Tag Archives: art

LOCAL OUTRAGE- Friday Fictioneers

Desperate to attract passing tourists, Council voted to upgrade the local park.

While surveys confirmed locals had wanted to install a steam locomotive and have a mini railway running on weekends, they’d ended up with “Rusty” , a “pile of scrap metal”, instead. Accordingly, Rusty was only good for one thing and for more information, you’ll need to consult the local dogs, who’d voted him the best telegraph pole in town.

Then, last Sunday morning, Rusty was gone. No one had seen or heard a thing, but in his place, there was a garden gnome.

Apparently, Nigel  had come home.


This is another contribution for the Friday Fictioneers. PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast.

Hope you’ve had a great week!

xx Rowena

Leonardo Di Vinci

Last night, I wasn’t looking for personal inspiration. It was more a case of getting my son to do his history assignment on a medieval/Renaissance leader.If you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ll know all about this. If you’re not, you’ll remember your own parents railroading you unless you were some kind of glowing Marcia Brady.

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ll know I’m crazy about history and won’t be surprised that I had more than a passing interest in my son’s assignment and might have some useful resources.

No doubt, that’s why he chose to research Kublai Khan. I had  fantastic, illustrated books on Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. So, they were too easy. We’ve even been to a superlatively inspirational exhibition in Sydney where they’d built interactive models of Da Vinci’s inventions and you could operate them yourself. Yet, Da Vinci was off his radar and I couldn’t help feeling like he’d plucked Kublai Khan out of a hat!

So, I made a brief but futile attempt to change his mind and retrieved my beautifully illustrated and well-researched book on Leonardo down from the shelf…Ritchie Calder’s: Leonardo & The Age of the Eye. A book, which despite my best intentions, I still haven’t read!

Of course, I know I should’ve read it myself and that it’s been sitting on my shelf for about 3 years making me look smart without actually taking it in…pretty stupid. Yet, aren’t most bookshelves also packed with good intentions????

Anyway, in a serendipitous moment, I opened the book at this paragraph, which really resonated with me:

“Leonardo was the observer with the naked eye and the naked ear. He also had, and never lost, his childlike curiosity which, however much we may specialize in the more-and-more-about-less-and-less, is the essential nature of science. His was not the structured life of the child who having revealed an aptitude for what is scholastically called “science” at some immature age is told that he should be a physicist, chemist or a biologist, and from then on  is academically escorted through the science stream, the science faculty, and the post-graduate course into the learned societies. He learned where he went and where the interests took him.” (pg 261).

While I’m not going to re-write the entire book (especially when I haven’t read it!!), I found this a few paragraphs down, which gives an insight into the breadth of Da Vinci’s “education” and training:

“His science began as a painter. He was lucky to be apprenticed to Verrocchio at a time when perspective had become a preoccupation with artists…among the master’s cronies the subject of perspective was not just a matter of working practice; it was a matter of winebibbing  debate, as well as quasi-mystical dissertations on spatiality. In a way it was putting them, the artists, on speaking terms with the intellectuals around the Medici Garden…

Probably the most powerful, formative influence on Leonardo was Toscanelli, physician, astronomer and natural philosopher. The tracker of the comet, the cartographer and mentor of Columbus kept open house for the likes of Leonardo, whom he encouraged in the systematic study of mathematics, and introduced to astronomy.” pg 261.

Thus, Da Vinci was nurtured in a very rich, yet broad and multi-disciplinary environment, and not simply pushed down one path to become the “performing genius” if you get my drift. While the benefits of a broad educational base bare obvious to some, there’s so much pressure to become that expert. That person who knows that topic in painstakingly intimate detail, even if that means losing site of the bigger picture entirely. Even if it means being unable to tie up your own shoe laces or bake a cake. Indeed, too many experts have travelled so far down their own drainpipe without networking with even slightly-divergent colleagues, and there has to be a price for that. Few of us would even dream of having Da Vinci’s genius. Yet, it was built on curiosity and a broad brush stroke, NOT knowing everything within a very narrow sphere too well.

By diversifying ourselves, we too could reap the benefits…especially as creatives.

I practice what I preach. While writing, photography and research are my mainstays, I also learn the violin and have been doing contemporary/ballet classes for the last six months, which have really intensified my vision.

Not that I’ve become Da Vinci, but at least I’m working on it!

xx Rowena

 

Yet Another Paradise…Swansea, Tasmania.

When you’re travelling around Tasmania, it’s easy to sound like you’ve overdosed on superlatives. Indeed, there are even towns named: “Paradise”, “Promised Land”…and we’ll just gloss over “Lower Crackpot”.

It’s also inevitable, that you run out of time.

That with such much to see and the need to become one with it all, that the sun sets well before you do.

Indeed, trying to stuff in all these awesome, superlative sights, is like stuffing yourself with so much gourmet food, you can’t move and your poor stomach is about the throw itself into reverse.

At this point, we were driving from Port Arthur to Devonport  via Swansea on the East Coast…a bit of a scenic deviation from the most direct route home. The sun had already set and we were oozing the dregs out of those very last moments of twilight, we we drove into Swansea.

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Being after dark, I wasn’t quite sure where we were  and had to do a bit of Googling to confirm locations. It’s not a good form to stick the wrongname on a place and you might have noticed that I’ve already called Orford: “Whatsymecallit Beach”. When you’re seeing and experiencing so much, it very hard to keep up with the details. While gaps are forgivable, making glaring mistakes is another story.

Swansea is a town in the heart of Tasmania’s east coast, on the north-west shore of Great Oyster Bay and overlooking Freycinet National Park, which is home to the superlatively stunning, Wineglass Bay.

I would really like to come back and spend a couple of days here.

It truly is Paradise.

Family Portrait Port Arthur.

This wall at Port Arthur’s Government Cottage was just begging to become a screen, a backdrop for a family photo. This moody mix of light and shadow across convict-made bricks, was photographic magic. I rounded up the family and photographed their hand shadows on a wall .

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That is after testing it first.

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Doesn’t this remind those old family and school movie projectors and making rabbis on the screen? Or, is it just me?

xx Rowena

 

Government Cottage, Port Arthur.

Usually, when you see before and after shots, there’s been some kind of miraculous make-over, renovation or transformation. WOW! You’re absolutely blown away by all the amazing improvements and you can barely recognise the clapped out wreck.

However, sometimes you can’t put all the pieces back together again, but there’s a different kind of beauty in the wreckage…a stoic timelessness, a strange kind of strength. At the very least, these crumbling wrecks can make poignant, photographic works of art.

Indeed, these crumbling brick walls were very photogenic indeed. That’s right. My eyes were out on stalks, heart palpitating. It was love at first sight!

Indeed, I even found my initials carved into the brick.

xx Rowena

Paradise…Driving from Hobart to Port Arthur.

If you’re planning to drive straight from Hobart to Port Arthur like a bat out of hell, think  again. Adjust your watch to “Holiday Time” and prepare yourself for a very stop-start journey. Perhaps, even more stop than start. Otherwise, you might as well just get out your pencil and ruler and play join the dots.

“The creative process is not like a situation where you get struck by a single lightning bolt. You have ongoing discoveries, and there’s ongoing creative revelations. Yes, it’s really helpful to be marching toward a specific destination, but, along the way, you must allow yourself room for your ideas to blossom, take root, and grow.”

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At the same time, Port Arthur is a destination you don’t want to miss. More than an education, it’s an experience. You do need to get there.
So what did we find along the way?

Dunalley Bay

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Dunalley Bay, Tasmania.

I’m a sucker for a great beach and another photo opportunity. What can I say? I’m an absolute addict but at least my photography addiction isn’t hurting anybody (just don’t ask the rest of my family!) We really loved the streaky ripple effects in the sand here. Of course, it also helps when the weather cooperates so nicely.
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Father & Son at Dunalley Bay.

The Tessellated Pavement State Reserve

The Tessellated Pavement State Reserve is located on the Tasman Peninsula near Eaglehawk Neck.
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However, before we get too bogged down in geological explanations, let’s just pause for a moment and fully absorb the stunning view before we tackle the stairs. I assure you that you don’t need to be a photography addict to go absolutely crazy here and wish for something with far more grunt than your phone camera.
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Now, getting back to the tessellated pavement…

Unless you’ve been here before or you’re a fully-fledged geologist, you could well be asking…

“What on earth is a tessellated pavement and why should I stop here, especially when time is short?”

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Well, here’s a brief geology lesson…

A tessellated pavement has nothing to do with concrete footpaths. Rather, it’s an inter-tidal rock platform. Tessellated pavements are a common coastal landform. However, on the Tasman Peninsula an unusual set of geological circumstances have resulted in something truly amazing.

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The kids also enjoyed exploring the rock crevices for anemones, little black crabs    and more.  

The flat-lying siltstone was cracked by stresses in the Earth’s crust, possibly between 160 million years ago and 60 million years ago. The resulting cracks (joints) are seen as three main sets, one aligned to the north-northeast, a second to the east-northeast and the third to the north-northwest. This jointing, exaggerated by processes of erosion, has created the ‘tiled’ appearance.
When seawater covers the rock platform, fragments of rock are carried away. Near the seaward edge of the platform, sand is the main cause of the erosion.
When combined with wave action the erosional process causes ‘loaf’ or ‘pan’ formations.1.”
Anyway, that’s enough geology. You can read more about it here. I’m more interested in getting down those stairs and getting seeing what I can see through the lens.

The Tasman Blowhole

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The Tasman Blow Hole.

In case you hadn’t worked it out by now, I have quite a thing for photographing intriguing rock formations. Add surging water and kaboom!!  You have photographic magic. Time to fiddle with the settings on my camera to experiment a bit…fast, slow. Thank goodness for digital photography where you can experiment to your heart’s content without going broke. Our honeymoon in New Zealand had some hefty financial after shocks processing 50 rolls of film. Ouch! That could’ve paid for a backyard wedding.

Doo Town

Located 79 km southeast of Hobart, Doo Town is a holiday village in Pirate’s Bay where the house names contain “doo”. This “phenomenon” began in 1935 a Hobart architect, Eric Round, placed the name plate Doo I 99 on his weekend shack. A neighbor, Charles Gibson, responded with a plate reading Doo Me then Bill Eldrige with Doo Us. Eric Round later renamed his shack Xanadoo.[1][2]
I first visited Doo Town on my first trip to Tassie in 1995. I’ve never forgotten the bus driver introducing us to Doo Town.  Being a procrastinator, I’ve never forgotten “Gunnerdoo”. Indeed, it would be a very apt name for our current home, which is a renovating dreamer’s homage to an endless list of unfinished projects. Indeed, it has way too many applications to mention!

Tasmanian Devil Unzoo

We didn’t have time to make it here but I wanted to give it a mention. You can read more about it here.
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Although I advocated taking your time and stopping rather than driving straight to Port Arthur, you will need plenty of energy to cover the vast distances at Port Arthur. So, you’ll need to pace yourself to ensure you  don’t come to a grinding halt. We very nearly did.
xx Rowena
Sources

Marvellous Melbourne!

Traitor face! How could anyone from Sydney ever support Melbourne? After all, being a Sydney person to the core, shouldn’t I be calling it: “Mediocre Melbourne”?

Of course, the list of Sydney’s superlatives is endless. Starting off with the obvious trifecta, there’s  the Harbour, Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Melbourne has no equivalents. Moreover, when it comes to Melbourne’s Yarra River, they might as well stick it in a drain. Lock it up. No one would miss it.

By now, I’m sure you’ve realized that there’s just a tad of rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne, especially historically speaking. No self-respecting Sydney person has ever said one good word about “that place”…even if Melbourne does consider itself the food, fashion and cultural capital of the universe.

Anyway, what I can say was pretty marvellous about Melbourne, was finding family accommodation in the heart of Melbourne for $100 a night. That’s something you definitely can’t get in Sydney.

Melbourne also retained its tram network, whereas Sydney dug up its tramlines before I was born. So, it’s always been a novelty to ride a Melbourne tram. However, Sydney has had light rail now for some time and Melbourne’s trams have been updated so they’re not so much of a novelty these days. Although, as I mentioned in my last post, driving on the tram tracks with a tram heading up is more of a nightmare than fun.

Last Sunday night, we stayed in Melbourne overnight. This was the first leg of our trip to Tasmania. Monday morning, we were loading ourselves and the car onto the Spirit of Tasmania, a massive North Sea Ferry, which would take us across Bass Strait into Devonport.

This left us with only one night in Melbourne. Indeed, that left us with only a couple of hours to check Melbourne out. After touching base in the room, we headed off to explore as much of Melbourne as we could in 2 hours within the free tram zone.

Indeed, you could well ask how we could ever hope to catch even a glimpse of Melbourne when we’re merely blinking on the way through.

Well, you can see quite a lot of a place when you stick your camera out the window as you’re driving through dodging trams while looking for street signs and trying not to get lost.

We caught the train down to Brunswick Street where I spotted the familiar Brunswick Station. I must admit that I was quite surprised and shocked to see so many homeless people sleeping on the street outside. I don’t know if they were simply travellers but there were quite a lot. I don’t get into Sydney much at night but Geoff assures me there are quite a few homeless people there so it’s no doubt a universal issue once you leave the comfort of your own four walls and your blog.

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Across the road, I spotted the famous Young and Jackson Pub. This is home to the infamous nude portrait of Chloe https://www.youngandjacksons.com.au/chloe. Not the sort of thing I’d usually take the kids to see but in we all went. As far as nudes go, she’s rather tasteful and I didn’t have a huge issue about it.

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Spotting an impressive Cathedral, we crossed the road to check out St Paul’s Cathedral, which was flying a banner supporting our refugees.

As you could well appreciate with only having 2 hours to check out this world-class city, we were on the run.

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Next stop was Federation Square across the road. It’s an interesting building which I’ll have to follow up when I’m not a week behind and trying to travel rather than write. For the time being, I’ll just share a few pics and tell you how huge and ginormous this building is and how it made me feel like an ant. This made me question why we build such huge, imposing architecture which devalues the individual and yet I’ve already answered my own question in a way having raised Sydney – Melbourne rivalry and needing to give a city a prominent place on the world stage.

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While we were roaming through Federation Square, we spotted some signs to an exhibition by the world-famous street artist, Banksy. This led us on a rather intriguing search through a car park and children’s playground only to realise that it is an indoor exhibition and the best we could do was peer at some other local artists exhibiting outside through a huge wire fence. Oh well.

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After chasing Banksy, we walked back to our tram stop via the railway line, which looked really, really creepy. I’m sure loads of Australian TV shows and movies must use this spot to film murders, Police chases and wayward youth roaming along the tracks at night. As much as I loved photographing this location, it really gave me the creeps.

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Anyway, as I said we had about 2 hours to check out Melbourne and that was it…one blink and you’ll miss it tour but when you’re trying to carpe diem and seize the day, such moments need to be snatched and you make the most of what you’ve got.

So, now our next step in our Tasmanian Odyssey is catching the Spirit of Tasmania across Bass Strait to Devonport, Tasmania.

We should’ve prayed for calm seas but we forgot.

C’est la vie!

x Rowena