Tuesday, 29 January 2013

January Artful Readers' Challenge

I am running a bit late with this post. It is the first post for the Artful Readers' Challenge on the Art and Sole blog.  I finished the book just over a week ago and started on the artwork then life was somewhat interrupted by local conditions.  I live in a town called Hervey Bay in Australia and we have been involved in all the rains and the floods that have been happening here lately.  Our house was damaged and friends' homes had some major problems as a result of the storms this past weekend and I have been diverted by sorting all that I need to do as a result.

The book I chose to read this month was 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn.  This book was an interesting read that really keeps you guessing who is doing what and who is telling the truth.

The story evolves around the marriage of Nick and Amy.  The chapters alternate between the telling of events from Nick's and Amy's perspectives.  The couple are living in Missouri after having started their life together in New York.  The move to Missouri was so that Nick could support his twin sister in the care of their ill parents.  On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary Amy disappears and the truth about their relationship begins to unfold.

This book takes a close and often uncomfortable look at relationships and how they are seen by both the participants and the outside world.  It is not just the marital relationship it looks at but rather all sorts of relationships.  There are the ones between parents and children, siblings and workmates.  There are relationships between the media and the community and interviewers and interviewees.  There is a strong theme of manipulation running throughout the whole book and the question of 'Who is pulling whose strings?' constantly came to mind as I read.

The characters in this book were without a doubt, incredibly frustrating.  I don't think I could honestly say I had any real sustained empathy for any of them.

It is a thought provoking read and for that reason I am happy to have read it.  I would probably rate this book 3.5 out of 5.

Here is the art I created to go with it. It is in my journal and was done with prismacolor pencils, inktense pencils and acrylic paints.  I found drawing a male quite challenging!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A new addition

Just over a week ago we drove the three hours to Brisbane to pick up this little guy:

 When we picked him up he was just over 10 weeks old.  His name is Cedar and he is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.  I know it is a huge name for a little dog!  They are called Tollers for short. Tollers are the smallest of the retriever breeds and are lively and intelligent.  My hope is that Cedar will enjoy doing agility trials.

We had a long trip home.  His breeder lives on the south side of Brisbane.  We drove the hour to my daughter Ashleigh's and stopped there for a couple of hours.  This gave us the opportunity to see our Grand daughters and for them to meet Cedar.  Below is a photo of Cedar, our eldest Grand daughter, Amelia and her Aunty Ash!  It also broke our trip up a little.  He was great with the kids, but a little nervous of Ash's dalmation!  We then had a three hour drive home and I have to say he was as good as gold in the car.

When we got home he was exhausted and slept soundly on the first night. The second night he yelped and yipped until about 2:00am and was awake again at 4:30am!  On the third night he started his education by listening to ABC radio overnight every night, and has slept through every night since!

He had his first visit to our vet (his breeder is a vet) on the Monday morning and got the all clear.  I have been home with him each day and we have played a lot!  He can now come, sit, lay down, shake hands and give high fives most times he is asked to.

Last Sunday we had our first outing to 'puppy preschool' at the local obedience club.  At first he was a bit apprehensive about the other dogs.  He was great for the first half of the class as far as following our instructions was concerned.  At this stage he decided the other dogs were in fact interesting.  He then lost interest in us and just wanted to play with the other dogs.  So I guess he would get an A for socialising at least!

Probably Cedar's favourite thing to do at the moment is to cool off....it has been up over 30 C here all week here!  His way of doing this is very cute!

This has meant we have had to go out and buy a water container designed for chickens for his drinking water as he can have his water bowl empty within a few minutes; not good in our climate!

I've never tried adding video to my blogs before, but let's see if this works!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Woodford Folk Festival -Part 3

Part three and the final part has to be about one of the art classes I did while at the Festival.  I did two, but am only really going to cover the first in this post. It was a life drawing class.  I have never done any life drawing before and have to admit I was quite nervous about it all.  The gremlins came out to play in full swing - what if I can't do it?  What if my drawings are rubbish?  I have never done this before and everybody there will think I am hopeless!  Those of you who draw or paint will know the drill!  I am so glad I ignored those little gremlins and went along to the class anyway. 

I was the first of thirteen students to arrive at the class and immediately realised how much out of my depth I was about to be.  There were easels!  Oh my, I have only every drawn in my sketch book or on paper and never on an easel! When the others arrived we were given our resources - big sheets of paper A0 (when I am used to drawing on A4 or A5), charcoal (last time I used that I was in primary school), lead pencils (now there's my comfort zone) and later in the class we were to be given a bamboo ink pen and a brush for using with ink - there go those nerves again! Oh and an eraser - not for rubbing out we were told, but for making marks!

Our first exercise was to play with the charcoal - we had willow and a couple of different compressed charcoals - and the pencils - a big thick piece of graphite, 2B and 6B as well as the woodless pencils and the eraser.  We were told to just make marks.  Use the points and the sides of the tools.  To try curves, curls and straight lines.  This is what I produced:-


 Next came gesture drawings of the model.  She did each post for two to three minutes and we were to use the side of our charcoal or just scribbles - no lines and just get down the idea of the form:-

Next were 3 to 5 minute poses.  We were asked to use the end of the compressed charcoal more and to have some line, but not to draw the outline.  Still we were encouraged to use smudges to help with movement and form. By this stage I was really starting to loosen up and think 'Hey I am really enjoying this!'
The orange one was done by the lady on the easel next to me.  We picked up a coloured soft pastel and were asked to move to the next person's work and add just one to their work!

The next group were three 5 to 8 minute poses and were were encouraged to really make them into a composition that worked as a piece of art.  We were told we could use more line to give our drawing definition.  I actually really enjoyed doing this and have to say that I am quite pleased with the result!

The teacher then brought out some paper she had prepared for us with ink and said we would have longer to draw the next piece.  We would start with 8 minutes and then see how we were going.  We ended up spending 18 minutes and I have to say that I love the result.  I struggled with the arms and legs a bit.  The arms because they were angled away from me so when I drew what I was seeing they looked a bit out of whack.  The legs and feet because I started and then the model had a rest and when she reset she was not in exactly the same position so they weren't quite right!  Even so I love this:

We then went to the graphite and pencil an did some blind contours.  Mine are a bit light so I have not included photos because they are too hard to see.

Our final thing to do was ink.  There go those nerves again......we were asked to do some mark making with the bamboo pen - they are at the bottom and were not very successful for me (is it that I am left handed?) and a brush - enjoyed this more.

Finally our model did three five minute poses.  I found the ink more difficult, but still am quite pleased with my work as a first time effort. We were asked to try to layer our work:

I came out of the class feeling on top of the world!  I had shown those gremlins a thing or two!!  Now to find some life drawing classes locally.....I even went out and bought an easel last weekend!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Woodford Folk Festival part 2 -special events

I guess there were probably three of the event type things at Woodford that were really special for me.  The first was a nightly event on the pond.  It was called 'The Dream of Zedkat Nabu'.  It is quite difficult to describe.  Here is a quote from the program:

'The Dream of Zedkat Nabu is the World Premiere of a new work devised by Lindsay Pollack and performed by four wonderful singers.......and four musicians triggering the calls of endangered animals by striking bamboo poles....... A musical work with strong visuals - beautiful lighting design.....and costume design...... the core of the piece is the sound of the animals themselves - evocative calls of endangered species that speak directly to us in a way that words cannot'

Whilst I cannot bring the sound to you, which was beautiful, my clever husband did take some stunning photos!

The next really memorable event for us was New Year's Eve.  We decided to spend it in Bill's Bar - and yes Harvey joined us (he actually went to everything we went to!  We had a lovely time sharing a bottle of wine and listening to the music provided by a series of very talented musicians.  We had a comfy seat and a quiet night chatting to some really interesting people...gosh we are getting old!!  At least this year we were awake to see the new year in and welcome it with a kiss!!

Woodford welcomes the New Year in on the night of Jan 1st with a lantern parade and fire event.  We saw one a few years ago and it was awesome so we decided that it was a must see this year and it didn't disappoint.  Where else would the event be hosted by the swaggy who is a Woodford regular!  He tells stories and recites poems on the streets of Woodford throughout the week and this year was the start and the finish of the event...just wonderful.  Through the week we were invited to the prayer tent to write down a prayer to go onto the ship....you will see what happens in the photos.  I wrote mine on the morning of the first.

The ship at the start of the night.

Part of the lantern parade...it really is beautiful.  The lanterns are made by people throughout the festival and they then take part in this event.

The community orchestra and choir.  Again these people get together on day one of the festival to learn their parts and learn to perform together.  After only one week they sounded amazing!
Choir, orchestra and some of the lanterns!

Beautiful puppets!

The audience joined in with candles to add a prayer for peace while we sang Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah....it was just beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.

Then the pyrotechnics started..........

........ and our prayers were released to the Universe!!!! 

It left me feeling very much at peace for the first time in quite some time!  


Saturday, 5 January 2013

Woodford Folk Festival part 1

In my head, I have this as at least a trilogy!  The festival as always was an awesome experience.  It has such a personality and the personality is one of my favourites!  People at the festival talk about the Woodfordian ethos and it is one I wish we could turn into a world ethos.  It is the spirit of treading lightly, caring for others and being relaxed and accepting of others no matter what.  It is a spirit of gentleness and beauty.

I thought I would do this first post about some of the music we saw and heard performed and oh my did we see some performances across the week we were there.  There are lots I did not take any photos of:- Siskin River, Mama Kin, Folk Uke (Woody Guthrie and Willy Nelson's daughters), Nicky Bomba's Bustamento and the list goes on!  The following are some of the artists I managed to get photos of.

Dallas Frasca and her band play some hard driving blues rock.  She had the audience up on their feet to her raunchy vocals.  At one point she bravely crowd surfed to a great deal of cheering in a blow up boat!

There were a few artists that left absolutely indelible marks on my memory. We saw Shane Howard (ex Goanna) perform several times and he was brilliant.  When he performed Solid Rock it was brilliant and when he sang it in Pitjinjara (not sure about the spelling there!) it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! (The other artist who was an absolute highlight, but I have no photo, was Eric Bogle singing 'And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda'.)

William Barton played the didge at Shane's concerts.

We saw Darren Percival perform three times.  Once with the mainsteam songs and twice with his Mr Percival act.  I have to say the Mr Percival stuff is my favourite.  He uses a loop machine and all the music is created with his voice....and what a voice....it is brilliant.  One of the awesome things about him was his willingness to share his stage with young artists and his children.  Really speaks volumes of the whole feel of the Festival.  He spoke of his love of Woodford and the audiences there, as the audiences encourage artists to experiment and will join in with the experiment with great enthusiasm.

 The John Butler Trio were unbelievable!  Again John Butler won me over when he stopped his performance saying 'I have to do something about this' climbed down off the stage into the audience and a few minutes later climbed back up on stage to announce the name of a small child who had been separated from Mum.  He then brought the child on stage and told Mum that his crew would look after the boy until she could get to the back stage area to collect him.  Such a lovely gesture! And to top it all off what a talented man!

(Sorry pretty crappy photo, but it's hard to take good photos when you are bopping!)

Women In Docs are one of my favourite Woodford acts!  We saw them and fell in love with them a few years ago and their performances this year did not disappoint! More brilliant Aussie talent and to add to their musical skills they are hilarious!

 Paul Greene and the Other Colours are also some local talent.  He is such a good song writer and has a brilliant voice.

Ngaire is from Papua New Guinea and what a voice this girl has!

There was so much to see and experience.  I will try to add more soon!  Meanwhile I am trying to keep the spirit of Wordford alive in my soul!