A delight from Queensland

Recently Kate emailed me to ask if I wanted a nest. Well, who can resist a nest? Probably plenty of people, but not me!

The story behind the nest is that an olive backed sunbird created this nest by suspending it from the fairy lights right by Kate’s backdoor. Kate had the delightful task of keeping the nest, bird and eggs safe. You may remember her blog posts about it, where you can also see a photo. It is an amazing creation, especially to be made by such a tiny thing.

Yesterday the nest arrived, safe and sound, because Kate had packed it so well.

 

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And this is my new treasure

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Not everybody’s cup of tea, but I love it. The muted colours, its fragility, its construction (how does one little bird create such a thing, especially as only some parts look like they have been woven) and the little additions, like the feathers and paperbark (must be from a melaleuca!)

My mind is buzzing with creative ideas. Maybe even oil pastel?? In October there is an exhibition of natural history subjects, and this little sunbird nest could be just the subject for me! I will keep you posted.

So many thinks to Kate for thinking of me. She is such a generous soul, and my world is richer for knowing her.

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And the winner is…….

Drum roll please…….because the winner of my tree painting giveaway is……..but first let’s watch the draw…..All the names are in the hat, which is taken by Special Courier to the Fella, enjoying the Autumn sunshine down the back of the house…..

…..where he draws out the winning name…..

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which is ……..

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MARINA who blogs at Letters from Athens!!  🎉🎊🎉 Congratulations!

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So the painting will be winging its way to Greece. (No Warren Beatty opening the wrong envelope at this celebration!)

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who commented. I loved all your ~up towns, and was glad that I hadn’t made the competition about the best name. There is no way I could have chosen a winner! Thank you too if you didn’t enter, but still enjoy reading my blog. It is one of my pleasures to know that in this crazy old world there are people like you who delight in the simple things and enjoy the humanity of others.

If you are really shattered that you didn’t win the painting, you have the chance to buy one! They are in my Etsy shop, AnneLawsonArt. (You can also click on the feather drawing on the side bar at the right.) It is easy to buy through Etsy, but if you don’t want to, email me and we can work things out.

My email: annebags@optusnet.com.au

Just to let you know, I am working on larger versions of the trees that are not in the shop. They are 23 x 16 inches (59 x 41 cm). Again, email me if you would like to know more.

And lastly, Happy International Women’s Day to you all! Let’s celebrate the great gains women have made, and work towards eradicating sexism and the barriers that still exist.

 

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Sometimes, while wandering through the internet, I come across artists who make me go WOW! Kate Kato is one. She creates the most amazing fungi and floral sculptures. This is some of her work

Fungi and Floral Sculptures Produced From Recycled Paper.

[Don’t forget to leave a comment on my post Time for a tree giveaway to be in the draw for my oil pastel tree painting. Entries close on Sunday March 5th and the Fella will pull out the name of the winner on Monday March 6th.]

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How does my garden grow?

Before I show you my garden, I just want to remind you of my tree painting giveaway. If you would like to be in the draw to win it, head to my last post to leave a comment. Hugs to those of you who have already entered.

Last year my veggie patch in the front yard looked like this

with the tomatoes still in their pots and the seeds in their packets.

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The tomatoes did okay, but the volunteer plants were much more prolific. Both varieties have given us rich red tomatoes, our best for quite a few years. I think a consistent amount of water was the key.

In the back patch near the rosemary hedge I planted Kipfler potatoes. They grew well. The potatoes are small, but tasty. Despite not planting them very deep, potatoes hide in the soil and reappear the next season. So, as well as the Kipflers we also harvested purple spuds that came up elsewhere.

The corn came up strong and tall. The cobs weren’t as good as last year. It may have been a different variety or maybe too much competition. Around it I planted silverbeet and beans, and the volunteer tomatoes flourished in amongst the corn. The silverbeet certainly suffered. Who knew that it wouldn’t flourish in all possible situations?!

I deliberately planted the beans at the base of the corn, hoping that the beans would curl up the stalk, giving back nitrogen for the corn to use. The beans loved climbing up the corn, but didn’t know what to do when they reached the top!

To solve the problem I have untangled the runners from the tomatoes, silverbeet and corn and let them ramble on the Aframe that the Fella made for me quite a few years ago.

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Yesterday I had one of those extremely satisfying gardening days. I pulled out the parsley plants that had gone to seed, the old tomato bushes, dug up volunteer potatoes and sweet potatoes and dug over a bed.

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As well I took time out to watch the bees in the oregano flowers. It is difficult to cut the flower heads because there are always bees there, sometimes butterflies too. Anything that brings in the bees and insects is welcome in my garden!

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I also harvested and cooked.

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Slow roasted tomatoes are my favourite at the moment. Pop the tomatoes into a dish (cut them or not, as you like), add some oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley or any other herb you fancy, salt and paper, and some garlic cloves. Put into a slow oven 150 degrees or so until they are cooked to your liking. Mine stayed in for about an hour. I will use them tonight, with slow roasted eggplant and peppers, bought today at a farmers’ market, as the basis of a pasta sauce. ~Sigh~

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Remember to head over to Time for a tree giveaway to enter my giveaway. This is the tree painting you could win.

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Copyright: Anne Lawson 2017

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Time for a tree giveaway

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I have created one of my oil pastel trees just for you. It is small, A5 (8 x 6 inches; 12 x 15 cm) and on good quality watercolour paper. Unfortunately, it is only for one of you. ☹️ And you have to do a little bit to earn it. Let me explain……

To celebrate the launch of my new series of trees I want to give away this drawing. To win it leave me a comment by Sunday 5th March. Then, on Monday, I will write all the names on slips of paper and the Fella will pull one out of the hat. I will happily post it any where in the world.

So what do you need to do?

As you know I have recently been over to Western Australia. In the southern part of the state there are many towns with names that end in ‘up’. We stayed for a couple of nights in Manjimup ~ a wonderful name that is fun to say. How about this for a list:

  • Coolbellup
  • Kendenup
  • Myalup
  • Nannup
  • Noggerup
  • Wannaup
  • and many more

The suffix originated in a dialect of Noongar, an Indigenous Australian language, in which “-up” means “place of”. The suffix “-in” or “-ing” has a similar meaning in a related dialect of Noongar.[1] Places tended to be named after their distinctive features, whereby the place names could be used to create a “mental map” allowing Indigenous Australians to determine where water, food and other raw materials could be found. These sites were often located near sources of fresh water, leading to the common misconception that “up” and “in” mean “near water”.[1]

The Fella and I had great fun with these names ~ well I did anyway! I created my own ‘Up’ towns. Wheat fields would flash past the car window and all of a sudden I would ‘Pipeup’ with ‘Buggerup’ or ‘Fillerup’. It certainly whiled away the time! I came up with a good list, but most of my pearls are lost ~ my memory is not what it once was, sigh. Here’s a few I do remember

  • Shutup
  • Timeisup
  • Standup
  • Liveitup
  • CanIfillitup

So, your job is to help me compile my list. You need to ‘Makeup’ your own ‘Up’ town and leave it in the comments. I will happily accept other languages, as of course the originals were not English names. So that’s all you have to do….. Have fun!

 

Posted in AnneLawsonArt, My art work, Odds and Ends, Travels | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments

Quilts

You know I am not a quilter, but there are many of you who are. So here is some eye candy for my quilting friends. If you are not a quilter, you may still enjoy looking.

Musu Quilts

 

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The Nullarbor and trees.

It was at my artist in residency at Mountain Seas on Flinders Island that inspired me to focus on trees. Not just any tree, but melaleucas. I love their canopies, the way the top  parts catch the light while the underneath is in deep shade. I love the shape of them ~ flat areas and crevasses. But I also love their trunks and branches, which twist and bend. When they are massed together there is a rhythm to the shapes.

I am obsessed by these trees. I try to move on, but I keep coming back, either to try them in a new way or perfect what I have been doing. I have used pencil

I have painted with watercolour

I have worked them in yarn. This was probably the least satisfactory way of creating them, but it did lead me onto creating embroidered landscapes.

They all flowed from the Flinders Island experience, where I saw the melaleucas massed together. The trip across the Nullarbor has fuelled my obsession in a different way. The trees there are not melaleucas and, while there are hundreds of square kilometres of them, they are individual trees. I am not sure what species they actually are, and at the moment, that is unimportant to me. Like the melaleucas it is the shape of the canopy and the sculptural branches and trunks that make my creative heart sing.

Maybe you look at these photos and think “Nice pictures, but iI don’t quite get the obsession”. I love them partly because they dovetailed so nicely with the melaleucas, so similar, and yet they shimmered in the wind. Partly because I had to wonder about the evolutionary process. What advantage is there to have such spindly branches? (Bendy branches help in the wind, I guessed, and maybe thinner trunks help move water more efficiently. Any thoughts?) But largely because when you are travelling a thousand kilometres (and another thousand back) staring out the window, you do get a bit obsessed by what you are looking at. I found I was trying to capture the individual trees in my mind.

So, the trees sat there for a couple of weeks and a couple of thousand kilometres. It wasn’t until I came home that I realised two things had come together ~ the trees and a set of oil pastels that were a Christmas present in Western Australia. And this is what is coming out…

The oil pastels allow me to smudge and blend and get carried away with colour combinations. I can layer colours over each other and drag pastels through areas. Then the trunks and branches have the delicacy of the ink. That’s like doodling! Mostly I use black ink pens, but I have been experimenting with different coloured inks. (I show some of my experimentation on  my Instagram feed, AnneLawson54.)

Some close up photos so you can see how the oil pastel creates luscious textures and combinations of colour.

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Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2017

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Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2017

So far they are all either A5 or A4 size, but I am planning bigger ones. They are so satisfying, and such a contrast to the detailed work in my botanic art paintings!

Most of the paintings are available in my Etsy shop AnneLawsonArt. There are details of each if you are interested in finding out more. Some of the other drawings I have shown you in this post are there too. However you don’t have to buy through Etsy if you don’t want to. You can email me at annebags@optusnet.com.au and we can sort things out.

Posted in AnneLawsonArt, My art work, Plants, Texture, Travels | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments