Tag Archives: Royal Sydney Easter Show

Art: When the Creator Becomes the Created…

Last week at the Royal Sydney Easter Show, my daughter and I crossed to the dark side and had our caricatures done.

For anyone else, this would simply be  a bit of fun, a memory to take home and it wouldn’t also turn into a soul searching analysis of what it’s like to be created, not creating. Of course, yours truly had to analyze the whole experience. Pull it apart and put it back together again…give or take a missing piece or two.

Obviously, you’ve experienced my photography. However, you might not be aware that I did the photography and publicity for my kids’ school for 6 years and gained a lot of experience photographing people.  I know what it’s like to peer into a face, observing details, responding to a smile, a twinkle or even the withdrawal of acute shyness to draw someone out. I know how to work with all these personalities to create a story in 6 x 4 and hopefully bring out their best.

However, it’s a rare moment that I’m in front of the lens. Or, as in this instance, at the mercy of the cartoonist. Sure, he might use pen, ink and crayons but he has an inbuilt lens. You have to have a good eye. Be an excellent reader of people to pull off any kind of caricature. After all, you’re not just reflecting the surface, but peering deeply into the pond needing to fish out hidden gems in a very short time.  BTW, although I’m usually behind the lens, I’m actually quite an extrovert and all the world’s my stage. I have no trouble performing for the camera, or the artist.

Surprisingly, it was actually my daughter who mentioned getting our caricatures done. I wasn’t entirely convinced.

You see, I’d been forewarned. While I was backpacking through Europe as a 22 year old, I caught up with Mum and Dad in Paris and had my portrait done outside Notre Dame. Being a serious, philosophical poet, I insisted on a more serious, reflective portrait. I did NOT want to look like an airhead. Ever since, my mother, who was standing back watching the proceedings with abject horror, has wanted to get that portrait fixed to show “my lovely smile”. I didn’t know what she was talking about until a few years ago and now I agree. “Smile, Rowie. Look at the birdie!” On the same trip, two of my friends decided to get their caricatures done in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower. They were dreadful and I don’t think those sketches have even seen daylight. My two very attractive friends, had nearly been turned into trolls. Of course, I photographed their reactions in situ. What a friend?!

So, when it came to getting our caricatures done at the show, I wasn’t naive. The cartoonist was warned! Yet, I became so relaxed with him, that I forgot to take my glasses off until it was too late. That is very unusual. Indeed, I’d be surprised if any of you have actually seen photos of me wearing the glasses I wear all the time. The glasses which are all but glued to my nose. I’m terribly short sighted and now near-sighted, and am becoming somewhat thankful for the glasses I’ve always despised.

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That’s not to say I was entirely at ease in my new role. Not that I’m a control freak. However, I did feel more than just a little curious watching him sketch away, especially when passers-by stopped and inspected OUR portraits in detail when WE couldn’t see it. Well, as usual, I exaggerate a tad. We did get to see quite a lot of the work-in-progress and I know both my daughter and I were noting which pens he used for what. She has a good chance of doing the tools justice, while I dream. I do a much better job writing about drawing (and dancing, skiing, playing my violin and making Nigella’s Nutella Cake) than actually doing it. However, I am starting to wonder about this life as a voyeur…Isn’t life meant to be lived?

However, of course, you also learn a lot watching…including the remote possibility that I might be a control freak after all!

That’s why I wondered whether the artist would ruin it by adding colour and whether the finished product would self-destruct when it went through the laminator, even though it was meant “to protect it”.

However, the thing about control freaks is that we like control for a reason. That when we don’t have control, things can go wrong. Get destroyed. Just like our caricatures when that blasted laminating machine turned us into a piano accordion. Been there, done that myself at home. That’s why I wasn’t sure about the laminator. That’s why I become the control freak. Things conspire against me.

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Wow! We were so impressed with how we looked. If you’ve ever watched the quintessential Australian movie: “The Castle”, you’ll know this is “heading straight for the pool room.”

It was at this point, that being a creator myself made such a difference. As much as I was very disappointed to see our portraits seemingly destroyed when they looked SOOOO good, I knew what it meant for Graeme to watch as his creation almost met its death. From this point, we were no longer artist and client. We were united in our desperate efforts to salvage the artwork. Performing CPR, twice we fed it back through the very laminator which almost destroyed it, largely melting out the creases. He said it was his best work of the day and that he’d struck a chord with us. Got a vibe. I know what that’s like and what his creation meant to him. It was no longer just a piece of paper. He’d poured heart and soul into each and every detail and you look at our larger than life smiles, and a real sense of joie de vivre really springs from the page. To have that destroyed in front of your very eyes, was horrible. Sure, much worse things can happen, but it’s a hard thing for a creator to see their creation munched up like that. Yet, like the subject, the phoenix has largely risen from the ashes and is about to sojourn underneath  our exceptionally think Webster’s Dictionary, which is the width of two city phone books…HUGE and weighs a tonne!

By the way,I’d like to give a huge shout out to our cartoonist…Graeme Biddel at http://www.caricature.net.au

How have you felt being the subject, instead of the author? The creation instead of the creator? Or, perhaps your creation has been lost in some way? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Love & smiles,

Rowena

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share April 23, 2017.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share.

This week, my daughter and I went to Sydney’s Royal Easter Show. A friend of my Mum’s very kindly gave us free tickets and our son didn’t want to go. I don’t think he liked all the crowds last year. Anyway, we started off by getting our caricatures done. They were hilarious and the artist did a fabulous job…especially when he told me I looked about 7 years younger. he really captured our joie de vivre. Next we were off to see the animals. It was the very last day of the show and due to my daughter’s dance classes, we didn’t get there until 4.30PM, so I wasn’t too sure what we’d be able to see, especially on the animal front. Miss was very keen to see the alpacas and there were some inside the Farmyard Nursery, which was something akin to anarchy with kids, parents and pat-able farm animals wandering around inside something like a circus tent. You’d have to be made of stone not to love it in there! Miss and I aren’t big on rides, but we decided to have one go on the dodgem cars….a family tradition. However, we could only find the kids’ dodgems and spent something like an hour wandering around try to find the elusive dodgems and almost gave up. In the meantime, we sampled food in the Woolworths’ Pavillion and saw some Donald Trumpkins. That man has been such a gift to satirists and comedians. Eventually, on the brink of physical collapse, we discovered the dodgems and I think we both decided “never again”. I must be getting old. All I could think about was “chiropractor”! Lastly, we were off to the infamous Showbag Hall. We didn’t go crazy and only bought a show bag for each member of the family. Then, it was time to catch the train home and surveying the crowds, my 11 year old daughter asked: “Why do so many adults have such big toys?” It’s not that I’m cynical. However, I told her that it was so guys could show they loved their girlfriends. I still remember “the trophies” from when I was back at school.

If you follow my blog at all, you’ll know that I’m in the throws of the annual Blogging A-Z  April Challenge and we’re Travelling Alphabetically around Tasmania. Yesterday, we visited Salamanca Place in Hobart visiting the markets in the present as well as it’s past as a warehousing area at the port. Naturally, there was a striking juxtaposition between the two, which made for an intriguing trip. I love time travelling.

As much as I love the Blogging A-Z Challenge, it is also very taxing and I’m completely spent by the end. It is definitely a marathon taken at the pace of a sprint, although I know I overdo it every year and am supposed to keep it simple…vignette’s and not the history of the known universe for every post. However, you are who you are. You just need to see all the tea cups meandering around our house, to know I’m prone to excess. .

At the same time, I could well have a body of work approaching 26,000 words at the end and that’s not something to complain or whinge about either. I also have a lot of other writing about Tasmania which I didn’t include in the series. So, you don’t need to be much past 10 finger arithmetic to know that a book’s well within my grasp. One that, at least at this stage, seems a lot easier to structure and put together than my much anticipated book project…a realist’s experience of the ups and down of living with a severe chronic illness and needing to squeeze the most out of life. It is anything but views from my deathbed, although that could be a good title in a funny sort of way. Indeed, it’s so dark, I love it.

If you’ve never undertaken the A-Z Challenge, I highly recommend you have a go next year. Many of us have a theme and it’s good to get your head around that well ahead of time. Last year, my theme was “Letters to Dead Poets”, which became understandably intense. That resulted in a 65,000 word manuscript I put aside to “stew” and haven’t quite managed to get back there. Although I often end up posting daily, I’ve found writing alphabetically through a topic shakes it up completely, because with my themes, alphabetical order has  actually made the progression quite random. That was particularly obvious this year, when we’re Traveling Alphabetically around Tasmania and our route has painted quite a spider’s web across the map. I also accidentally by-passed Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart, for “H” and instead wrote about “Home”…my husband’s home town of Scottsdale because I knew I had too many choices for “S”. So, that meant writing a prelude to our visit to Hobart’s Salamanca Place where the famous markets are held each Saturday.

I’ve also come to appreciate the challenge of “living in the now”, for lovers of history. I love research and just get drawn into the historic newspapers and the juxtaposition between then. I’ve found so many incredible stories, which are so much more interesting than a simple fire or burglary these days. I also believe that it’s really important to know our personal, family and cultural history. The flip side of this, unfortunately, has been the slaughter and attempted slaughter of  indigenous cultures right around the world. Many have been resilient and overcome so much, but that doesn’t undo what was done. After all, you may not be aware that the English wiped out the Tasmanian Aborigine and it’s pretty sobering to read settler accounts of “the natives are all gone”.

School goes back for term 2 on Wednesday. I am really trying hard to be organized for the new term (which is after all, a clean slate with all new characters LOL). However, our daughter has dance camp on the first three days of term and I’ll be driving her to Kurrajong, leaving no. 1 son to get himself to school. My daughter and I are planning to stay up there overnight but I haven’t booked anything as I baulked at the cost and need to revisit it. As much as I love her dancing, now that she’s pursuing it seriously, my life has complexified completely!

Well, I hope you and yours have had a great week and I realized after all this talking, that I haven’t even offered you something to eat or drink. My apologies. It’s not the first time, that I’ve been a lousy host and knowing me, it won’t be the last. Many thanks for popping by!

xx Rowena

Weekend Coffee Share April 3, 2016 #atozchallenge

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share and if you are popping along from the A-Z Challenge, make that an extra special welcome! As you might be aware, I am in the habit of offering Tim Tams or Vegemite toast with your beverage of choice. This week, you’re in luck. I bought the Tim Tam bag at the Royal Sydney Easter Show. Eat up!

How was your week?

Our week has been a bit manic what with going to the Royal Sydney Easter Show and getting fired up for the A-Z April Blogging Challenge.

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Our family at the entry to the Royal Sydney Easter Show.

Monday, we went to the Royal Sydney Easter Show, which is the largest event in Australia and the sixth largest event in the world. As we were struggling to squeeze everything into the day with aching legs, we weren’t surprised. It’s huge!

Dodge Ems

If you are interested in things Australian and experiencing a virtual tour, here’s an overview with links through to specific exhibits.Royal Sydney easter Show Now & Then.

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Best in  Show.

Friday April 1st, saw the launch of the A-Z April Blogging Challenge. As you may recall, my theme is: Letters to Dead Poets. On the eve of the challenge, I decided to share the works of a living poet Nan Whitcomb, who wrote: The Thoughts of Nanushka. I first discovered her poetry when I was at school and it not only blew me away, it also guided me through what a family friend very aptly called:”the swirling vortex of pubescence”.

I also received this poem from a “dead” poet just to remind me to tread a bit gently around the subject:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye

So, it seems that even death can become complicated!

While Letters to Dead Poets might be my theme, I consciously decided against having a strict format for each letter, preferring something more fluid…allowing each poet to speak to me personally and take me where we end up. Go with the flow. As the April deadline loomed like a menacing black rain cloud, this lack of structure was a bit alarming but it’s falling into place far better than I’d ever expected. This has now become my book project, fusing much of what I’m been working on in the past together, which is such a thrill…and relief!!

We’ve only had two days of the challenge so far.

A was for AA Milne I addressed him specially about growing up and my grievance that now that my kids are growing up, my second childhood seems to be growing up with it without my consent. I wonder if that’s something you relate to as well?

B was for Banjo Paterson. Andrew “Banjo” Barton Paterson is an Australian poet whose best-known works are:  The Man From Snowy River and Waltzing Matilda, which is Australia’s unofficial national anthem. Given that the Man From Snowy River was perceived as the iconic Australian bloke for many years,  I asked Banjo: “What it means to be a bloke?” Fortunately, he replied but took a more lateral approach and wrote about what it means to be human, emphasising that there is “no prescription”. Read Banjo Paterson’s reply here.

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Inspired by The Man From Snowy River, perhaps…RM Williams Truck at The Show.

So, these Letters to Dead Poets have become something of a philosophical discussion.

Meanwhile, I’ve been a serious “Blog Flirt” visiting other blogs. It’s absolutely shameless and I just hope that some of us will hook up again and it’s not all just a series of “one-post-stands”. I know I am certainly looking for relationships!

Speaking of relationships, we welcomed a new family member this week.

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Eeyore reading “Winnie The Pooh” at the beach.

Feeling a bit of a psychic twang after dropping my daughter off at school, I mysteriously found myself back at the Vinnie’s Warehouse and the Lifeline shop next door, which is selling everything but furniture off for $1.00 before moving. So, I looked out the back of the Lifeline shop and there’s Eeyore sitting there, looking like someone left him behind and forgot to take him to Pooh Bear’s party. Well, being the caring, sharing person I am, I just had to take him home. Yes, I know he’s not Paddington Bear and that our house is already overcrowded BUT…You wouldn’t leave him there, would you?!!

So there I was doing the 45 minute drive home with Eeyore sitting there in the front seat with his shoulders hunched over, eyes downcast.Nobody does gloomy quite like Eeyore which, ironically, made me feel strangely happy. I also started to think of ways of cheering Eeyore up and took him to the beach the next morning. The sun was out and it was an absolutely glorious morning and yet Eeyore was still being Eeyore. Oh well!

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Even on a sunny day, Eeyore was gloomy.

By the way, I did find it a bit freaky finding Eeyore like that. It wasn’t just that I was writing about AA Milne. I was also re-reading: Winnie the Pooh.

It was meant to be.

How has your week been? I apologise that I won’t be able to get through quite as many coffee posts during April but will have a go. If you are doing the A-Z Challenge, please leave a link below and I will pop over.

Blessings & Best Wishes,

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

Royal Sydney Easter Show…Now & Then.

 

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On Easter Monday, the family headed off to the Royal Sydney Easter Show.

What is considered an annual event for many Sydney families, certainly when I was growing up, has been an insurmountable mountain for us in the past. While there were many parents zooming around with littlies in strollers, with a very active son and a disabled mother, it wasn’t a possibility for us. Then, as he started growing up and more responsible, I was still recovering from chemo Easter 2014 and Easter 2015, I had a broken foot. Given the monumental size of the show and the entry fees, you need to be fit…or in a chair. So, for us to even consider going to The Show, it meant crossing that proverbial mountain but also is a positive reflection on how well I’ve been going. Yippee!

When I was knee high to a grasshopper, going to the Easter Show was an annual event. We caught the train into Central Station where we met my Dad in Eddy Avenue after work. Then, we caught the bus through Surry Hills with its the rundown terrace houses and alleyways all sandwiched together until we finally arrived at the Royal Agricultural Showground (RAS), next to the Sydney Cricket Ground. There were Kewpie dolls glittering on sticks, the Laughing Clowns with their haunting smiles, the animals, rides on the Dodgems and the Ferris Wheel and the palatial Show Bag Hall..the kids’ equivalent of Mecca. I still remember Mum watching the rest of us fight it out on the dodgem cars weighed down by the show bags we had to get long before time to go home. Lollies, chocolate bars and magic tricks, the show bags were sensational!!

Laughing clowns

When you’re a kid, you don’t really think of yourself as part of history. Or, ever consider that what you know as “The Show” is something transient, fleeting and an ever-changing chameleon. After all, for your short life, it has always been.

Yet, it hasn’t.

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The RM Williams Truck.

The  Royal Sydney Easter Show is the largest event held in Australia, and the sixth largest in the world. The first Easter Show was held in 1823 by the newly formed Agricultural Society of New South Wales, with the aim of encouraging the colony’s rural industries. The site was at Parramatta, 24 kilometres west of the town of Sydney, and the display included horses, cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. In 1869, the venue was moved from Parramatta to Prince Alfred Park until 1881 when the NSW Government provided land at Moore Park where the show was held for 116 years. In 1998, the Show moved to a new showground within the Sydney Olympic Park  at Homebush Bay.

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How did the humble Dagwood Dog (Pluto Pup) become an Easter Show must?

So, when we took the kids to the show on Monday, it was in a completely different venue and Geoff and I have only been there once before back in 2002. I know you expect change in that time but it doesn’t mean you like it or that everything has changed. They might not have the cart but they still have the horse, the dodgem cars and the Laughing Clowns. For better or worse, the Kewpie dolls seem to be long gone. Being such a part of Ray Lawler’s play: The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, they had a significance which went way beyond just being something commercial at The Show. ,

However, much of the format hasn’t changed. There were the Floral Displays, Agricultural Displays from various Districts , Rollercoaster, Cake Decorating, and the Dog Show.

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Is this a dog or a cake?

There’s also another feature of the show, which hasn’t changed. That is the crowds. The showground was absolutely packed! We didn’t lose the kids or each other, which was an absolute miracle because that usually happens on a fairly ordinary outing. Bearing this in mind, both kids had both our mobile numbers written on their hand in permanent marker. They were also handing out wristbands out there. The lost child at the show is just as common as the smiling child clutching their show bags.

 

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Celebrity Chef  Fast Ed showing us how to make pizza.He had an enlightening discussion with a young boy about the important distinction between “caramelised” and “burnt”.

Being the largest event in Australia, Fast Ed wasn’t the only celebrity we met up with . Indeed, just as I suspected, Elvis is still alive!

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I also met up with Fomer Australian Prime Minister incognito but still recognizable,wearing his trade mark “budgie-smugglers” or Speedo’s.

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Photographed with Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

After everything we said and did at the show, the last photograph had to go to the Ferris Wheel.

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What are your favourite memories of going to a show?

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

Let Them Eat Cake!

As our tour of the Royal Sydney Easter Show continues, we’re onto Cake Decorating. A friend of mine won one of these categories a few years ago and dropped off my son’s Ninja birthday cake on the way to dropping off her prize-winning entry. I don’t know how she managed to drive it down. I would’ve been driving about 20 KPH the whole way and having an escort front and behind with flashing lights and a huge sign warning: PRECIOUS CARGO ON BOARD! I never felt like this when I was pregnant but some of these cakes really do look precarious, fragile and not something which should be moved.

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To be perfectly honest, the level of creativity and skill was excellent across the board. The entire display so inspirational. So, I feel it is rather unfair to single any cakes out but unfortunately that’s the nature of things. I physically couldn’t photograph them all…especially given the crowds!

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“May the Force be with you.”

 – Yoda

 

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Yoda

Aren’t they simply amazing! Work

I hope you’re having a great week!

xx Rowena

Flowers: When You Can’t Grow Your Own……

Hope you’re enjoying your virtual experience of the Royal Sydney Easter Show. So far, we’ve boarded the rollercoaster, battled it out on the dodgems, toured the dog pavillion where we checked out the Best in Show and went on to see a sheep dog round up some sheep. How we’ve managed to jam so much into one day, I don’t know but it isn’t over yet.
Now, we’re off to the flowers. They were absolutely stunning and I can assure you that nothing like this is growing in our desiccated garden.
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What an incredible orchid just begging to be photographed!

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.”

Gerard De Nerval

 

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What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

William Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet (2.2.45-7)

 

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 “If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?”

Khalil Gibran
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“But when the melancholy fit shall fall

Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,

That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,

And hides the green hill in an April shroud;

Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,

 Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,

Or on the wealth of globed peonies;

Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,

Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,

And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.”

John Keats: Ode To Melancholy

 

“Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.”
John Lennon
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“The fairest thing in nature, a flower, still has its roots in earth and manure.”
D. H. Lawrence

“By plucking her petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower.”
Rabindranath Tagore
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“When I walk with you I feel as if I had a flower in my buttonhole.”
William Makepeace Thackeray
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“The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.”
Auguste Rodin
So, I hope you enjoyed our journey through the Flower Exhibit at the show. It really was beautiful!
xx  Rowena