A picture says…

Discovering new delights

Well, I think I’ve almost caught my breath after a pretty busy weekend of doing, seeing and thinking. I must admit, I don’t quite have the stamina I used to for a day on my feet, thanks to those delightful rounds of chemo last year. But, I am feeling very pleased with myself, and with how much I’ve managed to get along to this last week. I do feel I’m making up for lost time rather nicely.

And so, Saturday the boys set off for the footy, and I wandered off to the Royal Exhibition Building to see Art Melbourne. It’s an amazing venue, and the exhibitors filled the space most impressively.

It took me a little while to get my bearings, but once I did I started to work my way up and down the aisles so as not to miss anything. To start with I wasn’t so sure that I’d find anything that took my fancy… there seemed to be a bit of a glut of oil paintings (not my favourite medium) and a bit of the work seemed to come across as a little ‘decorative’. Nonetheless, after I paused for a few minutes to watch a printing demonstration by Basil Hall, of Basil Hall Editions in Darwin, my head stopped spinning from the sensory overload that had hit me when I first walked in and I started to be able to sift through the same-y work, to find the brilliant pieces.

I could have loitered around the display by Urban Uprising all afternoon, so taken was I by the works they had chosen to show – Shepard Fairey (famous for that Obama poster), Marsha Meredith and Banksy. Urban Uprising is a Sydney-based gallery, and you might like to check out their website for some samples of their work. They’re in the process of moving from their Darlinghurst address, so keep an eye on the site for their new address.

I was very pleased to get to catch up with Joi Murugavell and her whimsical Oodlies. You’ve already heard about how much I like Joi’s work, but I’ll say it again anyway. If you ask me (which I’m assuming you are) Joi’s work really was a stand-out on the day. It had so much more life to it than much of the other work and it’s originality was drawing crowds. Oodlies are full of colour, boldly presented on the page and are at times delightfully naughty. I loved the hand-drawn chairs, and the shoes were being very well received.

Image: Joi Murugavell

Last to catch my eye was a really unassuming little stand featuring works by Alana Aphoy Photography. Her original photography, worked with photoshop to construct new and mesmerising images really fascinated me. Her shots would have been great works in their unworked form, but the work done to them has created a new, rich landscape. If you like photography that’s a little left of centre, check out the artist’s site here…

Image: Alana Aphoy

As you can see, I ended up finding a few great collections of work to which I took a shine and although I left the hall a little worse for wear, needing a good sit down, I think it was a most worthwhile day out. Thanks to Rushcrowds for making it so easy for me to get along on the day.

Stay tuned…
Tomorrow, I’ll put together a few thoughts about  June Loves’ chat about ‘Hen-Lit!’ The Shelly Beach Writers’ Group‘ part of the Bayside Literary Festival.

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May your May be very busy…

The day has wizzed by me I’m afraid, and I’ve only gotten a fraction of the jobs done that I’d hoped to. I am now miles behind myself, which probably serves me right for galavanting around town this week.

Despite this, I’m pleased to say that I’ve not learnt my lesson, and that I’ve got more than a few outings on the cards for the next couple of weeks. May is certainly turning out to be a busy month.

First on the cards is Art Melbourne, the affordable art show which is being held at the Royal Exhibition Building this weekend.  It opens tonight (I’m fairly sure tickets are still available through their website), and the show continues until Sunday. I’m hoping to get there myself on the weekend, and I can’t wait to check out some of the artistic talents around, local and otherwise who are looking to spruik their wares.

I’ll be especially on the look out for Joi’s Oodlies, which’ll be at stand S19, and I’m keen to see local gallery Suburban Gallery in stand C19.

If you’re keen on coming along at some stage, tickets are available online or at the door.  If you don’t get there, I’ll be sure to share a few of the stand-outs next week.

Next up is the 2011 Bayside Literary Festival which opens tomorrow night and runs until 27 May 2011. It’s a pretty jam-packed program featuring a really great range of authors, illustrators, experts and thinkers.  You’ll find the program here and I’ll have a bit more of a chat about a few of the events in tomorrow’s blog post.  In addition, if you’re in Brighton or Beaumaris, you might like to pop in to their libraries’ as they’re featuring art by Nicky Johnston and Pete Pascoe (Nicky at Brighton, Pete at Beaumaris) to complement the festival.

Finally, as a bookish aside, I bought Evan a new book today. He needed a book for on the bus when he goes on camp, and so I thought I’d better just take a punt and buy him something today (although normally I’d make sure he was there to help choose.)  Anyway, hoping for the best, I got him a copy of a book call Olaf the Viking, by Martin Conway. It looks to be pitched about right, and seems to have a bit of humour about it.  Stay tuned to hear Ev’s verdict.

In short, May may be very busy, but most certainly it’ll be full of fun.

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One rainy school night…

When I was a kid, I really thought that ‘No, it’s a school night’ would stop applying once I was a grown-up. Only now am I starting to work out that this simply isn’t the case. More often than not, what gets done on a weeknight is almost as restricted as it was when my parents were calling the shots, only now it’s not so much because of the morning after (which I assume was my Mum’s concern) but rather due to the day that’s just happened.

Every now and then an offer of an outing on a weeknight comes up and I make best laid plans to get there. Often the engagement is missed; it’s too reliant on how much energy I’ve got left at the end of the day (which is getting better, but ain’t what it used to be – thanks Mr. Chemo), it depends on the kids (feeding time at the zoo, and a hose down before bed), and on whether or not hubby can get away from work in time to get back to wrangle the kids for me. In saying that, I am on a bit of a crusade to make sure that I make the time and effort to get out of the house and look at clever art, listen to smart people, and hear nice tunes. This is especially important to me at the moment, after my recent stint being an invalid, as I feel it’s really time to get this restless mind and body back out into the really real world.

Given the challenges (as I see them), I’m very pleased to say that I made it to the opening of Mt Zero Cabin 1 at the Grampians, the exhibition that I’ve been talking about over the last week or so. Although I didn’t commit to getting scrubbed up and dressed pretty until Matt got home, (because I didn’t quite believe I’d actually get out the door) all went to plan and we made it over to Armadale.

Artists Lisa Sewards and Sue Picot

The Firestation is a lovely venue, and the exhibition is intimate. It includes a wonderful blend of works on paper, rough and unrefined as well as beautifully framed and presented works reading for the hanging.

Art by: Lisa Sewards

The inks and watercolours were my personal favourites, but the variety of mediums including charcoals, pastels, etchings and oils makes for an interesting little exhibition.

As Lisa pointed out on the night, it was fascinating to see the work of five different artists all working in the same space, with the same subject, at the same time. All five; Lisa Sewards, Trudy Rice, Roz Rogers, Sue Picot, and Bern Olle present  a unique interpretation of the natural landscape of Mt Zero, and all present a place of beauty – sometimes rich, sometimes sparse, and always inviting.

If you’ve a spare half-an-hour, I’d really suggest popping by – you might also like to check out the studio’s printing facilities, which are for hire to artists.  All works in the show are for sale, and very affordable. The show is on until 22 May 2011.

Art by: Bern Olle

Reading Update
A little less highbrow, but certainly no less rich with talent, I’m reading Birmingham’s Weapons of Choice at the moment.  It’s very different to the novels I usually read, but I’m surprised by how easy I’m finding it to get into – very enjoyable so far.

Further, because Weapons of Choice is such a big book, I’ve also got a travelling-read too (my handbag is big, but it’s not that big).  When I’m on the go, I’m reading Malinche, by Laura Esquivel. Two quite contrasting reads.

Keep an eye out for a review of both in the not too distant future.

I love orange…

I’m please to be able to share a bit of a sneak-peak at the newly hung Mt Zero Cabin 1 at the Grampians, and it’s looking great!


I’m all on track to pop in to the opening on Thursday night (12 May 6 – 8pm) at the Firestation Print Studio in Armadale.  I’m hoping I’ll have a chance to have a bit of a chat to some of the artists and am looking forward to getting an insight into what went into this collection of work. I’m assured that I’ll be left longing for the Grampians by the end of the evening, and I don’t doubt it.

Lovely Orange, Lovely Penguins
I am so excited, I’ve almost turned orange myself!  The announcement of the next set of Popular Penguins made my day, and helped to cheer me up on this insanely chilly, grey old Melbourne day.

Due for release September 2011, the new collection includes the following titles:

Barry Hines, A Kestrel for a Knave
E.M. Forster, A Passage to India
Anais Nin, A Spy In The House Of Love
James Baldwin, Another Country
Bryce Courtenay, April Fool’s Day
Roald Dahl, Boy
John Cheever, Falconer
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Robert Graves, I, Claudius
Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-four
Virginia Woolf, Orlando
Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa
E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime
Ali Smith, The Accidental
Zadie Smith, The Autograph Man
John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids
Pat Barker, The Eye in the Door
Norman Mailer, The Fight
Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar
Raymond Chandler, The High Window
John Steinbeck, The Pearl
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
H.G. Wells, The Time Machine
Evelyn Waugh, Vile Bodies

I’m particularly rapt with the inclusion of Nineteen Eighty-four and The Time Machine.

Which title would you buy first?

A little time out this afternoon

Just a quick little share for this afternoon.

I was very excited to see Sarah Wilson’s blog post today – she’s been chatting to a fav of mine, Joi Murugavell, who you might remember me raving about way back when I first started this blog. I was given an Oodlie for my birthday, and it’s one of my favourite things of 2011.

So, a little afternoon reading for you to enjoy, at Sarah’s blog.  Take a minute out to read about this great artist and entertaining Twitterer @joidesign.

Stay tuned to TBYL…
Tomorrow, a further sneak-peak at the upcoming Mt Zero Cabin 1 at the Grampians exhibition, opening 12 May 2011.  I’m also, in the next couple of days, going to feature a few events from the Bayside Literary Festival program.

And don’t forget, for a chance to win a copy of Sonya Harnett’s ‘Of a Boy’ please like and share our Facebook  page.  Full details here…

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Lovely Lisa

I’ve just gotten hold of a couple more pieces from the upcoming Mt Zero Cabin 1 at the Grampians exhibition, this time by the lovely Lisa Sewards…

An another…

And one more special treat…

Not only am I now looking forward to the exhibition, but I’ve got the most incredible hankering for a weekend in the Grampians.

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A sneak peak

As promised, I’m pleased to be able to share with you a sneak peak at a couple of works that are going to be shown in the Mt Zero Cabin 1 at the Grampians exhibition coming up 11 May 2011 at the Firestation Print Studio.

These two pieces are by artist Trudy Rice, and are a wonderful example of the talent which will be on show.  Firstly, a piece perfectly in keeping with the amazing Autumn that is setting into Melbourne at the moment…

And secondly, a piece that reminds me very much of weeks spent camping as a teenager in Halls Gap:

If you’d like to find out a bit more about Trudy and her work, you might like to have a look around her site.

The Grampians are one of my favourite places, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing this exhibition. Definitely one for the diary.

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Hilltop inspiration

One thing I’m really loving at the moment is the ready availability of small, niche exhibitions featuring local artists.  It’s a great way to get out of the house for a couple of hours, with or without the kids.  One such show coming up next month is Mt Zero Cabin 1 at the Grampians.

Last month, Lisa Sewards (of Pink Lady fame) and a number of other inspired individuals spent a week in the Grampians. During their time away, Lisa and others in her cabin produced some stunning works, inspired by the fine company and the hilltop air.

As a result, Cabin 1 are having a small exhibition of the works created that week. Many are works on paper, using a variety of mediums although the show also includes a selection of oils paintings.

For the diary, opening night is 12 May 2011, and the exhibition runs from 11 May – 22 May 2011 at the Firestation Print Studio. I for one can’t wait, I’m really looking forward to this show – the Grampians is one of my favourite places and as I’ve mentioned before I’m very partial to works on paper. Stay tuned here too, hopefully I’ll be able to show off a few samples of included works in the weeks to come.

A couple of goodies coming up shortly on TBYL…
I’ve finally finished Wind-up Bird Chronicle and am working on putting down my many thoughts on this amazing novel.

Also, I’m doing a little experiment on Brainwashing al la Elmo…all will be revealed in due course so watch this space.

Keep an eye out too for a feature on photographer Christopher Rimmer, coming soon.

Photo: Christopher Rimmer


Hope you’re all looking forward to a wonderful Easter break, and that you get the chance to get out and about to some lovely things during the break.   Equally I hope you have a bit of book-time, put your feet up and read away.


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An interesting answer

Well, I’m still laid up in hospital.  I am at least feeling quite a bit better, and I can see straight again, now that the meds are little less frequent and at a much lower dose.

As I mentioned in my last post, I don’t think I would survive hospital nights with my sanity if it weren’t for my podcasts.  I wanted to share one with you that I have listened to a couple of times this week.  It’s by Kate Grenville, and it’s quite insightful.


As an Arts student, I was asked many times – why? What are you going to use Arts for?  I have in fact asked myself that question numerous times, about art, reading, and writing. I’ve never had any doubt as to their value, but I was keen to try and quantify just why they were important.

Kate’s lecture on Artists, Writers and Climate Change for ABC’s Big Ideas goes some way to respond to the question, and I think she really nicely highlights (somewhat scientifically) why art and the like is so important to our well-being and to our future.

I’ve popped a link to the vid and the podcast above, and I’d really recommend that you give it a listen.  Feel free to share your thoughts.

And now for a little lie down…

A little glimpse

I’m a little disappointed to report that I’ve not been able to get along to see the Fabric exhibition that I mentioned last week.  But, luckily, my friend Lisa made it there and has kindly agreed to put together a little glimpse of the show for me to share. Thanks Lisa! The show is still open for a couple more days if you’re in the area.

Fabric is a lovely little exhibition bringing together 15 Artists who’s fabric in life is represented and weaved in many different ways.  I especially love Rosemary Cato’s etchings, such delicate threads of work. The patchwork coat made by Dominique Horne is truely amazing bringing the past to life.  Here’s a snap of a linocut ‘a velvet touch’ by Lisa Sewards which presents the gorgeous velvety coats of lovebirds.

As a bonus, you can book yourself into a printmaking course whilst you visit the venue, and there are lots of great cafes around on Glenferrie Road too!

The last days of this exhibition are this week, open this Wednesday and  & Thursday 11am to 5pm at the Firestation Print Studio, 2 Willis Street Armadale. Further details can be found: www.firestationprintstudio.com.au