Some Odds and Sods

A few bits and bobs, odds and sods for you today.

I was procrastinating about the second square for my sister’s grandson’s quilt. I got some excellent ideas from many of you. Thank you for your helpful suggestions and ideas; in the end I went with a stylised car.

Can you tell that I had a little trouble appliquéing smooth curves? I wouldn’t want to travel too far with those wheels!


If you read my fortnightly newsletter (and the next one is due this weekend, sign up here if you would like to know more about my art) you will know that I have two collages accepted into an exhibition at our council gallery. It is a community based exhibition, designed to celebrate the opening of the gallery.

My two works are abstract representations of the wetlands that I have become fascinated with over the last few months. You may remember my post about it.

Both are so different to the fine, detailed realistic work of my previous botanic art. However, I have been moving in this direction over the last few years.

The paper for the reeds was created by smearing acrylic paint around on photocopy paper, mainly using an old credit card. Then I cut around the shapes that look to me like reeds. The papers for the sky and water were printed with my gelli plate.

If, by chance, you are around Moonee Ponds at any time soon, drop in. The exhibition opens next Tuesday, 23rd June at:

The Incinerator Gallery

Holmes Rd

Moonee Ponds

You may wonder about why it is called the Incinerator Gallery. Check out their website to find out more, including opening hours and social distancing measures.


The other news is that we sold out caravan the other day. If you have been reading my blog for a few years you might remember some of the trips the Fella and I did in our little Avan. The last big trip was the dash over the Nullabor Plain to Western Australia. Unfortunately it is a few years since we went travelling, and when we did it was obvious that it was becoming more and more difficult for the Fella.

We had tossed around the idea of selling it. However, whenever we thought about it, the problems associated with getting it ready were too much. The big issue was that it is difficult to park it in our suburban street and we have no off-street parking. To get it ready for sale would mean having outside our place for an indefinite period, irritating the neighbours, the school over the road and the parking inspectors. It was easier to leave it out the back of our friend’s large country block.

Then we got a phone call out of the blue. The buyer, John, is a friend of the friend in the country. He had seen the van, understood that maybe it needed a new battery, regassing of the air-conditioning, new seals etc, but offered to buy it without even going inside. An offer too good to refuse! It got better when he was happy to do all the paperwork and clean it out.

So now our little van is off on different adventures.

Will I miss it? I miss the idea of being able to take off. There were still lots of places left to explore, and I never did get to travel up to the Kimberleys. However, I know that currently it is not realistic. So I am glad there is one less thing to sort out, one less little niggle to be dealt with.

What will I miss? I will miss the chance to immerse myself in different habitats, being able to wander; but you don’t need a van to be able to do that. I will miss the quiet and stillness, especially in the evenings. The Fella always goes to bed way before I do, so evenings in the van were a time to read, sketch, journal, catch-up with myself, to listen to the night sounds.

Camped at Moody Bluff Rest Area, Nullarbor Plain, New Year’s Eve, 2016 (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)

And lastly, a photo of the framed collage I dropped to the Incinerator Gallery. It is being guarded by a snake, created by my talented brother. His iso-art has been to create mosaic snakes!

My secret plan isn’t happening this time :(

I mentioned that I had a secret plan, that I wasn’t telling because there was a chance that I would chicken out. It is not happening, but not because I am a chicken.

The Incinerator Gallery had a call out for artists interested in exhibiting there. And I was. That was my plan. If I am to be serious about my art ~ and I do want to be ~ then the next step is to exhibit. It means that the work I am doing, that is coming out of my time on Flinders Island, has to be of a quality to exhibit. It has to be technically good as well as having that something that will capture an audience’s attention.

I have never been here before. You can understand the confidence needed to say “This is my work. It says something interesting about the world and you need to have it in your gallery.” It’s a risk, and I am not a natural risk taker. So, applying for the exhibition was going to be like jumping off the high diving board. (It makes my heart flutter just thinking about it!) There was always the small chance that I would chicken out and metaphorically climb down the ladder rather than jumping.

However, the decision was taken from me. Sensibly I went to the Gallery to look at the spaces they were offering. Neither were suitable. One was an area with little wall space and would be great if I was a sculptor. The other was an outside space; even less suitable to my works on paper!

There are other spaces and one comes up in August. So that’s one option. There will be others, I know that. So, for now, more melaleucas of a professional standard!

My sketchbook — Yarraville, North Melbourne and the Incinerator

Some pages from my sketchbook….

The first are of the Incinerator Gallery in Moonee Ponds. You can tell by the name that originally it was an incinerator. It is a special because it was designed by Walter Burley Griffin. Many will know that he designed Canberra, the capital city of Australia, so it is always a surprise to know that he designed humble buildings like incinerators. I recently found out that the one near me is not the only one of his in Australia.

It has strong lines and is a fabulous mix of flat planes and sharp angles, simple surfaces and intricate detail. It was some of those contrasts that I was attempting to capture in my sketches.

I first went down there with coloured pencils.

I liked what I did, but felt that it lacked spontaneity. I was approached by a woman as I sat sketching. She asked me if I was there for the talk. I said no, knowing nothing about it. She went on to tell me that there was a free talk in the gallery about women artists in the Impressionist movement. I finished the sketch and went inside. It was a fascinating talk, and I have signed up for the rest in the series. 🙂

I went back another day (no talk this time!), just with my Lamy pen and tried to capture some of the detail. You can see how that pattern is found in the odd angles of the roofline, as well as on the chimney. To sketch the building I have to break it up into sections; the whole is difficult to put successfully on the page.

The next two are more examples of how I am finding it difficult to fit the whole onto the page — although, I hasten to add that the statue in the first sketch was never intended to be part of the garden area at the back. I did her first, and them wandered onto find the view of the trees. The face of the nymph makes me understand how much work I have to do on faces too!

Image and art work copyright: Anne Lawson 2015
Image and art work copyright: Anne Lawson 2015

As the notes on this North Melbourne page say, I thought I would have room for the whole of the terrace house. As I was drawing I realised that I was only going to fit in the top story and chimney. I think I need more guide lines in my initial setup. A little more time looking and comparing.

Image and art work copyright: Anne Lawson 2015
Image and art work copyright: Anne Lawson 2015

I drew these plants while standing in the sunshine in my garden. Each one is a simple line carried through the drawing. Compositionally the ivy geranium helps to give a horizontal movement and leads your eye from one page to the other.

I was very happy with this last sketch, created while sitting having coffee outside the Sun Theatre in Yarraville. As the notes say, I loved the contrast between the curved brickwork and the flat plane of the paper stencil of the lady shopping, the old and the new, the red of the bricks and the black/white of the stencil. I also really loved the homage to the shopping lady with her middle-aged spread!

Artistically I was trying to show the detail of the bricks without drawing every brick.

Image and art work copyright: Anne Lawson 2015
Image and art work copyright: Anne Lawson 2015