Weekly Photography Challenge: Ephemeral

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So many wonderful things just come and go, and we must enjoy them while we can. Less enjoyable things also come and go, so that we can comfort ourselves wit the thought that “this too shall pass”.

The Photography Challenge theme for this week is Ephemeral – capturing fleeting moments in a photo. I had a market stall at the Anstey Village Block Party yesterday, arriving at the corner of Florence and Breese Streets at around 11am on a gloriously sunny autumn morning. My daughter and I unpacked all the goodies I’d brought, and set them out on our borrowed table.IMG_4044 (Medium)

Crowds of locals came and went as the afternoon went by, live music, free food and customers making it an enjoyable experience. I enjoyed a cool cup of iced lemon and ginger tea from a local cafe, which had set up a pop up version of the business in the market.

Late in the afternoon, my eldest son arrived to help me pack up what was left before we drove off into the sunset…As we headed west, the sun appeared as a huge, blazing golden disc, and spectacular as it was, we were very glad when it disappeared below the horizon at last. All things shall pass….

Friday Poem: Autumnal

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It’s my favourite time of year. The days are getting shorter, so it can’t get so hot as summer, the mornings are crisp, but not as cold and damp as winter…and the weather is often perfect…

Perfect autumn day
High wispy cloud
an otherwise blue blue sky
Warm sunshine
cool breezes
Leaves beginning to turn
the wind in the trees
Dry leaves
the road

Perfect autumn day.

Glory vine

Creativity: Escape XVI


This week, I bring a few more pages from my altered book, “Escape”, with it’s theme of creativity – and the freedom and joy that go with it. This page was covered in pink and yellow acrylic paint, with a touch of ‘Kirkwood’ over the top, picked up from the opposite page. When something like that happens, you can either think “Disaster!”, and try to fix it, or “Serendipity!”, and go along with it – I generally choose to go with it, as I like to have some randomness and surprises popping up as I work.  Coloured pencil and stickers add a bit more colour, while the text is a ‘note to self’.Escape44

I took  photos of a back lane in Aberdeen Washington some years ago – I like the balance of the regular shapes of buildings and power lines and the down-at-heel look of the backs of buildings. The page on the left has a copy of a drawing I did from one of the photos, and opposite that is a print, from a carved stamp, of the same scene. Being the last page of a chapter, there was very little text, so I printed directly on the page for once.

While I was editing the pics of pages ready to post, I had a play around with some of the images. Here is the Aberdeen alley-way drawing again. In the first image, I have increased the saturation so that what colour there is is much stronger – I then inverted the colour for the second version – day and night, perhaps! I haven’t used any copies like this in a book, or not yet, anyway…It would will be fun to make a series of variations like this on a set of images, and make or alter a book to hold them.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Fresh

We woke up this morning to the sound of rain, and the calling of rain frogs (Litoria ewingii) – fresh sounds indeed.

Fresh being the theme for this week’s photography challenge, I popped outside with the camera in search of fresh images (the welcome autumnal shower was already over).

Leaves are beginning to turn, and insects  are active in the warm sunshine. The toy hermit crab (leftover from Christmas) has been given a fresh new look by a busy spider. Autumn is my favourite time of year, a relief after a hot dry summer. We still haven’t had much rain, but the mornings are getting later,cooler and crisper, while the afternoons, on a good day, are warm and still. With luck, some time in the next few weeks, the Autumn Break will come, bringing real, soaking, refreshing rain…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Creative Walls

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I’ve had a busy week, with a four-day workshop, learning some different book-bindings at Grampians Texture, with book artist Adele  Outteridge– besides which my computer has been recalcitrant, refusing to do what I asked of it. (I think it’s feeling better now…) So I’m compressing a week’s worth of posts into one. july-aug 2011 013 (Large)

Some years ago, I had gradually covered much of a wall of my workroom with various cuttings, clippings and posters, as well as the odd feather and leaf. I would now call it an “inspiration wall”, but I hadn’t heard the term at the time. One day, I took it all down, possibly to repaint – I don’t remember – but I then used all the bits and pieces to make several framed collages, of which these are two. They all have touches of red in them, which helps to unify the disparate elements. The second one has a poem I wrote, typed up on the electric typewriter we used to have…

“Peace!” is my battlecry,
With love I taunt my enemies,
And when they writhe in travail
on the floor
I ache with empathy.

There is also a clipping from a magazine explaining what empathy actually means and a quote from Carl Jung -“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.”

Any collection of clippings and mementos could be treated the same way, framed and hung on a wall to be enjoyed, rather than hidden in a drawer.Bainbridge Is

This last piece was originally installed on the door of our fridge. The photo in the middle reminded me of the one on the right, which I hunted out in my old school mag…which reminded me of the boy next to me (we are out-lined in red) in that photo of the editorial committee, Castlemaine High School 1972…and the poem I wrote when I heard that he had died rather young…which I wrote, it happened, around the time that Charles Peterson photographed a band from Olympia, Washington, on Bainbridge Island. Then I wrote another poem about these coincidences, and stuck them all on the fridge, linked together with red thread, and there they stayed, and yellowed, until I took them down because they were so tatty.

However, I didn’t throw it all away, but transferred it onto a piece of paper in a drawer; eventually, I made a background of tea-stained board, which I embellished with stamps of flowers and birds, echoing the meadow where the band were. I applied them with the tea-stain still damp, so that they blurred slightly for a pleasing aged look.I also added rust-stained paper rings (meant for reinforcing holes on paper) and a coloured image of a bird, similar in outline to the stamped ones, which rounded out the composition ready for framing. It’s one of my favourite things (of which there are many….)

Friday Poem: She Said

I wrote this while the poetry challenge was on a couple of weeks ago – I should have made a note of what poetic device I was aiming to use here, but I really like the little twist in the story.pod 2

Tell me, what are you thinking,
My honey? she said
What are you thinking?
She said.
Tell me dear, what is happening
there in your head?
honey, what are you thinking?
She said.
He turned to her slowly
and smiled with his eyes.
I know what you’re thinking.
She said.pod 1

I chose three macro shots of dried flower pods from my files, and edited them a bit for what I think is a poetic effect. There’s a twisted stemmed pod form a double poppy, and the other two are the back and face of a lotus pod, with the seeds peeping out of their niches.pod 3

Creativity: Escape XV


Back with my altered book “Escape” this week…The left-hand page of this spread was roughly painted over with ‘dirty’ acrylic, giving uneven colour, and over top of that background I have doodled bright colours of  Peerless watercolours, trying out both the paints and a marvellously portable Aquash brush which has a reservoir of water in it’s handle. They are available online from the lovely Jane Davenport’s Institute of CuteEscape41

Both pages have  fragments of a photo from an Ararat Regional Art Gallery  show  – the artist had made a giant graffiti piece on the wall to complement his ceramics exhibition (hence the spray can). I put him in because I liked his work, but now I can’t remember his name…David something, I think –  should have included it somewhere! An old dictionary is good for cutting out definitions of words used on the page – or just for fun.Escape42

Another page on which I obscured the text with “Kirkwood” paint, leftover from painting our dining room (waste not, want not!) I left a few fragments of text, which gain fresh meaning for being redacted. The page is edged with scribbly layers of coloured pencil, framing the “notes to self”, written in fine Sharpie and my own evolving font.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Orange (I’m Glad)


I like orange a lot – especially teamed up with pink – so for this weeks Photography Challenge theme it’s more a matter of narrowing down the options than finding something to ‘fit’.

According to some experts, the colour orange symbolises (and promotes) joy. It is certainly a lively colour, and from the ‘hot’ end of the spectrum, it might be less welcome in summer than winter. I was a bit concerned about that when I painted our compact lounge room in a shade of orange somewhere between pumpkin and terracotta, but as it’s been that colour for several years and no one has complained, I guess it’s OK!

Here are five images of orangeness – a corner of our lounge, a paper lantern I made (with a candle glowing inside), a fabulous vintage demi-tasse coffee cup and saucer (I have three, each a different colour combo), a luscious orange nasturtium flower, and a painting I saw at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra last weekend.  Unfortunately, the exhibition, “In The Flesh”, finished the following day, but you can view many of the images on the website. The huge painting (there’s a man partly in view for scale) is “Recruit (self portrait in the image of my son)”, by Michael Peck. Stunning! And orange.

Friday Poem: Autumn Haiku

When I mentioned to my daughter, as we walked home from the shops, that I had a Friday Poem post to attend to before the day was out, she said, “You should write one about Juniper”, and by the time we reached their house, I had this haiku –

Walking in sunshine
the pram full of groceries
Juni is sleeping


The wonderfully bright berries grow alongside the walking track that leads from the nearby sports fields and shops to the house where Juniper, her Mum and Dad and the three cats live. By the time this publishes, I’ll be back in Victoria, looking forward to my next trip to Canberra…cat trio 1

Creativity: Op Shopping/Thrifting

I can’t say for certain that creativity and  love of op shops absolutely go together ( I haven’t done the research), but there does seem to be a strong correlation. Op shops tend to contain the sort of chaotic mix of anything and everything that spurs creation through the happy juxtaposition of unlikely partners. And they are full of the promise of glorious possibilities – you just never know what you will find! 61 leaves

We visited a couple of oppies on Monday, with no particular object in mind – apart from my ongoing quest for scraps of green (or other leaf colour) yarns for a yarnbomb I am working on. I found a few balls in the first shop we went to.

After carefully examining all their fabric lengths (no joy) and a trawl through books, crockery, notions, I spotted this old plastic case for storing spools and bobbins of thread – funky, useful and a bargain at $2! I bought it for Zoe’s sewing room, and now harbour a faint hope of finding myself one someday.

Zoe found the odd little cat teapot, and I found the cute demi-tasse coffee cup for Juniper – perfect for a tiny cup of tea (rooibos) or a frothy soy milk in the afternoon.

We also visited a large Salvos store, by which time Juni was sound asleep. The books were all $1 – I collected three in about four minutes, and decided I should step away form the book department, and not look back…”Where cats Meditate”, a book of cat pictures and meditative quotes, Garrison Keillor‘s wonderful “Lake Wobegon Days” to re-read, and a 1980 book on modern family life (always fascinating). Zoe found  an Agatha Christie for Matt. I went through ALL the old dressmaking patterns, but came up with nothing very inspiring. I’ll admit to sometimes buying old (ie 70’s and 80’s) patterns for the hilarious hair and shoulderpads…On the front counter, we found a basket of packaged old buttons and chose a few we thought we could use – one pack had small black beads, ideal for eyes for the amigurumi bees Zoe is planning to make. That’s not something we would have set out looking for! You just never know what you’ll find – very rarely it will be nothing, but that just makes you more keen for the next visit!

Three creative op shopping quotes from the cat book_

“He who hunts for flowers will find flowers; and he who loves weeds will find weeds.” – Henry Ward Beecher

(Good news for thrifters….)

“One is not idle because one is absorbed. there is both visible and invisible labour. To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do. The crossed arms work, the clasped hands act. The eyes upturned to heaven are an act of creation.” – Victor Hugo

(My kind of guy…)

“Put all your eggs in the one basket and watch that basket” – Mark Twain

(Substitute “finds” for “eggs”…)cabinet

I bought this cabinet in an op shop – it was very tired, but I thought it could become both useful and beautiful, and it did, with a good clean and some fresh paint. Part of being creative comes down to seeing potential where others might not, plus a good dollop of old fashioned elbow-grease. Happy hunting!