Friday Poem: Seasonal

I had a meeting to go to last night, and didn’t find time to post, but it’s still Friday in much of the world… I’ve been thinking about this poem lately, because the signs of autumn coming are once more in the air. I had to hunt through 5 or 6 notebooks of poems to find it, but I’ve dated each poem as I wrote it in, so I only had to look at late summer…autumn acrylic (Large)

Magpies are singing
autumn songs
And nights are growing longer
Summer is fading
every day
Cold nights are burning
crab apples red
Clouds rush the sky
and earth lies dead
Everything changes
the same every year
The summer comes
then goes.

This summer started early, with hot days in a mercilessly dry October. We have been noticing signs of autumn being early – those magpie songs, and the Belladonnas blooming much earlier than other years. For us, autumn is when the rains should come, it’s when the grass grows green over the tawny summer paddocks, and the danger of fires is past. It’s probably my favourite time of year, not least because I get to eat all those beautiful mellow autumn fruits!

Creativity: Party Guest Book

IMG_7406 (Large)

I’ve got a birthday not far off – one of those landmark ones, and I’m having a party…A book for guests to sign as a memento is fairly standard on these occasions, and being an artist, I made my own.

It’s quite simple, with only one signature. The pages are 110gsm cartridge paper, and the cover is repurposed card with the printed magenta card glued over it. The cover design is a variation on the cover of the invite ‘zine I made, and I used the same orange thread to stitch the booklet together.

I couldn’t just leave it at that, of course! One of the pages already had this quote on it – an alternative verse of Nirvana’s “Territorial Pissings”. Since it’s a birthday party, and there will be cake, and my guests are invited to dress up in Punk Rock Style (there will be cliches) the words seem oddly appropriate. So I added a cake.

I’d bought a packet of pretty scrapbooky sheets, so I added some of those. Where I liked both sides, I hinged them with washi tape. When only one side fitted my theme, I stuck them down, again with washi tape. I picked two designs to use, a pretty one, and a punkier one. In the back, I put a copy of the invitation, and an old envelope to put some photos of the night in later. Camera and balloon stickers from Kikki K illustrate its purpose. I also put in a peony stamp, which I coloured with watercolours, and my Peace Love Empathy rainbow heart design.

I hope that the scattering of interesting inserts, stickers and drawings removes the terrible White Page anathema, and that the fact that something is already there will encourage my guests to be more adventurous in adding their names for me to remember the occasion.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Seasons

This week, seasons is the challenge theme. Here in Southern Australia, summer is almost over, according to the calendar at least. We’ve had a week of cooler weather, which not everyone appreciates, and which seems to be confusing some  plants. I have a plum tree sporting blossom, and I came across a lilac in bloom at Tarnagulla yesterday. Meanwhile, quinces are beginning to ripen, and the ornamental grape vine and a Japanese maple are working on autumn colour.

Go figure – I’m not sure what the season is, but the bees don’t care. They will keep gathering pollen and nectar wherever they can find them for as long as it lasts.

Friday Poem: What We Missed

IMG_1966 (Large)

It’s just over 24 years now since my sister died, but this time of year still drags, and a vague sense of something missing – someone missing – dogs my days. I’ll be more cheerful again soon…Well, generally I am, but poetry is for trawling the deeps.

Also, I turn 60 in a couple of weeks. How can that be?

IMG_1986 (Large)

When I am sixty and
you are still twenty seven…
That’s not what’s supposed
to happen.
We are supposed to grow up
and go on adventures.
We are supposed to cook meals
for each other,
play with the kids
exchange gifts at Christmas
grow old together.
We are supposed to spend
days in cafes
drinking coffee, reading papers
talking or just being there…
That’s what’s supposed to happen.

You were not supposed to
get sick and die.
I don’t like that kind of story.

nataraja 2

Weekly Photography Challenge: Life Imitates Art

I thought about going to a lot of effort with this one – setting up a scene from an old painting for the “Life Imitates Art” Photo challenge. However, time was not on my side, as they say, and I simplified a little, by seeking out photos from my files which were inspired by the works of Mark Rothko. A couple are more Jackson Pollock, I think! I’m not sure who the other one is – maybe Kurt Schwitters?

I do enjoy taking photos/making images which are of nothing in particular, or rather in which the actual subject isn’t important. Like Rothko, I am trying to portray a feeling rather than illustrate a thing. These images are often greeted with “What’s THAT?”, and puzzled looks – like Jackson Pollock’s amazing painting “Blue Poles”. I imagine Kurt Schwitter’s beautiful but “meaningless” collages of paper scraps were not always highly regarded, either. Such is life in art!

Creativity: Party Prop II

IMG_7270 (Large)

I’ve been working some more on my photo background “party prop”. I’ve added extra width with a spare panel from a folding screen. I bought a couple of chunky markers, and have been adding bits as I think of it. It’s under the clothes line, so I’m often “just passing”! and getting sidetracked…IMG_7274 (Large)

I had to add this old Nirvana poster (a copy, I hasten to add) because it was on my birthday 25 years ago.

Hunting for a different stencil (which I didn’t find) I came across this one I did of a very dapper William Burroughs.

Here’s a gallery showing the evolving layers. I drew a line (wire) for the Typo bird stencil. Bird on the Wire is a favourite Leonard Cohen song of mine. There’s an  Emma Magenta rub-on decal, more typo stencils, a print of a graffiti stencil from Aberdeen Washington. I’ve also sloshed on some old, thick paint, mainly on the top edge, for some artful drips. I’m finding it a bit challenging to cover up my earlier efforts, even though that’s the whole idea…but I’m getting there!

This is a project that could go on for a very long time, but the party is now just over a month off, so that gives me an end date!


Weekly Photography Challenge: Time

Time waits for no one, we all know that, but a person with a camera can try to capture some sense of time passing in pictures, and that is the Weekly Photography Challenge for this week. There is less than a week – and a heavy downpour – between the first photo here and the other two. If only I’d known the fire was going to come, I could have had a “before the fire” pic as well…

I’m also sharing a gallery of photos of the effects of time on a vehicle left to the vagaries of time and weather for years and years. Rust and decay, mainly! Considering where it is, I suspect it got bogged so thoroughly in wet sandy soil, that it was abandoned where it lay. Sad, but so photogenic!

Friday Poem: Quiet

Usually I have a poem in mind, and then look for photos that I think illuminate or complement it. This week I’ve gone the other way around, with these photos I took on a friend’s property earlier in the week. Around 25 minutes walk along a bush track, there is a clearing scattered with the rusting remains of old farm machinery (Yes!) alongside orderly rows of eucalypt plantation. One of the trees has a random and apparently meaningless ladder leaning on it, for a touch of the surreal…It was wonderfully quiet and peaceful out there – no creatures to be seen, apart from kangaroos, wallabies and birds…Oh, and the local Landcare group, whose excursion we were so hopelessly late for. I didn’t mind, because I had my camera.

Looking for a quiet place,
A quiet place for my soul;
Somewhere to hide away
And contemplate my life.

Looking for a quiet place,
Away from background noise;
A place to think in peace,
A quiet, quiet place.IMG_7261 (Large)

Back at the house, this is Bill and Annette’s view…not too bad! And quiet…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Vibrant

Bloggers in the depths of the northern hemisphere winter are looking for something Vibrant as a promise of spring. Way down under, it’s summer still but some of us are looking forward to autumn and cooler, crisper days and nights. We’ve had some good rain at last (after months of almost none), so the garden has perked up and is looking much more vibrant. The frogs that have been hiding somewhere have also perked up and are calling loudly, vibrantly, non-stop. Too bad I can’t take a photo of noise!

Here we have my eldest son Simon with his niece, Matilda, Morgen the cat asleep as usual, and contrasting nicely with the vivid colours of a vintage comforter. A book of vibrant poetry arrived in the mail this week, to be enjoyed with freshly made Welsh cakes and a big mug of coffee. Today I had toasted Turkish bread with hummus and home-grown tomatoes. The amaryllis belladonna have opened their petals, their perfume is as vibrant as the colour. Also in the mail – three new card designs for Sukie’s Original, and finally, the little camp chairs that I re-covered with brilliant orange and green canvas. I’m waiting for the day when Juniper and Matilda are both big enough to sit on them!