Monday, September 27, 2010

Works in Progress

I finally got organised enough, after all the recent travelling, to get back in the studio today and pick up the brushes. I'd drafted this small painting over a month ago and decided to tackle it so I could look at it and feel like I'd accomplished something today.

After I've established the shape of the bowls, I work up the colours.

Thought you might like a peak at my very messy work area. I got a happy surprise when I looked at this photo, it gives the painting a 3D effect from this angle!

When I'm happy with the colours and shapes, I add a little texture and finish all the edges. This photo is not doing the final painting justice, my camera is on the blink and I had to use my phone camera and its flash kept going off and washed the colours out a little. Oh how I lust after a good camera and photoshop (oh yeah and some photography lessons)!
In August I also drafted these 2 paintings up onto canvases- click HERE to see this posting again. Today I finally added some colour and I'll post the progress as I go.

Magical Montville

After a nearly year long trip around Australia with her husband and 2 small children, my good, good friend Candy has recently settled in Montville. Click HERE to read all about their travels and view amazing photos of their journey. I am so glad to have them back at last and went up to visit last weekend for birthday celebrations and a catch up. My drive to their place was full of wonderful photo opportunities.....
Letterboxes of all shapes and sizes.....

Very old sheds.....

Moss and Lichen covered seats on the top of mountains...
And then I turn into the road they live off and look at the view they get smacked with everytime they turn into their street!
Candy's clay works are the subject of my most recent paintings, beautiful hand built organic shaped bowls that have been saggar fired.

Little houses.

Candy and her family's new home is totally awesome and settled deep in a rainforest however I'm not going to show it here, Candy can do that when she's settled and ready, as its her story to tell.
But the wood stove and firewood are hints at how cosy their new home is.

The last photo is the art studio, magic things are starting to happen in here so keep an eye on Candy's blog for more on this in the near future.

So glad you're back Candy, am looking forward to working with you on lots of new art projects.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Long Drive Home

After 1 and a half days at the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, the kids and I had to start making our way home. With 1000 kilometres stretching before us, we decided to break it up and stop half way at Moree. We stayed at a Caravan/Cabin Park on the southside of Moree which had 5 hot artesian mineral bath pools averaging between 30 and 40 degrees. Perfect for soaking travel weary bodies.

The next morning we hit the road again, it was raining and the rivers and creeks were swelling. In one place, we had to drive through water a foot deep over the road. We finally crossed the river that divides NSW and Queensland at Goondiwindi. How quaint is the old bridge?

Goondiwindi was also home to the famous racehorse, Gun Synd who won the Melbourne Cup in the early 1970's. Being a horse lover, Emma had to get a photo at Gun Synd's memorial.
I am drawn to windmills, I spot them everywhere and I just had to include a picture I took of one along the way.
Well thats it, we arrived home exhausted but safe after a truly wonderful first big road trip together. Next year the Snowies!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Day 3 of our road trip and we're off to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. There is so many ways to get around the Zoo, you can ride, walk, drive or hire golf buggy type vehicles to drive around. We opted to walk and ride, however the paths/roads total approximately 6kms so after lunch we opted to get the car and drive the rest of the day.

When you pay to get in, it gives you 2 consecutive days admission, how good is that! We found that by the time we got around to see some of the animals they were resting, so we came back the next day and went to see them first up when they were more active.
The Zoo is currently being renovated and the new buildings, etc, are due to be opened at the end of October. The building in the background will be the new restaurant and information centre. The swan in front, has 5 baby signets, not something you get to see too often, so cute.
When we came back the next morning, we did the 'early morning walk' setting the alarm in order to get to the gate at 6.40am. It was fantastic, a volunteer (lovely lady called Mary) took us around behind the scenes, we saw animals getting fed and learnt a lot more about the Zoo and the animals. Highly recommended.
There were so many animals and its hard to pick a favourite and I won't bore you with a million animal photos but some firm favourites were the Meerkats. They are so active and its hard to walk away from their enclosure because they are always so busy and funny.
The animals have enormous areas to roam. These spaces are either surrounded by moats or built up embankments with little fencing making everything so open so you feel very close to the animals. The spaces are built to reflect the animals natural habitats.
Even the monkeys and apes are not in cages, they are all situated on islands in the lakes throughout the Zoo so they can roam around. When we needed a break or a rest, we sat and watched the monkey and ape antics. There are Gibbons, Siamangs, Lemurs and Spider Monkeys.

I could rave on for ages about how great the Zoo is because it is. We'll be going again and next time I'll book way in advance so that we can take advantage of the onsite accommodation package the Zoo offers!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Waterfall Way

On the second day of our road trip, we headed west from Coffs Harbour along the beautiful Waterfall Way. The heavy clouds started closing in again as we headed towards the mountains.

We started driving up and up and came across waterfalls everywhere we looked.
Unfortunately it was raining so heavy that somehow I missed the turn-off to Danger Falls in Dorrigo, so our first stop was the majestic Ebor Falls. The clouds were so low that we were in them, it was a magical and mystical atmosphere, walking the paths amongst moss and lichen covered trees and rocks.Being Spring, the native flora was blossoming all around us, perfuming the moist, cool air.

As we wandered the paths to the viewing platforms, beautiful escarpments were revealed to us as the clouds lifted.
A nice surprise for Emma the horse lover as we were driving along, some horses running out of the mist. This was on the way to Cathedral Rock that we didn't end up seeing because it was a 3 hour return walk and it was raining and muddy.
Wollomombi Falls was next. As we wandered the path to discover these falls, a lone flute player sat amongst the trees playing a hypnotising melody across the gorge. We couldn't have arranged our timing any better because all of a sudden the earth shook and there was a landslide.
The kids and I agreed that detouring our trip across Waterfall Way was worth it. It added hours to our journey to Dubbo but how often do we get to see something so magical.

Smiley Peace Train Road Trip - BIG THINGS

Dylan's cancelled school camp was the motivation for hitting the road this school holidays. He really wanted to get out and about and see the bigger things in Australia. So we loaded up the "Smiley Peace Train" as the kids called my car and headed down the coast of New South Wales. The Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo was our final destination however we had lots planned to see on the way.

It started pouring with rain but that didn't stop us and first on our hit list of big things was "The Big Prawn" located at the southern entrance to Ballina in New South Wales.
From there we headed further south until we reached Coffs Harbour where we found "The Big Banana".
Quite a few towns across Australia create something BIG that embodies what they are about to attract tourists. Click HERE to find out about more of AUSTRALIAN BIG THINGS.
The kids found this huge tree log at The Big Banana which was not a part of our official Big Things List, but it was one of the biggest trees they'd ever seen.
The next day we headed inland from Coffs Harbour and found another big thing in Tamworth, the country music capital of Australia -the Big Golden Guitar.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Swell Done! Swell Sculpture Festival 2010

Well the arduous drive thru masses of traffic down to Currumbin Beach on the Gold Coast was well worth the trip to see the Swell Sculpture Festival which was totally amazing and exceeded all of my expections. The traffic was worse than usual due to the beginning of the Queensland School Holidays.
The weather was a little overcast but that did nothing to dampen everyone's enthusiasm to get out and see all the truly wonderful sculptures, so many ideas, such creativity.
I wandered amongst the sculptures for a couple of hours with hundred's of other people, locals, tourists, artists and kids who excitedly climbed over everything climbable (unfortunately ignoring the many keep off signs). I don't know what the organisers expected though putting such interesting things in plays way.
The beach was a beautiful moody backdrop on an overcast day to the sculptures. The weather didn't stop the many surfers who were out taking advantage of a few good waves.
This is one of my favourites (of which I have many), it reminds me of seagulls all standing together on the beach. Unfortunately I can't include photos of every sculpture as there were 55 and I know that very shortly, pictures of all the sculptures will be added to the Swell Sculpture Festival's website so you can check them all out there. Congratulations to all the artists who participated and the Gold Coast City Council, the whole festival was fantastic.