Monday, November 27, 2006

Lightening Strike

What could have been a nasty situation with fire was a strike out instead when lightening hit a tree on the family farm. I have since heard via the two way radio that the storm had left spot fires from strikes as the storm moved further East. There was also a strike between a house and shed in Booleroo Centre, my closes town to where I live.

As I type this the storm is building up again.

My husband actually saw the lightening hit the tree and can’t understand why it never started a fire as the tree lit up like a Christmas tree with a fireball exploding up and out. Periodically Malcolm and our son Shaun check the tree and surrounding area to make sure no spot fires start up.

The photo above shows the distance where I was still finding timber that had exploded away from the tree.

The bare branch that can be seen in this photo shows how it is stripped of bark and limbs. We can only find a fraction of the missing timber that has been ripped apart from that trunk on the tree and of cause that is a concern as we don’t know if there are any hot embers lying around the stubble paddock.

If you click on the image for a larger photo you should then be able to see the farm dog is trying to help out as well..... no I don't mean she is watering the tree...Chuckle.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Australian Artist, Sir Hans Heysen

A few days ago I had the opportunity to travel on a bus to Hahndorf in South Australia to visit one of Australia’s greatest artists, Sir Hans Heysen.

I have always been a huge admirer of his landscape paintings and wasn’t really aware of his other works until I made this trip. His oil Still Life paintings just blew me away. He stopped painting these when his daughter Nora took up Still Life painting, presumably for their work not to be compared. Hans’s graphite and charcoal drawings are something that I can only ever hope to aspire too. They are rendered by a true master.

The Heysen’s family home was purchased in 1912 where he remained until his death in 1968 at the age of 90. Hans and his wife Sallie had eight children. “The Cedars” as his home was named, had extensions added to it as his family increased.

While the tour was being conducted we were told that photos were not allowed to be taken inside the house. The house is like walking back into time. One lady that traveled on the same bus as me asked do I feel something about the room that we were in. I knew straight away what she meant with a spiritual feeling permeating me as if there was a tangible presence to the whole house. It was partially noticeable in the master bedroom where more than one birth and death had occurred. The strong sense of history was very real in this home. This probably comes from the many Paintings, drawings, prints and books that remain on view along with the solid wood furniture and Persian rugs scatter throughout the house.

Before I move on there is a Still Life called Zinnias and Autumn Fruit that I viewed over the mantle piece. This work Hans painted is nearly as wide as the large chimney that it hangs on. The painting was never for sale as it was a gift to his wife. Anna Pavlova, a visiting Russian Ballet dancer saw this painting and offered Hans a blank cheque for it. Anna was quite insistent that she buy the painting and “put out” that Hans would not sell her this painting. He offered to paint her a similar still-life though not an exact copy, which he did. When the painting was delivered to the Russian dancer she returned it saying that if she couldn’t have the painting that she wanted she would have no painting at all. That painting Anna didn’t want was soon purchased by another buyer and became one of Hans best.

Hans studio also had the same feel as the house though with a much more open airy sense due to the massive glass window at the end of his studio. The enormous window was imported from overseas and traveled from Adelaide by horse and cart, which would have been a feat on it own but did arrive safely. The glass has a frosted look about it so that there was a defused light into the studio. The studio was left as if Hans himself had just finished a day of painting. You can see by the wear on the large Persian rug where Hans worked in two areas at his larger than life easel by moving it into a different position as the light moved. Once more photos could not be taken but do regret not taking a photo of the window from outside.

At the time of his death it was instructed by Hans himself that all unsigned works were to be burnt. His family respected that and the big burn did happen, which in same ways saddened me as so much history literally went up in smoke.

The surrounding gardens are a delight to investigate. Hans never farmed his property; instead he planted his beloved gum trees throughout the land. This property still remains in the care of his family.

Even though the day was overcast and drizzly, I was please to get the opportunity to take a few photos in and around the Heysen grounds.

The Heysen Home


Car Shed

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Where has the moisture gone

It is hard to believe that by the old Aussie measurement we had a little over sixty points of rain yesterday, with the moisture disappearing quickly because it is soaked up greedily by the parched earth. Yes the drought that is happening in Australia is affecting our family farm as well. What there is of harvest is nearly finished; what was a good start to the season the rain is just too late now.

Farming families learn to roll with the punches if they want to survive in their business as we have for two generations. The third generation is now home to work the farm. It is an exciting time with a very positive attitude towards the future. The rain will come again as it has yesterday. Hopefully a bit more often than it has over the last few months and a must to fall at the right time. It would be lovely to have a tap at the bottom of the sky to switch on and off as needed but then again the rubber washers to stop the tap leak would just be to expensive to buy…wink.

This photo was taken on the way home from the evening walk with my husband. The remains of this water at the edge of the rubble road will soon be gone; though there is still more moisture forecasted for tomorrow and that is another day where we will look to the skies as we have for so many times over the last few months.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Emu and his eight chicks

This is a common sight to see dad wondering around the Wilpena Resort lawns feeding his chicks. Any tourist staying in these units in the background would have hardly believed there eyes with a treat like this right at their back door.

Like the Kangaroos the Emu has to be respected. If threatened, the Emu will kick out swiftly with their powerful legs. Thankfully the Emus that visit the resort and camping area are comfortable around humans and cause no problems, but just in case keeping ones distance is a good idea.

Link for Emu:

Wikipedia for Emu

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Kangaroo wanting Breakfast

On the morning that my husband and I were packing up the caravan to travel back home from Wilpena Pound, this lady thought she could join us for breakfast. She also had a Joey about half grown that was exploring near our van. It isn’t unusual for the mum to have a Joey in her pouch at the same time as a young one on the hop.

Even though this kangaroo was very friendly; most are not and don’t like to be near humans. Many kangaroos in the camp grounds often can be seen foraging for food that has been dropped by the tourists or begging for food from a holiday-maker, which is discouraged as these animals are in fact wild and human food is not good for them plus without warning the animal can inflict damage to a human body. In saying this though I had to laugh one morning when I saw a circle of campers facing a campfire having breakfast, including a kangaroo. Not something one sees everyday.

Links that you may find interesting are:
Wilpena Pound
Kangaroos, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Spring is in the air

There was plenty of wildlife at Wilpena Pound during my stay with more photos yet to come.

This pair of Dragon Lizards were how can I put it……a little frisky towards each other. This photo isn’t “adults only” but does show them having a cuddle after a courtship dance.

I didn’t hang around after these snaps were taken, as the mosquitoes where driving me nuts and had to get away from the area.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pastel Paintings

My commission work is progressing along with the farm bookwork completed as well. With a bit of luck I will now be able to concentrate on updating my blog more often instead of so sporadic as I have been since I have been home from up North.

My three completed pastel works while away as artist in residence are below. I also have a fourth one not completed. I will finish that one as a “Work in Progress” on my blog when the commissioned work is done.

While sitting here typing away I remembered painting a watercolour when I first arrived home; it was done to help me wind down from my trip away and must say I enjoyed every brush stroke. I will post that one at a later time…… so until then check out the paintings below by clicking on the thumbnails to see a larger view.

I would like to say a big hello to those that I chatted with while at Wilpena, it is friendly people like you that made my stay much more special. Cheers!!!

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