Sunday, March 29, 2009

Life in Cairns, Oz

Wow, is this country ever beautiful! This is Milla Milla Falls (not the right spelling, but I don't have my map with me at the internet place). It was a part of a waterfall circuit that we drove up in the Atherton Tablelands west of Cairns. This falls comes from the rainforest, and you can swim at the pool underneath -we didn't because it was cool in the rainforest, so we didn't feel the need to get further cooled off.
This is Dave and I on board the Santa Maria as we were getting ready to do our 6th (?) snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is stunning -I never imagined it in my wildest dreams. Swimming with a huge variety and size of technicolour fish surrounded with corals in almost every imaginable colour. I did buy a throwaway underwater camera, but won't get those photos back until much later. Our dive instructor did have an underwater digital and we are getting a CD of those photos so will be able to post some of those later. I hope that I will be able to remember all that I have seen -but I am anxious to get back into my studio to respond to all that we have seen on this trip.
Being jealous is OK!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

More Oz

There are a family of 5 Kookaburra's living in John's backyard, that he feeds with ground Kangaroo meat each evening. They are really nice birds, but they are like our roosters -they announce the rising of the sun -except that they make the greatest racket I have ever heard -does not sound like laughing to me!
These are Lorakeets. There are a million of these here, but I took these photos at the Currumbin Wildlife Zoo where we spent the day yesterday. They hardly ever stay still in nature, but at the zoo they have Lorakeet feeding times, where you hold a tin pan with some nectar in it and they swoop down out of the trees to feast. They gather in the trees around the beaches at sunset and they all sing at once -thousands of them. Unbelievable!
This is Currumbin beach, which is the beach closest to John and Maggie's home. I snapped this at the end of yesterday after the zoo. You can see Gold Coast in the distance -the home of Surfer's Paradise, and a million tourists! We watched a surfing competition in the morning, but the tide was out and it was windy, which apparently makes the waves difficult for surfing. It is all so much harder than it looks. We also saw kite surfers -now there is an extreme sport!
We are flying to Cairns in the north this afternoon, where 'the rainforest meets the reef'. We will spend 2 nights/3 days aboard this lovely sailboat sailing out to several reefs, where we will snorkel and dive -I know, it's tough to take!! We will also do some hiking in the rainforest in the Daintree. I should have lots of great photos to share when we get back. I am thinking about my Calgary buddies who just had a spring dump of snow -wish you were here!
See you next week.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday in Oz

This is a photo of my hubby Dave taken on our rainforest walk yesterday. There were Antartic Beech trees there that were absolutely huge and the sign said they were 2000 years old! Didn't see any wild orchids, but now I understand why I have trouble blooming rainforest orchids in my home...

I just had to snap these two birds while we were walking on the boardwalk at 'Surfer's Paradise' this morning. They reminded me of my and my man -you can choose who is who!

And lastly, as promised, here is step one of my Australia abstract. It still has a long way to go, but it was fun to respond to the profusion of colour and energy all around me here -the pulse of the bird and plant life, the breeze from the beach, the salt air and humidity. It is truly amazing, especially after a long, cold and white winter.

Friday, March 20, 2009

On the Gold Coast

Lest you think I have left art behind, yesterday I had an art attack after seeing some wonderful art at the Tweed River Art Gallery. When we came back from our tour, Maggie and I set up our paints and painted on her deck until the sun set. I will post my start tomorrow when it is light enough to take a photo. They have very different art supplies here than they do at home in Alberta, so it took some getting used to. Isn't this a wonderful place to create from? There are a huge variety of song birds chirping/calling/screeching from the forest that is behind the pool, from green, yellow and red Lorakeets to large white Kookaburas (which John feeds with raw kangaroo meat). Truly a piece of paradise!

Today we did a driving tour into the mountains behind where John and Maggie live. This is Springbrook National Park. The tallest peak is Mount Warning -an old volcano. It is really strange to have the usual view of the mountains from mountaintop heights and look way down into valleys -I am used to seeing them from the valley level at home. Not to mention that they are often covered in rainforest, with spectacular waterfalls cascading down the sheer cliffs. It was truly breathtaking.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hello from the Gold Coast, Australia

Just to prove that we really have arrived! This is wonderful Sydney harbour taken from a hike around the headlands on the North Shore of the bay. We took a bus tour of the city one day, which include the most beautiful free botanical gardens I have ever seen. Those Sydney -ites are sure lucky people. After a try at surfing (boy were we sore the next day!) we flew to visit our friends John and Maggie on the Gold Coast. Stay tuned for more pics from there.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Off To OZ!

Well, I am just about packed and ready to go! I don't know if I will have an opportunity to post while I am away, but I am sure I will have a lot to share with you when I get back. I covet your prayers for safe travel. Thanks to all of you for your friendship and support!
Talk to you after April 2nd!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

new mixed media project

This is a new mixed media collage project that I am doing with my Monday students. The first step was to choose a paint colour to represent a red, yellow and a blue to make a colour wheel 'rainbow' with. It is amazing the different mixed colour wheels you get when you alter any one of these colours. You should see the great rainbow when you use YO, RO, and BG as the 3. The possibilities are endless! Then I had each person roughly paint a piece of regular copy paper with each of the 12 positions of the colour wheel (Y, YO, O, RO, R, RV, V, BV, B, BG, G, andYG). These sheets were semi-analogous rough mixtures, varying in opacity/transparency. The idea was to create colours that would transition between other colours. These papers would be our collage material for our painting. Each person selected a subject that they wanted to do. My subject was sunflowers.
Painting step i: We roughly painted our supports to give a background colour and texture. Then we followed with the first lay-down of collage pieces. I then added some paint into the background, to try to integrate the cut and torn collage bits. I also did some photo transfers of images of sunflowers I had, but it is really hard to see them in this small photo. Above is the result of the first couple of hours of work.
Painting step ii: This is the end of the next several hours of work on the painting. I continued alternately to collage and paint into the piece to try to bring some degree of resolution. I tried many things, some of which worked, and others which did not. This still needs several more hours of work to get it to the place where I am happy with it. I probably won't get to it until after I return from my 3 week holiday to Australia (yipee!!), and will post any further developments as they happen.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

One students interpretation of my DVD painting

This lovely painting was done by one of myadvanced students, Janice Kestle, after watching my instructional watercolour DVD. She cleverly reversed the composition and gave it her own colour twist. I really like what she has done with the painting to make it her own. You can see a preview of my DVD by clicking on the link at the right and you can order it by emailing me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

more figure drawing

Today's figure drawing session was a lot of fun. For this series of sketches, we worked with a wooden skewer dipped in india ink for a drawing tool. It makes very sensitive and responsive lines if allowed, and it is very unpredictable. These are large sketches done on newsprint -time limit 3 minutes!

Monday, March 2, 2009

What does YOUR rainbow look like?

I was given this link to determine what my personal rainbow looked like, and what it said about my personality. I thought I would give it a go and was pleasantly surprised by how accurate it is. Now to make a painting using just these colours! Click on the link in the box to test the colours of your rainbow.

Your rainbow is intensely shaded red, green, and yellow.

What is says about you: You are a joyful person. You appreciate energetic people. You get bored easily and want friends who will keep up with you. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality.

Find the colors of your rainbow at


Sunday, March 1, 2009

new adventure

I have asked six art friends to collaborate with me on an altered book round robin project. For our project, we were each to select a theme for our individual books, and then select a book to alter. Each artist is to complete 3 spreads (2 facing pages) and then pass it on to the next artist with a description of the theme. Then each subsequent artist interprets the theme in her own manner. Now you have to know that none of us have ever done anything like this before, but each is an accomplished or upcoming mixed media artist in their own right. We are doing this as a total learning experience -a 'playpen' if you will to try all kinds of things before using them in our own artwork.
For my theme, I pirated an idea I saw on the web -but I cannot remember where I saw it! Sorry!! My book will be called "Four Letter Words". I just loved this theme as it is so open ended. I love the fact that 'four letter words' have a vulgar connotation, but on closer inspection there are a lot of very beautiful four letter words.
This is my first completed spread. I must admit that I rather suck at this, but hopefully will get more confident with time! For this spread I used image transfers of cute photos of my kids -these are the images that you can see the text through. When the transfers were done, I loved the way the 'ghost' looked left on the photo paper, so I collaged those in too. I used seveal different rubber text stamps, a stamp of a clock to show how time has flown (they are no longer the cherubic cuties shown here -they have grown into their beauty) and sponge painted in burnt orange, white and gold acrylic. I masked out words from the text that seemed to tell their story. Unfortunately I had to use a flash to photograph these and it just lights up the metalic paint. My four letter words: 'Guys' & 'Doll' -3 boys and l girl -also my middle son had the lead in a stage production of Guys & Dolls, so it has a bit more meaning than usual for me.