Thursday, December 31, 2009

Challenging your perceptions

If you want to see a captivating show that leaves you feeling the need for a cup of tea, a bex and a good lie down, then go to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. The work of Olafur Eliasson (on until 11 April) is incomparable ... take your kids ... and take gran/grandpa as well. Its that sort of show.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Patonga is one of those places that is lovely, rain or shine. The sand banks disappear and re-appear with the tide and you can sit around ...
...painting the sulphur-crested cockatoos
that gather to smooch on the balcony rail.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa smiles this week

Merry Christmas everyone and I hope we all have a healthy, happy and hopeful New Year.

My wish for 2010 is that our politicians become leaders and rethink their Copenhagen responses and that we all have the courage to prod them into it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Can we survive Copenhagen?

Shame on the Chinese!
Shame on the wealthy West!
Shame on the Danish!
Shame on the UN!

It was a shock to to be confronted so dramatically with cynicism, secrecy, deceit and narrow self interest when pleading for the lives of our grandchildren.

Our systems have failed us and if we want to survive we are going to have to take action ourselves, each of us. We must pressure our politicians to act and to act alone if they have to, instead of trying to out-stare 'opponents' while the house burns. We must support those who are attempting to show the way and not be distracted by the noise.

Copenhagen showed us that people want action, more than 13 million signed the Avaaz petition. Copenhagen is a call to action.

There is hope. The following comment about Copenhagen was posted on the Facebook site a few hours ago:

"And yet there was a strangely hopeful gathering outside the Bella Center in the freezing cold after midnight. Mostly young people, chanting slogans--especially 3-5-0--long into the night. They were upset, but they were also optimistic--because they know that the one undeniable thing about this conference is that it reflected the growing power of a people's movement around the world. You were heard. We're not strong enough yet to dominate the talks--that's still the fossil fuel industry. But we're strong enough to make it harder for the great powers simply to impose their will behind the scenes. This time the power grab was out in the open. People have learned a lot about both climate science and international relations in the last few weeks--it will pay off in the months ahead."

Saturday, December 19, 2009


It looks as if the rocks these pelicans were sitting on when I drew them will be well and truly under water in a few years. Not only the rocks, but half the shoreline as well. Have those politicians ever looked at a map of how the world will look if the sea rises with increased CO2? The pelicans could have done a better job in Copenhagen than our selected representatives did.


Sulphur crested Cockatoos are playful creatures and do all manner of tricks to catch your attention. This group was sitting on a powerline on the NSW Central Coast, waiting to be fed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hawkesbury River

New South Wales has some hidden gems and one of them is the southern part of the NSW Central Coast. It is only and hour north of Sydney by train and the journey is a very pretty one. This is the view from the train along the Hawkesbury River.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sydney Opera House from Customhouse Quay

When I am in Sydney I am always drawn to the opera house. Drawn to draw the opera house.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I am back in Sydney house sitting. Bubby has gone to Scotland with her parents but before she went I drew her. She sits on the desk and watches me.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Dunedin wins for perfect temperatures. I have three temperature gauges on my computer that tell me that Sydney is 31C, Dunedin is 20C (the 10C difference is very typical) and Hamburg is 6C (well, it is 5:30am there). Dunedin wins hands down.
Few days later, Dec 12th 3:30 pm (Syd time): Sydney 25, Dunedin 14, Hamburg 4 ... Ummm.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dunedin Greetings

I have made this watercolour of Dunedin into a greeting card. See here.

What did they do to Dunedin?

In my 9 month absence Dunedin has changed. There are so many empty shops for one thing and the council has installed costly parking meters in the main shopping precinct so you can no longer stop for a leisurely coffee or spot of shopping. I imagine these are linked issues. I asked a waitress at my favorite coffee shop if they have noticed a change and she said it was huge, the shop is on the market and she is moving to Melbourne.

The reason for the meters? The new and expensive Rugby Stadium that is being built to replace the irreplaceable House of Pain.

The citizens, particularly the senior rate-payers, have been very vocal in their opposition to funding the rugby stadium through rates. I had checked the Otago Daily Times for news about the stadium while I was away but there has been very little online so I thought perhaps people had stopped complaining. During my visit last week I realised that opponents are just as vocal as ever but the ODT has edited out their voices from its online pages.

Opponents had warned they would withhold that part of their rates that was going to pay for the stadium. Last week the council was threatening to send debt collectors after these folk. However did charming Dunedin get a council such as this, one that bullies its citizens into acquiescence?

The Stadium is being built near the university right on the shores of Otago Harbour in an area that would have been a wonderful spot for a suitable shoreline tourist development; the wonderful tree lined Anzac Avenue will be closed to traffic; a uni student told me in 2007 that he and his mates prefer to watch rugby on telly anyway; the local population is divided and aggrieved.

I am very sad that the city could not resolve the issues without dividing the population and alienating the citizens from the central hub of the town. One of my options had been to move back to Dunedin for good ... I love it there despite the cold - a beautiful and unspoilt part of the world where you can hear good music and drink great coffee. However, I became so disenchanted while I was there last week that I have now all but deleted Dunedin from my list of options. It makes you weep.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I seem to be able to think best when I am in cafés and I understand authors who choose a café as their writing studio.

If I have the luxury of being in a café in the morning, I organise my day, or my week, then look around either for a newspaper to read to someone to paint.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Making sense of the world

You can almost hear
the neurons
and sorting
when you
watch a baby.
Watch a baby
watching you.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Onesie

Bubby has invaded my world and I made a 'blue duck' Onesie today ... well, a virtual blue duck onesie actually. For the real thing (the real virtual blue duck onesie) ... click here.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Familiar haunts

Is a lifetime spent in cafes a wasted life do you think?
Cinque Cafe in King Street, Sydney - Newtown ..

and C Cafe just down the road.

I hear that another of my favorite cafes, Modaks in Dunedin is for sale. Will they continue making the best coffee on the planet I wonder, or will the world title be up for grabs?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Little hands

Little hands ...
help me eat my breakfast.

Little eyes, watch my every move.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Back in Sydney

Sydney. Yes, it is warmer here than in Hamburg, but the real difference is the light. In Hamburg the sun is low in the sky already, even though there are two months until the shortest day. In Sydney the sky is wide and blue and the light intense.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Singapore airport

Where oh where are the orchids gone? Singapore airport was synonymous with orchids for me ... but not any more. Probably they are still there, but not in the new terminal. Instead there is a room full of butterflies...

a 'relaxing Koi pond'...
and quite a few leg and foot massage machines. Two nine year olds were trying it on their three year old brother and finding that his legs were too short. But they told me it was good ... so I tried it, and they were right.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hamburg: Elbe Frolic

Late October, a sunny Sunday draws people out of their homes to catch the last late autumn sunshine on the banks of the Elbe. Dogs frolic, people meander and the mood is mellow.


Great enormous container ships grind their way along the Elbe ...

and a sailing boat drifts past.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Goodbye bike

I sold my bike on eBay. I was very fond of my bike and was sorry to see it go but on the other hand the girl who picked it up was delighted to have it and I am sure it will be happy in its new family. Odd how inanimate objects can steal your heart.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hamburg Etchings

Finally I have some Hamburg etchings on

The Town Hall and Michel Church, Swans on the Alster in front of the Town Hall,

and springtime in the woods in Rissen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gino's (Gallery and) Eiscafe in Rissen

Gino has served the most 'Italian' coffee in Rissen for as long as I can remember but only recently did I discover that he is also fond of art and has a professional gallery system in his cafe. Last week I hung some of my etchings and paintings at Gino's. The waitress Andrea (pic below), bright faced and twenty years old, tells me she works a 6 day week and is 'always at the cafe'. But it feels like a family and she seems to enjoy it. Gino is friendly and supportive and has a loyal clientele who drop in at all hours. There are now three artists with their work on Gino's walls so he could really change the name of the cafe to Gino's Gallery Cafe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn = Herbst

Autumn, autumn (Herbst, Herbst) and out come the umbrellas. Leaves are starting to turn,
and bright berries are everywhere.
Most leaves are still green in Hamburg but the days are noticeably shorter (2 minutes shorter each day) and it wont be long until everything is yellow ... then bare.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cafes in Berlin

It seems to me that cafes say a lot about a city. Here are some in Berlin:

Under the railway at Hackischer Markt.

On the river almost opposite Parliament House.

Restaurant in Oranienstrasse.

Gendarmenmarkt Cafe.

In the arty Auguststrasse.

and in the unrenovated part of East Berlin. At this cafe your sausage, potatoes and sauerkraut costs Euro 4.95. Just along the street in the touristy Nicholaikirche area the same sausage costs you Euro 16.95. It pays to get lost in the East sometimes.