Squiggle

digital owl sketch
owl

Sometimes an owl just needs to say hello.Lately the owls have been around adding another dimension to the night.

This one was sketched using the computer programme Paint and the touch pad. The result surprised me  as I have not played on the computer for a time, also enabling me to update the blog as there are still issues with uploading new photos .

For now sketching has to be put aside as this is a busy time for crafting with felt.

All around

It was an early start . Dawn was slowly breaking. About to open the car boot I noticed a pretty pattern laid on the bumper bar.

Slowly I turned in a small tight circle observing what was immediately in view.   So much was revealed.
This tiny patch  offered awesome inspiration. Presented there was a collage of textures and tones,shapes,and sizes. All the basic rules we apply to art, skillfully combined so naturally.

A collage of various texture found in nature,bark,stone,leaf matter and dust
Nature Collage

Beauty in the city

Street art Brunswick,Melbourne
Life is Beautiful

Last spring I wandered around the lanes of Fitzroy in Melbourne, intrigued by the street art and graffiti .

The above picture has a message that can be overlooked if eyes are pointed only straight ahead and focus rests only on the tags.

Powerful depiction of a Lion pianted on a city wall in Fitzroy Melbourne
King of the Alley

 

Style and technique ranged from powerfully realistic to naive simplicity, as for instance in these feline renditions. What also intrigued me was the play of textures, how the art and surface, shadow and light worked together.

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Painted cat in a Fitzroy alley,Melbourne .
Alley Cat

 

 Nature paints too.

Coloured leaf on  bluestone cobbles found in a Fitzroy alley, Melbourne.
Nature the artist

 

But nature has the last say, when she whispers” Life is beautiful”.

 

Butterfly resting on a city wall,Melbourne.
Beauty in the city

Trick or treat?

Sign outside Dan Murphy's pub Sneem,Ireland
Dan Murphy – as was

Ireland continues to inspire and fascinate.

Last year we were heading  to the coast to catch the ferry from Waterford back to England, our last day  before making the crossing.

It was a wild day, a  gale blowing , overall grey,with misty veils, bleak and soggy. The day dampened spirits; there was so much more we would have liked to explore yet had a very tight time constraint so that the trip  had been quite pressured trying to fit in too much in too little time .

Time has let that experience simmer and start to come together and weave a tapestry of beautiful memories igniting the desire to go back and discover more about places visited, to learn more, to understand better and to connect to the heritage and ancestors as well as to infuse the imagination with creative ideas, sowing seeds to be nurtured and nourished till they flourish and take form.

On our way out of Killarney, travelling along the N22, we were awed by this roadside sculpture of a rearing unicorn which reminded how powerful the ancient history, myth and magic is interwoven in the landscape;  constant reminders of connections that go beyond time, words and imagination.

Rearing unicorn sculpture on N22 ireland
Free spirit.

From the grey moist screen a village appeared, a village that was such a delightful surprise, for all was not as it appeared to be. Often things we see may appear  to be “real” or are they? Fantasy and reality entwined.

Dog in a window- or is it?
Welcome .

We had happened upon Ardmore. As we arrived the rain was so heavy that it screened most of the bay and surrounding cliffs. We were not aware of the ruins or the links to early Christianity in a time before Saint Patrick had arrived .

view from sea wall of Ardmore

It was only the immediate street and houses that straddled along it and a small waterfront that captured out attention. We learnt that a tidy town competition had inspired a local artist to “dress” the cottages .

 

Seafront cottages dressed up with props and trompe l'oeiul, Ardmore,Ireland
As it was?

 

I guess reality would be of a harsh life as a fisherman but here it was rather whimsical, the stuff that “Once upon a time” begins a tale of adversity,struggle and courage  to defeat inner dragons and rescue the beauty that has been imprisoned. It was like stepping into the pages of a story book, and one would wish that the ending is a “happy ever after”.

 

Seaside cottage with painted door and window,plus props
What is real?

 

This village sparkled sharing colour,whimsy and pride of place.

Colourful street scene in Ardmore
Main Street Ardmore,Ireland

A village given over to art and beauty, perhaps a disconnect  to the harshness of the past in an attempt to create dreams of a brighter future. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes the village emerged from a grey watery shroud sharing colour, dreams and whimsy.

 

House with painted characters peering from the windows,Ardmore,Ireland
Once upon a time there was a little pink house and in it lived…..

Sublime

“She shows us only surfaces but Nature is a million fathoms deep.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunlight and shade creating a lattice effect on a thick carpet of petals in out garden
Nature

Sunlight painting fallen petals. Transforming, regenerating, creating,

petals and tiny flowers,thick and soft underfoot,perhaps a fairy carpet.
Fairy Carpet

a fairy carpet .

Tread softly. Beware!  Bougainvillea flowers have thorny stems.  A thorn that is strong enough to puncture a car tyre- as has happened recently. Nature can sting.

wasps hatching
Stingers

The power of nature is always impressive, whether by storm or thorn, mite or beasts.

A leaf turned into lace though a bug onslaught
Lacework

Art created by nature reveals such infinite beauty wrought with skill and ingenuity.

European Expressions

artists in the courtyard area of the Uffizi Gallery,Florence,Italy. thousands queued to get a glimpse of the treasures inside the gallery,revealing that art is still valued here.
Art in the making

Music , art, street performance  was to be found in every city. It gave vibrancy and life, lifted moods and revealed just how creative people are and need to be able to acknowledge, nourish and give expression to that spark with which we are all gifted.  It is an important and  vital form of communication. Art in its many aspects enlivens, sustains and colours our lives and sense of well being. It is  necessary as a means of communication and also to attempt to understand better our own psyche and the human condition. It is a way of reaching out and reaching within. It teaches. shares, inspires and motivates. A sense of awe and wonder, a good belly laugh, clapping hands to a rollicking tune, a beautiful object , dance, poetry and song, a soft touch,  all make us appreciate and enjoy life more fully.

In delight as we journeyed through England, Ireland and Europe we discovered  not  only music but street theatre, mime and pavement art as well as dance and sleight of hand. Drums and pipes and guitars played. The tango was strutted  out across a city pavement, a juggler amused  his audience and an audacious, cheeky and very talented  mime artist in Florence held his audience enthralled and begging for more as guffaws and snickers filled the square. Afterwards a classical guitarist entranced the crowd further.

Collage of different art and performance .Tango in Vienna,bagpipes London,mime Florence, folkmusic Bratisalava, horse sculpture Florence,juggler Vienna.
Expressions of Europe

In the canals of Venice there were gleaming gondolas ,many lavishly decorated and sumptuous to see. The towers, shutters, cupolas and the flaking paint on old buildings all added charm. Older cities have such wonderful hand crafted buildings , revealing that many skills have been lost and often no longer appreciated.

Venetian Gondola
Venetian Gondola

It amazed me to see graffiti in  historic precincts and on important structures, such as the Ponte Vecchio that straddles the Arno river in Florence. It actually shocked me to realise  and to feel that there was no appreciation and no respect,  no understanding of the importance and value of preserving these monuments for future generations.

Defacing of stonework on historic Ponte Vecchio,Florence
How sad.

There were warning signs about fines  for defacing public monuments and artworks but it seemed that in many cities  there is an undercurrent of disillusion and disconnection. There the expression of art as tagging and vandalism perhaps is a counterpoint. Maybe by defacing structures people are revealing their frustration and inadequacy to communicate in other ways, which perhaps they feel gives their reactions relevance and validity which this poignant statement found in Bratislava suggests.

Graffiti at a bus station in Bratislava
A plea.

Whither I Wander and Wonder

Sculpture in the chicken pen at St.Kilda community Garden
The Watcher

Watching, guarding, thinking, relaxing; I found this bird -man  resting on a bench in the chicken pen at St.Kilda Community Garden in Melbourne. What a wonderful guardian they have. I met him just after Christmas 2013 and totally smitten.

Art was incorporated everywhere  in the gardens. Each plot had a unique identity. I was very excited to see the care, love and creativity expressed there. Such an amazing place and a wonderful inspiration. Although located  in the  the city it was a place that was sacred with its heart beating strongly in exultation encouraging creativity, nature and self sufficiency.

Immediately opposite was the funfair, Melbourne’s historic Luna Park; brash, noisy, manufactured and artificial enclosed by black asphalt and high walls. Trundling and rumbling around on high wooden trestles was an antique roller coaster, accompanied by screams and yells. It was very loud in there compared to the peace across the road. The hard surfaces and flashing lights, advertising and contrived fun were a glaring contrast to the lushness of the garden and individuality of the art and decorations adorning it. The two co-existing side by side seemed totally incongruous, yet both characteristic of the St.Kilda genre.

A photo of Melbourne's St.Kilda Luna Park from Wikipedia by Adam J .W.C
A photo of Melbourne’s St.Kilda Luna Park from Wikipedia by Adam J .W.C

St.Kilda has a chequered history. Once home to the gentry with gracious and elaborate mansions, it became the fun district for the city at the turn of the Twentieth Century and later  better known as a notorious red light district. Since the 1960’s a Bohemian hub has flourished. It is eccentric, interesting and has a lively and vibrant buzz.

Stretched out behind both locations is the bay, also offering a  cacophony of sounds, colour and movement  as families congregate on the beach relaxing, chattering, playing games. The boardwalks seem to be an intermingling of different motions with  skateboarders and bikes as well as walkers. Out on the horizon stretches a line of container ships and closer to shore bobbing  sail boats. Such a richness of sights and sounds as well as  links to days of yore.

Did the experience enrich?  Incredibly so.  Many new ideas and a lot of contemplation has resulted, as well as  a deepening of love for the city and the diversity of experiences it offers.