Weekly Photography Challenge: Muse


What’s your favourite subject, the one you always go back to, your photography muse? That’s the question put by the Weekly Photography Challenge this time…hmmm. What to choose?!

I could pick Juniper, my grand daughter – lots of pics of her in the past 21 months – or flowers, in and out of my garden – I’ve been taking photos of them since my dad gave me his old Kodak brownie in… well, years ago.

But I’m choosing shadows, because if anything prompts me to fetch a camera right now it’s an intriguing shadow.

I didn’t even look through many folders…

And then I had to include Juniper’s shadow as well. Late in the afternoon, the winter sun pours into their living room (if they’re lucky) and casts beautiful strong shadows. I should add that the soft drink/pop bottle in the first gallery is a detail of a pastel painting I did of a photo that I took because of the fabulous shadows one evening at Scarborough Beach, Perth, WA.

Friday Poem: List

Here we are, at Friday again already…I read one of those helpful “how to figure out what you want to do with your life” articles recently, in which it was suggested that you write a quick list of what you yearn for. That wasn’t all it said, but it set me off on this poem, which, I have to admit, isn’t a complete list of my ‘desires’…music video

I desire –
dark chili chocolate from Seattle,
linen sheets:
warm feet and
a cool breeze on my face;
shade in summer,
sunshine in winter.

I desire also
spicy food and good bread,
coffee in cafes,
tea in a pot,
music in immoderation
and otherwise – silence,
punctuated by birdsong and crickets.

I desire a studio
chock full of art supplies
yet with clear space to work in.

(That might be asking
too much…)

tea pots

I have teapots, but I usually use tea bags, I planted 3 peonies on Wednesday (fingers crossed), my studio space is chockers, but there’s no clear space, just archaeological layers…I’m working on it, OK?

In pursuit of peonies, I bought several pieces on vintage kimono fabric (from KimoYES in ACT) featuring the glorious blooms, and I will be making a wall piece with them, in due course. Apparently the peony, known as King of Flowers, symbolises “good fortune bravery and honour”, and is used in tattoos to “signify a devil-may-care attitude”. I guess I should consider a peony tattoo then!peonies

Creativity: Escape XXIII

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Back this week with my altered book, “Escape”. I am almost at the end of it, but not quite. The list on this page comes from Martha Beck’s book “The Joy Diet”, which has almost nothing to do with food, and everything to do with living a joy filled life (which is not necessarily the same as being happy all the time). All the original text was obliterated with two colours of acrylic house paint (sample pots rule!), and I’ve painted swirls of various colours of watercolour over the top of it. A bird sticker, from Kikki-K, completes the decoration, and then I wrote the list with a sharpie, using a playful style of lettering.DSCF9434 (Large)

The following page, also painted over, has an image torn from an art magazine stuck in the centre. I added earplugs and another skull to illustrate the ideas, plus a thought about Creativity versus Duty, which is my constant bugbear. There is quite a lot of colour on this page, but in random blocks, unlike the swirls on the previous page.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Roy G Biv

The challenge for photographers this week is to portray the whole rainbow of colours, singly or all together. I have plenty of photos of the spectrum, cast from ‘crystals’ hung in sunny windows, and I love colour, so my files are full of possibilities for this challenge, but I thought it would be more challenging to go out in my cold wintry garden (it’s the winter solstice today in the southern hemisphere) and try to find the magic seven. Here’s what I found…

My Limelight salvia, which did have bright blue flowers was looking sad (but not very blue) after a ‘good’ frost yesterday, and Blue Chalk sticks are not very blue either, but I found an adequate spectrum, considering mid-winter, I think!

Years ago, when the garden was much newer, I used to record what was in flower every winter solstice in a garden notebook. There is more in flower than I have shown here – I didn’t take photos of pink flowers, because there’s no pink in the rainbow (my youngest son will argue that there’s no indigo, either…)spectrum (Large)


Friday Poem: Back Home

Back home, back at (volunteer) work, back to the back catalogue for a poem this Friday – appropriately titled, but not actually about where I live (The ocean receded from here many thousands of years ago, before the Grampians were pushed up into a mountain range. ..) No, this is the fantasy region I visit whenever I can, located in the State of Poetry.Indian Ocean sunset (Large)

The wind blows cold and clear off the ocean.
Pine needles glitter and dance in golden light.
The branches sough and sigh and sing,
The rival of an angels choir.
The water of the bay
Is azure fretted with gold.
Waves run in at the beach,
Where shells lie reflecting the sky;
Pearly opalescence dancing in the foam.dec2010 156 (Large)

I’ve chosen some photos of the ocean (also from my back catalogue) to illuminate the poem. The first and second are of  the part called “Indian”,  taken at Scarborough Beach in Perth, and the third was taken many years ago on a beach near Rye in Victoria. Those are the younger four of my five kids – all of them are grown-ups now!apic22 (Large)

Weekly Photography Challenge: Off-Season

Lat week in Canberra, the nearby supermarket was selling bunches of ravishing pale pink peonies (3 for $18), along with other unseasonal flowers. I was tempted to take photos, but didn’t…then really wished I had when I discovered that  “Off Season” was the theme for the photography challenge this week. Here is what I found instead…

Withered white roses from my father-in-law’s funeral service last month, an off-season Southern hemisphere  June rose bud covered in water drops and our mouldering little jack-o-lantern. We celebrated Halloween in April, which was the right season, but ‘wrong’ time of year. I was away from home for more than 3 weeks, and of course my husband didn’t notice the vase of dead roses…I thought they were kind of pretty, in a macabre way!

Creativity: Making a Book IV

I’m back home again after my sojourn in Canberra – back to a weedy garden and a pile of unfinished projects, and not enough hours in the day. I’m also listening to Melvins and Meatpuppets instead of the Wiggles, who were the sound track to last week, so it’s not all bad!


Once Juniper (and her Mum and Dad) arrived back from 2 weeks away, I spent less time on art, and more time enjoying kids books, playdough and very long walks (time, not distance). One day, I shared some of my Ruby Grapefruit with her. I wasn’t sure if she’d like it, and she wasn’t sure if she did – but she ate it anyway. She likes to copy Granny – folding her arms just so, and standing hands on hips…like a little mirror. Zoe and I went on our own to San Chorros for hot chocolate, and churros. mmm. The (mis)quote was printed on the napkin, which I would have kept if I hadn’t dribbled chocolate all over it…I’d glued in the pretty Italian lady (from alfabeto pasta), but she came unstuck and I reattached her with a sticker off a tiny jar I’d bought. Waste not, want not! I’ve drawn a mandarin, too, because Juni and I both like them, but I haven’t yet added colour to it. Matt gave me the sales receipt from a bookshop for the “Books never die” printed on it, and I highlighted it with red.

During my stay, I also made this tiny book, covered in vintage kimono fabric (from KimoYES) as a sample for bigger books. I have started preparing the paper for the bigger version, although I think I left the fabric I want to cover them with in Canberra…I found the hemp cord in a bargain shop in Mawson, and plan to use it to stitch my books.IMG_5006 (Large)

This is the fabric I want to use on the covers – it’s quite old and I love the red and pink!


Friday Poem: Walking To The Shops

I have just a few more days left in Canberra before I have to go home to Victoria – a few more days to enjoy hanging out with Juniper, now aged 21 months. “The shops” are just 10 minutes walk away from her house, via one of Canberra’s excellent walking tracks…well, it’s 10 minutes without a toddler enjoying the adventure…IMG_5103 (Large)

Along a walking track
a toddler can run free,
away from any passing
In the blue sky
a lunar sliver –
Behind a fence, a dog is barking –
Along the way
a playground –
After some playtime,
persuade her to move on.

This is by far the slowest
I have ever been on this walk.

I’ll buy you a cuppa –
(immoderate laughing – bikes are hilarious).

Beside the grassy path
a tall metal pole with lights.
She circles the base,
Hugs the cold column –
There are more
around the playing fields –
The world is an amazing place.

Almost every morning has been frosty, followed by glorious sunshine and blue skies, perfect for a walk through parkland dotted with trees and playgrounds and populated by birds of several species. And at the end of the walk, a choice of cafes for a nice warm soy babychino.

Creativity: Making a Book III

I’m still in Canberra for a few more days – where did the weeks go? I’ve been spending time with my little grand daughter, so less time on being “creative”…except that Juniper time includes drawing and play dough and reading books. However, I have added more to my journal, so here are some more of the pages in a gallery.

I’ve included two versions of a couple of pages, so you can see that I have added more colour and content over time. I bought a lovely feather stamp (and purple ink for it) last week, so a few more feathers have joined the many leaves. I’d forgotten how very satisfying it can be to pop a veiny leaf under a sheet of thinnish paper, and rub over it with a coloured pencil – or even a good old grey-lead. On some pages, I kept moving and re-doing the same leaf to make patterns – they could be nice printed on fabric. I’ve also written up little stories of things I’ve seen on my walks.

Here is a rubbing done with a 4B pencil, and then coloured with watercolour paint. Because it’s Kraft paper, the wet paint wasn’t absorbed, but ‘sat’ on the surface until it dried, pooling a little, to pleasing effect, I think. For the other leaf, I traced around a poplar leaf with a micro pen, and drew in the veins. I then used the white paint, tinted a little with blue-grey over the top of the pen, for a fair approximation of the fuzzy white autumn leaf.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Vivid

The photography challenge theme this week is to portray “Vivid”,  – something brightly coloured, brilliant, glowing, radiant, vibrant…a flower perhaps, or a splendid sunset. I suspect that most photographers are compelled to try to capture vivid colours in flowers and sunsets – I certainly am!

I didn’t find any vivid enough sunsets in my files (plenty of flowers!), so I’ve substituted the eye-popping colour of some vintage Japanese fabrics, which I bought last week here in Canberra. If you too love orange and fabric, check out KimoYES – there’s plenty of both, and they send to anywhere!