Friday, March 30, 2012


The Picasso Exhibition has finished and judging by the number of people there on the day I went, it must have been the most visited exhibition ever held at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Picasso: The Acrobat 1930 (from the AGNSW website)

In addition to exhibition visitors there were many school classes that had come to look at other things. The place was buzzing.
School children lunching opposite the Art Gallery of  NSW.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Opera in the Aboretum

The Aboretum in Pearl Beach is a santuary for over 90 species including threatened species like Koalas, Glossy Black Cockatoo and Barking Owl. It is also, once a year, a sanctuary for opera fans who gather to hear their favorite arias sung in the wild. Last Sunday the fifth Opera in the Aboretum was held...
Opera Fans in the Pearl Beach Arboretum
on a perfect sunny day. People brought picnics and chatted as the sound systems were tested but when the performance began a dead silence fell. The silence was  interrupted only by the Kookaburras who seemed to have a particular relationship to the mezzo soprano vocal range. Twice they joined in to accompany Mezzo Soprano Milijana Nikolic.
Performers at the Pearl Beach Opera in the Aboretum
Chris Bearman conducted the Central Coast Conservatorium String Orchestra

Watercolours of the event are on

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Watercolour class #1 with pears

The first watercolour class was last night and it was good fun. We painted pears on the cheapest and the most expensive paper I could find.
Pears: Williams painted on the cheapest paper (left) and Beurré Bosc painted on the most expensive (right)
Fruit is always a good motive and I took bananas, apples, pears, tomatoes, though we only used the pears. This week I will be eating fruit for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Food Risk Management

It was pointed out to me the other day that we are all one transport catastrophe away from starvation and the best risk management strategy is to plant a vege garden. My couple of plants of silver beet wont sustain me so  today I took all the onions and ginger that had spouted before I could cook them and poked into the ground.
Step by step.
Sprouting red onion and ginger on ceramic music plate.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Twenty years ago I lived next to a Qantas engineer who complained bitterly about sliding maintenance standards; 10 years ago I sat in an MBA class with a Qantas board member who distinguished herself by being 99% ambition and 1% customer-care; one year ago my Frankfurt-Sydney other-airline flight was overbooked and I was offered 300 Euro to move to a Qantas flight. I remembered the maintenance man and the board member and declined.
Qantas plane over suburban Sydney
Why am I not surprised by Qantas's current malaise?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Coffeeshop counselling

At both tables next to mine in the coffee shop today people were talking about relationships, how to manage blended families/access rights/the new partner. It takes a lot of sorting out, this world of relationships in flux. As the words flowed around me I drew the two little figurines on the shelf.
Boy and Girl: figurines on the coffee shop shelf.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Propping up the bar

The Patonga Pub is a wonderful old building set right on the water at Patonga which is just over the hill from where I live. On Saturdays and Sundays people come by the ferry and by car to enjoy the ambient. There are often live music performances on Saturday evenings and the numbers swell.

These pictures are of the locals at the bar. I just put them and others from Patonga up on

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Archibald Entry

The Archibald Portrait competition held at the Art Gallery of NSW always features prominently in the media and is the cause of much discussion (and often controversy) in both art and non-art circles. I took my entry in on Tuesday. There were lots of trucks, vans and cars delivering paintings while I was there. It is always interesting to catch a glimpse of paintings submitted for the three big prizes given at this time of year: Archibald (Portrait), Sulman (Genre) and Wynne (Landscape.
The Soloist
Mine was a painting of Richard Tognetti, painted from sketches I did at the Maribor Music Festival last year.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Leaf curling spiders

Suddenly my garden is full of spiders webs with curled leaves stuck in them. Inside the curled leaves sit the spiders, waiting for prey. I had often seen the leaves but had thought they had been blown there by the wind. Now I read that the spiders pull them up from the ground and use them to shield themselves from predators. They are 'leaf dwelling spiders' Phonognatha graeffei.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Drowning not burning

So much water! It is raining almost everywhere in Australia as a huge cloud band makes its way across the country. The Bureau of Meteorology  radar charts make compulsive viewing as we try to assess the possibility of floods in our area.
Radar loop ... we are under the cloud somewhere there

Local radio stations have become full time arms of Emergency Services. We seem to have learnt a thing or two after the uncoordinated and chaotic response to the last big fires.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


On the other side of the globe my friend is just finishing a course of radiation therapy. I am thinking of her as I go about my day.