A Bushfire A.B.C

On this day, when New South Wales and Queensland are facing catastrophic fire conditions, these are very wise words from my very wise friend (and talented author) about fire in Australia are a must read.

I am also thinking of EllaD and the GO. Stay safe.

Meeka's Mind

Photo courtesy http://www.wolaver.org/animals/ostrich.htm

I wasn’t going to write a bushfire post this year [2019] because I thought there was no need, not with the devastating fires in NSW and QLD to focus everyone’s thoughts. But I’ve just been on Twitter and seen some of the misconceptions about bushfires.

So…here are some basics:

Fire needs just two things to burn: fuel and oxygen. However the size of that fire depends on many things:

  • Dry fuel – makes a fire burn harder and faster. Fuel is made of up dry grass, leaves, small twigs and fallen branches that build up on the ground over time.
  • Low humidity – i.e. moisture in the air and soil – makes a fire burn harder and faster.
  • Strong winds – provide the oxygen to make a fire burn harder and faster. They also transport embers ahead of the main fire.
  • Embers – land on dry fuel…

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My heart is less heavy, thanks to you

Last time I wrote about the results of our federal election last weekend. My heart felt very heavy because the result was a loss for the environment, an election based on selfishness and fear. And my teapot broke.

There were swings to the Liberal Party (ie conservative), including, astoundingly, a large one in the seat of one Queensland member, who spent more time visiting his girlfriend in the Philippines, on tax payer money, than he did in the Parliament.

I wondered how my political thoughts were so out of kilter with the rest of Australia.

People like me, who want to protect the environment, equal rights, fight homophobia and racism and so on are described as

‘inner city, left leaning, latte sipping, tree hugging, chardonnay shiraz drinking tosspots’

Well, I wear all those labels (except tosspot!) with pride.

And I suspect that many of you proudly wear some of them too. The comments on my post heartened me. I might be living in an inner city silo, where my friends and family are as shocked and dismayed by the election results as I am, but I have discovered just how wide that silo is. It seems to stretch from Great Britain across Europe to the United States and many other places.

And maybe it is not a silo, maybe it is an umbrella, sheltering many of us from the hate and menace that seems to be around us. So thank you for sheltering under the umbrella with me, for leaving me comments and giving me hope that there are many of us who are longing for a better world.

And an update on the teapot……

The Fella and I bought a stainless steel one.

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No chipping this one’s spout. It is double hulled, so the tea stays toasty warm. And the Fella, as an old ex-boiler maker, has a long term love affair with stainless steel ~ and tea!

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Just a little advertisement before I go…..As you know I am heading to my artist in residency at the end of next week, so my Etsy shop will be closed for all of June. However, there is still time to put in an order, if something takes your fancy.

18 in 18

I’ve enjoyed this challenge because it has made me move out of the usual rut; it has brought options to the front of my mind. Having said that, I was surprised at the progress I have made in some areas. So, this is what I have been up to:

Write 18 letters

I am up to 13. Only 5 more to the end of the year. Should be able to manage that.

Sketch Outdoors 17 times

Another 13. Luckily I got outdoors to sketch during the recent trip to Menindee, in the Grampians, at Balranald and at the camping ground in Copi Hollow. I must remember to pack my sketchbook next time I am out and about….and then take it out and sketch!

Visit 16 different places

This hasn’t pushed me in the way that I thought it would. I wanted to extend myself to move away from the usual. I can tick off 12, and most of the recent ones are from the trip to Brisbane (Brisbane Museum, the Town Hall) and the Balranald Discovery Centre (there’s a good coffee shop there too). I haven’t pushed myself in Melbourne. So the next few months need to be full of interesting adventures. The most interesting of the recent crop was to visit General McArthur’s suite of offices in Brisbane. It was his headquarters in WW2, and full of fascinating information about him, and Brisbane during the war. Worth a visit if you are headed that way.

Upload 15 paintings to Etsy

I was in a hiatus for quite a while with listing new things in the shop. I was making decisions about the website, and wondering whether I was going to keep the shop or sell via the website. There wasn’t a lot of activity, and so I wasn’t motivated to list. Of course we all know that activity begets activity, so not listing helped that spiral. But that’s a thought for another day. I made the decision, which maybe only medium term, to keep the store and link from the website to the shop.

Recently I have listed

and there are more in the pipeline. That’s 8 for the year.

[If you would like to keep up with what I am putting into the shop, and sometimes being the first to know, you can simply sign up for the letter from my studio. It’s free, and you even get a feather drawing.]

Walked in 14 different places

I walk every day, and even the familiar walks are interesting and constantly showing me new things. However I enjoy walking in different places too. So far I have chalked up 11 different places.

One of these was a bit of a mistake. The Fella recently bought a new car, with all the bells and whistles, including a sat nav. Not something we have used before. We were heading off to walk in the Werribee Gorge, so I put the info into the sat nav and followed instructions. We were bemused when it took us out along the Ballarat Road to Bacchus Marsh, quite a few kilometres away from Werribee. I had plunged in ‘West Werribee Gorge’, not realising I had other options. Not to worry, we still had a nice walk in the bush, and I am still to walk in the Werribee Gorge!

Go to watch 13 movies 

Up to 11! Yay!

Since I last wrote I have seen:

  • I am Tonya
  • Finding their feet
  • Death of Stalin
  • Eulogy
  • The seagull
  • and watched Brooklyn on TV

Visited 12 galleries

7 galleries so far, with a couple of ones in Brisbane. Their art gallery is a very fine one. They have ranged from a quilt exhibition in Lilydale, way out to the east of me in Melbourne, through an inner suburban one showing John Wolseley’s sublime work, to a small gallery in West Footscray (much closer to me!) exhibiting Jessie Deane’s meticulous tapestries.

Plant 11 native plants

Languishing, I am afraid. Only two planted for the year. Maybe this spring…….

Read 10 biographies or memoirs

Another one that is languishing ~ only 4. It’s not that I don’t read, it’s that I haven’t been thinking about choosing memoirs from the library. The last one was Ann Patchett’s “This is the story of a happy marriage”.

Find 9 different styles/pieces of music

6 out of 9…not bad.

Two of the latest ones are from concerts organised by my sister. (I often mention the upcoming concerts in the letter from my studio. 😉) Michael Kieran Harvey played some wonderful piano music, including a piece composed by Eve Duncan. I was delighted by the compositions of Calvin Bowman (who is playing at the next concert), especially the ones of Walter de la Mare’s poems. They touched a chord!

Bake 8 cakes or biscuits

This wasn’t the best choice, as I have been trying to keep away from sugary things! Only 2 cakes. Not sure if that is a good or a bad result! I’m going to bake this weekend….and give it away ☺️.

Paint with other people 7 times

Still sitting on 2 too. Life gets so busy for all of us.

Clean out 6 cupboards or drawers

I am slowly working my way through the boxes of books I had in storage. It’s a slow process, as I want to reread many of them before I make the decision to keep or throw! But, aside from that, which I am not counting, I have cleaned the mantlepiece in the studio, sorted out and organised my paintings and sorted my summer clothes. Halfway there, but sooooo much more I could attack!

Make 5 things for other people

Tick off 4!! Since last time I have made beeswax wraps with Mary, crocheted a rug to give to the old folks’ home and crocheted a rug for Gerry. I may even over-achieve on this one!

Have 4 short trips away

3 out of 4, so on track, but nothing since I wrote last.

Make 3 garments

1 out of the 3. In May I knitted a tunic top for myself. I was so determined to make it work that I pulled it out and reknitted it. Can I count it as two garments 😄 ?

And I have some material to make up a dress, which I am looking forward to creating next week. So next time I write I will have two made…..well, if all goes according to plan.

Go for 2 long trips

✔️ Big tick for this one, as I have been on two, to Brisbane with my Mum in August, and caravanning with the Fella over September. Go Me!!

Have one Exhibition Create a website

Yep, I changed this one. Both are designed to showcase my art, and to sell, of course. It made sense to me to change.

The website has been up and running for a month or two now. Jump over and check it out. Or jump over to let the Google bots know there is activity on the site 😘. The more clicks and searches the better. I am blogging there as well as here, but the posts are different. I’ll explain more in another post.

It’s a work in progress, and always be. Static sites are not good. But I can proclaim it as something that I have achieved this year.

What’s your biggest achievement so far?

So, overall scorecard? Going well, with a few more adventures to come over the next few months.

Remember, to find out more about my art work, sign up for the letter from my studio.

 

Celebratory Giveaway!!!

For those of us who sell our creations, on Etsy or elsewhere, we know how exciting sales are. Dawn, who sells the most wonderful jewellery, is celebrating her 300th customer (!) with a giveaway. Isn’t that an amazing milestone? Admire her work, and maybe win one of her lovely pieces.

DawnGillDesigns

I can’t really believe this happened – I have had my 300th customer on Etsy. Not my 300th sale – 300 people from all over the globe – that I didn’t know – have chosen to pay me for something I made.

I hoped I’d be able to make some sales, and I hoped to cover the start up costs incurred with a new business, but I didn’t really expect it to happen, especially as I haven’t done any of the things that people said I should – craft fairs, paid adverts on social media, traditional advertising, loss leaders, sales, coupons and the like.

I want to thank all the people who have supported me so far, so I’m running a giveaway.

Here’s how it’s going to work.

“You’ll be able to pick any one of these items, all of which are currently listed for sale in my Etsy shop*…

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The Two Ronnies

Last night, while dodging the saturated media coverage of a certain wedding, I came across (okay, YouTube suggested….YouTube, you know me too well!) these clips of vintage Two Ronnies skits.

Just in case you are not Of A Certain Age, like me, or grew up in an area that didn’t religiously watch The Two Ronnies once a week, let me explain……

Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett were two British comedians that, after many other TV shows, teamed up to write and perform these skits. Barker went on to “Open all hours” and “Porridge”, again both loved series. I am not sure what Corbett went on to. Do you know? One of the highlights was Ronnie Corbett sitting in an armchair telling a longwinded, shaggy dog tale of a joke.

They were products of their time; we would look askance at some of the jokes today, and probably did even then. For example, Barker was never happy with the way the second skit “Four candles” ended, so in later performances he changed the tag line to use the key word of ‘knockers’. You can imagine how it would go.

However, they were also brilliant comedians, able to take on different characters and accents. Their timing was impeccable and their ability to craft a skit was amazing. There is a point, again in the second one, where Barker requests some ‘oes, and you feel confident that you know where the joke is going. And it does, and then veers off again. Wonderful stuff!

The first one made me laugh out loud.

They are short, so, take a little time out of your Sunday to watch two brilliant Ronnies at work.

And how could I resist this classic about apples and blackberries

So “It’s goodnight from me” and “It’s goodnight from him”.

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Dads

My Dad has been in my conscious thoughts, and I remembered this post I had written. So, I am reblogging it, in memory of my Dad, and your Dad too.

Anne Lawson Art

I was going to write about my painting of Cullen discolor, but Dads have been on my mind over the last few days.

I know of 4 women whose Dads have died over the last few weeks. It is so sad to lose those special people, men who have had such an impact on their lives. My thoughts are with you.

My Dad died 7 years ago. I find myself missing him more in the quiet moments. I thought that family gatherings would be difficult, but, as they are times of pleasure in each other’s company, I know that Dad’s memory is there with us.

I had one of those quiet moments recently that have made me reflect on memories and remembering and where to look for my Dad. My birthday is usually a family affair. This year though my Mum and other family members are overseas and celebrations are…

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Beckler’s Botanical Bounty: the flora of Menindee

It’s a while since I wrote anything about the Beckler’s Botanical Bounty Project that I am involved with.

Very briefly…..I am part of a group of botanic artists who, since 2010 have gone annually to Menindee, a small town in outback new South Wales. We are collecting and then painting the specimens collected by Hermann Beckler, the doctor on the Burke and Wills Expedition, in 1860. Our website will give you a good overview while you can read more about my personal experiences on these posts.

As well as collecting and painting all 120 plants on his list, we have always had the dream of having an exhibition of the Project. Last year (or was it 2016?) we were accepted by the Art Gallery of Ballarat!

Since then we, with a big input from the fabulous staff at the Gallery, have been busy with the tasks needed to get the Exhibition up.

  • 40 paintings have been selected, scanned, mounted and framed
  • 4 cabinets with objects showing our themes of Art, Science, History and Country have been organised
  • Essays have been written for the catalogue, along with artist bios and statements about their plants
  • A slide show and narration (including bird song from the area!) has been produced. It will show in the smaller room off the main room.
  • Our Opening has been organised
  • Publicity is well underway

Now, we are about 5 weeks away from the Opening!!!!

So, if you are in Victoria (Ballarat is only an hour’s train ride from Melbourne 😉 ) organise some friends to come to see the Exhibition.  And if you can’t make it tell a friend who lives a little closer. The cafe in the Gallery is very good too!

Beckler’s Botanical Bounty: the Flora of Menindee

25th February to 27th May 2018

Art Gallery of Ballarat

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Detail of my Menindee plant ~ Cullen australasicum

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