A workshop and a nest

Way back in May I did a workshop at Bendigo Art Gallery with Mark Dober.

Bendigo is a regional Victorian town, with a very good gallery. I had only been up there for special exhibitions, so I was pleased to have time to wander. I thought I had taken more photos, however, this one shows how spacious and pleasing the rooms are.

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Mark is a landscape artist who works en plein air. He uses a mix of watercolour and oil pastel, and is soon to have an exhibition of his work created in the You Yangs at the Geelong Art Gallery. [The You Yangs are mountains between Melbourne and Geelong, that rise up from the flat volcanic plains around them.] He says of the work he is exhibiting:

This body of new work made at the You Yangs consists of 6 multi-sheet watercolours. Four of these are 112 x 380 cm. These were made at Fawcett’s Gully, around the back of the You Yangs, accessible by the unsealed circuit road.

His exhibition is running from 12th to 16th October. It will be alongside an exhibition by Fred Williams, one of Australia’s foremost landscape artists.

So, you can imagine my interest in his workshop to learn to work with watercolour and oil pastels!

We set up in one of the galleries, and had the choice of two paintings to work with ~ a Fred Williams:

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Fred Williams: The Yarra at Kew 11 (1972)

or a traditional watercolour by Ernest Waterlow’s ‘Gathering fuel, Cornish Coast’, c.1887. You can see the painting in the photo below.

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My first step was to loosely draw in the figures and landscape features. Then I had to lay in large watercolour washes over the main features. I think this was the most difficult thing for me. I am not a confident colour mixer, and often don’t mix enough paint to cover the area which is a problem when working on such large areas. Even with enough paint I have trouble manipulating the paint over large areas. It dries before I can work into it. Washes in botanic art work are little things, the size of a leaf or a petal, not vast areas of sky or beach!

I tried to suppress my panic, to just let it flow. After all, it was purely for my pleasure. Embrace the wonky!

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Then there was the fun part of going over the (dried) wash with oil pastel.

Some areas worked, some didn’t. I think I put too much oil pastel on some areas, and didn’t have time to get to others. Of course, I thought I would finish it off at home……

My drawing strengths are tone and fabrics, so I was very happy with the work I did on the woman’s dress.

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And a closer look….

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It was quite a complex painting to work on over a day, but I enjoyed the challenge and it has given me a new way of working.

 

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Posted in AnneLawsonArt, Artists, My art work | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

An update on the Beckler’s Botanical Bounty Project

If you have been following my blog for a while you will remember the annual trips that the Fella and I make up to Menindee, a little country town about an hour out of Broken Hill. If you are new to the blog, or have forgotten let me briefly explain.

I am part of a group of botanic artists who go up to the semi-arid area of Outback New South Wales to collect and paint the plants that were found on the Burke and Wills Expedition of 1860. Dr Hermann Beckler was the collector as well as the doctor on the Expedition. Our Project began in 2010, and the Fella and I have gone up since 2011.

You can read my posts, which will give you more detail of the Project.

The Beckler’s Botanical Bounty Project means many things to me, such as a chance to explore a very unfamiliar environment, an invaluable learning opportunity, a great way to spend time with likeminded artists, as well as being an interesting holiday!

But I know that the Project is much more than that, We have always been aware that it has a place in history. It has brought Dr Beckler’s contribution to Australian plant knowledge to the fore. We collect specimens of the plants to sit alongside Beckler’s in the National Herbarium of Victoria, and each specimen has detailed records of habitat, soil conditions, GPS location and so on. This provides current data on plants that exist in the Menindee Lakes/Kinchega National Park area, data that, when combined with Beckler’s collection, could be very useful for longitudinal studies. It is a great example of how citizen scientists can contribute to scientific knowledge.

As well, it was always our intention to have an exhibition of our paintings. That is happening in February/March/April 2018 at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Organisation for that is currently ‘full steam ahead’.

My paintings from the Cullen genus:

And my painting of Pimelea trichostaycha:

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Now I am asking you to consider donating to the Project. All expenses, such as the travel to and accommodation in Menindee and art supplies, have been met by individual artists, something we have been very proud to do. The Gallery is very generously helping us with expenses for the exhibition, including the catalogue, curation and scanning. However, there are some things that we would like to find some extra money for, such as future publications to put the Project in its place in Australian botanical history.

We have set up a crowd funding campaign, that will run for another 50 days. If you would be able to help us, any amount will be appreciated. To find out more jump over to the Australian Cultural Fund page. If you email me at annebags@optusnet.com.au I can send you a PDF of the campaign.

https://australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/becklers-botanical-bounty-of-menindee/

Thanks for taking the time to think about this.

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If you would like to keep up-to-date with what is happening in my art world click on the link below to sign up for my fortnightly newsletter.

I would like to find out more about Anne’s art.

Posted in AnneLawsonArt, Artists, Beckler's Botanical Bounty, Botanic Art, My art work | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A trip into town

I live about 10 kms from the centre of Melbourne. Today I had to go into town to change a ballet ticket, and I thought I would ask you along for the ride. [When I came home there was a blog post from Margaret, describing a walk with her dogs, through lovely lush English countryside. Isn’t serendipity a wonderful thing!]

Our first steps take us up to the tram stop, about 5 minutes away from the house, past the Little Free Library

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to the shopping strip and the tram stop.

We will travel on the #57 tram, which wanders its way through Flemington and then North Melbourne. Ascot Vale is 10 kms from the city as the crow flies, not as the tram travels, so sit back and enjoy the half hour ride. Actually the tram is very full today, as we pick up the RMIT students who have just poured out of their exams at the Showgrounds. We also rumble past the Flemington Racecourse, where the Melbourne Cup is held, and later, the Victoria Market, home to great fresh produce.

Eventually we get to the end of Elizabeth Street, at Flinders St, right at Flinders Street Station. The station is not looking its best, as it is covered up while some work is done on it. So out we get and cross the road. (Sorry the second photo is blurry ~ I was in danger of getting run over!)

[BTW, a little piece of esoterica…..the streets in Melbourne are built on a grid layout. I still remember how delighted I was to realise that the streets that ran north/south were named King, William, Queen, Elizabeth. That pleased me no end!]

There is a walking tunnel under the tracks. It is rather grungy and in need of a good clean, but this sign made me smile, as there are not many options, only forward or back the way you have come!

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Out into the sunshine, right on the bank of the Yarra River.

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We are going to walk across that bridge, and stop in the middle to look down stream. That bridge you can see used to be for trains. I remember travelling across it in the old red rattlers, as the old trains were called. Those silver things are sculptures that now adorn the bridge.

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And then look upstream to Princes Bridge, which links Swanston St and St Kilda Road. If you look closely you can see the mighty MCG in the background. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is not only where cricket games are held, but is the heartland of Australian rules Football…..now there’s a good game! At the foot of the MCG is Melbourne Park, a tennis complex where the Australian Open in played each January.

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You have probably noticed the rowers on the river, but if you look on the other side you will see a group of canoeists as well. I wonder if the pair of ducks in the fore ground are have a little laugh at the antics of the humans on water!

Let’s walk on, to Southbank, the promenade that runs beside the river. It is full of cafes and restaurants and food courts, and if you can’t get something you like here, you are not trying!

Up the steps alongside Princes Bridge

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and stop to admire the fancy lettering on the foundation stone.

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Then take a breather at the top of the steps….Hamer Hall, a recital centre, is on our left. I must take you on a tour inside one day. The Arts Centre is straight ahead, with the National Gallery of Victoria further along St. Kilda Road.

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To get to the ballet box office we need to go around the back of the Arts Centre, and we get some great angles of the spire. In the original design the spire was meant to be coated in bronze; it turned out that the budget didn’t stretch that far.

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Past some interesting ballet sculptures, just to let us know we are on the right path

and then to the box office. No photos of that, as it wasn’t very interesting!

To make the return journey a little different we are going back to St Kilda Rd between the Arts Centre and the Gallery, then back to the river.

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Now, we deserve some lunch. Let’s walk back along Southbank

to the Blue Train, where we can sit in the Winter sunshine and admire the view.

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Then it is back on the tram, which, fortunately, is a lot less crowded on the home journey!

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Thanks for taking this walk with me. Perhaps you would like to tell us about a favourite walk around your home town.

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A newsletter update:

I have given up on trying to get a button on the side bar. However, I can insert a link to the sign up form on the post itself. So that is what I am going to do. At the end of each post you will see the link. I hope it will be prominent enough for new people click on, but not so prominent that it annoys those of you who have made the decision about the newsletter. It has got to be better than one of those wretched pop-up screens that appear whenever you open up a page.

So, if you are interested in keeping up with my art doings, click on this link.

I would like to receive your fortnightly newsletter

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Farewell to a man of grace and dignity

I was going to write a different  post. However, today I listened to the broadcast of the state funeral for Anthony Foster, and wanted to acknowledge him and his work. I never met him, but I know that our society is better because he was in the world.

Most of you have probably not heard of him, but if you have, you will know that he was a man of incredible courage and dignity.

Anthony and his wife Chrissie had three daughters, Emma, Aimee and Katie. Emma and Katie were repeatedly raped as young children by a paedophile Catholic priest. Both young women were traumatised by the abuse:

Emma Foster suffered from eating disorders, drug addition and self-harm after the abuse, and in 2008 she overdosed on medication and died at the age of 26.

Katie Foster developed problems with alcohol after her experiences, and was left with physical and mental disabilities after being hit by a drunk driver in 1999.

Anthony and Chrissie became tireless fighters for justice for victims of abuse. Their work brought about the formation of a Victorian inquiry into abuse and the federal Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This Royal Commission has uncovered grievous abuse of children in a range of institutions, especially the Catholic Church, where the coverups of paedophile priests seem to go very high up the hierarchy.

The elegies at the funeral spoke of Anthony Foster as a man who not only had the courage to overcome his own trauma and grief to fight for justice, but also gave unstinting support and friendship to abuse survivors in their fight for justice.

As his daughter, Aimee said, “We will be OK because you showed us the way. We will continue to love, laugh and share. We are thoroughly better human beings for having had you in our lives.”

And that goes for all of us.

But there has to be more. As Joanne McCarthy says:

Anthony Foster deserves a state funeral. More than that, his death requires us to honour his memory by demanding governments act on the royal commission’s recommendations.

Most certainly.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-07/tributes-paid-for-anthony-foster-at-state-funeral/8589872

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4691002/the-man-who-was-integrity-personified/

Posted in I would like to thank...., Kindness, Uncategorized | Tagged | 5 Comments

Newsletter time ~ take 2

Well, the first newsletter came out last Thursday ~ phew!

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The opening section of the newsletter

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A little article about split complementary colours

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Some links that I added (NB this is only a photo, so the links won’t work!)

I still haven’t found a way of attaching the sign-up button to my blog. (Anybody out there know how to do it? Or know if it can be done?)

And I think I may have mucked up with sending the newsletter to blog readers who wanted to be on the list. So, if you didn’t receive it, and would like to, you can click on the link; you should go to the sign-up form. (Let me know if there are any gremlins here.)

Sign up for the newsletter

The next edition will be out on Thursday. Hurray!!

 

Posted in AnneLawsonArt, My art work, Odds and Ends | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

It’s newsletter time

The idea of sending out a newsletter has been floating around at the back of my brain for quite a while. Sometimes it surfaces and then gently floats down again. But for some reason, this week it has surfaced, and become a rock that all other thoughts are scattered against.

An overblown metaphor? Maybe, but it has been like that. My compulsion to get moving on a newsletter has overtaken everything else. I am even thinking about it in my sleep! It is only 6:30 in the morning, but here I am, with my cup of tea, telling you about my grand plans.

I have set up a Mail Chimp account, which seems to be the platform that everyone uses. It is NOT an easy process, and I have been surprised by that. It is not Mail Chimp’s fault; they have excellent information, with links to helpful articles. Maybe I am overloaded by all the information. But, their terminology is odd. It took me a while to realise that what they call a ‘campaign’ was where I was to write the newsletter. I am only writing a humble, fortnightly newsletter, not creating a marketing campaign.

I have written the first newsletter (hopefully in the right spot), which was okay, once I worked out how to upload photos, change there size, add in fields for writing etc. Bloggers are used to doing that sort of work.

What I am confused about is the behind the scenes things. I need sign-up forms, and then forms to thank people for signing up, and then opting out forms, and a whole list of others. I think (hope!) that by doing one I have done the others. I am encouraged to make sure that codes are embedded, and I have codes that I can embed in other sites. I can connect with my Facebook page (natch!), which I thought I had done, but can’t see anything on the page.  It seems to have vanished into the ether. Hopefully the ‘sign-up’ button on this blog will work.

At some point next week I am just going to press publish and hope that the first newsletter gets to someone who has asked for it! All the other things can be tweaked because one of the big things I have learnt in this internet world is that there is very little that can’t be changed or added further down the track. (Unless you have signed up for a Nigerian Bank offering you a million dollars and a Russian bride!)

On rereading this I notice that I have used ‘hopefully’ quite a few times. That sums up my attitude at the moment ~ hopefully it will all work out!

Enough grumbling…..

Why am I writing a newsletter? When we sign up for a newsletter we are making a conscious decision to know more about the product and the person behind it. We are not just saying “Yes, I give you permission to tell me more”, but “I want you to tell me more”. That permission means that I can send an email about my art right to someone’s inbox. I don’t have to fight past all the cat videos, ads and happy snaps to get their attention.

I love telling people about my art work, and of course, love selling my art. Why not talk about it to people who are engaged audience and want to hear more?

So, why not do this with the blog? There will be overlap, and I am going to be linking back to articles I have written. If you read this blog regularly the newsletter will seem very familiar. And I certainly have a very engaged audience here! However, what I love about my blog is that I can chat to you about a whole range of things ~ books, my garden, travels, the Little Free Library, whatever takes my fancy. The newsletter will be targeted to my art work, more of an “In my studio” focus, as well as a focus on selling through my Etsy shop.

It will have a section linking to other people, articles, exhibitions and the like, because I am a great believer in Passing It On. People give me so much support and encouragement; I want to do my bit to help others. Let me know if there is anything you would like me to share/promote.

Let me tell you about Ann Wood. She makes the most amazing creatures, crafted out of vintage fabrics. As well, she has an elegant newsletter that is one of my models.

My main task at the moment is to build the list. So….if you are interested in receiving my fortnightly newsletter click on the button, which hopefully(!) is on the side bar. If that is not working send me an email to annebags@optusnet.com.au with your email address and I will sign you up. (Mail Chimp is very particular about making sure people give permission to receive the newsletter, which is good to know.)

I would love to know your thoughts on newsletters. What do you like about them? Or don’t like? I hate those pop up notices that ask you to sign up before you have even had a chance to look at the site. What advice do you have for my fledgling newsletter?

 

Posted in AnneLawsonArt, My art work, Odds and Ends | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

Little Free Library

I first came across the idea of the Little Free Library on Alys’ blog. When I read her post Little Free Library Debut I was smitten, just like she was when she saw her first one. (Alys is renovating her Library at the moment, which you can read about, as well as the fairy garden that sits next to it, and her peaceful Buddha gardens.) I thought the idea of having a neighbourhood book swap was the most wonderful thing. However, I never quite got to creating one outside our home. So imagine my delight when I saw this, only a street away.

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The Little Free Library in Ascot Vale

Yes, a Little Free Library of our own! We have much loved and well used public library just up the street, but this is a bonus.

It was begun by a group of young girls. You can read their full story in this article in the local paper.

A GROUP of Ascot Vale girls have set up a community street library to encourage more people to get to know their neighbours.

Group founder Sophia, 10, felt the need to reach out to neighbours after hearing stories of her Dad’s childhood spent with friends.

And that story makes my smile just a little broader.

With the Little Free Library they have created a little neighbourhood oasis. It has three library boxes ~ for Grown Ups, Young People and Little Ones ~ each at the right height. There’s a sign post and a notice board, and a night light! As well there is a little seating area under the shade of the tree. All this hosted by the Church of Christ.

I visited today, taking a book and leaving one. It’s a simple idea with deep roots, helping to build community and connections.

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Now, which book will I choose? Which one would you take home?

Posted in Melbourne, Odds and Ends | Tagged , , , , | 24 Comments

More trees

I have really appreciated the feedback you give me for my oil pastel trees. You have left me so many positive comments, as well some sales.

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Image and photograph copyright: Anne Lawson 2017

Oil pastels as a medium still excites me. In fact tomorrow I am going to a workshop where watercolour and oil pastels as mixed. You can imagine how my eyes lit up when I saw that one advertised!

I still have a lot to learn about colour, but I know that putting some colours side by side will make each one sing. To create with oil pastels I layer marks over other marks, as well as sometimes smudging the marks together. My usual method is to just pick up the colour that seems right; usually this works, but sometimes it doesn’t. I have decided to try  more rigour.

So I started my experimenting with a colour wheel.

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Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

The triangle in the middle of the wheel shows the hues that make up a split complementary. Those three were my my dark, middle and light tones. What would I get if I limited myself to these six pastel sticks?

First layer were the blue and purple, to create the dark park underneath the canopy. Some smudging to merge the marks.

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copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

The browns add some vibrancy.

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Copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

Adding the light pastels creates the magic because they also smudge the other marks. Can you see how the yellow over the blue has created a blue-green? And how it changes the colour of the browns? So the six original colours have mixed to create more, and unexpected ones too.

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Image and photograph copyright: Anne Lawson, 2017

The next stage is to draw the ink branches and trunk. In black ink or brown? Probably brown, but maybe not…..

And after that I might have a play with another split complementary.

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Autumn

Autumn may be my favourite season but it’s like picking a favourite book. However, I do love Autumn. I love how it encourages us to wind down from the heat of summer, to enjoy the rain and the chilly nights, to see the world changing.

It is also a good time to garden. The weather is neither too hot nor too cold, and there is enough rain to encourage you to believe that the plants will settle in okay. The soil still has some Summer warmth, and our Winters are mild enough to let plants burble along until the burst of Spring.

I cleaned out the summer vegetables, and prepared the soil for a winter crop. This was mainly compost and warm castings.

 

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Cabbages and brussel sprouts, with onions in the background. Over by the fence is the currant bush.

Now the cabbages are starting to look like cabbages. I spent time yesterday rubbing the eggs of the cabbage moth from the back of the leaves.

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We chopped back the rosemary bush and offered sprigs to the neighbourhood.

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The spring onions, pak choi and spinach are all holding their own.

The seeds for the pak choi and spinach were a gift from Hanna and Al, to thank us for coming to their wedding. If you know Hanna you will not be surprised to hear that these little tags were all hand-created by her, with some input from Al, I am sure!

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The silver beet (chard) is begining to flourish now that it has come out from under the beans. (Who knew there was any way to slow down the growth of silver beet?!)

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Work has gone on in the very neglected back yard. For a few years now it has been left to its own devices, it is time to wrench back a bit of control. I have been planting beside the fence…..a grevillia (Robyn Gordon) and a little eremophilia vernicosa. This is described as a delightful small shrub with pink flowers in spring, drought tolerant and good for heavy soils. What more could I ask for?

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The tiny leaves of the eremophila

Also planted is a ground cover, Helichrysum argyrophyllum. It has lovely everlasting daisies from early Summer to Autumn. Behind it is a small tea tree, Leptospermum scoparium. It sounds quite spectacular with pink flowers that cascade from Spring to Autumn, with narrow leaves that provide a dramatic backdrop. (Well, that’s what the label says!)

 

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Next to them are two roses, ‘Red intuition’ and a white Iceberg. The Iceberg is very special as it was grown from a cutting for me by my sister

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There is more work to do in the back. I have a big bush to remove and more plants to plant. They won’t get in the ground now, so will have to wait until the soil warms up in Spring.

I want to leave my Autumn theme with a little poem, or a blessing. It is by one of Australia’s unique treasures, Michael Leunig, from his little book “When I talk to you”:

Autumn

We give thanks for the harvest of the heart’s work;

Seeds of faith planted with faith;

Love nurtured by love;

Courage strengthened by courage;

We give thanks for the fruits of the struggling soul,

The bitter and the sweet;

For that which has grown in adversity

And for that which has flourished in warmth and grace;

For the radiance of the spirit in autumn

And for that which must now fade and die’

We are blessed and give thanks.

Amen

Posted in How does my garden grow?, Plants | Tagged , , , , | 29 Comments

ANZAC Day

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Originally posted on Anne Lawson:
Last Saturday was ANZAC Day, the day in which we remember the men and women who have fought for Australia, and New Zealand, in many overseas wars; remembering too the many who are still serving. This…

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