Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Day 184
Looking across the Lake from near the Botanic Gardens, with Springbank Island in the middle - the houses of Yarralumla are just visible on the far right. I am always amazed at how I can be in the middle of a capital city and see so much green and almost no people. The Lake continues for several kilometres in both directions. 17 km ride

Monday, October 30, 2006

Day 183
And half way for me now too! I can't believe I've done this many drawings - very satisfying. And I have got fitter and lost weight, thanks to the hilly cycling - I walk too slowly to count walking as really effective exercise. But what has been most fun is to learn to look more closely, to see things I otherwise would have missed, to try to sketch aspects of life in Canberra, particularly my suburb of Yarralumla, that will be interesting to my blog visitors from around the world and to make reciprocal visits to other's blogs and see snippets of their lives. Thank you, Julie, for initiating this challenge and to all my various visitors for your enthusiastic support. Continue to visit for 182 more surprises.
For today's effort, I returned to Saturday's site to sketch this enormous pile of half burnt pine logs - one of a number waiting to be torched. I think they look like carcasses of some sort of monster, suddenly caught in their tracks ... then I cycled around the lake - 25 km cycle in all.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Day 182
Despite daylight saving starting at last today, it was nevertheless after dark before Ralph and I got out walking. We walked to Hermione's bench under a half moon with a cold easterly wind. So it's another 2B pencil effort done from memory after I got home. 6 km walk

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Day 181
I rode my bike along a different path today so on the return journey, I was coming towards Canberra from the west, through land that was completely burnt out in the 2003 fires. Black Mountain and the tower were saved - young pine trees have self sown below the mountain, and in the forground it is now grassland with many dead and broken trees. This is not the sort of landscape I mean to do - hopefully just a necessary step to something else! 10 km ride in a return to 12 degrees - and a cosy fire waiting at home.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Day 180
This little house (about 70 years old) is already part demolished - the aspestos linings in the wet areas have been removed by a specially licensed company and the rest of it will go soon. It was government owned but has now been sold to the private sector for redevelopment. For the money it earns, the government can buy several complete houses in outer suburbs but opportunities for the less well off to live in inner areas are diminished and Yarralumla gets ever posher. 6km walk

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Day 179
And here are the king parrots grubbing for roots - they really are very bright. 10km cycle

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Day 178
I cycled into town to get some photos printed and while I was waiting, popped into the Canberra Museum and Gallery to sketch this burnt-out dishwasher. It belonged to the Cox family whose home and possessions were destroyed in the 2003 bushfires.

There was also a marvellous collection of Clarice Cliff ceramics.

I love the colours of her pieces but it's only now that I have a little box of water colour paints that I realize that her colours are straight from a simple set of watercolours - some photos of her sketchbook pages confirm this. (I gave up trying to get the outer rim of the plate symetrical) 12 km cycle.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Day 177
Yesterday's house is dominated by garaging but at least it is somewhat architectually interesting. This house (about 5 years old) has the typical double garage pushed out to the front - with, no doubt, a door from the garage directly into the house so reducing the incidence of informal neighbour contact. In its favour, it looks south onto the street so the limited windows and garage location are sensible, if visually boring, and it's probably much more open to life and the sun into the garden at the rear. These sort of houses tend to be built by spec builders/developers with no architectural input. 10 km cycle

Monday, October 23, 2006

Day 176
Another day, another house. The front bit of this building is a carport with two separate doors and a double front gate leading through to a courtyard and then the front door, behind. I would miss being able to see out on to the street if I lived here. 6 km cycle

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Day 175
Well, I've treated myself to some of the graphitint pencils and although this is a very primitive effort (of the old brickworks), it's OK for me as it's on a loose piece of paper so I could easily have just given up and thrown it away. I also bought a wider brush so I can try to get better washes, especially for skies. Now I will just have to practise.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Day 174
Just another wander around Yarralumla. These birds are (meant to be) crimson rosellas, another of our common parrots. The lavender is wonderful at the moment and there are so many varieties these days. 5 km walk

Friday, October 20, 2006

Day 173
There's a very 'blocky' fashion in architecture at the moment but some houses have more interesting shapes and lines than others - colours too. This one had double garage door off to the right. I've started a grid on a double page of my moleskine to fill with different houses of Yarralumla. I'll post them separately, and the whole page when it's done. 10 km ride

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Day 172
I cycled along the lakeside to go to The National Portrait Gallery to look at an exhibition of self portraits/perceptions done by teenagers of the district but there was nothing there I felt like sketching. So I went a bit further along, to the National Gallery sculpture garden. This is part of a sculpture installation (Heads from the North) by Dadang Christanto. It was done in 2004, some time after about 360 People (asylum seekers/illegals) were drowned while trying to reach Australia from Indonesia in a leaky boat. My first guess was that there are about 100 heads, but in fact there are about 50. They appear to be 'advancing' - this installation is in a murky pond next to the out door restaurant, with linen covered tables set with wine glasses etc., and people ordering gourmet meals. The scene fills me with unease, as no doubt, is intended. 12 km cycle

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Day 171
I set off towards Hermione's bench at 5.15 and saw this little fellow in a window - obviously waiting for his family to return - so I hoped he would stay still for 5 minutes. He didn't move at all. 6km walk

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Day 170
Another suburban walk - just random left and right turns. I came across this sign. The Government is erecting them on patches of land, often treed like little parks, to warn residents that they cannot count on the view/green-space existing into the future - that the land is not official green-space and may be built on whenever the Government chooses to sell the land. It is part ofa move to do in-fill development, not just greenfields, to keep the inner city lively and use services more efficiently as well as give people more choices about where they live.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Day 169
I cycled into town to take my Birkenstock shoes to be resoled as I have walked the heels right off since I started this exercise caper! This is one of the city public sculptures. Canberra is often referred to as just an old sheep paddock. James Ainslie was one of the early sheep station owners. He was said to be a bit of a dandy, fond of embroidered waistcoats, one of which was stolen by a bushranger. So, here we have a sheep easing himself in a traditional 'squatter's' chair which has two extended arms to stretch your legs out on. 12 km cycle

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Day 168
I managed to get myself out for a walk by 8.15 so I could pick Mum up for her Sunday outing by 9.45. I walked the loop intending to try sketching the long drive down to the Governor General's. On the way, I saw two beautiful chooks near the brickworks. They must have escaped from someone's yard. By tomorrow, they will probably be just a heap of feathers, especially as the Rooster is intent on wooing the Lady, instead of looking out for foxes. 8 km walk

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Day 167
An evening walk around Yarralumla after another day of temperatures over 30* and hot winds. Many gardens are looking completely desicated already and we're only half way through Spring. The Government has gone along all the pavements grinding away the height irregularities between slabs - I'm amazed this job reached the top of the priority list in these cash-strapped times - I think they are afraid of being sued by people who trip up even though several recent court cases have found in their favour. 5 km walk

Friday, October 13, 2006

Day 166
I cycled to Woden hoping to get my hair cut but they were too busy with kids as it's back to school next week. So I went and bought several new tops instead. They have changed the sizings - size 12 has risen from a 34 inch bust to 38 inches -now as we age and fatten we can pretend we're still the same size as 20 years ago. 12 km cycle, 32 degree heat.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Day 165
Another spy at the Manuka cafe strip? 12 km cycle

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Day 164
Just a quickie on the way home from my parents. I haven't been able to find the name of this succulent but I don't think it's native to Australia. This one is lovingly grown by some old folk whose front garden was trashed by vandals on Saturday night. 4 km walk

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Day 163
I walked around the Lake, over the two bridges, intending to sketch something at Floriade - a huge bulb show in the lakeside Commonwealth Park. But it was all too awful - not a patch on European bulb shows and so many people waddling round gorging themselves or taking photos but not actually looking. Disgustingly judgmental me! :) So I sketched these little fairy wrens in the bush on the way home. They are about 4 " long and usually have one male to several females, plus young. The males have a super sheen to their plumage which Finnian and a friend are investigating the physics of. 6 km walk

Monday, October 09, 2006

Day 162
I felt completely exhausted and washed out today and thought that I surely wouldn't go for any exercise today! But I had a parcel to post so had to lock up the house anyway so I walked to Hermione's bench. The cockatoos and these galahs were out in force, eating grass roots on the unkempt flood plain between the lake and housing. Normally this grass would need mowing by now but there is no spring growth. The galahs are more nervous than the cockatoos and I had to sit down a dozen times to get just these three. There is a recipe for galah soup - you boil galah with an old boot for several hours, then throw away the galah and serve. 'Galah' is also a colloquial expression for 'fool'. They often forage on roadsides and get sucked into the path of cars - as they pair for life, when one dies in this way, the other stands too close and gets squashed as well. 7 km walk

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Day 161
I did an early cycle ride, over the Scrivener Dam and around the Lake - it was windy and warm. After crossing the dam, there is a long hill climb and then a bench at the top, so I sat and did a quick sketch looking across to the brickworks (and home). Parliament House was visible over to the left and the Governor General's residence with private jetty. Also a wisp of a cloud! 16 km cycle

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Day 160
I cycled across Yarralumla to the American embassy, intending to sketch it but the security fence was so tall and heavy that I couldn't get a good view. So, sitting on their lawn, watched over by two security men, I sketched Parliament House instead. I think it is a fantastic building, rising out of the hill, but still nestled in the trees, awesome but still accessible to the public. 8 km cycle

Friday, October 06, 2006

Day 158
A beautiful sunny, mild day (though I really want rain and think that wet grey days should be relabelled 'fine') so I cycled to the Lake and over the two bridges. Then I decided to re visit the Imant Tillers exhibition. He paints oil on board slightly larger than A4 and then combines the boards in an enormous patchwork directly on the gallery wall. All the boards are numbered - he has done 10's of thousands. His works reference many other artists, address a wealth of ideas, often include text and are visually very interesting. I especially liked this installation - 9 music stands each with a board painting, the white shapes being a message (inspired by the pattern of sunlight dancing on the wall). I also like the way that the black knobs and feet of the stands look like musical text. 15 km cycle

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Day 158
First ducklings of the season. I walked the loop in a horrible warm wind. There is a bushfire in the southern end of the ACT - a controlled burn got out of control but is supposedly not a threat to Canberra. The brown blobs in this pond are the beginnings of water lillies which will be beautiful if the drought doesn't dry up the pond before they get to flower. 6 km walk

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Day 157
This is the High Commission of Papua New Guinea, its architecture inspired by their traditional longhouses. The large, triangular front facia is beautifully painted mask-type faces in the colours shown and the roof is small wooden shingles. The huge, triangular flag pole of Parliament House is in the background - it can be seen from many points around Canberra. 8 km cycle

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Day 156
I walked over to the horse paddocks looking for some horses to sketch but there were none to be seen at that end. So here are the Brindabellas again. I love the way the light makes them look different every time. It's from the Brindabellas that the biggest threat of bushfires comes. The fire season started officially yesterday with the volunteer firefighters boycotting the 'opening' because the Government wants to collect the funds they raise at community events. We are already paying an annual $84 firefighting levy which goes into consolidated revenue! It's time for us to prepare personally - get the firefighting gear together, buy candles and batteries (for the radio), update lists of what to save and clear dry stuff from around the house.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Day 155
There are lots of embassies in Yarralumla as it is near to Parliament House and the Foreign Affairs building. Many of them have interesting architecture or features suggestive of their home country. These painted, corrugated-iron cows were made for some festival and afterwards were bought by the New Zealand High Commission and displayed on their back lawn. 8 km cycle

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Day 154
I did lots of walking with Mum today, slow walking as she pushed the walker and then pushing her in her wheelchair at the Sunday craft markets where she likes people-watching and eating vietnamese spring rolls. So, after I put the Sunday roast in the oven, I whipped round to the brickworks, crawled under the security fence and had a peaceful time sketching the entrance to one of the old kilns which is now used as a workshop by 'Thor' who makes kitchens from reclaimed timber. The other ovens are open and full of his wood stock.