24 October 2007

above : still life on a little table featuring a vintage book
by one of our favorite authors, Edward Ardizzone.

Well it's that time of the year,
when the sun shines most days, and one is
reminded of sunny days on the beach,
dipping into the waves, and relishing the sight
of the vast blue distance of the sea.
I'm yearning to visit the beach again.
Alas, without transport, sometimes we miss out,
and so, painting what I miss is the next best thing.
I tell you what, when I was in the thick of painting this
mural, it felt almost as if I were there - so engrossed in
the work was I.

This is the mural I painted for my children's bedroom.
Yes, I have posted images of this mural before,
but this is in a new location.
We rent, so, the mural comes with us, and we pin it straight
back onto the new walls theres no stopping us!

Sometimes we're lucky enough to stay at our
very generous friends beach house -
'The Shack' as they like to call it -
a little, run down beach house
on the Ninety Mile Beach.
What a delight it is to camp outside as I like to do,
and hear the distant sounds of the waves as they crash
on the shore. In a word 'bliss'.
There's something about camping out
as opposed to boarding a luxurious motel,
give me a run down shack or a tent anyday!
It is then that we can savor the delights of what
nature has to offer us - and she is so generous!

So until the summer holidays I must wait and hope for the opportunity
to arise again!

*please note - we are a normal family and I
tidied up the kids bedroom before these shots were taken!!! he, he!

10 September 2007


Glorious sunny weather here in Melbourne,
makes one feel inspired and creative.
This morning, took a stroll through the bush
near our home, with my daughter. In anticipation,
we knew
mother nature had many treats in
store for us!

Wattle is in full bloom everywhere,
and the various native plants of the region
once dormant over the winter months,
are now enjoying their moment in the sun.
An absolute feast for the eyes and senses!
Life doesn't get much better than this!

above: Hickory Wattle
Acacia Implexa
and below: Spike Wattle
Acacia Oxycedrus

It's easy to see where the indigenous peoples
of this country drew their inspiration from when
painting - take a look around the australian bush and
it's wildlife and you will see many familiar patterns and
shapes, all seen in aboriginal art for the
purpose of portraying their beliefs.
It is when wandering through bush like this
where we can feel most in touch with aboriginal culture.
Pods, seeds, gum and leaves
of some species of acacia,
for example, are used for different purposes,
ranging from drinks and cakes,
to tobacco!

Well folks, the weather's too good to be stuck
on the computer!
I'm outta here!

4 September 2007

Just had to share these images from
Brunos Art and Sculpture Gallery
in Marysville, Victoria.
Bruno is a quite a character.
He is always there to greet each
and everyone of his guests
as they walk through the door.
His world is one of childlike fantasy
and his gardens are something to behold.
As our family don't own a car,
we enjoy rare outings such as these.
Not far out of Marysville, forests of tall
Mountain Ash are just waiting to be explored
and experiences like this nurture and revive the spirit.
We were last here two years ago.
My children, both very artistic, revel in
these outings and once home,
collected some clay from near our home and
made some creatures of their own!

You can see more of Brunos work
at his website listed under my links.

30 August 2007

I promised to show some soap making books
from my vast collection of books in general so here they are!
I have more but these are what I
regard as my favorites.
'Crafting Soap at Home' by Mike Hulbert
'handmade soap' by Tatyana Hill and
'Aromatherapy Soapmaking' by Elizabeth Wright .
The first two feature beautiful and inspiring photographs
with a bounty of wonderful recipes while the latter
is a more practical book, simply explained and easy to read.
All three give great advice and safety tips and are
enough to get you in the mood to start creating!
Most people are keen to make soap but once they
are aware of the procedures involved they
back off from taking the challenge.
As for myself, the challenge is half the fun,
and when you see the fruits of your labour
it's something you can be proud of.

22 August 2007

A plate of turmeric and rolled oats... how interesting
I hear you say! Well ,they are, when added to my home made
soap, and today I thought I would share with you this favourite
past-time of mine!
I've been making hand-made soap for the family for
the past 7 years. As I'm vegetarian, my soap doesn't
contain animal products and they are based entirely on vegetable oils.
The soap I made on this day contained rolled oats, olive and coconut oil,
hemp seed oil and the essential oils of
Lemongrass and Orange.
Soapmaking can be hazardous though I warn you,
due to the use of caustic soda.
But with a good book and the right equipment,
it is a very satisfying hobby. I used to sell soap at the local market
and many people remarked on how gentle and luxurious they felt on the
skin - in particular those with sensitive and troubled skin-
that's a great compliment.

The batch just poured into the mould.
A teaspoon of Turmeric added for color and a marbled effect.....

....and the final bars of soap.
These will take another six weeks to cure before
they will be safe to use.
So there you have it -
handmade Lemongrass and Orange Vegetable Oil Soap
-a la Andrea!

30 July 2007

Some more views of the drawing desk to show
you today.
I like this desk as it's surface area is roomy
enough to hold all my materials
and it is very sturdy and well built.
This is actually an old Australian Post Office desk and
it shows some evidence of it once having shelves
which we didn't acquire. The shelves on top
are actually made of cheap wood which I then
painted and stained to match the desk.
I'm very much a do-it-yourself type person.

Another unfinished journal entry
for the month of August.
When I paint from nature I paint what I see
and that includes all the flaws
ie; parts eaten away by insects, broken parts, diseases...
all very real and not to be hidden away.
I did however manipulate this study
and added a lower leaf to give stability
to the composition.

A sample of the beautiful
'Eucalyptus leucoxylon 'Rosea'.
Such an exquisite little flower
how could any artist resist capturing it
in some form or other.

17 July 2007

From the beach to the snow - Australia's rich diversity...

Had a great day out over the school holidays and took a
trip up to Mt. Donna Buang with my sister Joanne and her baby.
( Joanne hello! I know you're out there. Time to post a comment.)
Of course, I was in my element taking pictures
here and there with my new toy so here are the results.
Mt. Donna Buang, near Warburton in Victoria as about
a one and a half drive from Melbourne -
closer than our first choice, Lake Mountain which is
abundant in snow but also tourists.
We were very lucky on the day as it had not snowed for a few days,
and we were all thrilled when it started to snow heavily while we
were there. This was the first time for our little girls.

The last time I went to Mt. Donna Buang
was in the spring of last year,
and if you have the nerve, you can climb this
tower to the top (seen in the background, below)
From here you can see far into the distance the
surrounding alps of the Great Dividing Range
and even the city of Melbourne. On a clear day the
view is spectacular, the blue grey hues of the mountains
disappearing into the hazy distance as far as the eye can see.
One feels as though they were at the top of the world.
On this day though, only the tree tops were visible
at close range.

It was freezing up here at Mt. Donna Buang.
My son Ambrose, always one for stats, informed us
that the temperature was -0 degrees.
I had to take off my gloves in order to get these pictures
and after 5 minutes exposed to the cold, they were
already numb and tingling .
Though very cold, being there was in a sense cosy.
I say that because one can imagine all the forest creatures
surrounding us, out of view but hidden away in burrows
trying to keep warm.

Before coming home we stopped off at Warburton
for a hot chocolate and muffin around a cosy fire at
one of the local cafes. A wander around the township
as you do, picked up some home-made soaps and back home
for a warm cuppa of 'Billy Tea'.
That evening, the children, feeling inspired, made
paper cut-outs of snowflakes as they had seen
in the shop windows at Warburton.
A very fine day indeed!