Monday, June 24, 2013

my tropical garden

Gardening in the tropics is challenging! In simple terms there are two season - the wet season, when it's hot and humid  and rains a lot - and the dry season when it's a little cooler and doesn't rain from May to October.

In the front yard I have pineapples which only need watering once a week through the dry and can fend for themselves in the wet! In the backyard I have a little flower patch!

I planted this mainly to bring pollinating insects to the garden after the year I couldn't get my eggplants to set fruit.

My veggie patch is in planter boxes because the soil is so poor and full of the roots of surrounding palm trees. I'm growing lemon grass, perennial coriander, tomatoes, parsley and Thai basil - which has these amazing purple flowers.

 I'm not a great gardener, and don't have a lot of time to spend on it, but I do enjoy the 15 minutes or half an hour a day I spend pottering about, watering and seeing what's thriving and what's not, and how many tomatoes are there? (5 so far!!)

Here's a painting of one of my gardening failures - I've tried growing sunflowers a couple of times but they don't get much bigger than daisies, and nothing like the gorgeous blooms in Van Gogh's paintings! I've listed this little painting over on my etsy shop - I'll be adding something each month now I have a computer that works!!

School holidays have just begun here, hooray! Hope you have a good week!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Friday painting, and a little rave on drawing

Here's a peek at the verandah table on Friday morning with a painting in progress. I have lots of books and sketchbooks open to get my visual juice flowing! (Matisse and Gauguin keeping me company this week) Notice our ginger cat hanging out with me, he showed up in this week's painting too!

The next members show at Tactile Arts has the them of çurrent'. I wanted to do a still life with lamp inspired by Picasso's amazing lino-cut...then I got caught up with the idea of a lava lamp.

A quick charcoal sketch to think about composition.

The painting in progress.

And finished I think! It's very grey!!! and I think the composition is odd with that strong line cutting through the middle dividing what's on the table and the cat under it.

Here's something from my notebook about drawing -
Last night I did a couple of little drawings, but nothing good. Everything doesn't have to be finished and perfect and ready to photograph and put on flickr (!) There can be drawings that are ugly or a dead end, drawings that are feeling a way towards an idea but not necessarily there yet, drawings that tell me I need to do more drawing!! There are drawings that are a careful study of something real and drawings that are an open-ended digging to unearth who knows what! Drawings which are just play. What I know is I need to do more of all of these...

If you're in Darwin don't miss the exhibition Évery Picture Tells A Story' by Sandra Kendall at Tactile Arts. It brings together all her illustration work (for 5 children's books I think) a really beautiful and impressive collection.

I've been pottering in the garden now, it's the cool dry season, hope to show you some photos of that next time.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A recipe for happiness, amongst other things!

Following on from my last post here's a lino print of the same vine that I saw at the Botanical Gardens.

Here's the photo of the vine that set off these pieces.

And a magnificent desert rose that I'm sure will turn up in an art work soon!!

Here's a photo of the verandah table on Friday morning - a few sewing projects. The fish are to make into small hangings - 'charms for good fishing' - for the next craft fair which is coming up fast in mid-July.

I put the magazine in the photo to remind me to write about it!! Dumbo Feather is an Australian magazine, I don't know how widely it's distributed outside Aust/NZ. The format is simple, 5 interviews with people who are doing "something" with their lives!

I first read it about 3 years ago when a workmate had a copy, and first bought it (not long after) when an artist was one of the people interviewed. Of course I'm most interested in the interviews with artists/writers, etc, but it's fascinating to read about people in all fields who are following their passion and through that making a difference in the world. It is in equal parts inspiring and depressing - inspiring to read good news stories instead of what makes the headlines on a daily basis; depressing because I don't have the get up and go to even tidy my house never mind change the world!!

In the latest issue I've learned a little about the tiny developing country of Bhutan (which is between China and India). The radical thinking of this country is to be more concerned about Gross National Happiness than Gross Domestic Product!! I'm fascinated by their guidelines for happiness (which doesn't include access to high speed internet, which I'm sure would be on my kids list of requirements for happiness!!)
            'You have to have a house to live in, no more than 3 people in a room, 3 meals a day and time off. You should work 8 hours, have 8 hours rest and 8 hours for socialising reading or working your way towards good health...You should have enough income to look after yourself. You should meditate once a day, for a short time: it doesn't matter how long...Once a month you should help your neighbour or your community. You should be with nature as often as possible...If you meet all these criteria then you're rated as being sufficiently happy."

I'd also like to send you off to look at a couple of blogs.
I first came across annamariapotamiti on flickr, her watercolours are lovely, it seems she's doing a daily painting challenge, many are of the same room in different lights with different family members wandering through, you can also see them on her blog annamariaart. (by the way I hate the new flickr, where I can't seem to choose how to view photos and get a bit of space around them...)

When I first considered starting a blog one of the things I read was that you need to blog frequently (daily if possible) to keep your readers interested. Well I haven't followed that rule and nor does Julie Whitmore, who writes one of my favourite blogs Julie Whitmore Pottery. She only writes once or twice a month, but her posts are always worth a look, a wonderful peep into her world, what she's working on and what's inspiring her.

I hope you've had a good weekend, we've got a public holiday tomorrow, hooray!!