Football is to Australians, but still some sort of sport, and therefore of no interest to me…(I know I’m “unAustralian”, and I’m OK with it)…

Friday Poem: Back To You

A poem from the back-catalogue today, but fresh-minted pictures from my playtime last night! I put a cheap optic-fibre lamp on the floor in the dark, and messed about with it, had fun and made some interesting pictures.red light

Everything comes back to you
The thoughts I had
And didn’t write
And now forget
Were all for you
All back to you
The lives of sinners
And of saints
All point to you
In some particular
Or other
Point back to you
All my dreams
And household chores
The words of songs
The calls of birds
The shapes of clouds
The slant of sun
The beat of rain
The breath of wind
The break of day
Whatever comes
Comes back to you
You are in everything I do
I dedicate
My self to you
For I myself
Come back to You.

At first. I aimed to keep the camera still during the longish exposure, but then I thought “What If?” and moved it in different patterns. Finally, I kept the camera still, but moved the fibres (with my feet…). Fun! Dedicated to you, dear reader.

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 10


Here I am , all on my lonesome, free to do whatever, and with a post to write, and I’m perusing Facebook and going completely blank on what to write about this half page…maybe I need another cup of tea or something…A little darshan to get my head in order. Darshan (Sanskrit) means to perceive the divine – literally “to see”.as31

A label from incense lists the effects of various scents – handy for future reference. My all-time favourite is sandalwood – for incense, candles and soap. The photo on this page is a macro  of a beaded brooch I made using lots of small red glass beads stitched onto a reinforced felt backing. A quote equating happiness with freedom is written in purple ink. An artist should have a collection of different coloured pens, as well as pencils, don’t you think? Also quotes promoting freedom… There’s another juice bottle poem, too –

dew from a long night
falls to the earth silently
lonely tree in time


The Sioux prayer goes with the photo of Johnny Depp from the movie “Dead Man”, in which the mortally wounded William Blake is placed in a canoe by his Native American friend, and launched on his journey to the west…as extra 2

I’m not convinced of the magical powers of gemstones/crystals, but I would like to believe a piece of fluorite could do all that for me, and I added the slip of paper to the book to remind myself of the value of cultivating  ‘greater concentration and meditation’. It doesn’t show up very well in a photo, but I made free use of a metallic gold pastel on this page – you can just see it on the photo on the bottom right. It was one of those impulsive purchases – the kind you get home and think, Cool! But what will I do with it? The answer being, scribble on something! And what’s it like if you use the side? etc etc.

Weekly Photography Challenge:Threshold

This weeks PhotographyChallenge  theme is “Threshold”, that liminal space where one thing ends and another begins. threshold 2


I’m doing a quick post today, because “New Tricks” is on soon, and I posted 16 pics on Saturday…This is the doorway in to our living room. I’m not sure of the name of the Indian doorway decoration, but I love it!threshold 1

And this is the threshold between kitchen and laundry, and from there, outdoors. Not very romantic, but I like how it looks with the sheer curtain.

I should add, for those who don’t know, “New Tricks” is a  British TV show about retired detectives solving cold cases – old dogs learning new tricks. One could argue that, on the threshold of retirement, they chose not to cross, and stepped sideways instead. It’s also a chance for fine old English actors to keep their hand in and teach the youngsters how it should be done!