The Ascot Vale Library Exhibition is up

Last Wednesday I carried my art works into the Library and met MJ, the Community Arts Officer. It was her hard work that enabled this to happen in the Library. And her hard work that made my works look great in the space. She was up and down the ladder quite a few times for each piece.

We decided to group the works thematically. Above the children’s shelves are the reeds and water ribbons.

This photo was taken before they were hung. The little blue postitnotes are gone.

The rock pools and dunes have been hung above the higher adult non-fiction shelves.

I was really delighted at the positive comments staff and library users made as we were hanging them. One staff member remarked on how soothing they were, and they all agreed that it was lovely to have art back on their walls.

I would love to show you how they look now they are hung, but unfortunately Victoria has gone into another lockdown and the Library is closed. I have to make do with peeking through the windows!

As I was walking past one of the librarians hastened to the window and mimed how much she loved the works. That cheered my lockdown heart!

So big thanks to MJ and the others at the Incinerator Art Gallery for giving me this opportunity to show my work to my community, and beyond.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.
I also acknowledge that the rock pools and dunes were inspired by places on lands belonging to the Boon Wurrung people.

Three more paintings

I am running a little behind with posting my works for the exhibition, so here comes three at once!

They are still in the water ribbons series, although the first one is of reeds more than the water ribbons. I think that’s the one that will be chosen as the hero image for the exhibition.

I love that term ‘hero image’. It is the painting that is used as the image for the exhibition, on promo materials and grand banners, if I was having one of those! Instead I think it will be on the website of the Incinerator Art Gallery website, which is organising the exhibition. Maybe on the Library’s material too.

This one is cropped too tightly. While the water ribbons are close to the left edge, there are more showing than in this photo.

Tomorrow is the big day, when the works will be hung in the Library. I will have photos to show you very soon! Thanks for all the positive support and feedback you have been giving me.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

Water ribbons #2

The second in the water ribbons series. Water ribbons are aquatic plants that appear out of the water, away from the banks.

With this one I was playing about with oil pastel and watercolour, using the oil pastel as a resist. It was fun to move the paint around over the oil pastel, even blowing through a straw. Then I cut out around the shapes to make the thre clumps.

I like the energy in this one, and I think the background adds to it. However, it is not a favourite. In fact I wasn’t going to put it into the exhibition until a friend said it worked for her. Another example of how something appeals to one person and not another.

A reminder about the exhibition:

Ascot Vale Library

Union Rd

Ascot Vale, Melbourne

From 14th July (That’s this week –very exciting!) Until 8th December.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

Water ribbons

The more I looked at the wetlands near me, the more I saw. I first saw the reeds and their wonderful reflections, then I looked closer and saw another group of plants, the water ribbons. They have long scrappy leaves that emerge right out of the water.

I was intrigued by the seed pods that appeared, expecting them to flower. Instead, surprisingly, they stayed as berries.

With this collage I wanted to capture the strappy leaves and to show how it grows out of the water. The whole clump was created by scraping paint across the paper, and then carefully cutting out. I like the composition of the clump sitting strongly in the bottom left.

Remember it is one of the collages in the exhibition at the Ascot Vale Library, Union Rd, Ascot Vale, which opens next Wednesday, 14th July.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

Another mangrove collage

The theme for my exhibition is habitats that lie between the land and the sea, Between Worlds. They are often habitats that have been disregarded, so drained and built over. We have come to learn, at a high cost, how precious they are.

Mangroves fit in perfectly here. They are muddy and difficult to move through, not glamorous or beautiful, but oh so important. They are natural water filters and breeding grounds for many fish species. Ecosystems are complex.

However all along the coast of Australia–and I am sure many other parts of the world–they have been seen as wasteland, land better used as marinas and development.

The aerial photo that inspired my collages was of mangroves in Westernport Bay, a RAMSAR site. Close to this precious area is a gas terminal, which wanted to expand and have more ships come though the Bay. There was a lot of opposition, which fortunately put enough pressure on the government to stop the expansion. Fortunately we still have this wonderful area for fish and birds and weedy seadragons.

The bush shapes for this collage were created with various papers — tissue paper, photocopy paper, brown paper and the paper florists wrap flowers in. I printed the colours on the gelli plate. After I torn out the shapes I layered them to add interest and extra texture. You can see some of the layers in the photo.

For the background I scraped paint over an A3 sheet of photocopy paper. Then I tore it into strips and glued them back down. I like the sense of movement it gives.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

My exhibition is coming up!

This should be a Stitch-A-Long post. These last three weeks have been hectic, and I just couldn’t get to stitch. However, there will be lots of wonderful stitching to see at the other members of the group. Follow the links to see their work.

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJLauraCathieLindaHelen

My partner has been back in hospital, after a fall. He is okay, but hospital visiting and caring takes time….and emotion and energy.

So I have used my pockets of time to get ready for the library exhibition, the first of two that I have coming up in July and August. I think I am on track. The meeting with the organiser this week will help me work out whether I am right.

Details of the exhibition for my Melbourne readers:

14th July to 8 August

Ascot Vale Library

Union Rd,

Ascot Vale

You are welcome to just drop into the library and have a look, but they will be for sale too. As you can see the works will be up for quite a while.

There are lots of you who won’t be able to make it 😪. I will treat you to the paintings by publishing them, one a day for the next few weeks. Here’s the first one:

Mangroves

My works are interpretations of the worlds between land and sea. This one is part of the mangroves series, which were created by tearing up paper.

I decided that my old watercolour landscape painting would be perfect to tear up and then glue back down again. You can see some tree trunks in the shapes. I created the background paper, the sandy sea, with acrylic paint on photocopy paper.

The work is A3 size, and looks good in its blond wood frame.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land o which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and present.

May was a crazy month

What a crazy month it was…..

I was most impacted by my Fella being ill and then needing to be in hospital for 6 nights. He is on the mend, but recovery is slow.

He had deranged* blood tests as a result of a reaction to heart medication he had been on for a couple of years.

(* Deranged is the medical term! I love it.)

So you can see where a lot of my time has been spent — on caring and hospital visits. Extras like gardening and blogging have been way down the list of things to do. 😪 And even when I had time I found I didn’t have the mental and emotional energy. These times can be quite anxious.

Underlying these demands was knowing that my exhibition date (early August) was coming closer. I tried to find pockets of time to work on my collages. Then I was asked if I was still interested in exhibiting at my local library.

One collage in my current series of mangroves
Another in the mangroves series

Just to recap….at the end of 2019 I was asked by the Incinerator Art Gallery, a gallery run by our local council, if I was interested in putting my work in the Ascot Vale Library. Of course! Then 20bloody20 came along and the library was closed for many months. Add to the mix the liaison person left. I put the exhibition on the backburner.

It came off the backburner this month with a meeting with the new liaison person. She was wonderfully enthusiastic and wanted works to hang from mid-July to November. Fantastic, but now I really need to get going with my creations!

I have been given a little breathing space with another lockdown in Victoria. Today we found out that the lockdown has been extended from the original seven days for another seven. Not that I want this virus to be threatening us in this way, but it has given me time.

Another eventful happening was that the Fella and I got our first dose of the vaccine. I got a sticker and a lolly pop 🤗

Now it is just a matter of actually using the time…..

My collage paintings

Firstly, big virtual hugs and kisses to you all, for letting me know that you are thinking of me. You make blogging and connecting a joy. I am doing well, with only a little stiffness, and my energy levels are okay. I have even been making lists, a sure sign that I am getting back to normal.

Secondly, my art work.

I can’t remember what I have told you, so let’s go back a little.

I did an online course with Tara Axford during our first lockdown last year, maybe in April? One of the many things I learnt and loved was collaging. The loving part was a very nice surprise. In our second Melbourne lockdown we could only leave home for 4 reasons; one was exercise within a 5km radius. I spent a lot of time down at my local urban wetlands and the reeds and reflections fascinated me.

Collaging and wetlands came together.

Then I found out I had been accepted to have an exhibition at the Old Auction House in Kyneton. How exciting it that! August is still a way off, but it seems to be approaching at a rather quick pace. I am building up a body of collages to exhibit.

So far I have worked on two series.

The first is of the wetlands. Some are abstract reinterpretations.

Some are more realistic.

Then I decided to switch my focus to rock pools.

Over Christmas I was lucky enough to spend time at my sister’s beach house at Somers. Somers beach has the most amazing rock pools, with colours that took my breath away. And just happened to be the colours I have been using. How could I not be smitten by something like this?

Most of the time I can tell whether the collage has worked or not. There is something that makes me smile and feel satisfied. I don’t get that feeling from the rock pools I have done so far.

The last one is the only one that resonates. For me the first two are neither realistic nor abstract enough, neither one nor the other. I would love to know what you think.

I am not giving up on the rock pools. I need to loosen up, to let go of the detail until the last; not try to recreate them as they are, instead let the paint and shapes tell me what to do.

As for the painting, all of these have been ‘painted’ with an old credit card, which I use to scrape the paint across the paper. There is little control, but wonderful effects. Then I cut out the shapes that I see in the paint. Simple and works for me!

Resuming transmission, I hope

I have been a very poor correspondent over the last few months. If it wasn’t for the SAL deadlines, I wouldn’t have been posting at all. And a couple of those posts were rather skimpy. However, I have a good excuse…..

Early in December my neck and hips started to feel very stiff and sore, and then it got worse over the month. Not really painful, but doing simple things, like turning over in bed, bending over, sitting down, were really difficult. It was worse in the morning.

Eventually, after expecting it to go away, and throwing Christmas and New Year into the time mix, I had blood tests which showed high levels of inflammation. My GP was really supportive, and started me on medication that helped, almost overnight.

This week I saw a rheumatologist, who diagnosed polymyalgia rheumatica. It is an inflammatory condition which, fortunately, is treatable. It may take time but the medication should get the immune system and inflammation under control. So, good news!

The best way to describe it to you is to say that many, many, moons ago I went rock climbing with my brother. Oh boy, were my thigh muscles stiff over the next few days! I remember how difficult it was to climb the stairs at work, and at one stage had to go up backwards. My legs just didn’t want to work. Through December my muscles seemed to be saying, “Nup, we’re not moving.” They were stiff and sore. Trying to make them move was a little painful, but overall the pain level was quite low.

I mention this because I know there are many people, including some of you, who suffer high levels of pain over months and years. What I have experienced has not been at that level, but it has given me more insight into how difficult life can be for many. I applaud you for your courage and resilience.

Getting the diagnosis confirmed how important it is to have someone say “This is what you have, this is how we can deal with it”. Before the diagnosis there were a number of possibilities which I brooded on, playing out scenarios in my mind, having imaginary conversations, scrolling through websites and Youtube videos. None of that was helpful. I knew it wasn’t a good idea, but I was impatient to know. My mind tried to come up with its own solutions, but all it was doing was being a hamster on a wheel. However, now I know which way I am facing I know which direction to go in.

It is a relief to get out of my own head!

There seem to be many chronic conditions that are difficult to pin down. And that’s assuming you have a supportive medical professionals who believe you. And access to specialists and the various tests needed. So again, I really feel for people who have had to fight to get the correct diagnosis, people who have not only had to deal with what their own bodies are throwing at them but battling to be heard by others.

I am grateful for so many reasons.

Now, to end on a different note. Even when I was chatting to you on a more regular basis, I hadn’t mentioned much about my art. I am going to leave you with a gallery of my collages, with the promise that soon I will tell you more about them. However, if you can’t wait for that post sometime in the future, you can sign up for my newsletter. This weekend I am going to write about how my collages are rather like jigsaw puzzles. [You can sign up here.]

SAL

Before I show you the work done over the last three weeks, I just want to say how much I appreciate the comments you leave. Of course I get warm fuzzies when you tell me how you like what I do, but perhaps even more I appreciate the comments you leave about what you see in my work, what they remind you of, how they make you feel. That there is something in my stitching that you respond is a good feeling.

I am proud to be part of such a warm and supportive community.

So, to this time….

….another postcard. The torn up work was a watercolour tree. I tried to make the pieces more horizontal, but somehow it still has quite strong verticals!

I am working on the cross stitching, but seem to have stalled over the last week or so. I think it needs some colours that I don’t have in my thread stash. Of course, that could just be an excuse to buy some more but now that shops are open and our restrictions have eased I feel the yarns and threads are calling to me!

This Stitch-A-Long post is organised by Avis. We are a group of stitchers who post every three weeks to show what personal stitching we have done. The variety of works is amazing, and the quality is always top notch. Use the links below to see their work.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen