Monday, March 29, 2010

tradesman's entrance, communications ramped up and congrats to Jay Dee!

On the weekend I was reading a most enjoyable memoir by Eugenia Jenny Williams titled 'Jenny's Coffee House'. In 1968 she and her family escaped Soviet occupied Czechoslovakia for Vienna and  a year later arrived in Tasmania to settle into a new life. Her fascinating account of this reminded me of many things - like the curious tradition alive in Australia decades ago of visiting friends via the back door of their homes - what perhaps the English might have called 'the trademan's entrance' but in australia was often the preferred point of connection. This European woman described her amazement at her new neighbours coming into her messy laundry at the back of her house to introduce themselves for the first time, past the dirty washing and chaos of jobs 'to do'! Times have changed for many. Doors are locked and bolted, fences have become high walls and communities are often a lot less relaxed that they used to be! One still comes across neighbourliness and people who's idea of community is alive and strong!

The photo below triggered these thoughts... I was leaving the Seed Lab at the Gardens the other day by the back entrance and spotted this wheelbarrow parked idly beside the potting area at the day's end.
I was reminded of the fact hat the most interesting finds are often out the back, through the tradies' entrance so to speak.

Below is the new header for my Homage to the Seed blog. 

OH NO! Thats old hat now! A day later I have gone for the very minimal look of this subdued pale header below: sketches of seeds and pods carried out quickly in the Seed lab whilst cleaning seeds last year. The lab is the most amazing centre of activity... often tiny seeds being carefully, sometimes painstakingly released from their capsules with rather fascinating methods needing to be employed at times. You can hardly see it here... but as a header its quite fitting for the homage image. Whoever is in the lab is usually pointing out something absorbing for the others to see!

I got a little carried away after Blogger emailed new template designs. Weary of the chaotic, crowded look I had been going with a spruce up felt timely. It was a weekend of writing artist statements, brochures, letters, planning events - all kinds of communications - so why not rethink templates at the same time. I also had a few visitors through giving thoughts and impressions of recent studio work... feed back can be SO valuable!
Sunday's event at the Gardens went really well and I'll have photos to post soon. I was joined there by some familiar faces - and new - so it was a most delightful day completed with birthday dinner for a family member at the wonderful Mecca Bah with its middle eastern flavours, warm ambience in an outdoor setting looking onto frangipani trees and a fountain.

22 by Mecca Bah Brisbane.

Here is the Residency artist's statement reworked into a brochure below with contact details. Click to enlarge if you wish to read it properly. I'm starting to get my head around running workshops again soon and the details are getting fine tuned for the exhibition next month at Noosa. Stay tuned and if you think a trip to Noosa the weekend of April 17th  and 18th is on the cards then let me get back to you with more information VERY SOON!

I must not forget to mention the lovely Jay Dee Dearness has opened her fabulous Myrtle St Studio to the public as of last friday night's exciting launch. Congratulations Jay Dee! Its an impressive multi-purpose space, so cleverly designed to be many things for all purposes. Printmakers especially will adore what will be available at this artist-run-facility!
Read more here about Jay Dee and Myrtle Street Studio.  

Article courtesy of Jorja Orreal and images courtesy of paul Guy - City North News
Oh...I spy Sandra Pearce's prints in the backgound!

Friday, March 26, 2010

join me for a painting session at the Gardens this Sunday

Botanic Gardens

Come and get your hands covered in paint at the 40th Anniversary celebrations since the commencement of these wonderful gardens.  Who, what, when etc you ask ....visit my Homage to the Seed blog for the whole story and if you can come and have coffee at the ENVIROCAF with me ...I'd love to see you!!!

There's news coming soon for a Solo exhibition I'm doing and workshops starting after that. Stay tuned to this or the residency blog for more details!

Pages from the 'homage to the seed' journal
above: I have been researching fruits indigenous to Qld and this region - looking closely at the cross-section structures of the capsules and pods over this past month in the studio - all of which has found its way into work for an up coming show.
below: Under the microscope in the Seed Lab. Over the past 2 weeks, under instruction from Jason Halford who runs this lab that is part of the Millennium Seed bank Project, I have been taking notes, getting quick sketches and photographed images of the collected seeds in the process of being cleaned, sorted, counted, weighed, documented and  packaged to send to Kew Gardens. Drawing whilst looking through the microscope and keeping my specs on has been tricky but a fascinating exercise. I even had a go at taking photographs of what could be seen through the microscope... See more of recent work at the studio archives blog and I will be posting on the work of the Seed lab and Jason Halford's involvement in this very soon on the residency blog.

playing with fire and water

above: autumn pudding - parsnip vanilla pudding, butternut squash, autumn berry, kaffir lime gelee, candied pumpkin

Somehow tonight I ended up here at playing with fire and water. If curious take a look... You''ll find the story behind this autumn pudding.

below: egg dandelion onion - april 17 2009


Egg dandelion

turbot  broccolini cauliflower

I was intrigued. On several accounts its not my particular scene. I'm much more interested in a rustic and not too fussed over version of food for the everyday - yes - interested in slow food principles, organics and definitely cooking from scratch! I did find this blog a departure into a fascinating alternative universe with some references to the issue of biodiversity, as in this post on citrus below which got my genuine interest:


This citrus is from a citrus enthusiast who is growing over 300 rare species not for commerce. Read about that when you click above on post on citrus. Such an enterprise as that is indeed a worthwhile one when we are losing our heritage of seeds and plants at an alarming rate.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

For Strange Women

I found this a very curious little post For Strange Women on a very intriguing French blog called Paradis Express that I came across some time ago and remembered to revisit last week. Delphine is a passionate gardener living 35 km north of Paris and her blog contains some real curiosities - botanic/garden themed in general - but covering the unusual, the exotic and the bizarre even! Just click on the highlighted post title and have a peek at this enchanting blog  and post featuring the line of bio-organic beauty products with an Etsy shop link!

underground rediscovered, Sydney

If ever I found myself stuck underground waiting awhile at these train stations in central Sydney years ago I would most certainly be wishing I was elsewhere ...
There nothing like good design in public transport. I think the photographer got creative here though - bringing these places to life with the camera. I wonder where one finds the best public transport systems around  the globe. I dont travel enough to know these days. I always loved the old rattlers - as they were known - or wooden trams of Melbourne when I lived there... the seating arrangement and seriously worn-in look was the stage for frequent drama and conversation.

those stairs, escalators and walkways can be very drab - great angles here.

I loved discovering these images from yellowtrace earlier this month. Do have a look at the entire post and read the background to these photos if you are curious. I was impressed - seems it was a photography class exercise.... a student!!
This series makes me smile - almost feel nostalgic. Great Blog by the way with many eclectic categories but strong on design.
I found yellow trace through the lovely young Sydney based artist Renee Anne here

Saturday, March 20, 2010


 If you are in Brisbane this Saturday come to the Northey Street City Farm where you'll find 'Permaculture in the Heart of Brisbane' and a great festival taking place in the afternoon - the organic market is held there every Sunday. Read an earlier post I wrote on this here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

ways of seeing - a visit to dear ada

Ways of seeing - a visit to dear ada is the title of a post on my Homage to the Seed blog tonight. I found 40 artists on the dear ada blog (there were many more!) working with botanical subject matter and thought it fitting to share this excellent and diverse range of artists and their work to open up the thinking and dialogue on what can happen when botany and art meet.
work by Hugo Guinness

Anna Atkins

when the occasion calls for it - Part 2

The tail end of a cyclone seemed to be the state of things on the Sunshine Coast on the weekend. Grey, squally weather, a churning ocean glimpsed from our apartment, the most extraordinary bands of angry sea colours - greys and muddy browns and lots of foam! Luckily the 50th birthday celebration was taking place  30 minutes in from the coast and yes there was some rain with intense humidity, but we were happily ensconced in this superb marquee decorated beautifully I must add with lanterns from Vietnam (via the lovely Karen at Dragonfly Interiors). The Band was impressive, luring us on to the floor and adding to the wonderful ambience. Lara-Jane, my gorgeous niece joined them for some great numbers. I wrote a post on her here after she recorded an album of her own songs. As an aunt one could be accused of fondness colouring one's view - however this girl indeed has spades!

and now... for the cake!

Recipe for Chocolate Sacher Torte utilised by mother Olivia on friday (she did the baking) in readiness for trip up the coast - a good foundation for my innovations. She also made 50 copy-cat cupcakes we served rather than create a cake big enough for the crowd - a wise move! Saturday afternoon was spent melting chocolate and watching the gale outside. Concern over humidity led me to make a ricotta filling with fruit, nut and chocolate chopped into it. A modest layer of cream on top of that worked well (next day we SO enjoyed this cake!) and then chocolate ganache icing with shavings of roast almond chocolate I'd made plus toffee shards and chocolate shards. OK... it was no candidate for the Martha Cake of the year award - but with the candles matching all the wonderful garden finds it actually felt quite tropical and worked a treat! 

Jana, the birthday girl, going for the last candle. I think she will have wonderful memories - it was one of those times where all went absolutely beautifully,  her friends travelling from far and wide enjoyed the excellent reunion and some of us even stayed up very late singing good old favourites from the 70's. The garden glistened in the rain and the weather  didn't cause a moment's concern - all was so carefully planned by Jana and Roberto and hosts Tristan (their wonderful son) and wife the lovely Renee- truly a night to remember!

Son Tristan and daughter Lara-Jane making a speech - these 2 have always been adored by their Aunt! Sorry bout the less than fab image here!

unprimed canvas

Above: section of painting worked on over january on linen with clear primed surface so as to look unprimed. This raw natural surface colour is my preferred choice at times - allowing the work to feel as though it is emerging out of something quite earthy and basic. Below is a reference to Joan Miro's work from - a series in which he employs unprimed canvas to great effect.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yellena James - paintings found at
yellena james paintings illustration

chris duncan artist drawing
Above and below: Chris Duncan at www.booooooom.comchris duncan artist drawing
Jason Karolak at
jason karolak three artist painting
jason karolak four  painter painting

I had almost finished posting something completely 
different tonight when suddenly it was deleted....
how?...I do not know! So these images were all 
found at which is a curious site worth 
a look if its not known to you!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

paper + acrylics + archival ink + glue + 9 parts ingenuity = Sarah Gee kaleidoscopic abstractions

Weeks ago I wrote to Sarah in Vancouver because something of hers had caught my eye.  Now I think it was Vancouver... funny how location is the one thing that may slip under the radar.  She has been a very industrious person and uploaded new work onto her website which she sent me to look at.
I've been observing cross-sections of fruits and seed pods of late and noting the amazing symmetry to be found in some. I see a connection here even though these are complex, layered and assembled to exploit the hard edge to strong effect. Very contemporary and fresh - Sarah's work engages with its repetition yet variation - something also evident in the world of nature that I'm enjoying exploring up close at the moment! Check her website here -  with interesting links !
Thanks for sharing these Sarah - by the way - liked reading about your process!

UPDATE from the artist 10.3.10 : 
Sarah Gee wrote - Its so interesting that you related my work to the seed pod, because I find all sorts of connections to the natural world -  transparent jelly-fish, microscopic life, even brain scans. I like how Joseph Albers said he hated it when people called his work abstract: "its real, not abstract"