Monday, December 05, 2022

Painting on board

I have my easel out again after a winter hiatus. This board with sketch of cellist has been waiting patiently since autumn. 

I've only tried painting on board instead of canvas once and it resulted in many over paintings. I'm not sure if it was the beach scene or the board that was the problem, but I will find out with my cellist. 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Spring abundance

My garden gets ever more colourful as Spring progresses. It is full of self seeded butterfly flowers and poppies and the cuttings of all the other plants have grown as well so there is a spring abundance. I planted some kale in the middle of all this but I had to harvest it early as it was suddenly full of caterpillars. There was probably not enough air circulation amongst the masses of flowering plamts. 

Saturday, October 29, 2022

COVID ups and downs

My blog has had few posts since Covid  made travel difficult but I just read my post from November last year and realised that I should be post a bit more often, if just to help remember our  progress through this pandemic. Also, Musk has just bought twitter, so who knows what happens to that site if he fires as many people as he has threatened to do. We may all return to blogging.

Australia is at the end of a Covid wave but as the epidemiologist Prof Crab points out, the baseline prevalence of virus is still high. There is a lot out there so I am not the only one with friends suddenly sick. 

In the meantime people are adapting. I bought an air purifier when a trip to the dentist became unavoidable but the reaction of the dental assistant (not the dentist) was to mock me. I went back for a second appointment this week and there was no hint of mocking, so either they have decided they will lose customers if they mock them or they have become better informed. I imagine it is the former because you have to seek out Covid information if you want to know it's prevalence. 

It is extraordinary how we have adapted to a high and continuing death rate and long Covid is not yet getting the attention it deserves. Australia is not dodging it though so one day we will be forced to pay attention to the increasing numbers of Australians who are now too sick to work. Maybe after the coming NSW and Victorian State elections? 

In the meantime spring has sprung and since I have replaced almost all the small lawn patch with flowers, my garden is even more colourful than last year.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

A visit from the Prince

I have a visitor, a cat called Prince, who was with me while his owner was on holiday for a fortnight and continues to visit while his owner gets rid of a flea infestation. Fleas can last more than a fortnight without a host, and they did. 
Prince is a pretty little animal and very friendly. He is most comfortable when sitting on his human or as near as he can get and is very persistent. Start something on a table (breakfast, painting,sewing) and there he is, wanting to take part. 
I won't be sorry when the flea problem has been dealt with and I can bid a fond farewell to my house guest. 

Friday, October 14, 2022

Sweetpeas, spring 2022

Spring has sprung, though you'd not know it from Sydney temperatures. It is cool and wet, but the sweet peas are happy that there are no hot days to kill them off. These are plants from red and pink seeds I collected last year. I avoid deep maroon flowers as they are barely visible in the garden, but they seem  to predominate in bought seed packets. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Queen's Funeral

I watched the funeral of the Queen on TV yesterday. So much pomp and so many inherited arcane rules but the choreography was wonderful. Not a step out of place in all that ponderous marching. I noticed someone complaining online that there hadn't been a eulogy and that 'it could have been anyone'. I don't think they realised how funny their remark was. 
The chair of the ABC is reported to be a royalist and to have fitted well into the Murdoch newspaper world where she worked for years. I guess the twenty seven (27) ABC reporter in London for the Queen's funeral proves at least the former. I wonder what their brief was though, as the ABC funeral coveral was taken from the BBC.  I was grateful for that, as at least one of the ABC staff has been acting like a swooning teenager in London and I don't think I would have wanted to watch her commentary. The BBC reporter didn't recognise PM Albanese but kept a dignified silence, not like channel 9 reporters mistaking PM Truss for ' Minor royalty'. Oh the pitfalls of live reporting. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Vale Merran Esson

In memory of Merran Esson who died prematurely last week

When I applied at the National Art School in Sydney in 2010 I was asked to bring work to an interview at the painting department. 
I took my work and showed it to two  interviewing staff who looked very bored and who, after listening to what I had to say, said there weren't any places anyway and they had no idea why I'd been invited. I was dumbfounded but then asked if I could apply for the ceramics department instead. Oh if you want, they said and I went back outside to sit once again in the queue on the benches. Eventually I was asked in to talk to the ceramics staff, one of whom was Merran Esson.  

What a difference. These staff were bright faced, enthusiastic and supportive. They knew of the work of the Dunedin ceramic artist Jim Cooper with whom I had studied at the Otago Art school and invited me to join their student intake. 

I'd really only applied as a way to reintegrate into Sydney life after several years away, but I had a ball in the ceramics department, worked like a beaver and took home all sorts of ceramic objects despite primarily seeing myself as a painter. 

The people in the painting department didn't seem to be very happy, so I was pleased I'd been diverted to the ceramics group. Merran was instrumental in making the department a happy place to be. Thank you Merran. Vale. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022


This summer has been cloudy, or rainy or stormy and after so much wet the water has nowhere to go. This morning's photo is similar to any I could have taken over the past four months. 
I feel so sorry for the many who have had their homes destroyed by the floods and who are having to wait such a long time for help from our tardy governments, state and federal. I live on a hill but even here we have had an overflowing stormwater drain that is causing problems. The drain is broken and blocked, probably ever since the NBN was installed. My neighbours tell me the pit was open for months and now the storms are here that is the very place causing problems. 
I've been washing the stones my predecessor put along the wall. They had become slimy and smelly in standing water. I left an empty bucket outside last night with stones in the botzom - it became a sort of rain gauge.