Friday, May 28, 2010


... actually yesterday now... last thing before bed a quick little post on my day...and wouldn't you know it... its after midnight!
Q: So why this first photo below?
A: Because I live next door to a school tennis court and this morning when I was trying to catch a little more shut eye I had to listen to the very loud, surprisingly competitive conversation of two tennis coaches. Let me tell you ... this was louder than usual...and I heard every word... did I want to? NO! And the sky wasn't blue either like the day I took this photo!
Not to worrry! It was a painting day in my home studio and nothing was going to put me off. I had my porridge with bananas and currants and headed out to my fav Cafe for a delicious coffee and chat and bought some of their amazing organic sourdough rolls to bring home.

Here you can see my shot of a recent visit there... with toasted organic roll, buttered and spread sparingly with much loved australian condiment -vegemite. For me too salty when its lathered on!
Simple... coffee 3/4 full...not too much milk and strong quality Italian style brew! Brewbakers is the best by far in my area for this sort of thing! And conversation abounds here... good people coming by!

Home again and to the back verandah is where I paint when I want good light - this time of year its but never too cold. Even with a bit of rain its still a wonderful place to work. Summer-time it can be  ridiculously hot... so one makes the most of this time of year!

I like this quote below... I have posted it before... ages ago... but its never  a waste of time to be reminded of this! Today though it was a matter of simply getting on with what I'm working on... with some time given to going back through the wonderful book I have dipped into quite a bit this year -"Rainforest fruits of Queensland" by William and Wendy Cooper. I keep borrowing it from the Botanic Gardens Library - at $300+ its not something you rush off and buy BUT I will say its spectacularly worth it!

One does not just dip into this book ... one kind of climbs into the rainforest layers of it its so dense and magnificent. On reading of a species that may be found in the Clarence valley of NSW where I grew up I go off into a reverie of trying to recall the bush and places where I might have seen this or that. in progress and the Homage to the Seed journal I'm keeping above and below - the Cooper rainforest book I mentioned is also open above. I was very keen to get on with painting but felt the need to go back through the Cooper book, freshly documenting, with very quick sketches and brief notes, some interesting forms in the the capsules and seeds of various species. I'm loving this way of becoming more familiar with the biodiversity of the rainforests and similarly rich habitats... recognising the enormous numbers of species and seeing the variations that can occur just through this simple research is so fascinating to consider. Tonight, noticing an indigenous version of nutmeg and reading that it has little scent led to wondering about the extraordinary discoveries that people made through Millennia, the risks when identifying if something was edible, what properties it had and so on.
I'm finding ethnobotany more and more fascinating and realising that its piecing together some of my own various passions for knowledge that to date didn't seem to link that well.

I also came across a fascinating read Hybrid: the History and Science of Plant Breeding by UK based Noel Kingsbury that was published only last year by University of Chicago Press at the Garden's Library this week.

Latest Book !

 I'm still hardly scratching the surface of this no doubt timely book - all 492 pages of it. Its contains a series of topics that as they get closer to the present day heat up in terms of potential for controversy. I am noticing the writer's sustained attempt to address these topics with thorough research and due consideration. Still too soon for me to have formed a strong view of his take on current political implications of what is occuring in the complex field of genetics, patents and such. I will say that his coverage is immensely broad  but there is some clearly controversial material which I just noticed on his blog Noel's Garden Blog he owns as "unfashionable ideas".
The sense I did get in reading his book is that there is perhaps not a huge amount of material around that seriously attempts to cover this broad spectrum of human history on Plant breeding. So whilst some things made me sit up sharply and want to pick a fight I was having to address how little I knew of what was being raised and I found it a welcome book for bringing to the table a great many enormously relevant topics. much for a quick post...still its been a great way to wind down, and reflect a little on this day just passed.
Ciao! S x
You may click on the image below to enlarge.


blue china studio said...

Hi Sophie,

I really need to delve into your blog this weekend. I think I said it before but you have some really fascinating things going on here.

Love your sketchbook.

Altoon Sultan said...

A lovely post, Sophie. The Guston quote is wonderful, and the paintings look terrific.

La Dolce Vita said...

great quote!! I must write it down!! your journals are stunning... and am fascinated by your work in progress!
as you know, would love to sit in that shop and join you with a cup of tea! we could talk about the current theory that american wheat has been over hybridized to the point of being completely indigestible! so many of us are gluten intolerant now. but, the farmers get a perfect crop!! we just can't eat it! LOL!! ciao, ciao! xoxo

nathalie et cetera said...

your work in progress is fantastic! love your sketch book!

Sophie Munns said...

Hello everyone,

been so busy of late I completely forgot about the responses to this post till reading one from Nathalie just now late sunday night!
Hope you are all well...I'm neglecting my blogosphere friends a little...dont give upon me! I haven't forgotten you!

Hi Jacylin,
thank you kindly for your remarks... much appreciated. Lors of inspiration to be found in the bloggers realm...i like to shine lights in different directions...gather it in under a very big umbrella called eclectica!

Hi Altoon,
I remember you posted on Guston! I found the most wonderful article on him recently but it may have been quoting one you have read ... must dig it out!
Glad you like work in progress!

Hello Caterina!
You are so lovely...I did read this comment from your the other day... and from all here... but what the hell distracted me so much from getting to respond? I love your new picture box smiling down here... after being in your studio recently for your videod guided tour I feel very much like I have been there and sen you at work! Now that is an interesting topic... because one has to ask why people have eaten wheat without problems for centuries and now... this? This perfect harvest thing but terrible quality food... that is so the addiction we have to pass up... the perfect looking food... what rubbish we have ended up with for that vanity or delusion! Oh for that cup of tea Cat!
caio bella xo

Ah Nathalie...thank you...thank you are too kind!
hope your weekend was lovely!

em said...

sophie, yes, i'd like to join this tea party! ethnobotany sounds so very interesting! it appeals to the little naturalist inside of me. great post, and love your beautiful notebook!

Sophie Munns said...

Oh do come for tea Em!
Id love to discuss some of these books Im finding with you... interesting stuff.
It helps to take current photos and download material for posting on... sometimes I get too flat out...memory card is full on camera...must remember to save that to a usb -etc ect...
thanks for your very cheering message!
Have a good week Em,

Janis said...

Your sketchbook makes my mouth water - so full of wonderful drawings and notes! And painting on your veranda, what a dream...and the coffee at the cafe...oh soo lovely. You have a sweet life Ms. Sophie! xo

Sophie Munns said...

I know Janis...
to think 4 years a go I was standing before rooms full of angsty kids trying to teach them something or other (substitute teaching...each day different subject!) living in an entirely different world.
This pocket of time puts me on this verandah, with my local cafe, just so simple but brilliant, and in walking distance.
And then the trips across town to the Botanic Gardens... well this year is a gift and Im making every moment count if I possibly can!
Thanks for a wonderful message Janis !
S xo

sarala said...

I love your drawings. I just saw an artist who does seed pods in ceramic. I was so tempted to buy one. We have an art fair just outside my house (it is a very good one). I wonder if I can find the link to her work for you to see.

Sophie Munns said...

Great to hear from you Sarala!
loved the images at blogaway...your views are fascinating!
Thanks for warm comments... love to see what the artist has done in ceramic...if you find it do send the link..!