The Next Adventure

I’ve spent four days trying to bring a painting of Paris to a conclusion. It finally happened today when some friends who have connections with an artists’ paint manufacturer kindly dropped off a bag of amazing colours at my front door! They were just what I needed to complete the picture!

It actually looks better in the flesh - it’s 102 cm x 102 cm so you can see the bits better. This is based on a view from the escalator of the Pompidou Centre...I just LOVED the rolling sea of rooftop chimney pots. I’ve put a series of photos of its creation on the drawing table- not because I’d intended to do a series of photos of its creation but because I kept thinking it was finished. Then decided to finish it again...

I’ve begun to look into artist in residence spots and have come across grants awarded by the Australia Council for the Arts for just that purpose, closing date August 5th! How lucky is that???!!! I can apply for Paris, Helsinki, New York, Liverpool, Rome, Barcelona, Tokyo, or Berlin. I’m leaning towards Paris because of the galleries there, but will look into the others before I lodge the application. Other studios have more of an emphasis on meeting other artists and being involved with the artistic and wider community. I think. I’d better read it again with my glasses on. The grants are competed for vigorously so there’s not much chance of getting one, but there’s certainly more chance than if I DON’T apply! So here goes!

In the meantime I’m warming my feet by the wood stove as the house is off the market for the winter so I can paint. I’ve just turned the electric blanket on so will have a cosy toasty warm bed to snuggle into. I feel like some toast!

Do dogs get dementia?


Do dogs get dementia? I studied zoology and vet science but nobody mentioned memory loss in pets...which is reasonable. I mean, how can you tell if a dog goes into a room then forgets what she went in for...?

I ask because I suspect my dog, Susie, has it. She gets excited and starts asking for dinner as soon as it hits late afternoon, I feed her at 5, then she asks again once or twice during the evening, getting all excited, skittering around and acting for all the world as if she hasn’t had a crumb. It is really annoying that she forgets dinner because I’m blowed if I can remember whether I’ve fed her or not.

The painting is getting very exciting...I’ll write it up with step by step photos on the “On the Drawing Board” page.

The latest two...

Tapestry woods (102 cm x 102 cm)

Blue trees (102 cm x 102 cm)

The exciting thing is that I’m learning to embrace ambiguity, and have discovered that painting is all about INVENTION rather than trying to find a series of different subjects to paint. YAY! And COLOUR knocks my socks off. I LOVE making colours buzz and burn and sing really excites me...and unlike chocolate or alcohol, you can have as much colour as you want and nobody has suggested it does you any harm! So far...

Exhibition back on

I went to the library a couple of weeks ago to find out about having an opening for the exhibition and discovered that the space had been double-booked! I was cancelled! I was VERY disappointed and ended up writing an email suggesting a few options and saying that while I am happy to compromise, I’m not happy to carry the burden of the mistake completely.
I had a note back last week saying that the schedule could be re-jigged and I’m back on! Just September rather than August and September but YAY!!! Another lesson in how it is good to speak up.
So...I’ve been busy varnishing the paintings I’ve done so far which is VERY satisfying as it brings the colours out, and have begun to paint again today. Painting is feeling so good and so right and as if there’s so much exploring and discovering ahead. I’ll aim for 40 pieces for the exhibition - I have 24 as we speak.

This one is called, for the moment, City Park. It started as the Botanical Gardens and Harbour Bridge with reflections in the water. Then yesterday I turned it on its side and began to paint interlacing branches which always fascinate and delight me and are everywhere at the moment now that winter is here. It grew from there...


Art compels one to ask the big questions...such as, when you’re varnishing, where DO those teeny tiny flies come from that you’ve never seen before in your well-ventilated but fully fly-screened space, and what possible instinct drives them to splat themselves onto the sticky surface of your up-til-then pristine paintings???!!! Also, how did the salesgirl in the art shop manage to charge me for my own empty tin of varnish which I took in to show her what sort I wanted and took out of my bag in front of her moaning that it had leaked...???

The magnolia is blooming its heart out, a king parrot came to visit today with its absolutely brilliant plumage, and when I was out for a few hours on Saturday a cockatoo picked all of the lemons but one off my little tree and took a bite out then dropped them on the ground. It would have been quite an acrobatic feat for such a large bird to navigate such a small tree, but the bites are definitely cockatoo! Ah nature; tooth, claw and more than a little sense of humour!


Cleaning piano keys

A kookaburra came to tea...the magnolia tree was ALMOST out in bloom.

A friend was wondering how to clean ivory piano keys; my mother and her mother both played piano, my grandmother having trained at the Conservatorium in Toronto and having gone to the piano factory to choose her instrument when the day came that she could afford one. Their method for cleaning piano keys was a barely damp cloth with water for the black keys, and methylated spirits for the ivory keys using little cotton balls. I remember because cleaning them used to be my job. The keys were clean but my fingernails really dry after I’d finished.

Actually, I guess toothpaste should work seeing as ivory is actually tooth enamel, but the rinsing and spitting would be hard.


My grandmother was one of four girls. One time they were out in the back garden at the rain barrel washing their hair when their suitors arrived early at the front of the house. The girls were ushered by their mother up a ladder into the bedroom window so the men wouldn’t see them until they were suitable attired.

My brother is having difficulty working on a script with a gaggle of kids on summer holidays (Canada) screaming all day outside his window.
"The screams of children at play are the gentle music of old age".
I remember Mum and me hearing that once and thinking that whoever wrote it is counting on being deaf in old age.

I've been told I need to lower my cholesterol- turns out it's actually what used to be normal but they changed the official level for normal so now it's a bit elevated. Like when a few years back "they" decided to lower the levels of certain bacteria allowable in Sydney's water supply, and we all had to start boiling our water or use bottled water even though the levels were what they'd been for decades. Then they changed the levels back again but the supermarket shelves had filled with bottled water and have stayed that way ever since.

Just musings today...Sunday...will toast my toes by the wood stove tonight.

A fly in the ointment, with a spanner


The exhibition is disappointingly on hold for the moment as I wait to see if a fly in the ointment with a spanner in the works at the library can be sorted out - will write more detail once I know whether a bureaucratic mis-communication has put paid to our arrangement or not.

A little packet arrived today from my dear friend in the Yukon. She had been visiting Sitka and was interested in learning about the influence of the Russians who were there between 1740 and 1867. She bought a 'tea brick' which was how they packaged tea for transport from China/Russia...amazingly compressed and hard and you flake or chip off tea leaves for your cup or pot.  It had a beautiful design stamped into both front and back.(Coincidentally I had just been in a teapot shop today drooling- naturally the one I liked was over $100.00.)
Neatly folded so it fit perfectly on top of the box inside the outer wrapping was a brochure from Australian Customs saying they had opened the packet, and listing the items which may NOT be sent into Australia. So let me get this straight. Customs sends a list of what may NOT be sent into Australia to the person receiving it, ie who DIDN’T send it, and in fact will only receive the brochure if the item is something ALLOWED, otherwise THEY WOULDN’T LET IT IN!!! Sheesh!

I’ve included a few images from the Pony Club nearby, and several more paintings. Also a photo of one of the most wonderful creatures I know, a gecko. It was under a piece of firewood. Exquisite.This was a city/parkscape...then I decided to look at it through different windows and framed by different frames, the ways a landscape is viewed by the different people who live in it.

This one is elements of Nova Scotia- autumn trees, round bales in white plastic, harbour, lighthouse, little houses with eyebrows over the windows, ploughed and planted fields and winter coming.