Monday, August 31, 2009

best weekend finds...

I know I led you to believe that I was going on a coastal getaway if you read my previous post and that I showed images of spectacular coastline as if I would be jumping on a board and catching the waves for 3 days. Well...swim I did, and a (bit of a) game of tennis was had, even some time in a spa!  There were walks along river and beach...but they were squeezed in with visits to galleries, markets and the two best bookshops one could imagine. Instead of the usual snaps of water views I bring you some pics of these 2 magical bookstores I discovered that in themselves were worth the trip north.

On Saturday  I headed to the famous Eumundi markets where one is spoilt for choice re breakfast and treats of every kind. Buckwheat crepes with banana and a little caramel sauce were definitely designed to please! Of course I started with a dutiful fresh vegetable juice. After a trawl of market stalls I headed in the direction of BerkelouW Books... having forgotten a beloved Sydney Book Store ( an old fav of mine) had opened up here a while back. New titles out front of store and a large section of the best secondhand books and rare. I found some to marvel at, but when it was time to leave settled happily on a great 1987 title - "An Art of our Own: The Spiritual in Twentieth Century Art" by Roger Lipsey, a highly readable, academic survey that was quite a find!

Sunday morning started with an early morning dash to the Noosa Farmers Market  as it was already like a hot summers day even though still technically we have just come to the end of winter here! I was there only long enough to purchase some very fresh home grown produce for dinner. Stopping nearby for coffee I was delighted to discover the surprising and definitely wonderful new Bookstore and Fine Art Gallery  Embiggen books with its subtitle- Where science meets art. This place was cool, just dark and intimate enough to provide comfort after the heat outside...and very, very stylish in a so understated way! A great website can put you in the picture far more adequately than I can here...various events are frequently held here...the place no doubt operates as a very special hub of activity and the meeting of minds.

Shelf of Science books

 I was soon immersed in the titles and adding to my wish list by the minute. In the end I sauntered off dreaming of all the books to come back for another time...utterly impressed at the fresh and exciting range of titles in stock. Definitely a store to come back to!
 This strenuous start to the day(!) sent me to the pool with my new book which I did read in between naps and swims! Time for a proper sleep now...a bit jaded after such a good time away!

Noosa farmers market

go to their website here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

getting away for a few days...

Noosa National Park
Noosa National Park

Noosa National Park Beach
3 days to be somewhere relaxing, where swimming is easy and I can pull out a good book and forget about everything. This destination is a couple of hours north of my home...and calls come frequently to my home offering last minute specials. This was booked on a whim...and now I am v. happy to be going!

Noosa Information,Climate,Accommodation,Restaurants,Currency,Booking Tours,Information and Assistance,east coast,australia

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

From Brisbane to LA to Mexico and back...

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A big thank you to Laure, a French-American Freelance writer and designer based in Venice, California who contacted me yesterday about posting something from my blog. My rudimentary knowledge of posting images, altering image sizes and other useful tasks in no way matches her professional journalistic competancies - Laure contributes to Apartment Therapy and Dwell.  What came of the exchange is shown here. With thanks to Laure!

Images from laure's blog at home at home that caught my eye... Below are Lithops, unusual succelents that I've not seen before with a reference to a post Laure did on Apartment Therapy about the California Cactus Centre on October 8, 2008.

And now... to speak further of  Geninne... you can visit my post from June 7 here where homage is paid to this wonderful creative spirit and the life she creates around her art studio. Best wishes to Geninne!

whilst i still have that business hat on...


Design sponge is offering fantastic info for artists selling online in this just published post. Actually, the weblink is way, way too go to designsponge and then use their nifty little red SEARCH box (top right)  and enter biz ladies 09: promoting and selling fine art online. This will get you to a pretty excellent overview that comes from Nikko Moy of wonderful Online gallery ashes and milk and its blog. Biz ladies always has plenty of good advice...well worth a look!  I'll let you read for yourself...its bedtime for me!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Putting on the business hat...

 Inspired by Joanne Mattera's  Art blog and her wonderful weekly Marketing Mondays post  I want to share a couple of things here on a similar theme. 

FIRST ITEM:  regards Abaf, an organisation in Australia which promotes private sector support for the arts through 3 programs- Partnering, Volunteering, Giving. I attended an excellent workshop for visual artists on Building a Website presented by Jeremy Smart last week here in Brisbane and through that experience became more aware of the significant range of roles, programs and workshops on offer with Abaf. Whilst being in the city centres can mean greater access to such workshops it must be said that artists nationally would do well to visit the website and learn more of what it is possible to access through Abaf....and not just in the capital cities. Janice Kuczkowski, the welcoming Qld coordinator of Abaf was available for discussion at the workshop I attended, answering inquiries and following through later. What a wonderful opportunity this day was!
SECOND ITEM: Carolyn Cardinet, a Melbourne based artist friend who shares information frequently and generously (thanks CC! ) sent me this link to in regard to  their OPEN CALL for Artist's blogs. is a joint initiative of Abaf and NAVA ( National Association of the Visual Arts). offers business information and advice for visual art, craft and design practitioners. Well worth investigating if this is your area...and you are based in Australia. Image below is from their website.

THIRD ITEM:  Something else I have just come across for all interested women (sorry guys) based in BRISBANE to take note of  I heard about Saturday whilst at the Sustainability Day referred to on my recent posts. The lifelong Learning Council of Qld is offering a WOMEN IN BUSINESS Coaching Scheme to around 10 to 12 participants. This has just become available so the 2 hour induction session will be held at a date to be announced in September. It is offered at a very reasonable rate due to a funding grant that lowers the cost to participants.
 I have received a detailed PDF by email after talking with the very helpful coordinator Helen Schwencke late this afternoon and it is definitely worth a phone call to Helen on 07 3844 8400 to find out more. You can also email me for the pdf. This is not an Arts related event. It targets women who are deriving income from a new enterprise or managing a portfolio career (ie a swag of different income activities) and of course this latter option is often the case for artists!

the colour pink

Pink is a colour I'm not so drawn to on its own...however I love its capacity to shock or marry stunningly well with the most unusual combinations...say like brown and pink, or olive green with certain pinks. Here I found 2 images  I've recently taken that are a kind of tribute to the colour pink. 7 yr old Tom last week in art class bounded from the back verandah where we were working down the the back garden and came back with these botanical specimen which he proceeded to lay out on the page with great care (note the petal that looks like a shell due to the wavey lines imprinted on seemed to be trodden on- hence the imprint). Textas were then employed and at the end Tom looked apologetically at me and said "sorry Sophie...I did my drawing too small! "
I, however, was just delighted...having witnessed this entire whimsical process...all his own...from the thought of drawing something from the garden through to his reflections on the work!.  We discussed why it was actually so fascinating and he proudly took home the page, open, with flowers in situ! 

This plate of cupcakes was made by Gaia, daughter of friends of mine,  for her sister's birthday in the park...I liked the way the colours worked...several pinks in a curious colour arrangement! It really caught my eye...edible art indeed!

Saturday's Sustainability Day

The reasons for my participation in the Sustainability Day event were layered. Primary is that of participating in community and getting to know people where I live. The studio is a place of quiet which I relish, but interactions are crucial for this artist to feel part of the larger picture. The whole Eco -future scenario is one I feel too important to leave to others...nor do I feel it is viable to carry on as an artist without looking at the various ways our work can be in tune with current concerns. Its been no sudden leap for me to address the future of seeds as I have long been drawn to seedpods and other botanical
forms in my studio work, collecting things on walks over the years and almost absorbing at times the forms without reflection on where they were starting from. Travels in Southern Europe 2 decades ago, particularly a 4 months stay in Greece, sensitised me to things about food cultures I had not fully appreciated before... even though my childhood was connected with agricultural realities due to growing up in a rural area of eastern Australia and having relatives involved in farming. In the summer of 1987 those 4 months in the Pelopponese and various Islands (my longest spell on the quiet Island of Ikaria) introduced me to a kind of tightly woven relationship between land and sea and the table that I'd had no previous experience of at that time. Non indigeneous Australians have imported their food cultures along with their migrants since first settlement in 1788. Animals and crops were brought from the old world to the new world...some experimentation occured with what was here already, no doubt starvation fueled some of that.The critically problematic relationship between indigenous peoples and new-comers resulted in valuable lessons about what was here not being learned, except in rare cases where respect was communicated. Australia's cuisine was therefore a boiled down/added to version of the anglo-celtic diet for year after year...until the presence of peoples from the Mediterranean..and other origins began to capture our taste-buds and lure us into new culinary thinking. 4 months in Greece made me question so much of what till then had occupied my thinking re food and its place in our everyday lives. Probably the most influential book I read after my time in the Aegean that furthered this thinking was Patience Gray's  HONEY FROM A WEED: Fasting and Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, the Cyclades and Apulia ...not so much because it was a text book for the kitchen...but rather because it hit a deep core of truth in me. I quote from her book:

honeycv picture"good cooking is the result of a balance struck between frugality and liberality... it is born out in comunities where the supply of food is conditioned by the seasons. Once we lose touch with the spendthrift aspect of nature's provisions epitomised in the raising of a crop, we are in danger of losing touch with life itself. When Providence supplies the means, the preparation and sharing of food takes on a sacred aspect...".
An extraodinary book that does not romanticise the food cultures that evolved in these regions...rather it spells out the hard work, the lacks suffered, the fact of illiteracy...and out of these truths of living in sync with the land the poetry arises through the fact of seeing deeply the rhythms of the life in these places.This book gave me a sense of wonder and simultaneously a strong sense of unease that has left me with so many questions about contemporary life and where food comes in to it and the way we produce what we participate in.

getting set up...making sure things are ready!

The brochure I produced for the day contained a statement about what's been occurring in the realm of seeds and future directions and planning...with weblinks to key organisations addressing these concerns. Interesting conversations were had and many took the brochure to read further. Producing small works and things for an event like this is an interesting discipline from time to time...I love the way it brings new energy into my studio and things get worked out in small exercises that feed into the larger more intense work I do later. The opportunity to meet people in this context can also lead to a more relaxed but nevertheless enlivening engagement than one might find possible in the gallery context and one's contact list grows in a pleasant, organic way.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

for those in the Brisbane region...

This coming weekend in Brisbane a brilliantly organised Environmental Expo is bringing together a fascinating diversity of Speakers, Stall-holders, Eco-future initiatives, organisations and individuals all presenting their take on participating in a brighter future. Quite a number of artists and creatives have been asked to participate and the networking between people began weeks ago. This forward thinking, inclusive and dynamic organisational process has had participants wanting to sign on and bringing so much enthusiasm to their planning.Its been a wonderful model for creating and  enhancing community  life.

My participation is listed under S for Sophie below. Earlier posts have referred to this current project of mine  that ties together strong concern for  Seed saving, and awareness and preservation of our world's precious heritage of seeds.... increasingly at threat due to a number of key critical factors, very largely, lack of education. The Manifesto of the Future of Seeds  came through Slow food International in 2006 prompted by the convergence of special interest groups and the critical document 3 years earlier: The Manifesto of the Future of Food. Connecting also with The International UK-based initiative through Kew Gardens  -The Millenium Seed Bank project -which the local Botanical Gardens 'Seeds for Life' project was tied in with- all added to my sense of urgency for this important work. I'm hoping to look further soon into the excellent weblinks I have been discovering of late that marry Art with Ecology. For  a link to  my posts on ecology related topics go to the  categories list and click on ecology there. If you can get down to the Hillbrook Expo on Saturday do come along and say hello! I'd love to chat with you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

tormentate i sensi

Quoted text: Alana Kennedy's installation, 'tormentate i sensi', muses on immortality, mythology & epicurean delicacies to 'tantalise the senses' and to richly combine this mystery with painting.
Welcome to Alana Kennedy's Marcilio Ficino Temporary Dining Room...where to dine is not merely to eat...envisaged for the purpose of serving Hesperidean deliciacies...the artist will make the temporary Dining Room available (by special appointment) to all who wish to dine and host a private dinner or soiree.
This Dining Room is named after Marcilio Ficino, a 15th century philosopher who ignited the cultural revolution that elevated dining to an art form, and together with his transalations of classical antiquity, fed and elevated the mind and status of a 'painter' into the realm of an artist.
In 2009, the artist continues her improvisations on art and epicure.  

Please note: this  text was taken from the website of this Gallery as a means of seducing you into reading more here. I happened to buy and read today's  'Epicure' from the Age , Melbourne's  daily Newspaper. At the bottom left of page 8 I read the intriguing advertisement for the artist, a temporary dining room, and art supply outlet, and handmade furniture...all happening in one place! I HAD TO INVESTIGATE!  I quote straight from the web text for the purpose of informing accurately what this is all about.
Sunday afternoons feature entertainment:
an earlier work by Alana Kennedy:
Painted gardens of a Honey Empress  2007,  Oil encausic on linen

I'm thoroughly impressed with the brilliance of this idea. When an artist dedicates so much time to working away on their own why not  gather people for more than that quick drop of wine and a 30 minute chat crowded in front of walls where barely a glimpse can be had of what's hanging there. I like that this idea just does more than promise something can see a wonderful experience awaiting those who participate.

Monday, August 17, 2009

megan whitmarsh : visions of the frontier

'Abbra-Cadabbra Home security' is a collaborative work by Megan Whitmarsh and Caroline Rankin - KK projects New Orleans

I have titled this post Visions of the frontier after a title from the artist Megan Whitmarsh's website of a current project she is working on. Somehow this title struck me as perhaps applicable in reference to this work seen below. LA, her present location is hardly a frontier town...but then it is such an idiosyncratic place and this title does connect with  images that come to mind, perhaps extremely cliched images, of this City of Angels.

'trash mountain'  Megan Whitmarsh  pencil, marker, ink and gouache on paper
Recent work from Megan Whitmarsh, an LA based artist makes a statement here about consumption. For more information and images go to the artist's website here.

Colour Work Station, 2009  print edition seen on news.

Visions of the frontier  (news)

Pairings: Back to the Garden... and Water

Saint Verde Digest is a fascinating blog I stumbled across today with images that generally pair 2 distinctly different subjects for an interesting visual impact. This is the concept of South African based Neville Trickett for his blog and I wanted to share glimpses from several August posts here with you so you can view them in more detail. In this Garden series he has paired plant images from his own garden (impressive) with illustrations by Christian Montenegro from his book The Creation. Have a wander at Saint Verde will be amazed!

From the Water Final Post: Thursday August 6th

and from the earlier post Water Part 4: August 5, 09

wood and wool stool

I just came across this and wanted to post it straight away... I love how inventive people are being with things from the past...bringing woolen crochet  squares together with recycled wooden stools.

image on website for wood & wool stool

This image was posted on 12th July on Curious to see more I clicked on wood & wool stool which took me to a website for these colourful stools produced by Ingrid Jansen. Love the look and the appeal of these colourful and practical seats... perhaps not quite perfect for our warm climate here.However I can just see them in a cosy cafe...and I'd be very happy to have one of these for my home!!

6 stools for exota amsterdam by wood & wool stool
handmade by wood & wool stool from Flickr

krukjes maike by wood & wool stool.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mia Pearlman

Here are images from artist Mia Pearlman who works with a variety of media and forms, notably Cut Paper instillations, Cut Paper Sculpture and Cut paper Collage as shown below. I have included images from her website in this post that are inspiration to Mia's Art Practice and also 4 of her paintings. I was quite awestruck at the first viewing of this artist's work and made contact to express my interest and was granted permission to post images from her website. The website contains a wealth of quite stunning material so I am pleased to finally get to sharing this....thanks to  Mia!

Eddy - a conceptual drawing on many levels. Read more here.



Images found clicking on contact of Mia's website titled Cool Stuff

Mia at work

Cloud Vortices


Nutball clouds

Flame nebula

Alluvial fan

cloudscape paintings,  Mia Pearlman, 2006

From the Breathe Paintings:

All the blues of the world scattered, 2006

That rumour of a cohesive unity, in which all things participate or adhere, 2006
5'  x  7'