Sunday, August 29, 2010

friday, saturday, sunday...

Lovely weather here at the moment...a bit of a chill in the air at times...but ... its mostly sunny and one feels like making the most of it!  Friday I wandered over to this gorgeous part of the place I currently work at some of my time. Click here to see more of this magic!

lily-pond at Mt Coot-tha

What's sad to note its that sometimes one can be so busy, so on the go with tasks and deadlines that it would not matter where you worked... such is the level of preoccupation! Having a settled studio space that's large enough to move around in and separate from my computer and other work is making the world of difference just now. Many things have become more possible. The sun is indeed shining!

the spring-cleaned studio blog

I realised on Saturday that I had neglected my studio blog for far too long and made a point of tidying up over here. A little interior decorating, scrubbing, polishing and a good airing gave this forlorn blog a new lease of life ... so it is ready for visitors. could keep finessing forever... but I discovered my ambitions were greater that my ability to manipulate blogger gadgetry I had to make do at a certain point. As I was stuffing around I kept thinking of different bloggy friends who would have answers to my queries... I know this because of the gadgets that work on your blogs.... things that I really should be able to figure out but haven't!
such is life...

As for Sunday...

reading room over the Brisbane River
I needed to do some serious thinking and work on a project and home was not the spot for that I decided.
The State Library I'd not been to in ages... so off I went in the early afternoon to find a quiet alcove to claim as my own ... where I could settle and write. I looked high and and I searched low but all the many wonderful alcoves in this extraordinary Library were taken by people who love it as much as I. I've posted on this place before... do have a look here... its wonderful!

the most perfect hidden spot

When I eventually found my perfect spot I discovered I'd left the important papers at home. I was almost annoyed with myself until I thought... how nice it was to be here and I'll be back... just not on a Sunday when everyone comes!
Actually I will be back... next week is the Brisbane Writers Festival and this is the building where it is held... well mostly out on the grass in marquees and in tiered dark auditoriums!

Oh...I just realised I skipped telling the part about tennis today . No photos of that... never will be I promise. It must be said I do quite like getting out on the local school court for casual hit of tennis (casual being the operative word) ...especially in this weather without the dreaded humidity.

well it was a lovely few days... do have a great week all of you out there... see you,

Friday, August 27, 2010

a little bit of heaven...

My idea of wonderful would be to discover this place as I strolled along a city street on a hot day...

and to find that after gazing at all the marvellous potted plants that look rather like a vertical garden

you could enter a front door which at first you didn't really notice so busy were your eyes gazing at everything

stepping inside the peace and cool air would hit you instantly and you would be seduced to sit and order a delicious lunch from this cafe/flower shop in downtown Tokyo.

Read about this at INHABITAT ... who wants to come with?

also on a botanical theme...with a slight whimsical bent...

from a post i did last more here!

and a really clever artist working metal into lace... click here!

Cal Lane – 5 Shovels, 2005; photo courtesy of Cal Lane

and if you want to know what on earth this is below ... go to the homage blog here.

Banking on Life (Kew exhibition): Scutellaria orientalis seed

short post tonight... its late...ciao,
S x

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

touring and detouring via the blogosphere...

A recent visit from J at the enlightening Sydney-City blog prompted a wander to the world of daily photo blogs based in various locations around the globe. So...for a little touristic journey I hopped on board and soon ended up in the Greek Islands, Spain .... and then Beirut... where I chose to stop for a bit and look around. Blogger Mary Ann I discovered living in Beirut fed my curiosity about this city I would love to travel to......also Damascus and various other parts of that region.

I will come back to Mary Ann... but first a detour inspired by her blog to one of the well-loved books on my bookshelf  which is called Saha - a chef's journey through Lebanon and Syria by Greg and Lucy Malouf.  This book is the reason for my increasing desire to travel to that region - and I cant resist sharing these recipes below which are to be found on the chef's website - the book itself is such a treasure - evocative photography and tales told through close exchanges with people in all the places they ventured...including family connections.

Grilled flat chicken with broad bean crush
This flattened chicken dish is cooked under the grill and served smeared with the earthy and spicy broad bean crush. The crush is also delicious on toasted bread, served as a canape with drinks before dinner.
2 x 500g free-range chickens or poussins
salt and pepper
Broad bean crush
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g broad beans, podded, blanched and peeled
1 shallot, very finely diced
1/4 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
50ml extra virgin olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
Preheat your grill to its highest temperatuire and line the tray of the grill with foil to make cleaning up easier.
To prepare the chickens, cut them down the back and splay them open. Season them with salt and pepper and place them under the grill, skin side down, making sure they are about 3cm from the heat source. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the skin starts to blister.
While the chickens are grilling, prepare the broad bean crush. First, pound the garlic and salt to a smooth paste. Next add the remaining ingredients to the mortar and pound them one by one or tip everything into a food processor. Either way, what you are aiming for is a sludgy, rough texture.
When the chickens are cooked, smear on the broad bean crush and cook for a few more minutes. Serve with Arabic bread, lemon wedges and a soft leaf salad.
Serves 4

Loved this one too:

Dukkah eggs
3 tablespoons Malouf’s Classic Egyptian Dukkah spice mix
4 eggs
Plain flour for dusting
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Soft boil the eggs for 3 minutes. Cool down under running water and peel carefully. Dust them in plain flour and then deep fry, or shallow-fry the eggs in vegetable oil for one minute, or until golden brown. Remove from the oil and immediately roll them in Dukkah. Serve on buttered toast with sea salt.

And Labneh (pictured below) is something I've enjoyed making also after reading this book... Click here and take a look - this link is a serious treat!!


The chef's website linked to a story written about the influence on Melbourne's lively food culture from the Middle East -  and is seems Morrocco across to Persian cuisine in Iran. here at The National - Malouf is quoted as suggesting:

 Melbourne has embraced Middle Eastern food more than any other city globally, outside the Middle East and north Africa. “Melburnians like exotic things and they like to travel and they are not afraid to experiment at home or go out and try new flavours and dishes. We have a strong Middle Eastern community here and that’s evident in a lot of the restaurants,” he says.
In 2007, a restaurant reviewer for the city’s The Age newspaper noted that “for a time, it seemed just about every new restaurant in Melbourne had some kind of culinary umbilical to chef Greg Malouf”

I spent a month in Melbourne early last year and was surprised to see this very noticeable change from when living in Melbourne. Many years before when resident there I was lucky to have a house guest from interstate who was Lebanese and  a very good cook. So good in fact that he was welcomed back by the household when he needed a home away from home. The  Arabic parts of the city were soon demystified and my cooking repertoire was never the same. I still cook dishes Samir showed us and remember the stories about hospitality and cuisine.

Well ...  I did get way off track... my original intention was to tell you why I liked visiting Mary Ann's blog Beirut Pursuit

Reading her post on 17.6.10 called Plan prompted a flash back. Her post describes how as a young person floor plans had fascinated her... and why. This took me back to my own craze for drawing house plans when I was 13 & 14... dreaming of studying architecture, imagining living spaces ... however that emerged. Here Mary Ann photographs floor plans for residential developments in a city where new constructions abound.

The curios thing is this revealed quite a lot about the lifestyles of the well-to-do in this city and led to a very lively discussion in the comments which revealed so much more than a typical travelogue and the usual photographs of a city under focus. Click above on 'post on 17.6.10' to read more.

Images above and below Mary Ann describes as so evocative of the city - telling as they do of times past....and present.

PS I was delighted to hear from Mary Ann who I emailed about her blog.... revisiting a day after posting this I am very pleased to have included her story and images and you may wish to pop over and see what is happening there too! It was for me almost like wandering the streets with her discovering interesting details in the everyday! Thank you Mary Ann!!

Dont know whether the funds will materialise to travel there in person... but going via the blogosphere is a treat never-the-less!!!
As for those house plans/designs ... recent geometric paintings seem to refer to those I found myself thinking.... Maybe yearning for a home to call my own.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

more words...

The previous post featured some curious words ...this one will present more words...this time words arranged into sentences that people have put together and others have thought worthy of noting down.
These words made into memorable sentences are called "quotes".

Through visiting But does it float  I clicked on the names of the curators - Folkert and Atley - on the top right hand side of the blog. There I found myself at, amongst a number of amazing other things,  the Repository of quotes - you might like to go have a peek...

here are Folkert and Atley - go look if you are curious.

So ... to Repository of quotes:

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. (Nietzsche)
To forgive is to give up all hope for a better past. (Buddhist saying)

The most interesting trend in the development of the Internet is not how it is changing people's ways of thinking but how it is adapting to the way that people think. (Steven Pinker)

I want to stay as close on the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center. Big, undreamed-of things — the people on the edge see them first. (Kurt Vonnegut)

The source of the new is the random. (Gregory Bateson)

The kind of conversation I like is one in which you are prepared to emerge a slightly different person. (Theodore Zeldin)

Separated from the familiar, confronted with the unfamiliar, and reflexed only by the brain's mechanical feedback, unthinking humans — not realizing that there are no straight lines, only wavy ones, and not realizing that waves can only be propagated by positive-negative oscillating — find their straight linear strivings forever frustrated by the wave system realities of Universe. (Buckminster Fuller)

Janine M. Benyus' 9 basic principles of biomimicry 

1. Nature runs on sunlight 
2. Nature uses only the energy it needs 
3. Nature fits form to function 
4. Nature recycles everything 
5. Nature rewards cooperation 
6. Nature banks on diversity 
7. Nature demands local expertise 
8. Nature curbs excesses from within 
9. Nature taps the power of limits 

through three cheese trees three free fleas flew. while these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew. freezy breeze made these three trees freeze. freezy trees made these trees' cheese freeze. that's what made these three free fleas sneeze. (Dr Seuss) 

Eventually, everything connects. (Charles Eames) 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

been twuncing lately anyone?

I could not resist posting this..... if you're into words take a peek!

Noughtyisms: the best   w o r d s  of the decade

Here's a selection of my favourite neologisms of the last 10 years. Please add your own Go to article here:
Posted by  Adam Jacot de BoinodTuesday 15 December 2009 12.23 GMT
As a collector of words, here's my list of the best the decade had to offer, taken from my book, The Wonder of Whiffling. These words and expressions were all coined in particular parts of the world in specific years: they're principally slang and jargon; catching on, but still waiting to be formalised into our dictionaries.
  1. The Wonder of Whiffling: (and Other Extraordinary Words in the English Language)
  2. by Adam Jacot de Boinod
  3. Buy it from the Guardian bookshop
witches' knickers (Ireland) shopping bags caught in trees, flapping in the wind 
get corrugated ankles (UK campus) to get drunk
glomp (US campus) to jump and hug someone from behind 
drink-link (UK campus) a cash dispenser
goat heaven (Caribbean) a state of unfettered freedom, enjoyment, indulgence evoking both bliss and excess
cuddle puddle (New York) a heap of exhausted ravers 
trout pout (UK) the effects of collagen injections that produce prominent, comically oversized lips resembling those of a dead fish 
urbeach (US) an urban beach (a trend that began with the Paris Plage 2002)
barbecue stopper (Australia) an issue of major public importance, which will excite the interest of voters
smirting (New York) flirting between people who are smoking cigarettes outside a no-smoking building.
meh (US, from "The Simpsons") boring, apathetic or unimpressive 
pumping party (Miami) illegal gatherings where plastic surgeons give back-street injections of silicone, botox etc
croggie (UK schools) a ride of the crossbar or handlebars of another rider's bicycle 
flairing (Sydney) the action of bartenders balancing, catching, flipping, spinning or throwing (bottles, glasses, napkins, straws) with finesse and style
glass ball environment (US intelligence) of the weather in Iraq being often conducive to collecting images from above 
sandwich generation (Canada) those caring for young children and elderly parents at the same time (usually "baby boomers" in their 40s or 50s)
huburb (US) its own little city within another city
zhing-zhong (Zimbabwe) merchandise made in Asia; cheaply made, inexpensive or substandard goods
wardrobing (US) buying an item and then returning it after wearing it
spange (street talk) for "Spare change?" 
pudding ring (Florida) facial hair made up of a moustache and a goatee
J.Lo (Wall Street) the rounding bottom in a stock's price chart
cougar (Canada) an older woman on the prowl, preferably for a younger man 
elevens the creases between one's eyebrows from squinting or frowning
California licence plate (US) a tattoo on the lower back 
milkshaking (Kentucky) bicarbonate loading which slows fatigue in a horse 
Picasso porn (US) the scrambled signal of a pornographic cable channel as seen by a nonsubscriber
Faye (UK) a bright light placed at eye level, in front of the performer, which helps to hide wrinkles (in honour of Faye Dunaway, who is said to always insist on one) 
fogging (UK) children showing minimal reaction to or agreeing with the taunts of a bully 
slippage (US) the percentage of people who get a cheque and forget to cash it 
set-jetter (UK) someone who goes on a holiday to a particular place simply because he's read about it or seen it in a film or on television 
swoop and squat (Washington) to drive and pull in front of another vehicle and slam on the brakes, deliberately causing an accident to collect the insurance money 
helicopter mom (US) a mother who micro-manages her children's lives and is perceived to be hovering over every stage of their development
ghost ridin (US) jumping out of a moving vehicle – usually stolen – and letting it smash into another car, home or business 
roider (US) someone who injects illegal steroids to enhance his body 
open the kimono (US) to expose or reveal secrets or proprietary information
nom de womb (US) a name used by an expectant parent to refer to their unborn child
sequencing (US) delaying your career until your children are in school 
goose father a father who lives alone having sent his spouse and children to a foreign country to learn English or do some other form of advanced study 
twixters (US) fully-grown men and women who still live with their parents 
dog-whistle politics (Australia) to present your message so that only your supporters hear it properly
doughnuting (UK) a carefully created seating plan which places an ideal group of MPs (women, photogenic, ethnic minority etc) around a leader for the ideal television shot
ant hill family (UK) the trend whereby children move back in with their parents so that all work together towards group financial goals
New York rain (Hong Kong) water that drips annoyingly from air-conditioners onto passers-by 
chair plug (2006) someone who sits in a meeting but contributes nothing
banana fold (North Carolina) fat below the buttocks 
chubb (North Carolina) fat around the kneecaps
hail damage (Minnesota) cellulite (from its pitted appearance being similar to the effects of hail)
throw a series of notes (Illinois) to perform a back handspring with no hands
black spider memo (UK) notes, mostly hand-written, in which Prince Charles enthusiastically details his beliefs on particular political topics
rubber arms (California) surfers who turn to catch a wave, making all the paddling movements, but never really go anywhere
push present (US) an expensive gift given to a woman by her husband in appreciation for having recently given birth
Harry Potter a poker hand containing a Jack and a King (after JK Rowling)
Anna Kournikova when an Ace and King are held (allegedly so called because it looks a good hand but in fact rarely wins anything)
flashpackers (Australia) intrepid, but comfortably-off travellers 
glamping (UK) glamorous camping (prompted in part by celebrity-studded festivals like Glastonbury)

menoporsche (UK) the phenomenon of middle-aged men attempting to recapture their lost youth by buying an expensive sports car
gate fever (UK) terror at the prospect of release from prison
hippo's tooth (US) a cement bollard
fox hole (UK) the area beneath desk where telephone calls can take place peacefully 
puddle (US) a heap of clothing an actor steps into and is quickly zipped inside during one of those split-second costume changes that dazzle audiences
goldfishing (UK) one politician talking inaudibly in an interview (you can see his lips move but only hear the reporter's words)
twuncing (UK) when walkers drive two cars to the end point of their walk, and then ride together in one car to the starting point; after the walk they drive together to the starting point to collect the other vehicle 
shock and hee-haw (US) explosive devices under satchels on donkeys 
ham (UK) legitimate email messages (as opposed to "spam")
mattressing (UK) the term used by other traders and bank managers to hide their results 
flusher (US) a volunteer who rounds up non-voters on Election Day
generica (US) features of the American landscape (strip malls, motel chains, prefab housing) that are exactly the same no matter where one is
catch a falling knife to buy a stock as its price is going down, in hopes that it will go back up, only to have it continue to fall

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

geometrical |ˈdʒiəˈmɛtrəkəl| adjective

Oxyrhynchus papyrus showing fragments of Euclid's Elements

Geometry (Ancient Greekγεωμετρίαgeo- "earth", -metri "measurement") "Earth-measuring" is a part of mathematics concerned with questions of size, shape, relative position of figures, and the properties of space.Geometry is one of the oldest sciences. Initially a body of practical knowledge concerning lengthsareas, and volumes, in the 3rd century BC geometry was put into an axiomatic form by Euclid, whose treatment—Euclidean geometryset a standard for many centuries to follow.  (wiki)

The previous post included a diversion of a geometric nature.... Tonight I had an excellent time catching up with a friend from Melbourne whom I met 10 years ago when we had both signed on to study painting at Victoria University. One of those weighty but exceptionally rewarding conversations evolved and a detour to my new studio led to further thoughts.
At home later I found these images taken at Victoria University's City Campus Studios where I was fortunate to do a month long residency in January last year. I blogged about this around May last year but in light of last week's painting these images brought back to mind the theme I was pondering in the previous post.

Moving into an empty studio space, aquiring unutilised furniture (student summer holidays) and being able to move around internal walls made this a very flexible studio to spend the month in. The fact it was on the 17th floor added to the charm.

Above: image looking across city with reflection of inside the studio on glass.

Geometry in every direction. I had flown down to Melbourne from Brisbane (something like 2,000 kms)
and gone from summer in the sub-tropics to a wintery summer in a southern city. I left behind the verdant growth of green everwhere and found drought-stricken Melbourne and the grid-like city instead.

For the first week views form the windows were both startling and entrancing. Gradually my drawings got into the city rhythms. Despite walks to the Botanic Gardens and other such places the city's geometry swallowed me up.

Long hours day and night kept me in the studio. Outside temperatures went from 14 C  one week to 45 degrees the next. That's Melbourne. Still I stayed in and painted. One month is not that long when all is said and done.

Working on paper and canvas unstretched made sense when travel was by foot, tram ... and plane to get back home. Finally after 18 months of being rolled up and put away I unrolled this 3' x 4' work (below) on canvas the other day... my new studio is big enough to get things out, spread things out and take time to ponder.

There's others as well but this gives an idea of this lingering theme.... Off to Melbourne soonish for an Alumni reunion and show. More connections and conversations in a city I miss more than I like to think! 

Prompted by Maggie's comment I found a post from November last year titled 'an affinity for green' featuring ruminations on the oscillation between geometry and organic forms. This image below contained both forms....something which has been on my mind again this last couple of weeks.

Untitled, 35 x 45 cm, acrylic on canvas. 2003-4

NB: click on university label to go to previous Uni post!