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!

 

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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

The sketchbook (br)enters Europe

You know about the Travelling Sketchbook, (in case you don’t, click on the previous link)….Chas is one of the Sisterhood, and her post about the Sketchbook arriving in Europe sums up what I think the whole thing is about. I hope you agree.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the world – I give you that most democratic of instruments, that most trans-boundary of objects, that most diplomatic of materials –  the Travelling Sketchbook o…

Source: The sketchbook (br)enters Europe

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Continuing across the Nullarbor

The other day I left you on the South Australian/Western Australian border on the Eyre Highway, about half way across the Nullarbor.

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This was the full journey we were on, from Melbourne, Victoria to Bunbury in Western Australia, a trip of about 3,500 km.

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Let’s continue the journey……

Right on the border is the quarantine station. It is staffed 24 hours and stops all traffic entering Western Australia to check for produce, especially fruit and vegetables. It is to stop diseases and pests from entering WA. So the very nice young woman inspected all the nooks and crannies in the van, but, as we had already ‘donated’ at the SA/Victorian border, there was nothing to be found.

Eucla is just down the road. It is the only stop on the Nullarbor that could almost be called a village. Not only does it have the quarantine station, the usual motel/camping ground/cafe complex, but also a health service and the police. Many people visit the old telegraph station too.

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Any where is a long way from home in Eucla!

Eucla sits on top of the plateau that we have been driving on, that amazingly flat landscape.

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Just out of the town the road descends down the escarpment onto the plain below. On the South Australian side the land must have sheered off to create the cliff into the Great Australian Bight. On this section there is a coastal strip that runs alongside the escarpment for many miles. Every time I thought we were seeing the end of it, more would appear on the horizon.

This sketch was done in the car. That funny, semi-circular shape in the sky at the right is actually the moon. It was large, and the bottom edges of it dissolved into the cloud  haze.

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Now the vegetation changed again. It is more salt bush country, but with the most glorious silver, shimmery trees, with sculptured trunks and branches. I think they must be Acacia papyrocarpa or Western Myall. In his book “A guide to plants of inland Australia” Phillip Moore describes them as

“Usually a short, thick-trunked tree with a broad dense rounded silver canopy….this stately tree is most noticeable on the Nullarbor Plains and along the Stuart, Lincoln and Eyre Highways, north, south and west of Port Augusta.”

I have discovered that it is so difficult to take decent photos from a moving car. We pulled over a few times, but the trees were always better just down the road! But here are a few offerings of the acacias. (Maybe you had to be there to fully appreciate their splendour!)

The road is so flat and straight that it makes the perfect landing strip for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, if they should be needed. There are four strips along the highway. (You can see the escarpment along the horizon.)

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About 70 kms from Eucla is Mundrabilla, a windswept roadhouse and motel. Travel on about another 100 kms to go back up the escarpment at Madura. Then it seems like a short jump to Cocklebiddy, another motel/roadhouse/camping area.

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Someone here has a sense of humour, which you would need, to live in such an isolated spot!

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It’s probably the time to tell you about Nullarbor Links, the world’s longest golf course. The link will tell you much more, but is is described as

The Nullarbor Links concept is unique. The 18-hole par 72 golf course spans 1,365 kilometres with one hole in each participating town or roadhouse along the Eyre Highway, from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia. Each hole includes a green and tee and somewhat rugged outback-style natural terrain fairway. The course provides a quintessential Australian experience and a much-needed activity/attraction for travellers along the renowned desolate highway.

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I’m not a golfer, but if I was, I would have done the course!

There is also a cave at Cocklebiddy, which I didn’t know about until Anna mentioned in the comments from my first post. Even if I had known, I would not have gone down there! But it would be interesting to see the entrance.

Caiguna is the next  fuel stop. It is also the beginning of the straightest stretch of road in Australia ~ 146.6 km without a curve ~ which ends at Balladonia.

Balladonia’s special claim is that in July 1979 the re-entry of the Skylab space station left a trail of debris across the nearby countryside.

Then we finally pulled off the road to camp in a wayside stop. We had covered about 1000 kms since leaving Penong.

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The peace of our little camping area was so welcome. And that night the moon was so bright….magic. Worth every kilometre.

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We left with the sunrise the next morning, and reached Norseman, the end of the Nullarbor. Here the road turns north to Kalgoorlie or south to Esperance. We went south, and stopped in Esperance for a meal ~ was it breakfast? Lunch? ! Then headed on further and eventually ended up in Wagin. It was another long day, through wheat land and salt lakes, but at the end was a powered site and a shower with hot water! Blessings!

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I guess the only other thing to say is that we had to do the whole thing again on the return. You may be surprised to know that I enjoyed as much the second time! We spent New Year’s Eve camped at Moodini Bluff, another peaceful place. I wrote about it a couple of posts ago.

Thanks for coming along for the journey. It may have brought back memories, or it may have sparked an interest or it may have just been a good armchair journey!

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