Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Edward E

Meet Edward Elephant. Greta is designing and making toys out of recycled materials. One of her first was Edward E who is made entirely from recycled materials from Reverse Garbage at the Addison Road Community Center.

Monday, March 30, 2009


This is baby Zeinab with her mother and her mother's friend Helen having a coffee in Rockdale. When I showed them the picture they were so delighted. Zeinabs mum has a round and happy face. Helen (with the cap) said 'Oh, I'm glad you didn't draw my big nose". I didn't think her nose was big at all ... and I have looked closely at a lot of noses!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sydney Ceiling

I am back in Sydney. The oldest (over 100 years) part of this Banksia house has ornate ceilings, common among houses of the period. It makes you feel as if you can feel the breeze of a colonial fan whirring in the heat.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Victorian Art Gallery

This is the door to the Victorian Art Gallery. It reminded me of the water screen in the Adelaide production of Das Rheingold in 2004 which was enormous and effective. It replaced the theater curtains just as this one replaces a wall. As I looked through the gallery water curtain I waited for that long E flat major. (Das Rheingold begins with a 136-bar unmodulating prelude based on the chord of E flat major that is meant to represent the eternal unchanging motions of the River Rhine. Source: Wikipedia)

And inside the gallery, a sprinkler isolating valve.

Gallery tea shop which served all sorts of teas including smoked tea, good coffee
and an artistic selection of cakes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009



Tiles in St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne.

Melbourne through the window

Love your trams

This sign seems to me to say a lot about Melbourne. In Sydney, Government signs and warnings are negative and admonishing. This little sign though asks you to love your trams. How much nicer, and probably much more effective too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

House with character


There are a lot of old character houses in Brunswich and this is one of them. Most are wooden, with fancy fireplaces and gardens out the back.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

First impressions of Melbourne

Softer than Sydney, less hectic, fewer sharp elbows, friendlier and more artistically vibrant; weather more variable, grayer, less humid, temperate rather than tropical vegetation, no cockroaches. Folk here seem less defensive. It is just a wee bit more like Dunedin!

Melbourne rain

It is raining and what was dust yesterday is a mud puddle today. This picture is of the reflection of a tree in the decking behind the house.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dry Victoria

I arrived in Melbourne yesterday. Sydney has been having rain and is lush, but it is a different story in Melbourne. The gardens are dry and most lawns are like this one, just dust.

On the way south I read about farmers who have had to leave their land after unremitting drought. Environmentalists have long pointed out that growing water intense crops like cotton is nonsensical in a climate like ours but governments kept selling water rights. The magazine article showed a picture of a family of 5 standing in their dry-as-a-bone irrigation channel that normally irrigated their cotton crop. No water despite the farmer paying $25,000 for x gigalitres. Perhaps the irrigation industry lobby should be sent to talk to the rain Gods?

Coffee in Canberra

In a Kingston Cafe.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Canberra plus

One thing that Canberra has going for it is the new National Portrait Gallery. The building itself is elegant and fits well into the landscape, and the internal structures work very well ... except they need more exit signs so you can find your way out.

There are arguments about whether portraits are really art. I think that the paintings in the Australian National Portrait Gallery are interesting and vibrant and strongly support the argument that portraits can indeed be art.

The National Portrait Gallery is definitely worth a visit.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I've just been to Canberra for 2 days.

The people I met were unfailingly friendly when I asked directions, the trees are lovely and traffic is almost non existent. Despite these obvious advantages I find Canberra an odd place. It feels like an American small town and I suppose that is because it was designed by an American. The streets are far too wide for pedestrians to negotiate and the hanging baskets full of flowers are invisible as they hang in the middle of the main boulevard between rows of Eucalyptus trees that completely obscure them.

Canberra cafes there are full of well fed civil servants having little meetings. They all look so well washed, with shiny foreheads and freshly combed hair. Here and there you see a bright yellow tie with discrete little triangles and I got the feeling this might be the only little bit of individuality allowed in Canberra.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Coffee in Rockdale

I didn't have much room for many summer clothes in my luggage after packing my prints, my painting kit, my lightweight easel and some winter clothes for Hamburg where I am headed in April, so I have been buying T-shirts at the sales in nearby Rockdale.

I am growing to like Rockdale. In the walking street there are a row of coffee shops. None of them is trendy but all of them serve good coffee. I sit and paint the patrons. In the mornings they are mostly elderly men and I feel for all the world as if I am in Serbia, or Armenia or Italy - somewhere where the older folk sit around the town square and solve the world's problems.