Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Cailleach progresses.

Just a quick update on the Great Southern Cailleach.  Experimenting with technique at the moment, using colour pencil over acrylic base coat.  Goes on nicely, though I'm not sure how it will look after a coat of spray varnish, but if you don't try it, you'll never know!  Also very busy with Wolf Bride, trying to finalise my narrative 'between-songs' bits.  I've got two months to pull it into shape and learn it REALLY, REALLY well.  I'ver never performed anything like this before, so I'm mostly terrified...but if you don't try.........must be my new mantra!








Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Whatever happened to...

Well, I'm still here...

Just busy, busy.  With some fun things and some not-so-fun things.  I don't know there's much point in writing an enormously long post about what I've been doing for the last 7 months, so I'll pop a few images in, with some info tit-bits.  I WILL, I promise, write some more soon.  I've got projects on the go, but some more aural than visual, so not so easy to 'show-and-tell'.

So a quick round-up!


I painted my kitchen wall red.


I tried to capture a rainbow but it was too big for my camera.  This was the most amazing, complete, perfect rainbow I have EVER seen.


The view from down the road.  Point Hiller off in the distance.  (I do hate that name.  Named a scant 200 years ago by an Englishman who sailed past and didn't stop, after an Englishman who never even set foot in Australia.  I want to know its real name, the one it had for tens of thousands of years before.)


I went on camp with littlest munchkin (who is very NOT little anymore!) and climbed Mt Trio in the Stirling Ranges (another magic place named after some dead, white dude!)


Biggest Munchkin and I got involved in an amazing theatre project called 'Living Testament'.  A community devised piece melding the stories of five women from the Old Testament, and trying to see beyond the patriarchal gloss, with the experiences of women in this town now.  All these photos are by the amazing Hazel Blake.


My munchkin was the only teenager among a bunch of worldly older women.  She more than held her own, and despite a rigorous rehearsal schedule, sailed through less stressed than the rest of us (with school too) and became everyone's favourite!


Rehearsals.


Not only did I get myself involved in the performing side of things, I was also up to my ears in designing/creating the set (an amazing piece of community stitched and embroidered artwork in itself), writing, and writing songs and music. A little over committed perhaps?!  Both munchkins came along and helped contribute to the stitching.


Many hands created this marvel.


My beautiful girl, as Bathsheba.




A little sketch, an idea.  A southern sister for the Cailleach Bheara.  Cailleach Deas perhaps?


Thumbnails for a big painting.


Full size sketch.  If you look closely at the bit under her knee, you might see that it's the same headland that appears off in the distance in the photo of the view down the road.


A notebook filled with ideas for 'The Wolf Bride'.  I have 5 or 6 songs, I have narrative bits written for the in-betweens (more work to do there) and I have a deadline!  I've committed to performing at the Festival of Voice in the first weekend of June.  Just me, guitar, and hopefully by that time of the year, a crackling fire to sit by and listen.  If it all goes well, the plan is to expand...more paintings, more writing, more...well, just more!


The End...for now.






Thursday, June 9, 2016

Music!


Well, THIS happened over the last weekend.  My, this little town can put on a party!  Possibly the thing I love most about this (and after two and a half years living here, the novelty hasn't worn off yet), is that so much is local, homegrown talent.  On the last night, I danced for longer than I can remember dancing, ever, all to local musos, then tottered (and I mean tottered, my knees were NOT happy by then) on to the Festival club to catch the final fling, with local (as in, here in this town), sort of local (as in, here in this state) and national artists of widely differing styles.  Heaven on a stick!  And this year, I was in it, in a trio (called 'Widdershin') with two lovely friends!  A small, nervous start, but we've got plans!  Three years ago, I would never have dreamed it possible.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

First day of winter....

So long, so very long since I last wrote here.  Lots has been going on, but much of it has been of the practical, everyday sort; moving house, getting children settled in to the new school year, trips up to Perth and back again bringing belongings that have been sitting in boxes at my parents' house.  And turning over a new year, my half century.  Gosh, where did the time go?

And it is interesting too, that I find that much of what I'm doing down here in this beautiful little corner of the world, is about being out and involved in the world, not so much being a hermit hiding in my little studio and making pretty things to show and tell.  Being part of a community full of such wonderful people and art and music making, has given me delusions of grandeur I think.  Floating dreams and vague ideas that once had no chance of ever seeing the light of day seem now to be...possible.  For example, this weekend I am performing in a trio at our local annual Denmark Festival of Voice.  An event that I used to come all the way down from Perth to SEE, and day dream about being up there singing on stage like all those REAL singers and REAL musicians.  And this year, I'm IN it, with two lovely, lovely friends.  And it's not because I've suddenly become an amazing, professional musician, because I haven't...but rather because this sort of thing is happening all around me in this little town, and it's easy here to just put up your hand and say, hey, I could give that a go.  Something I would never have done up in the big smoke.  So how we'll do, I don't know, all three of us are a bit nervous, but we're having a go.  Which is the most important bit, isn't it?

But on to the moving house.  We are in our 'shed', though truly, it is a house really, with a shed attached!  Cosy and comfy and, once I have a kitchen anyway, will be a lovely home.  We have lots to do, but we love it already.

View OF front

View FROM front.

Panorama of inside downstairs (this makes it look huge, it isn't really!)

Panorama of inside upstairs before painting the floor and end wall

Front door

Munchkin helping paint the floor upstairs

Upstairs BEFORE munchkins put all their stuff in

Upstairs AFTER.  

View from front door.  Note missing kitchen sink/cupboards (but at least I have a stove).

There's the back wall.  The 'shed' half is through the door.


Bit messy...still moving in.

Back round to front door again.

The 'office'.






Monday, January 4, 2016

A walk...and first work of the new year.

While much of the rest of the country has been sweltering, fighting terrible fires, and surviving drought, it's been cooler here, and even a little wet.  Though here too, on the wet south coast among the dripping Karri forests, the climate is changing, becoming hotter, dryer.  The long time locals tell us that once, you could be sure of rain in summer, and that rain water tanks would overflow every winter.  Not so now.

But on a cool morning in the last days of the year, I went for an early ramble along the firebreak that surrounds this old estate.  It's a lovely walk, and I regret that I haven't walked here more often, as we get closer to moving into our shed/house.  We'll not be far away, just over the hill and up the road, but too far to walk along here.  There is a beautiful tree at the bottom corner, a Karri with a hollowed heart and I can imagine a dryad, or perhaps Merlin, curled into its base.  It's got quite a lean on it, so will come down eventually in a storm, across the firebreak, and will need to be chainsawed into chunks and taken away to leave the way clear for the firetrucks.  But for now, it stands, and sometimes I want to curl myself into its hollow and sleep, dreaming of deep roots and branches reaching higher than it seems possible.

Looking down the firebreak.

And back up.

At the bottom, the path to the left, which heads off onto private property...though I've wandered up a little way in the past.

The Karri with the hollowed heart.



One day she will come down, but not today.

The path to the right, the one I follow.



The farm next door.  A new veggie garden planted.  They sell their produce at a stall just up the road. An honesty system.  Beautiful veg, just down the road, what more do you need?

I once saw a fox running across this field, as big as a dog.  I thought it was Flynn.


I love this view, the tree ahead framed in the centre.  Like a gateway leading somewhere altogether different.


These giant sentinels reach up and up and over.  These ones are quite young.  A mature Karri can reach 90 metres.

Then suddenly there is a small pine plantation.  A reminder of another land, another entire hemisphere.


The path leads on, neighbour's property on one side, pine forest on the other.

Looking back.

Then I came upon this.  A reminder that, as stunningly beautiful as they are, it's not a good idea to build a house right underneath a Karri.  They do just suddenly drop branches...big branches...without warning.





Jewelled treasures.

Wet Karri bark.  There is no colour quite like it.  I keep bringing bits home because I'm utterly beguiled by the colour, but they fade as they dry.

Seed pod.

After rain, the leaves shine with almost luminescent tones.  I spend a lot of time head down and bum up looking at the marvellous colours nature has so carelessly scattered over the ground, each one a semi precious gem.



And so I come back to my desk and try and recreate them.  My old visual diary, which started to fall apart after Flynn decided to chew the spine years ago, has been dragged out, repaired, and after nothing new for 5 years, now a new page, a new day, a new year.  Part 2 - Denmark.  I think I'd better try and use it a bit more often, poor thing.  I started it 10 years ago, and am only half way through.  Perhaps I should set myself a challenge...see if I can fill the other half in this next year.

If you're wondering what the words in the background are, they're the lyrics of a Vashti Bunyan song, "Window Over The Bay".  I used to listen to her Diamond Day album over and over when I lived in the city, trying to block out the sounds of planes and traffic, and dreaming of my own place far from the madding crowd.  I hadn't listened to it in ages and I put it on the other day.  And as I listened to this song, it occurred to me that I either have, or soon will have, almost everything in this song (even if the horses are actually next door!), or a very close substitute (rain water for well water).  It made my day.  So have a listen.


And a final, and very bad (apologies) photo of some of the cheeky little fellows who hang out on our deck.  They'll hop up right next to you as you're sitting there, but just try and get a close-up pic of them!

So, I wish everyone a wonderful new year.  I hope with all my heart it comes with glad tidings, and hopeful news for a better world.


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