Monthly Archives: May 2013

Geewillinkinwinkings! A Feat Whichever Way You Look At It!

Trekking in the Porongurups and the Stirling Ranges in the south west of Western Australia  kept me away from posting here for a week or so but I’m back and keen to tell you about the Castle Rock Skywalk.  Not only was it a physical and mental feat for DO and I to do the 500 metre plus climb and walk the skywalk but an engineering triumph to get it in place.

There are hand holds near the top to help but you still need long legs or good flexibility  – or a helping hand.  (Click on the images to enlarge.)

You get onto the skywalk via a 7 metre ladder.  A good head for heights or a strong stomach and sheer determination will get you to the top.  The views and the sense of achievement made all our nausea worthwhile!

We couldn’t help but wonder how it was built – and to be in awe of those who built it.  There is a short video here on its construction which won a Master Builders Association Award in 2012.  There are more photos here on the award winning company’s web site.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about an engineering feat rather than about art.  If so, this quote from Leonardo Da Vinci may explain:

‘The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.’

So is the Castle Rock Skywalk.

Karri Lookout Below The Skywalk

Karri Lookout Below The Skywalk

The Karri Lookout provides a viewing platform for those not doing the vertical climb to the Skywalk..

🙂
Helen

A Tale Of A Tailflower

Gee – I missed a Willingkinswinkins post this week – manyana!  Today I’ll tell you the tale of the Sticky Tailflower that is native to the south coast of Western Australia and knows how to make the best of a sticky situation.

Anthocercis Viscosa, Albany, WA

Anthocercis Viscosa, Albany, WA

I took these photos of a clump of Sticky Tailflower bushes in the coastal ranges of the beautiful Albany region.  The bushes are growing in the elevated granite outcrops where there is good drainage but little soil.  The benefits of such a harsh environment are restricted competition and moisture  well into dry periods, as their roots penetrate fissures deep into the rocks.  The benefit to me is the beautiful flowers:

Sticky Tailflower Bush, Albany, WA

Sticky Tailflower Bush, Albany, WA

The ‘sticky’ part of their name relates to the leaves.  The slightly sticky foliage helps to protect the plant from the salt in the air.  I’ve yet to discover the ‘tail’ of the flower!  I examined it closely when I painted it in coloured pencils as the green part of my WA Rainbow series.

WA Rainbow - Green

WA Rainbow – Green

Maybe it’s because the flower buds can be seen to represent a flared tail end?

The flowers are about 5cm / 2 inches in diameter with large, waxy petals.

The bush can be cultivated but it is thought to be toxic to stock – another way for it to beat adversity!

I’ll leave you today to ponder a quote on adversity from Mark Twain:

By trying we can easily endure adversity.  Another man’s I mean.

🙂
Helen

Just Goes To Show How Multicultural Australia Is!

Another Immigrant?!

The third in my series of wildflowers I photographed and painted to be part of my WA Rainbow has turned out to be another immigrant – 2 out of 3 so far! 

Camissonia cheiranthifolia Beach Evening-primrose

Photo credit: davidhofmann08

 The Beach Primrose is native to North America – California and Oregon get specific mention by Wikipedia.  Control is needed to ensure it doesn’t thrive at the expense of other flora but as far as I’m concerned it still deserves to remain here.  It is  both beautiful and functional – and it reminds me of being by the sea.

Oenothera drummondii

– is it’s botanical name but my tongue can’t get around that, nor can my memory, so it remains Beach Primrose to me.  It thrives on sand dunes and sandy roadsides so must be as tough as nails, yet its petals are such a delicate looking lemony yellow they appear almost transparent as they flutter in a breeze.  As well as imparting visual pleasure almost year round, it is good at stabilizing sand.

Captured!

It captured me so I returned the favour!

Beach Primrose by Helen Lock

Beach Primrose by Helen Lock

It brings back memories of fulfilling a dream and living near the sea and listening to the sound of the surf as I lay in bed.  I am lucky!

🙂
Helen

Geewilingkingwinkings – Age Is So Inspiring!

I find people who don’t define themselves by their age inspiring.  I’ve been thinking about age and creativity thanks to the Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I’ve been painting pictures from the book for the walls of what will be my grandson’s nursery.  (I’m being careful to sign them as ‘After Eric Carle’ just in case of forgery claims even though they are not to be sold – and far from perfect copies.)

Front cover

Front cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The now infamous caterpillar first appeared to be chewing holes in picture book pages in 1969.  Eric Carle is now in his eighties and still writing picture books!  The latest is The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse.  In 2002, when Eric was 73, he and Barbara Carle founded The Eric Carle Picture Book Museum to inspire the love of art and reading.  It’s an interesting web site to visit and it includes the opportunity to take a virtual tour.

I think Eric must have found the same fountain of youth the actress Sophia Loren who once said:

Portrait of the Italian actress Sophia Loren f...

Sophia Loren  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.

I’m thinking that what Louis Armstrong said of musicians applies to all types of artists, including me!

English: Louis Armstrong, jazz trumpeter Franç...

Louis Armstrong (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them.

 

I know I have more pictures in me but for now I’m working on my forgery skills…

After Eric Carle by Helen Lock

After Eric Carle by Helen Lock (Acrylic on canvas)

Eric has nothing to fear from me!!

🙂
Helen

Gazanias Laugh At Drought!

Gazanias are popular in Australia because they do well in dry, poor soils and provide brightly coloured flowers over a long period.

Gazania At Balligar

Gazania At Balligar

We have an assortment of Gazanias growing themselves at Balligar.  The brilliant colours and form of an unfurling bloom prompted me to make this coloured pencil rendering:

Gazania Orange by Helen Lock

Gazania Orange by Helen Lock

Every Silver Lining…

Unfortunately the success of the Gazanias, which are native to South Africa, hinders regeneration of native flora and may have a flow on impact to native fauna. They can certainly add to the rabbit problem as rabbits are rather partial to eating them.

This means I’m in for some serious weeding to keep them under control now Autumn is here.  I know I’ll be rewarded in spring with a show of native wildflowers too.

Hooroo!
🙂
Helen