Tag Archives: Australia

Don an Apron!

Sam Kekovich did more for the Australian lamb industry than anyone else I can think of.  Certainly more than my lamb recipe illustrations.  Sam’s ‘tongue in cheek’ diatribes were enjoyed by millions over a number of years.  Link to the 2006 ad here and you’ll understand my choice of title for this post!

Maybe a few will enjoy my sketches.

Balsamic & Rosemary Lamb Cutlets

Balsamic & Rosemary Lamb Cutlets

Balsamic Lamb Backstraps

Balsamic Lamb Backstraps

Lamb Burgers

Lamb Burgers

Lamb Koftas

Lamb Koftas

Spicy Lamb Cutlets

Spicy Lamb Cutlets

Hooroo,
🙂
Helen

 

A Snowflake Is Winter’s Butterfly

The only snowflakes we get to see here in the Perth Hills of Western Australia are the botanical kind but we do get to see them in Winter.  Our Snowflakes are native to Europe where they bloom in Summer – it’s a fun world!

Leucojum

Snowflakes – Helen Lock

This is the third pen and watercolour painting in my series on Western Australian weeds.  These beautiful Snowflakes (Leucojum Aestivum) were blooming a couple of months ago when I captured them on paper.  I just love the finger like tepals sporting green nail varnish.

Leucojum is a genus of bulbous plants native to Europe.  They grow here up to 60 cm tall in winter wet habitats.  They are a priority species for control in conservation areas.  So, another plant for us to contain but not only for the sake of indigenous plants but also for the safety of our children and animals as all parts are poisonous, especially the bulbs.

Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.                                                                 – Paracelsus

How true!
🙂
Helen

One Mans Flowers…

Many of the wildflowers in our garden at Balligar in Western Australia have turned out to be weeds – officially declared pests! This has led to much thought about the concept of weeds – or “matter out of place” as described by E.J. Salisbury (a botanist) – and germinated the seeds of a new series. This is a prototype inspired by the Arum Lilies that grow in clumps in the lower part of our property.

Arum Lilies - WA Weed

One Mans Flowers… By Helen Lock

Done using permanent ink and watercolour pencils on Arches Watercolour paper. Border and text added using Publisher.

All comments, critiques, recommendations and suggestions welcome!

🙂
Helen

Geewillinkinwinkings – It’s Monday Already – and February 2014!#$@!

Time is an illusion

said Albert Einstein.  This gives me comfort as I wonder how come January has been and gone already!  Gone before I started my New Year Resolutions, gone before I finished even one painting, gone!

At least I did start a painting.  When going for a walk a tree will sometimes catch my attention and stop me in my tracks as it makes me aware of its individuality, its own brand of beauty and its character.  There is one such tree in the reserve behind our home.  It’s a  Jarrah tree that bears the scars of a long life with a belly that suggests a full and indulgent one.  I fancy that it’s raising a glass and saying ‘Cheers!’ as I walk by and have nicknamed it ‘The Beer Belly Tree’.

The Beer Belly Tree

The Beer Belly Tree

The painting (1m by .75m) will be one of a series so I’m painting it out of context but realistically (in acrylics) so that those that have seen the tree may recognize it – I have no idea why I want to do so!

This is the progress by the end of January:

The Beer Belly In Progress

The Beer Belly In Progress

I’ve many reasons and excuses for not getting further – one is the level of detail messes with my brain!

Beer Belly Detail

Beer Belly Detail

Some other reasons for lack of progress: the extreme heat during January; a dysfunctional air-conditioner in the studio and the catastrophic bush fire on Sunday January 12th – a day that topped 46 degrees Celsius in the Perth Hills.  The fire devastated 650 hectares and destroyed over 50 homes, two in the west of our suburb, most in the suburb to our West.  It’s heart rendering to see the damage and feel the pain of the bush – fauna and flora – and the people directly affected.  We had to evacuate but were spared the trauma of losing our home where so many memories are stored.  We’ve learned from the experience and will be better prepared if there’s a next time.

As for the bush, it has seen fire before and has also learned from the experience.  Successful flora have adapted to survive and regenerate after fire. I think the Beer Belly Tree is a survivor of a past fire as its base is as black as charcoal in parts.

Despite the awfulness of the inferno on January 12 and its aftermath, I was struck by the beautiful colours and shapes of the blackened tree trunks and the crispy, burnt orange leaves as I drove by a stretch of incinerated bush the other day – and smiled to see the blackened stumps of grass trees already pushing up young, green spiky leaves.

As artist Joseph Beuys said:

I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time.

Time for me to go.
🙂
Helen

Run Postie, Run Run Run!

Christmas is almost upon us so it seems appropriate to give some thought to the postmen that are running hard to deliver the billions of cards and gifts across the planet that represent so much love and care between people.

When communication by email first became popular there was a concern for the future employment of our ‘posties’.   Now the popularity of online buying means that Australia Post has coped with the delivery of 20 million items every day this year – to a 11 million addresses.   These statistics don’t include the mail handled by all of the private courier companies!  The population of Australia is only 22.7 million – approximately.

These ‘postmen’ were running in our garden as early as Spring:

Kennedia Prostrata

Running Postman at Balligar

Also known as Kennedia Prostrata, they run along the ground forming a tangled mat.  This rendering of them in pen and watercolour is the last in the series of 12 wildflowers found in our garden this year that I painted in a style reminiscent of stained glass designs.  I’m looking forward to creating more paintings in various styles in 2014.

Meanwhile I hope the festive season brings love and care to all and a happy, peaceful New Year.  It’s nearly here – run postie, run!

🙂
Helen

Is This An Illusion?

If art was not an illusion would it be a photograph or is that also an illusion?  My head hurts already!

Art has to be an illusion (to me at least) as my sort of art, drawing and painting, is a 2-dimensional representation of a 3-dimension visual world.  The end result may be a close rendition of reality but it is always the artist’s view of it.

What maybe surprising is that these thoughts resulted from discovering that a variety of Kangaroo Paws on our block is a hybrid, so maybe these plants only give an illusion of nativeness.  If a hybrid is produced within Australia from Australian natives does the hybrid get a classification of ‘native’?

I think I prefer to do rather than think (is that a tautology?)!  Here’s the result of my doing ‘Kanga Burgundy” in the Wildflowers at Balligar design theme in pen and watercolour:

Kanga Burgundy / Bush Elegance

Kanga Burgundy / Bush Elegance

Kanga Burgundy is also known as Bush Elegance – and its inelegant name Anigozanthos Rambueleg.  This evergreen, perennial Kangaroo Paw reaches to 40cms tall with beautiful dark purple-red flowers from Spring to Autumn.  Its regal colours and looks belie its tough nature and ability to survive in dry, sunny positions, bringing us back to illusion and onto Albert Einstein who proclaimed:

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a rather persistent one.

Enough!

🙂
Helen

The End Of The Rainbow

If Blue Leschenaultia is known as ‘The Floor Of the Sky’ perhaps Parakeelya should be known as ‘The Floor Of The Sunset’ but for me it is the end of my WA Rainbow:

WA Rainbow - Violet (Parakeelya)

WA Rainbow – Violet (Parakeelya)

Parakeelya is a low growing Australian native with purplish flowers about 2cm wide.  Its name is Aboriginal but its origin and meaning are unknown.

All parts are edible but, as food this annual is apparently more palatable to stock than humans and can provide forage after soil moisture has dried up.

My painting was inspired by seeing a carpet of these flowers on a beautiful, sunny, Spring morning in the Julimar State Forest north east of Perth in WA.  The original is 9cm square and worked with Prismacolor pencils on paper.

I find it mind-bending to maintain concentration to get the details of interlaced things like the flower stems looking realistically tangled and wonder if there’s a special technique that would help!  I also wonder if I could ‘loosen up’!

I’d like to make another rainbow one day, meanwhile I’ll leave you with some thoughts about rainbows.

The lyrics of ‘The End of The Rainbow’ by Richard Thompson, sung here by Elvis Costello, represent a perspective I cannot share else I’d have no raison d’etre.  It is a very sad and depressing song.  These are the words of its chorus:

Life seems so rosy in the cradle,
But I’ll be a friend I’ll tell you what’s in store
There’s nothing at the end of the rainbow.
There’s nothing to grow up for anymore.

How much better to believe that the rainbow is enough in itself.

🙂
Helen