Thursday, November 30, 2006

Day 214
At last the horses are back in the local paddock. Last year, a number died a slow death from liver poisoning caused by eating Patterson's Curse - a little blue weed that flourishes particularly in a drought when its competition dies off. It's called Salvation Jane by the bee keepers though. The price of honey is forecast to skyrocket. I bought 2, 3 litre tubs today - it will keep. Anyway, not much of a sketch but it is horses, which I thought I would never be able to do - I was a bit far away to see details such as eyes. 20km cycle

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Day 213
I cycled into the university today to attend a forum on end of life options for the elderly. I was probably the youngest there. Two hours isn't really enough time to do the topic justice. The only thing people agreed on was that there should be much more open discussion, in families especially - too many people hope they will go quickly and make no preparation for other circumstances. Sketching this, I found it interesting how much smaller the heads get as you move towards the front. 12 km cycle

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Day 212
I'm getting more resolute about starting early - today is forecast to be 34. I closed up the house (including drawing all the curtains) before I left at 8.45 when it had reached 23. Now, at 11.30, it's 31 outside and 22 inside. I did my usual 17 km ride around the lake as the hills are good for me but I find it hard to see things to draw on that route except for landscapes which I don't really like doing. But I was nearing the end with no drawing so I stopped as I passed our local swimming area (where the pelicans were). It was beautiful, with deep shade to sit in and a coolish breeze so I plonked myself down and got on with it. It's time to get the picnic box ready so on a day when it's still hot by the evening, I can just make a salad and when Ralph comes home with the car we can stop off at the shops, pick up a turkish loaf and some ham and have our dinner here - preceded by a swim. 17 km

Monday, November 27, 2006

Day 211
I set off at 10.00 today but it was a bit too late. To sketch these flowers, I had to sit in the sun where I quickly started to burn despite sunscreen, and the flies were terrible. It's much more trouble going out in the summer - I have to take sunscreen, anti insect cream, a sun hat, water, sunglasses - much easier to nip out at night in my PJ's. I have tried to grow these flowers, which grow in the hot sun on a bluff overlooking the lake - I think I probably watered mine to death. I think they are a member of the helichrysum species but can't find a picture on the Net. 17km cycle

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Day 210
Another early start - I went looking for the pelicans again as I so much enjoyed sketching them but they were nowhere to be seen. Instead, there were about 300 women at the swimming area, participating in a triathlon. These are the under 40's, short-swim group waiting for their start. I wish I could draw faster - I haven't caught the feel of the crowd - the line up was in fact about three deep - I think I need a different, more simplified (or more simplifiable) style for people - loads more practice would help too. 12 km cycle, home by 9.30am.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Day 209
I got going early today - we're going to have a week of temperatures in the 30's so I must get in the habit. Ralph and Tor had already set off on a Pedal Power ride - as they have bought a household membership, I've been joined as well but I would find it frustrating to have to go at others' pace and not be able to stop and sketch when I see The Subject. Today it was these pelicans which I spotted on the pontoon in the Yarralumla swimming bay, doing their morning ablutions. They keep their bodies conveniently still so once you've drawn the body, you can add the neck and head as it is at that moment. Charcoal (with a smudge of pink pastel added at home) is such fun to work with - very expressive and forgiving, I think. 17 km cycle

Friday, November 24, 2006

Day 208
Returning from a trip to town, I stopped off at the Gallery to enjoy the air conditioning and check out the newly arranged Modernist room. I really loved it - there's lots to study but I wanted to draw so I left the intellectual bit for another day. This Lobster telephone is by Salvador Dali (1936) - made from plaster and a real phone - isn't the shadow great - it looks like fingers drumming on the table. And when I stood up, I noticed the Blue Bread - favourite food for bluebirds by Man Ray (1958) and had to sketch it too.

12 km cycle

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Day 207
When there have been bushfires, we usually get some lovely sunsets. I walked down to the lake looking for some good views and was taken with these shapes but didn't get quite the right pink or blue. Finnian is now through the dangerous Bass Strait and sailing down the east coast of Tasmania - the website with Captain's log is here.4 km walk

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Day 206
It was 34 degrees today with horrible hot winds and a smell of fire in the air so I delayed going out until mid afternoon (when the day was at its hottest!). Then I cycled along the lake to the National Library where an exhibition of Donald Friend's 44 sketchbook/journals plus some framed drawings and paintings has recently opened. He does marvellous pen and ink portraits - mostly of boys - and loose, expressive pen and watercolour sketches - lots of humour and inventiveness too. I am getting so much more from these sort of exhibitions, now I am having a go myself. I had to hurry home so just stopped briefly to do a sketch of the Wednesday evening race. The green boat is in a mess, with sails luffing, the spinnaker about to fall in the water and it's heading the wrong way round the buoy. 10 km cycle

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Day 205
I cycled to Manuka after dinner, when Ralph and Tor had gone off to a film. The warmer weather has brought out lots of people to eat and socialise in the outdoor cafes - great for sketching. I like this bookshop as it is open late and has places to sit inside

Monday, November 20, 2006

Day 204
Just a random bike ride around the suburb at the end of a hot day, wondering what to draw. Someone is illegally watering their lawn with sprinklers but the water brings out stunning colours on this (I think) spotted gum. 6 km cycle

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Day 2003
We spent Saturday night at Hobarts Beach, a National Park campground, next to a back-lake and a short walk through dense banksia and tea-tree scrub to the sea. We saw several enormous sea eagles and the Walagoot Lake yacht club was having a regatta.
In the afternoon, we returned to Eden to farewell Finnian. She was 'at home', tying things up and other things down. The wind was a warm north westerly, pretty good for square rig sailing towards Tasmania. They have a 3 hour on/ three hour off watch system, with all hands on deck for major sail changes. She is sleeping in a hammock, below deck with 14 others - only the captain has a space to himself. Then it was off home, to keep a close eye on the BOM (Bureau of Meteorology website)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Day 202
I dropped Ralph off south of Eden to do a one way cliff walk and drove back to the old whaling station at Davidson's beach to look around, meander along the beach and do some sketching. It was a beautiful bay with lovely clear water and lots of oysters on the rocks - not much left of the whaling life though. I sketched this messy bank, hoping to catch the raw grittiness and feeling of it toppling down on to me - oh, well!
Then I had a horrendous hour or two while I tried to find the rendezvous point and drove down a very unsuitable track and nearly couldn't get out. I'm sure I lost several kilos in the sweat of the panic!

Ralph, too, had made navigation errors and walked 19 kms instead of 11 - fortunately we both arrived at the same (late) time otherwise we both might have though the other has come and gone (to look elsewhere) So it was time for a rest. Does this look right? When I'd finished, I noticed that, from where I sat, the highest part of the shoes should have been nearly as high as Ralph's bottom, and the base line of the far bench leg was hitting the front of the forward leg - have I imagined the whole thing as from another perspective?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Day 201
Tathra Wharf - fishermen are a great subject to sketch. I should have done a double page composition - these guys appear closer together than they really were. More beach walking.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Day 200
Another freezing, windy day - begun with a 2 hour walk along the beach after a decision to do the day's drawing from the comfort of the car. Following Julie's example, I was keen to sketch cows and as this is a dairying area, now was my chance. This is my 3rd page of cows.
Then I stopped outside the Tathra 'Friendly Grocer' - built in 1933 when Art Deco architecture was all the rage - sells everything including, out the front, gas, bait and petrol.
The Princes Highway runs all the way up the East coast, but in many parts is only one lane in each direction. Every few miles there's a roadside memorial of wooden crosses and flowers - and young people with their recent licence 'P-plates' sit on my tail and then pass me aggressively. For miles, dense State forests or sometimes National Park come right up to the roadside so there are no views. I stopped to sketch this on the way to Bega to collect Ralph.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Day 199
We left early this morning and reached the south coast port of Eden by 11.00am having driven through the high country in temperatures of -1.5 and SNOW! I took a tour of the Duyfken with Finnian and a group of Canberra home schoolers who happened to be there and got thoroughly freezing. So I left Finnian to meet her fellow 16 crew and went up the hill to the whale museum - to warm up and have a go at drawing the skeleton of ' Old Tom' who , it's said, assisted the whalers of the past to catch whales by hearding them nearer to shore. The museum is modern and purpose-built but a sanitised version of the original which we enjoyed 30 years ago - an old shed, dominated by this skeleton, with just enough space to squeeze between tables and shelves cluttered with nature finds, flotsam and jetsom, memorabilia - all able to be touched and a true 'old salt' explainer/story-teller on hand.
When the museum closed, I set off for a walk along the Eden beach but a freezing wind soon had me retreating to the car and musing on the mystery of the horizon.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Day 198
Ducks! - and the little steam paddle-boat, only about 4 metres long. I just walked down to the lake and back as I was in a rush to get everything ready for going away (tomorrow, we've now decided), collecting Finnian etc. 4 km walk

Monday, November 13, 2006

Day 197
We've had storms on and off all day and keep losing access to the Internet. I nipped out this evening to draw these steps which I noticed a while ago and put on my 'list of sketching possibilities'. Tomorrow, I am off to the coast - taking Finnian to meet the tall ship Duyfken which she is crewing on for the next month. Then I have a couple of days by myself - time for lots of sketching - then Ralph will arrive by bus and we have a few days together. Tor will mind the fort here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Day 196
Yes, it's R-rated. I drove to the Gallery and walked around the Lake over the two bridges and then popped into the Gallery to see what's new. The Fiona Hall (bottom row, 3rd in line, click to enlarge) sardine cans are back - I think they are my favourite thing in the Gallery collection. There are about 20 cans in a row on the wall. They are real sardine cans with lids rolled back by a key and atop each one is an exquisite plant, crafted from aluminium by cutting, beating and bending. Inside the tin is a part of the human body including genitalia, sometimes male and female together, sometimes a hand and genitalia - the choice and pose inspired by the nature of the plant. Under each are the botanical and common names. This one is the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) which originated in Africa but is thought to have established itself here long before European settlement. 6 km walk.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Day 195
I cycled around the lake and had to take advantage of the presence of clouds again - they occur so infrequently. Less is more with clouds, I think. This time on cold press, medium rough water colour paper - much easier than in the moleskine. 17 km cycle

Friday, November 10, 2006

Day 194
I tried to do clouds again! I think I'll have to try proper water colour paper or another medium. Anyway, there were lovely fluffy clouds for once, though no rain - and I just walked the loop. 6km

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Day 193
I cycled over to Mum's to do a turn caring for her but she was still asleep so I hurried off for an 8km cycle ride looking for hills to work out on. When I returned, she was still asleep so I added a rose bush (in Dad's garden) to this page of garden flowers. Then it was time to stroll around the block with Mum and the wheelie walker.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Day 192
I thought I'd have a change today, and try pastels. I cycled around the lake to a stand of trees with beautiful multi-coloured trunks. There was no shade to sit in and the flies were a trial so I only did one - not what I intended, but there you are. 17 km cycle

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Day 191
I walked the loop vary fast as I had already decided what to draw - these flowers which are in a mixed bed of flowers, herbs and vegetables on a patch of wasteground near the brickworks - somebody must find their townhouse courtyard too small for their green thumb. I need to do these British garden flowers as a study for a memory painting I will do about gardening with my Dad, and bumble bees (which we don't have here). Unfortunately, it started to pour so I will have to go back to do the wall flowers, marigolds, potatoes and anything else I might need. For once, I just painted straight off - maybe I will add pen later. 6 km walk.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Day 190
I walked the loop late in the afternoon with a cool but invigorating wind. This is a paper bark tree - it has lots of peeling sheets of papery thin bark in colours from pink, rust to grey. Maybe I should have coloured it, but I decided not to. 7 km walk

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Day 189
I was really excited to spot this as a sketching subject as I was walking to my parent's house to collect Mum for her Sunday outing. I love that it can be seen as a little landscape but in fact it is about 8 inches of the tip of a pine tree branch. 5km walk

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Day 188
Ralph and I cycled into town to join the (supposedly) Global Walk for Action on Climate Change. The speeches seemed to be over very quickly - or maybe I just couldn't hear them - anyway, it seemed that no sooner had I sat down to sketch, than everyone was dispersing. However, the penguin, which I has spent time searching for, suddenly parked itself right in front of me. It's harder than I expected to sketch a crowd - people kept standing in front of me! 12 km cycle.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Day 187
I seemed to spend most of the day on the phone and then I made pizza dinner and rang Finnian to suggest she come over and help us eat it - the bread machine can't really do small quantities. Then we had our usual family bath time and so it wasn't until 9.00 that I left the family watching a thriller movie and walked out into the delicious, freshly-washed silence of the night. I think I might like this time of day in Summer even more than I did in Winter - there is none of the glare and it was a treat to put on my coat. Near Hermione's bench, I found a patch of beautiful grass seed heads - so perfectly formed, like plump little woven lanterns - I've never noticed this sort before.
I find the moleskine sketchbooks works quite well for small areas of paint, though of course, you can't get the wet in wet effects of proper watercolour paper. I keep a sliver of soap in my paint box for the days when the paint won't stick. 6 km walk

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Day 186
Storms were forcast so before lunch I went for a hurried 12 km cycle ride but didn't stop to draw. From our front window, you can see the weather coming - in this case 100 km winds and bucketing rain - but not on us. It dumped on the yacht club 3 km away, wrecking 30 boats including tossing one into a tree. Trees were uprooted and fell on to houses, in one case, exposing a huge bees nest. Clouds must be the hardest image to catch. This is the first time in all these months that I have had a second, third and fourth attempt - and it's still not what I want. Oh well, Policy is: what I can do is good enough.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Day 185
November already! I spent the day doing preliminary drawings for some more memory paintings so was ready to stretch and get moving by 5.00pm. I rode over the Scrivener Dam and around the Lake as there are some good hills, though they don't really puff me anymore. Calistemons are in flower now. They (bushes , 1 - 3 metres high) are quite drought hardy so are increasingly planted in public places where they won't get watered. They come in cream, through pinks to red, burgundy and purple. The birds love them. 17 km cycle.