Thursday 29 August 2019

Everlasting Love

If you want to catch the unfurling of the carpets of everlastings that our state is famous for then head north now! The roadsides in the mid-west and Murchison are awash in pink, yellow and white. On Thursday (22nd Aug), Coalseam Conservation Park; between Mingenew and Mullewa, was as stunning as my friend and I had been led to believe; even in the face of poorer rains this year. There was a veritable gaggle of everlasting species in various colours and the gorgeous orange and yellow waitzias were emerging to join the throng. Being an old coal mine, the topography of the area made for a stunning backdrop to the floral show.

From there it was on to Mullewa where we enjoyed the lamb shank special at the Mullewa Hotel and retired to our authentic Aussie digs in a comfortably appointed demountable motel unit out the back. The following morning we drove to nearby Pindar in the hope of spotting the fabled wreath flower. The Mullewa Tourist Bureau had a sign out the front with breaking news of the wreath flowers’ status and where they could be found – last seen just down the everlasting-lined road near Pindar. The word on the street was that only a few petals were emerging at this stage. So we were thrilled to find quite a few specimens already looking decidedly wreath-like, despite having a way to go yet to be flowering at full throttle.

Pindar is a fascinating little town-site with a few historic buildings opposite the grain receival point (wheat bin). The old Pindar Hotel has a tearoom and hosts local artist, Helen Ansell’s, pop up art shop. Her vibrant paintings are inspired by the local flora and fauna and it was impossible to leave empty-handed. After a nice hot cup of tea and a delicious scone we hit the road again. We took the unsealed Tardun Pindar Road back to the main highway and down to Morawa, every minute a delight with the roadsides festooned with everlastings, eye-popping wattles and achingly beautiful purply- blue dampiera. Having been almost sated with everlastings (impossible to be totally sated when it comes to everlastings!) we now felt the need to find some orchids. We’d missed our chance at Canna, not realising until we’d reached Morawa that they were likely to be flowering there. But on our meandering trip back to Perth on Saturday we hit pay-dirt at Buntine Rock. Flocks of donkey orchids – just emerging - were to be found in rock crevices as well as a few cow-slips and a couple of showy little green numbers. The drive in from the road was very rough and the final 400 metres was not suitable for caravans but it was a gorgeous bush landscape and again we were regaled with endless swathes of everlastings. The granite outcrop that is Buntine Rock was superbly picturesque with wonderful views from the top. I was also thrilled to discover native ferns growing in the cracks and sundew drosera climbing happily through the scrub. It was amazing how much we saw in just three days. Admittedly there were some badly degraded stretches of roadside where over-clearing and weeds had triumphed over the flowers, and some areas of farmland were utterly denuded of paddock trees, but overall there was so much to delight. We’d tootled around quite a few gravel roads that were mostly in excellent condition and it got us up close and personal with the wildflowers. We loved the rural charm of the country towns, most of them showing obvious community pride in the neatness of their public spaces and gardens. It was so refreshing to get out of suburbia and to somewhere other than the trendy coastal hotspots. Not only did we find the wildflowers we were after, but we also found the real pulse of the bush in the people and towns.

Thursday 8 August 2019

Very Belated Birthday Gift

Acrylic on canvas - palette knife (mostly)

I finished this painting for my daughter a few weeks before her birthday. A pity it was promised for her birthday several years ago, but better late than never I always say!😄 
It was an added extra, so she didn't miss out on her previous birthday gifts.
I painted it from a photo of our local coastline and she is thrilled with it. I just need to varnish it now. Hopefully before her next birthday!

It's the second very large painting I have done in recent times. I'm not sure if I will continue with the large format as I find it very hard to keep the enthusiam up for returning to something partially finished. I get more of a thrill doing the small 6" x 6" paintings that I can finish off in a couple of hours or by the end of the day at least. However, they aren't quite as spectacular on the wall.

I did the one below at the beginning of the year, my second plein air with a palette knife. I had forgotten to pack my tube of  white, can you believe it?!!!!
I was going to give up before I started as I thought it would be a disaster, but thankfully I persisted and the unbleached titanium came to the rescue.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

It's Been a Long Time......

Kangaroo Heaven
 Dec 2016. 
15cm x 15cm (6" x 6") Acrylic with Palette knife

Well, there have been many occasions in the last 19 months that I have intended to begin posting again, but there's been such a barrier to breaking the ice.
It's hard to put into words what I have been through since I last posted so I will just stick with the basics.
I had been back home for a month or two from my trip to the USA when Kevin, my dear husband of 26 years, died suddenly of a massive heart attack. Seven weeks later my lovely dad passed away after a very traumatic two years of suffering with pain and dementia.
My daughters and I have been wonderfully supported by family and friends and we've navigated our way through this new reality as well as anyone could hope for in the situation. We are so lucky to have such amazing people in our lives to help us through the difficult times.

I haven't spent a great deal of time on creative pursuits since August 2016 but I have done a few things here and there. One being to do my very first plein air painting with acrylics while on one of my visits with friends at their holiday place in Yallingup, three hours south of Perth. They have the most beautiful bush outlook which is frequently dotted with mobs of kangaroos.

I don't usually use protective clothing when I paint but I have chosen one of Kevin's shirts as my art smock. 

I painted mainly with a small palette knife.

I hope to get more prolific again with my creative exploits as it's great for the soul.

Monday 20 June 2016

Meeting up with Michael

I have been back in Australia for nearly two weeks now since my five fabulous weeks in the USA. While away I was so busy squeezing every minute dry that blogging about it fell by the wayside. Also, I was having trouble with my blogger app!
So now that I've got myself back into some sort of routine I will resume where I left off - and fill in some of the blanks.

I have more to post about New York but I will leap ahead to Boston as I don't want another day to pass before I write about my very enjoyable day meeting up with Michael Perchard. Michael and I have followed each other's blogs for several years now and I always love his very enthusiastic comments and his overriding joy for life. He has a wonderfully dynamic painting style and also posts great photos of his local area. Over the last few years he's posted quite a few photos of the beautiful statue "Appeal to the Great Spirit" that stands at the front of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, I have loved it ever since I saw the first photo he posted, so it was because of the statue that we decided on the Museum of Fine Arts as a good place to meet up.

We exchanged gifts and Michael came up with probably the most unique gift I have ever received. He said he needed to drive in to meet me, rather than take the train, in order to convey one of the gifts he had for me. I thought that sounded a bit ominous as I wouldn't have a car to take it back to Australia in! But I needn't have worried as it was a short lived gift albeit a very special one. He had thought ahead and in the last snowfall had made a snowball for me and kept it in the freezer until we met up. He had an Esky (cooler) in his boot (trunk) and I was tickled pink when I unwrapped the parcel inside! A real live snowball! What a great idea for a gift for someone who has only seen snow on a couple of occasions in her entire life.

Michael also gave me a painting that he has done of "Appeal to the Great Spirit" which I will absolutely treasure!
 I felt super spoilt!!

We had a lovely day together chatting and admiring all the beautiful art.

It was a nice surprise to happen upon the one below. There was a print of this very painting on the wall of my hotel room so it was a treat to see the real thing.

The unfinished painting above apparently was the inspiration for the one dollar note.
We had such a great day. Michael is such a sweet and unique character. It is so much fun - and quite surreal to be able to meet up with people in the flesh after getting to know them online. Unfortunately, Michael's wife wasn't well enough to join us on the day as planned. A good excuse for me to return to Boston - to be able to meet up with her next time.

I was staying in a very characterful part of Boston - Beacon Hill - which is a shortish walk away from Boston Common.

I had walked through the Common a couple of times and one day in the distance I noticed a swathe of colour that hadn't been there before. I wondered if there had been a huge planting of flowers since my last visit so I decided to walk over to investigate.

It turned out to be a very striking display of flags to commemorate Memorial Day which was several days away.

More to come soon!

Monday 23 May 2016

Loving New England!

I am now in Boston having spent five nights in a gorgeous town with friends in rural Massachusetts. 
New York was so exciting and I had a fabulous time there, but after two weeks I was ready for the countryside. I'd had a few days where I was able to get a fix of greenery while in the city - one day I braved the subway and took a train to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens where I'd been able to get a breath of fresh air by surrounding myself in flowers. 
My book enjoyed frolicking amongst the bluebells.



I spent my last evening in New York with the wonderful artist Barbara Muir and her husband Steven. It was so lucky that our time overlapped there, and by just one afternoon! They had arrived in town that day for the opening night of her exhibition at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery. I had trotted down there earlier in the day to see her lovely work in the flesh.


We had such a lovely evening together. You can check out Barbara's wonderful blog by clicking



I've only done one sketch since New York. Unfortunately, I came down quite sick with a sinus infection a week or so ago and I'm yet to fully recover. However, other than one day spent in bed I have still been getting out and about and enjoying myself.


I'm really enjoying Boston and will post soon about my adventures here - which include meeting up with another art blogger - the very entertaining Michael Perchard.
Stay tuned!

Friday 13 May 2016

Grand Central Station

I'm taking things a bit easier this morning on my last day in New York as I've run myself ragged trying to soak everything up. But what an incredible time I've been having! The city has such a great vibe and the people are very friendly, and I love the Noo Yawk accent!

I think I will have to save posting most of my photos for when I get back to Australia where I can easily reduce them and have proper access to the blogger tools - unlike with this iPad app.

I met up with Joan Tavolott on two more occasions. One day I joined her along with a small group of New York Urban Sketchers at Grand Central Station. We spent hours there and met up for lunch between sketches. What a gobsmacking building it is. It is so exciting visiting these iconic places. My sister has a stunning black and white photo of it on her wall. Taken in the 1930s, it shows the sun streaming in through the high windows. I doubt that view would be possible now due to it being surrounded by taller buildings. But the sun wasn't shining that day so I wouldn't know for sure.

Another day I joined Joan and the Urban Sketchers at the beautiful Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. 



Joan and I in front of the fountain - and Joan below creating one of her many masterpieces.


It was so special meeting up with Joan and the other sketchers. I really appreciated Joan travelling in from Long Island to meet up with me.

I will post more from New York soon, in the meantime my next stop will be a small town in Massachusetts to visit friends.

Friday 6 May 2016

Sketching in Times Square

                                           Joan Tavolott holding my book in front of the Rockefeller Centre

I'm having such a great time here in New York and there have been many highlights. One highlight has been meeting up with Joan Tavolott. We have followed each other's blogs for a couple of  years now. In fact, it was Joan's prolific sketching exploits that first inspired me to begin sketching on location when I went to the UK in 2014. So it was a real treat to get the opportunity to meet Joan in person and to sketch together.

We found a spot to sit in the heart of Times Square.



It was so much fun, even though I was turning into an ice block as time wore on. My fingers were numb! No wonder, as the forecast maximum for the day was13C!!! Afterwards we found a cosy diner where we warmed up over lunch and a long chat. Then we walked several blocks to MOMA where we enjoyed viewing a very extensive collection of works by Degas. We also had a look through the regular exhibits and I was thrilled to stumble upon Van Gogh's Starry Night. Only the day before, I had come across my very favourite Van Gogh painting at the MET - Cypresses in Wheatfields.

Joan and I had such a great day together - she is every bit as lovely as she comes across on her blog. If you're not already a follower of Joan's you can check out her prolific and inspiring blog by clicking here

I had hoped to be posting more regularly but I'm finding the blogging app I've bought isn't working properly - or I'm not working IT properly. I'm not able to reduce the size of more than one or two of the photos I post.

I did another sketch today and I will be joining Joan and the other NYC Urban Sketchers tomorrow.