A picture says…

Pink lady number five

A couple of weeks ago, I had the most incredible day out with the Pink Lady Art Exhibition crew. It was such a special day that I just had to share it with you. Here’s a run down of the amazing meal that I had, and an introduction to the wonderful company that I kept.

Counting our blessing for the wonderful weather, six chatty ladies loaded up into Lisa’s 4wd and headed out to Red Hill. We had a booking for a table at Port Phillip Estate, had heard amazing things, and were all eager to have a taste of a devine wine or two.

On arrival, I was taken aback by the incredibly earthy but modern, sculptural structure that is Port Phillip Estate. The view was breathtaking.

“Surrounded by mounds of native grasses and indigenous spotted gums, the new Port Phillip Estate winery, designed by Wood Marsh Architecture, emerges from the landscape as a dramatic curved sculpture made of rammed-earth.”

On being shown to our seats in the calm, coolness of the dining room, we were tempted in all direction by a succulent three course meal and an incredible wine list. The biggest decision of the day…tasting plate or dessert? Needless to say, I went for dessert.

It was the most amazing meal I’ve had all year…luxurious, but not extravagant, and of the highest quality. The first course, Three Little Pigs was pig done three ways, including blood pudding. Ordinarily I would have passed on such a ‘treat’ but this thin, garnished disc was actually delicious, I’m so glad I was a little bold. My main was a fresh ricotta and spinach-filled ravioli which was truly melt-in-the-mouth. For me, dessert was the highlight – vanilla marshmallow, lemon curd, pistachio crumble; essentially a deconstructed lemon meringue pie. I don’t want to undersell it with this description, it would have been the most devine lemon meringue pie ever, but the difference was made by being able to enjoy it in parts. This meant that I was able to really fully experience all the individual flavours, each one perfect.

The catch-up lunch itself was special, as the weekend marked 12 months before the next Pink Lady Art Exhibition, booked in for the 27th and 28th October 2012. For the past four years, this art show has allowed an opportunity to enjoy a spectacular range of art whilst raising funds to contribute to the work of BCNA and NBCF in their support of breast cancer survivors. The exhibition is now biannual, and the organisers are at this point starting to prepare for next year’s show. It promises to be the best yet, and we all look forward to celebrating the 5th Pink Lady Art Exhibition.

Over lunch we all started hatching plans as to how to make next year’s show bigger and better than ever. I don’t want to give too much away at this early stage, but I will say, it’s not to be missed!

This is an event, and an issue close to my heart, and I’d love it if you would put the date in your diary…we’d love to see you at the show. I’d love it if you would like to join the Pink Lady crew on Facebook or Twitter – it’s a great way to hear about art news and breast cancer awareness activities. Finally, I’d also be wrapt if you would visit the exhibition’s brand-new blog (my new baby) at Pink Lady Art Exhibition: Blog. The blog will be a perfect way to get to know more about the show, the artists and our amazing sponsors. Please pop on by, and stay tuned as activities and news ramps up in the new year.

Modern learnings

A week or so ago, I was lucky enough to get to check out the Art Gallery of Ballarat’s upcoming exhibition, Australian Modern Masterpieces from the Art Gallery of New South Wales.


The exhibition has since opened, and so I thought it would be timely to let you know about the other great complimentary events that are going on at the gallery as part of this exhibit. These film screenings and lunchtime recitals will help you to really get into spirit of this impressive stage of Australian art, to learn a bit more about the colourful characters who were working in the art world at this time.

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Film screenings
Celebrate Australian cultural expression with special movie screenings on the wall of the gallery Function Hall. Bring a beanbag and enjoy a glass of wine as you experience some Australian classics. Free screenings – donation requested for supper. Presented by the Art Gallery of Ballarat in partnership with Ballarat Film Society.

A Son is Born and The Picture Show Man
Saturday, 22 October at 8pm
This double feature brings together a 1946 family melodrama featuring Peter Finch and John McCallum with the nostalgic 1977 nostalgia piece The Picture Show Man, starring John Meillon.

Between Wars
Thursday, 27 October at 8pm
This 1974 feature is one of the few Australian features to range over the socio-political landscape. It stars Corin Redgrave and Judy Morris. It will be proceded by shorts including the 1985 The Drover’s Wife.

Heritage and Squizzy Taylor
Tuesday, 22 November at 8pm
A homegrown gangster classic, this Simpson Le Mesurier film starring Jackie Weaver was released in 1982. It pairs up with Charles Chauvel’s second sound feature from 1935.

Lunchtime recitals
Explore different aspects of 20th century Australia with these special lunchtime events. Entry by donation. Presented by the Art Gallery of Ballarat in partnership with Bronwyn Blaiklock, Ballarat Writers Inc and the University of Ballarat.

Eric Christopher Perry and Bronwyn Blaiklock
Friday, 18 November at 12.30pm
Join tenor Eric Christopher Perry and pianist Bronwyn Blkaiklock as they explore a diverse range of Australian song and piano music, reflecting the cultural movements in the Australian Modern masteprieces exhibition. They present sample elements borrowed, adapted and created in a unique soundscape.

Nathan Curnow – The Angry Penguins
Friday, 25 November at 12.30pm
Join award-winning poet Nathan Curnow for readings from the 1940s ‘Angry Penguins’ era, including the notorious Ern Malley poems -the literary hoax that aimed to discredit the Australian avant-garde.

Sheridan Palmer on Bernard Smith and Modernism’s Tradition
Wednesday, 9 November at 12.15pm
Dr Sheridan Palmer, who is writing a biography of the notable Australian art critic Bernard Smith who is known as the father of Australian art history. In this talk she discusses the importance of Bernard Smith as a major player in defining the history of Modernism, that extraordinary cycle of stylistic changes and ideologies in which new codes of behaviour, dress, architecture and politics redefined culture and ostensibly freed modern life from its traditions. This talk will be repeated at 6pm, when wine and cheese will be available.

Text taken from Art Gallery of Ballarat promotional brochure. Full details of all upcoming events can be found on the gallery’s website.

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I’m hoping to get to the Nathan Curnow – Angry Penguins session myself. Well worth a day trip, as is the exhibition itself. Please treat yourself!

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A modern masterpiece

I’ve not long ago returned home from a quick trip to Ballarat, where I was lucky enough to have a sneak-peak at the Art Gallery of Ballarat’s upcoming exhibition, Australian Modern Masterpieces from the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Modern Masterpieces is an incredible collection of pieces from the superstars of modern Australian art. Carefully curated and thoughtfully arranged, the show includes works from the likes of Margaret Olley, Margaret Preston, Arthur Boyd, John Brack, Grace Cossington Smith, William Dobell, Donald Friend and Sidney Nolan, John Olsen and one of my favourites, Brett Whiteley.

“This exhibition provides a unique insight into the history of Australian modern art from the 1910s to the 1970s, recognising the extraordinary ability of Australian artists and the pivotal role they played in capturing the lives and moments of Australians in recent times.” 

Image: Jeffrey Smart

I was incredibly impressed by the calibre of the works included in this show. The Art Gallery of New South Wales has been incredibly generous in providing some really stand-out pieces, which have been skillfully blended with works from Ballarat’s own stella collection. The show also includes a piece from the collection of the Newcastle Region Art Gallery, which is where the exhibition will move to next.

I was entranced by Dobell’s wistful portrait of Margaret Olley (1948) – the piece made all the more meaningful for Olley’s recent passing. This portrait marked Dobell’s re-entry to portraiture, and won him his second Archibald Prize. The sensitivity behind this portrait is obvious, and it is beautifully whimsical and just a little cheeky.

There are a number of really haunting pieces in the exhibition, such as Drysdale’s Sofala (1947) and Boyd’s The Mockers (1945). Jeffrey Smart’s more recent work The Listeners (1965) is stunning and more than a little ominous.

The absolute highlight for me personally were the Brett Whiteley works, inparticular the inclusion of Remembering Laotse (Shaving off a Second) (1967).

...with Director, Gordon Morrison

We have a print of this piece at the end of our hallway at home, and it’s a favourite. The image is for me at once confronting and comforting, and the handwritten text included in the top left-hand corner of this work on paper, delivered forcefully by pointed finger is both a warning and a reassurance:

Remembering  Laotse …….

He is to be made to dwindle (in power)
Must first be caused to expand
He who is to be weakened
Must first be made strong
He who is paid to be low
Must first be exalted to power
He who is to be taken away from
Must first be given
This is the subtle light
Gentleness overcomes strength
Fish should be left in the deep pool
And sharp weapons of state should be left where none can see them!!!

In my humble opinion, this piece is in its own right worth the trip to Ballarat and the (very affordable) cost of entry to this impressive exhibition.

Australian Modern Masterpieces from the Art Gallery of New South Wales will open at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard Street North, on 5 October, and run until 27 November 2011. Check the gallery website for full details, and for some great tips and discounts regarding travel and accommodation.

Further, Rushcrowds currently have some special offers (including free tickets!) – well worth checking out here!

I can honestly say I loved this exhibition, and I’m hoping to get back at least once more before it closes. I can highly recommend it, for both locals and others who feel like a trip to one the best regional galleries around.

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Lots of wonderful little ideas

I really love today’s post, it’s just brim full of wonderful ideas…books, makings, and time for tea. Today’s Be My Guest is Jo from Little Melbourne, and she’s kindly shared with us some of her favourite things. Thanks so much Jo…

To Read | A few of our Favourite ‘sleepy time’ reads
Asking for one more story before bed is the oldest trick in the book. And you fall for it every time. Here’s what we’re reading:

The Green-Eyed Mouse and the Blue-Eyed Mouse, by Bob Gill
This sweet story centers around two timid mice, Noah and Rafaella, who meet each other for the first time by peering through a dark hole. Seeing only the other’s eyes, the mice guess that they belong to anything from an exotic animal to a snake to a traffic warden. Until, on the count of three, they face their fears and emerge to discover that they’re not so different after all.

The retro drawings, die-cut holes perfect for peeking, and clever colour-coded text make it an instant classic that teaches one of life’s most important lessons: You can’t judge a book by its cover.


Spot It! Find the Hidden Creatures, by Delphine Chedru
Following clues in the brief text, readers must search out the hidden creature in each spread, often disguised in clever and unexpected ways. The unique designs and concealed animals turn this book into a treasure hunt for clever young readers. Once grown-ups and kids begin the hunt, they won’t be able to resist finding all of the creatures!

Zoo, by Bruno Munari
Come and visit the animals in Bruno Munari’s zoo. The book is a visual delight, and the story witty and playful – exactly the sort of book to dive into with your little one.

Lost and Found, by Oliver Jeffers
Lost and Found is a simple tale about a boy and a penguin and their growing friendship. Jeffers jumps into a childs mind and thinks out each scenario with the depth and obsession of a child and this clever style engages with children instantly as they can see themselves in the boy.

Walk the Dog A Parade of Pooches from A to Z, by Bob Barner
This tail-wagging book features an alphabet of jumping, barking, playing dogs. From Airedales to Zwergpinschers, the 26 breeds gather to form one big, boisterous, barking pack. Bob Barner’s colourful collage illustrations and a bouncy, fun-to- read-aloud text make this book a playful introduction to man’s (and kid’s) best friend.

Press Here, by Herve Tullet
The single touch of a finger sparks a whimsical dance of colour and motion in this joyful celebration of the power of the imagination. Press here. That’s right. Just press the yellow dot…and turn the page.


To Create | Something to do at home to cure the boredom blues

MAKE IT YOURSELF CHALK

1 cup of plaster of Paris
1/2 cup of cold water
Popsicle/Icypole Molds
Tempera Paint (powdered is best)

Combine Plaster of Paris, water and tempera paint. The amount of tempera you add will determine how dark the coloured chalk will be. Pour the mixture into candy or popsicle/icypole molds and let dry.

Take the chalk out of molds and use for drawing on the sidewalk. This chalk will be most effective right after taking out of the molds. You could also use a toilet paper roll and a little tip is to line your molds or rolls with wax paper to allow the chalk to slip easily out of the molds.

Let the fun begin!


To Eat | Eating and Reading….A Match made in heaven

Not too big, not too small, Teatime & Tales Cafe and Bookshop has a bit of everything: a cafe stocked with carbs, treats and caffeine, a loungy area with plenty of cushioned seating, activities on offer for little cooks and artists, and, of course, books galore. Little mini’s are kept entertained with toys and books, for Mums there are cushions for nursing and there’s even Wifi. A babies and kids menu is a given.


To Do | Celebrating Book Week at The National Sports Museum

Celebrate with the National Sports Museum and the MCC library with the theme One World, Many Stories – Books and the Hidden History of the MCG. Come along to a workshop, learn how to draw your own caricature and meet author-illustrator of The Invincible Bunyips, Paul Harvey each day at 11.00am, 11.30am, 1.00pm or 1.30pm. Here’s some more ideas to celebrate Children’s Book Week 2011.


To Visit | Closed Loop Cool Kids Day 28th August

The Closed Loop Cool Kids Day is open to all kids between the ages of 4 and 12. There will be loads of different activities running throughout the day to keep big and little kids busy, and keep mums and dads happy.

On the big stage they’ll be entertaining you with live performances.

Off stage, cool kids can have a crack at rock climbing on the Anaconda rock wall, meeting a snake (eeek!!!!) or a celebrity (oooh!!!), face-painting, pot planting, building, painting and crafts, loads of games and cool prizes.

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Jo’s site Little Melbourne is another one of my favourites, as it’s a great place to find out about what’s on and happening in Melbourne for parents and their little ones.

The range of activities means there is a little something for everyone, and budget conscious suggestions are frequently included. If you’re keen to get the kids out of the house, have a browse on this great site.

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August give-away: Festival Tix

I think it’s been fairly well established that I’m very excited about the Melbourne Writers Festival. It’s a fabulous opportunity to hear from some great writers and lovers of all things wordy. The program is rich, and the two keynote events promise to be extremely entertaining.

Image: S. Tan

For our August give-away, you’ll get a chance to get involved with Stories Unbound yourself.

I’m so pleased to be able to offer a lucky winner a double pass to the festival’s keynote event – Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.

The inventive graphic stories of internationally renowned local illustrator Shaun Tan have already migrated from page to screen, with the Oscar-winning film The Lost Thing. Now, Tan’s much-loved The Arrival – following the melancholic yet hopeful adventures of a refugee in a strange world – has been brought to life in music by Sydney composer and musician Ben Walsh. An amazing live ‘sonic-scape’, performed by the multi-instrumental Orkestra of the Underground, accompanies projections of Tan’s exquisite illustrations. Tan will introduce this performance via video. This remarkable collaboration makes its Victorian premiere as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival. (MWF Program, www.mwf.com.au)

Tan is a unique talent, his books haunting, and this event promises to be something very special.

To go into the running to win this double pass, all you have to do is have a look over the festival program, and tell us what other event you’d most like to go to. Then:

1. Leave a comment on this post, or

2. Visit That Book You Like‘s Facebook page

…and tell us what you’d choose, and why.

The winner of this month’s competition (selected at random) will receive a double pass to attend the keynote event – Shaun Tan’s The Arrival.

This competition is short and sharp, and entries close next Tuesday, 16 August 2011.

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All things NYC

Those of you who know me, know that I love New York. I count the weekend I spent there a few years ago as one of my most exciting ever, and I dream of the day that I can go back again. I’m pretty certain I’m not alone in my obsession, and the fact that every time I switch on the TV at the moment someone or another is running madly through Times Square or cooking in Central Park, reassures me that the love for and fascination with NYC is not fading.

If you’re a fan of New York, or simply love great photography, you’ve really got to check out photographer Melissa Hobb’s upcoming exhibition; NYC -6º Cold Bite of the Big Apple. Opening next week, Wednesday 27 July at Gasworks Art Park the show features a range of beautifully narrative shots of New York in Winter.

What to expect, in Melissa’s words…

New York City = No 1 on my Bucket List. For so many years I’ve wanted to travel to New York. Even more so now that my new profession is encompassed in the art world and New York has so many wonderful galleries.

So when my amazing husband surprised me with a booked holiday, New York was now on the agenda.

The average temperature in New York was -6°C but this didn’t deter me from discovering this amazing city. When 18 inches of snow fell, New York turned into a magical wonderland.

As a keen user of social networking sites Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, not only was I able to share my experiences with everyone back home but I could also share my first hand view of New York through the many images I took. This is my interpretation of New York and the way I saw it. Finally!

About the artist…
Melissa Hobbs is a final year photography commercial major at Photography Studies College. Her dream of being a professional photographer is rapidly being realised. Inspired by such photographers as Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen, Melissa embarked on a journey to NYC with the intention of photographing “the essence of New York” She’s a wife and Mum to two young boys. You can find out more about Melissa’s work at her website or follow her on Twitter @melhobbs.

Photo: Mel Hobbs

Mel would love your company at the opening, or pop on by any time up until 7 August 2011. Also, feel free to let us know what you think of the show…

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Art of the Brick

It was Evan’s turn today for a city day-trip, and along with some school buddies we headed off into Federation Square for a bit of Lego action. I’ve been really looking forward to seeing Nathan Sawaya’s Art of the Brick, and it did not disappoint.

I’m pretty sure I’m safe in saying that once a Lego kid, always a Lego kid, and I am most certainly a fan of the little plastic block. In saying that, I wouldn’t have been as interested in seeing a Legoland type of display – cityscapes, spaceships, car-like creations. Although these types of structures require immense talent and incredibly steady hands, it’s not so much the type of things I’m interested in seeing.

Nathan Sawaya’s exhibition is very different to this. His work is sculptural, emotional, and in many ways very mature. It’s a fascinating contrast between medium and content. It’s a bit like seeing the Mona Lisa drawn in crayon…it perplexes one just a little.

And although I think the boys were a little distracted by the prospect of laser skirmish in the afternoon (oh boys…), I think Evan got into the show almost as much as I did. He was suitably impressed by the level of difficulty, both in terms of the construction and the transportation of the sculptures. I think he got the contrast too. He was compelled to get up very close, to look at the details, to study the expressions on the Lego faces all with a little frown on his own face.

He loved the dinosaur, huge and tactile, and he spent a fair while studying the globe of the world. He was also very keen on the coloured skulls, bright and bold on the black wall – he was really fascinated by their symmetry, four skulls exactly the same, only different in colour.

Personally, I particularly like Mask and Yellow, and I’ll admit I would have liked one the skulls to take home for my wall.

We didn’t stay for ages, just long enough to look at everything a couple of times. It was pretty busy, but not overwhelmingly so. Just the right amount of action to make you feel you were in the middle of a pretty exciting show. I noticed that the ‘Play and Build’ sessions were solidly booked out for most of the day – luckily the kids weren’t that keen on doing building of their own, but had they been, pre-booking would have been a must.

This is a really interesting show, well worth looking at as a day out. Being in Federation Square, it’s in a great location too, very easy to get to. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can check out their link on Little Melbourne’s site.

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In the really-real world

I had a wonderful time last night at the opening of My 10 Crushes: An Exhibition of Oodlies. The work by Joi is so much fun, it’s bright and edgy and it was really special to be able to hear a little from Joi (in all her introverted glory) on how this unique show has come together.

The ten pieces that make up the exhibition have all been inspired by twitter-mates that Joi has come across over time, and proceeded to stalk. As such, the works are all unique, personal and narrative. In their own surreal way, they have a most endearing real-life personality at their core. To add to this, all the pieces have an accompanying interview (which you can find on the Oodlies site), so that you can find out more about why Sam has mouse ears, all about the carnival romance of Mirjam’s parents and Joi’s fascination with Bambi’s name.

Many of the ‘crushes’ were present and accounted for…interesting character each and every one, I can see why Joi was drawn to them (pun intended).

An absolute highlight of the evening was getting to meet a lot of people I have up until now only know by their Twitter handles and their faces by thumbnail. It was a treat to chat to them in real life and I look forward to following them closely through the twittersphere.


I really loved the ‘Munny‘ collection, lovely little creatures, and a bonus item that tickled my fancy were the Mooodlies cushions (created in collaboration with designer Mirjam Spronk)…I have a terrible feeling these would look amazing in my house.

The exhibition is on now, until 26 June 2011 at Gasworks Arts Park Cnr Graham & Pickles St Albert Park, VIC.

Tools of trade

I’ve not got much time on my hands today, so I thought rather than a full-blown post, I’d just share my absolutely favourite photo at the moment.

It’s the most amazing shot of journalist Hunter S Thompson working at his ranch circa 1976 near Aspen Colorado and it’s one of a collection of photographs of writer and their tool of trade, the typewriter. The collection was put together by The Guardian and it’ll make you want to sit down with a coffee (or a something stronger), a roll-your-own, a whiff of an idea and write into the wee hours.

Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

This shot is my desktop pic at the moment, and it’s pure inspiration. I also really loved the photo of Ernest Hemingway at his typewriter as he works on For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Who inspires you?

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Frankly my dear…

I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with how words work, and how they can be used for better or worse to influence people. For this reason, Words that Hijack the Brain seemed right up my ally.  I was keen to hear some ideas that might shed some light on how those pesky little songs, nagging trends and clever jingles burrow themselves deeply into our brains and pass from person to person so readily.

The lecture was presented by Judi Menzies, the moderator of the Philosophy Group (an informal group that runs out of the library and meets to discuss the big questions) and she kindly presented the lecture as part of the 2011 Bayside Literary Festival.

Although the lecture itself didn’t hang together quite right, it introduced some really interesting ideas.  Not the least of which was the basic idea of Memes, a term used to describe “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” A meme is by definition self-replicating, and as Judi notes, is a little like a virus that spreads through a culture, most often harmlessly. Interestingly they can at times take on a more sinister shape.

I didn’t completely agree with everything that Judi put forward, and I think it might have been beneficial to hear more about her fear of the more negative, fundamental memes (statements of religious zeal, slogans of violence or revenge etc). Likewise, I would have liked her to venture a guess as to what it is that makes phrases like ‘Chick, chick, boom‘ or classic lines like ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn‘ strike such a cultural cord, taking root quickly and immovably. Is it that they’re particularly clever? Is it that they are annoying? Maybe it’s that they have a sing-song quality, making them easy to remember (or hard to forget)?

There’s no doubt, the ideas presented were very interesting and I might spend a little bit of time looking into this further.

Image: Nicky Johnston

The event was held at the Brighton Library, and so I got to check out Nicky Johnston’s art while I was there. It was really great to see a range of Nicky’s illustrations and scenic pieces.

Nicky is the author of two great kid’s book, Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts and Happy Thoughts are Everywhere written to help parent’s work with anxious kids, as Nicky says – their ‘little worriers.’ She’s also put together resource kits to further assist families for whom childhood mental health issues are presenting challenges. If you’d like to find out more about her books, you can check out further information at her website…

Before I go tonight, I’ve got to confess that against my better judgement June isn’t looking much quieter than May was. I’m very pleased to have picked up some tickets to see the play The Haunting of Daniel Gartell, starring John Wood, Samuel Johnson and Marcella Russo, showing at Fortyfive Downstairs. Check out discount tix here. I’m also pretty keen to get along to a couple of kids’ events in the next couple of weeks, which I’ll post about over the weekend.

As an aside, I’ve promised myself that I’ll get some reading done this weekend. I hope that you can put your feet up and steal a few reading moments for yourself this weekend.