Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dwellingup Retreat and Arts Weekend

We had a really lovely escape to the forest fringes of Dwellingup-thank you Kathy and Steve for the accommodation and opportunity to relax in comfortable surroundings - with red wine in hand and pot belly roaring our weekend of printmaking, drawing and all things artsy was off to a classic 'arts weekend' start.

Why it means so much to me to have a space to draw..... 
Many years ago I had a small cabin in the forest near Margaret River and I had always said I would do art weekends workshops down there - it was a really lovely spot. There was so much to see, photograph, draw and get inspired by down there, well, the relationship ended and along with it so did the cabin in the forest and the opportunity to draw trees and bushland and sky  - so I had to rethink my space for art weekends and I have been looking for some years to hopefully find another bushland cabin! And just last weekend at Dwellingup I felt I had found it - it was so comfortable and fun it was like I had always thought my Margaret River weekend workshops would be! (its only taken 20 years to move on - don't want to rush these things!).
So thank you Kathy and Steve too - for making your home feel so comfortable and me so welcome that it feels just right to get down there and create my sketches, paintings and prints - I am very privileged to be so welcome in your holiday home in the forest- and I didn't spill any paint on the new carpet!

Anyway,  I love being able to be down there - talking with good friends, meeting and making some new ones too and creating some drawings and art works - it's my meditation time really!

Here are a few of my sketches and prints from my times at D.R.A.W,  (Dwellingup Retreat and Arts Weekend!)   

ink pen sketch - forest gully

Pencil and charcoal  sketch of gum leaves

 Tall Timbers, lino- cut, hand water-coloured

 Dam and Far Treeline. Lino-cut, hand water coloured. 

 I am really looking forward to the next D.R.A.W. gathering in Spring time perhaps?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dwellingup Dreaming.............

Just getting the last of the supplies in the duffel bag then I am off to the nearest big forest - for a weekend of art, open fires, red wine, drawing and print making ..... nothing I like better!

There is something about the rain arriving and the temperature dropping to 6 degrees (2 degrees in Dwellingup for sure!) that makes me extra pleased to be heading down south to the big green!
I love the bush with rain , actually most of the time I just love the bush - rain, shine or even just a bit overcast is fine with me. 

I get together with a group of friends who all enjoy a scribble and a dabble with all things artsy. 
This photo shows one of a pair of paintings I finished from the last Dwellingup Gathering!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Time warp - its just a jump to left ........

I am unsure if we should be really, really scared and cautious of Facebook and the likes, or if it is just a new form of the old Friday night Police and Citizen's youth groups, so popular with myself and my teen friends in the late 70s to mid 80s.

I mean there was all that unmediated contact with the opposite sex - just like on Facebook, except a lot more up close and personal. Lots of playing games, basket ball, ping-pong and spin the bottle were all favourites of the youths of the various groups I attended - some of our games where obviously better at beating obesity than others ....just like the digital ones the teens play today!  In the 80's some of the games might have even led to a form of temporary weight gain ....for 9 months anyway - yep - that up close and personal!

We had friends act as 'lookouts' posted at the doors of the youth group, and we would all be called down to witness other packs of teens as they cruised by in their spruced up Sandman panel vans and we would either 'friend'  them or not....we usually didn't choose to 'friend' them by shouting after the disappearing panel van such things as "Rack of Normie - you and your mates!"  or other choice words that  have now become immortalised in various song lyrics of the time. "Jump in my car" by Australian band the Ted 'Mulray Gang comes to mind straight away, I am sure he must have attended one of the same youth groups I went to.
We had pecking orders within the groups and experienced heated exchanges with others that could make or break your social status for the following week , month , year.- Just like on Facebook  - and believe me not only at the youth group would the 'socially' be ostracised  - but at the beach, school, deli, local park and the least of Facebook once you've been 'defriended' you can close the computer and walk to the  fridge and eat something, or hang out in lounge with the olds or tidy your sock drawer such luck in the days of the 'reality' youth group, we had to wait until youth group ended and we could catch the bus home or our parents would collect us!  

Today, with the innovation of digital media and twitter-book-face-tubes, etc. we all seem particularly terrified of any unmediated time teens spend digitally, or incidents of cyberbullying, (whilst we continue to ignore 'realtime' real life bullying in the work place, school and our homes.  Is Facebook and the likes such a new threat for our young people? In the past we could share our teen years with a group of similar teens from similar backgrounds with similar homes in a similar suburb, but now - my teens can actually talk with other teens from anywhere in the world - global - viral, however they need to also be connected via google and this huge filter tends to attract teens with similar homes, in similar suburbs in similar social economic I say is it really that different?

Are we frightened of something we do on-line going viral? I remember fronting up fully dressed in skimpy outfits to the local cinema in dingy downtown during the 1980s to watch the Rocky Horror picture show at midnight several Saturday nights in a row - waiting for the moment we could all storm the stage and do the time warp with thousands (OK, 100 tops) of similar zany, scantily dressed young people - wasn't that pretty damn viral? it is the only way I can explain my ability to sing and speak most of the lyrics to the time warp - it must have been a virus I caught !

Is it the fear of the unknown? Cyberworlds are not as known to my generation, we have not had digital texts as a constant in our lives. Teens today have.  If it is unknown to us, is it necessarily dangerous or any worse than what we did as teens? 

I think we have to let teens be teens - yes they will be exposed forever in some cyberworld data bank that will allow instant downloads of what they did at 14 to be endlessly played in some sort of horrific video loop well into their 50s and 60s. But what is the actual harm of seeing footage of teens in shorty shorts, sporting a tattoo of a small colourful dragon and with enough piercings to double as a kitchen colander actually going to do to the reputation of the head of the world bank in 2030? And will anyone care as long as she is running the bank well - besides most of her clients will be friended on Facebook back in the good ol' days, with possibly even more horrifyingly embarrassing footage to suppress - not! 

I still have friends from my youth group days who I know have Kodak Instamatic images of me that they like to pin up every tine we get together for a Saturday night bar-b-cue so we can all gather around the photo board and  point and laugh at the various teen antics we 'wild things' used to get up to, this usually happens just before someone lumbers off to home early due to their bunions, and or arthritis and or the need to get an early night before the kids wake up and we have to run them to gym or soccer.
So how delicious is it to view the photos and slumber away with refreshed memories of what we all used to look like and do in our youth- bliss - I really did have quite a nice bum - just didn't need to expose it towards the camera in the crotchet bikini quite as often as did. But considering what has happened to it now - I am thrilled I have the photographic proof that I too was once young, beautiful and buoyant of bottom! 

I believe my friends are able to laugh and acknowledge that today, in my role as Head of World Bank (Domestic branch) I have moved on - the crotchet bikini is not such a huge embarrassment to me in the board room. However, getting caught up in yet another global financial crisis due to willy-nilly consumerism, might be. I am now expected to know better. Does anyone seriously think that what I wore and did at Friday night youth group has any bearing on what I do and think now?  Will tweeting on Facebook really have any bearing to what our teens will do in their futures? 

....oh....I do know one worrying aspect of my personality that was shaped from those youth group days and perhaps does serve as a warning to our teens today .....I can still dance the time warp  - and usually do so at any opportunity .......its just a jump to left ... and a step to the righ - righ- righ- rightttt .......

Monday, May 2, 2011

Totally Fairbridged Out

Fairbridge is over for another year - it was a great festival with some stand out acts and great dance bands and hoot-nannying into the wee hours, as per my expectations.

I found myself enjoying the band The Brow Horn Orchestra just a bit too much - I am probably not the right demographic they are hoping to attract! They are an unreal mix of Cat Empire meets Hip Hop Rap and the lead singer is a virtuoso on the microphone - rapping his heart out with great diction and lyrics.
They combine a big band sound with a dance beat of Hip Hop- and when they released the inflated beach balls into the crowd we just all felt so loved! Great crowd participation!I liked them a lot and have already seen them at several of their Freo gigs last year - but so happy they were picked up by the Fairbridge Festival selection team!
Had the rare chance to sit in the lovely Fairbridge Chapel for an hour of vocal power with the Good Lovelies from Canada -what a talented trio of beautiful young women - with such gifted voices and mandolin, guitar, harmonica playing skills - all mixed with a bit of cheek and irreverence! Good show in an intimate setting which I think they really suited.
Also loved the one man band - 'wall of sound' - Kim Churchill.....very 'James Blunt' but in a good way....with more funked up bluesy beats to set him apart from being a clever lyric writing pop crooner. Loved his work - the venue for his final show at Fairbridge at Ruby's Wine Bar just didn't do him justice he needed a final fling with his admiring people in one of the big tents where everyone could dance and totally bliss out to his huge sound - he maxed out the speakers and broke a guitar string in his show of pure sound + power.
He is on at a few Fremantle gigs in WA and I hope to see him again - loads of talent. when he draws breath and backs of some of the sound wall I think he will be even better - with experience (he is only 21!) I think he will manage to vary his delivery to more suit the venue and not loose his ability to wow audiences - just needed to come down a notch or two from his thumping sound levels and know that he already had our full attention - fantastic. I loved seeing  someone using looped recordings live on stage  - I have not seen that since a concert in NZ some time ago when the very talented Hinemoana Baker recorded her self singing/speaking and playing an instrument, then played it back on a loop and sang live over her own vocals to create a hauntingly beautiful vocal track - all laid down in front of the audience - like seeing a magician's trick exposed but instead of destroying the magic it just makes you more aware of their awesomeness!

A final mention goes to Red Juliet - great to hear Liz Frencham - still going from strength to strength - love her vocals and bass playing. Really enjoyed the venue and atmosphere at Ruby's on the Sunday morning - good timing for such a gig - I kicked back and rested my dancing knees (yes, sore knees this year....must be the cooler nights and the camping - could not possibly be my advancing age combined with the mosh pit participation of Friday and Saturday night). In aide of my recovery - I enjoyed a decent Devonshire tea and the company of the twangy and talented Red Juliet band - it made for a great Sunday morning coming down to earth, and start to my end of the Fairbridge festival day........