Friday, November 16, 2007

Sisters on holiday

Last week two of my sisters and myself spent a week down south of Western Australia to celebrate a 60th birthday. It was a week of laughter, fun and lots of reminiscing.

This dearest of sisters doesn't share our passion for vintage collectables, but waits patiently while we rummage through all sorts of treasures, this is some of our stash we stowed in the car to bring home.

At the small country town Wagin we stepped back in time and went through their heritage village lots of vintage items to delight in, this was in the dressmakers shop.

How tempting where these old typeset keys, I could reach out and touch, what I could do with them but alas not for sale.

How cool are these, for a vintage artist just way much to temptation, but not for sale

Can you see that wonderful old album and what about those feather quills.

we saw rugged windy coastlines down the bottom of Australia, across the seas one would arrive at the Antartic, millions of years ago Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India where all joined to Antartica these rugged rocks give you an idea of how the land broke up and the seas smoothed them out. This was called Godwana (not sure if spelling is correct) pretty awesome, out on this gap it was very windy, not birds around, guess there little wings could not cope.

From rough seas to tranquil inland rivers, isnt that inviting!

This very secluded spot on the hottest day we shucked off clothes and cooled off in lovely cold water, no you cannot see those photo's!!

Wonderful old forrests with giant old old trees, if they could only talk. They have built a wonderful tree walk up into the top of the trees, Wonderful!

This enormous tree was used as a fire lookout, would have to scoot down pretty quickly if there was a fire coming.

I often climbed trees as a child so could not resist climbing the tree, (not the best view) I climbed to the top then back down, wooow my legs where like jelly and paid for it with screaming thigh muscles for the next three days, you would think I would have learnt by now.

how precious is this days old guinea pig and how gentle are the hands that cradle it!

this friendly guy called in for breakfast, he wasn't going to let that peice of bread go

this delightful home in Albany is the first established farm in Western Australia, the gardens where glorious and the home so quirky, the walls bowed and bulged in different places.
We had a wonderful time and it was over to soon. If you have read this far, thank you for your interest. bye for now

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

couldn't sleep last night, the usual, the harder you try the further away sleep becomes. For a while now I have been picking up one of my journals when I have trouble sleeping and writing my thought patterns until I relax enough to drift off. I wrote for a while all the positive thoughts I could, not sleepy yet, I spied a box of crayons I had put out on my trestle to catch my attention when I needed to try something new. just what I needed, I swirled, those crayons in flowing curves my mind going with the flow, thinking how like life these rivers of motion represent, we flow into dark places which seem to overtake us, then with a little effort it can flow back into the brighter swirls and we can see the sun again. I outlined the depth's then highlighted the peaks. The lovely crayons I used Gallery Watercolour I bought last Xmas, they had been hiding under my creative mess coming to my notice recently. I found this exercise very therapuatic, I had nothing in mind and just let my hand flow where it wanted.

At the shop I am teaching a house book, inspired from the book 'In this House' by Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn. following is page 1, this is a Christmas theme and my favourite Christmas colour shades of white.

I have used vintage christmas themed background pages in black and white onto heavy bookboard. On this page I painted beige all around the border. I am using Claudine Hellmuth's vaseline technique for the backgrounds, painted gesso over the top, rubbed the paint back. painted a thick peice of scrap cardboard with gesso. I have glued using generous amounts of PVA glue, some white gauze over the cardboard into nice textures, as well as adhering to bookboard. I have painted my photo printed on nopa paper with polymer medium to give the photo body. glued photo on top. cut mica with pinking shears and attach over photo. a sprinkle of silver micro beads along top of glued gauze to give that Christmas sparkle. a very nina touch, painted white twigs tied along with a tatty old paint brush, a watch crystal from Coffee Break Design to highlight Santa's face from the background, he is a grand old santa. photo is my sweet little boy from about 38 years ago.

Page two I have used the same techniques and used a musky pink in the santa clip art and instead of gauze a scrap of raw silk fabric, if you have used silk, you will know how the edges like to fray, I have used these threads to tie the twigs onto the roof line over some pink painted stripe script paper. the photo is of me that has been handpainted. I can see these standing zig zag on the mantle peice at Christmas. Will keep you updated as I complete the other pages and the finished peice. I am off down South with two of my three sisters later this afternoon as Phillipa meets another milestone in her life. as we reach a certain age we all try to get together for a week and just celebrate being sisters. sadly my baby sister is unable to come this year, she will be missed. we are just going to go with the flow, stop where it pleases us, have lots of walks on the beach as well as in the forest. last time we got a tattoo each, none of that will be happening this time but I am sure we will come up with something crazy. I will be back next week, re energised with my soul nurtured, will catch up with you then.

Friday, November 2, 2007

email from the past

today when I down loaded my emails there was one from Kevin Watts. I was in the same class as Kevin at Intermediate School, when I was about 13. I joined a website group aimed at making contact with old school friends in New Zealand, and have had contact with quite a few old friends since. I haven't seen Kevin since those school days oh so long ago. I received a phone call and what turned out to be probably the longest conversation I have ever had with Kevin, as back in those days I was not at all confident in talking to boys!!! and what I perceived as quiet and reserved was in fact shyness. I now find that Kevin and I shared a sense of adventure, he has travelled to remote parts throughout the world for many years marrying later in life. Whereas I spent all my childhood travelling from one station to another in rural New Zealand I married young and had my children and started travelling later in life. Then I received another phone call from the lovely Mandy in Queensland. This girl is going a hundred miles an hour, going back to get her degree in visual arts and bringing up her two children on her own, you go girl, what an inspiration. I have made some wonderful friends through this mixed media art business not only throughout Australia but the USA and New Zealand as well. I often rant and rage about modern technology and computers in particular, it can be so damn frustrating and waste so much of my valuable time, but on the other side of the coin it makes the world more accessible.

A dream came true for me last year

this time last year about this time along with Robyn, we arrived in Cortona, Italy. Nina was arriving the following day along with the rest of the girls doing the art retreat. a dream come true for me, thanks to my dearest daughter Jo who made it all possible and John and Kirsty who along with Joanne paid for my trip. Anyone reading this who has thought of going away to do an art retreat, do what you can to make your wishes come true, you will not regret it. I still relive the wonderful week I had in the lovely Tuscany countryside. The countryside reminded me a little of my childhood in New Zealand but of course the buildings and architecture was unique to Italy.

I spent every free moment I could find walking around these lovely uneven streets, can you imagine that cars wizz around these streets, infrequently, as I think during the day most residents that use cars go to work out of Cortona. If I stretched my arms out I could almost touch both walls, so when a vehicle came one had to hug close to the walls of these old, old buildings. You just breath in so much history, you can close your eyes and picture different times that this place has lived and survived through. love it, love it.

standing against time, they certainly built to last. One wonders how long the buildings we build now will last, and would we want them to anyway.

the lovely Olga on the day we spent picking olives, learning how to make pasta and cooking the most delicious Italian meal, a wonderful day we had off from the workshop. Of course the workshops were the highlight, so much creativity going on with the amazing Nina at her best.

Isn't this building intriguing, what stories could it tell, is that a secret tunnel to escape marauding etruscans or romans, come out the discreet door at the top, quickly down the stone steps, scoot around the corner and duck into the tunnel and off. good imagination aye!

several mornings we were greeted with this wonderful thick fog, that enveloped the country below taking several hours before dissipating, look at that mysterious ghostly church dome in the background. Cortona would be bathed in sunshine while below the world was cast in gloom.

Olga, Robyn and myself set out to find 'Bramesole' the setting for the movie 'Under the Tuscan Sun' (loved that movie) after getting lost we finally met a very knowledgeable fine old Italian gentleman who deciphered Olga's Italian and guided us just up the road, where this amazing villa sat in all its splendour, not quite as I remembered it in the movie. Its soft ochre colour so uniquely Italian.

and the little shrine that the elderly gentleman left flowers each day but never returned her greetings until the end of the movie.

and so the sun sets on Tuscany, viewed from where I spent such a wonderful week with creative new friends, the enigmatic Nina, and the ever so patient Stacey who arranged this wonderful retreat that gave us this amazing opportunity. I appreciate all the hard work put into running these retreats, and all the way from the USA.

on the last day we travelled back to Rome and spent half a day with Olga and Phyllis, what treasures to be found there. will have to go back and explore more.