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Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Van Gogh at the Lume

 Last week, I went on an excursion with a group called the Warrandyte Trippers. Every month, they go on an outing and it is the first time that I have gone with them. We went on the bus into the city to see the Van Gogh Exhibition at The Lume theatre.

It wasn't a painting exhibition, it was Van Gogh's paintings projected onto walls around a big dark room with beautiful classical music playing. It was a wonderful experience being surrounded by his paintings and they were so large, you could see every brush stroke.

Here is me sitting in his famous bedroom painting.



They had a café set in a scene like one of his paintings too.


I tried to take a photo of the Starry Night sequence, but my photos do not do it justice.



His sunflowers looked enormous.



I bought the book about the exhibition.


Inside were lovely big photos of the exhibition as well as the inspiring quotes that were on the big screens.





I could have bought so many items in the gift shop, but I eventually settled on this lovely little tray.



It was a wonderful, moving exhibition and I would love to go again. I have to go back to the Exhibition Centre again in July and so if it is still going, I will buy another ticket.

Bye for now,

Linda

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Leaf Printing on Paper

 I think that this year is going to be a year of experimentation. I feel a bit restless, as if there is something that I want to do but I don't know what it is yet. I know that I am loving playing around with paints.

A few weeks ago, I followed a tutorial on Design Matters TV about printing with leaves on paper. They have some good classes that are very reasonably priced.

First, I gathered up some leaves.


I cut and folded some heavy watercolour paper that was 300gsm. If you didn't use heavy paper, it would just fall apart when it was boiling.

I had to ask my husband if he had any rusty things because I couldn't find the rusty things that I had used last year when I eco printed onto fabric. I have obviously put them in a safe place and they'll turn up one day! I have sacrificed my old electric frypan that I haven't used for a few years. 


Then I put the leaves in between the folded paper, placed some cardboard on the front and back and clamped it all together.


It's quite an easy process, you cover the bundle with water and a cup of white vinegar and let it boil with the lid on for 90 minutes.

It was a nice day and I had the windows open but my son said that he didn't like the smell. It seemed ok to me.

You have to leave it to cool for a while after the time is up and then put on some disposable gloves to open the bundle, gently remove the leaves and leave it to dry.

If you don't wear gloves, your finger nails will be an unsightly black colour.

Not all prints will turn out well and I suppose it would take a lot of experimentation to test out the best leaves to use etc.


The prints look better if you paint the background, it gives the leaves some definition. I used watercolour paint.


I wish that I had taken a photo of the page above before I painted the background.

Here is another page I painted but I cannot remember what I used to paint with. I didn't like it as much as the first one, it seems uneven. I might have tried water soluble crayons.


I found the painting a bit difficult, the paper really soaks up the paint, so it's quite time consuming.

My plan was to paint them all and make them into a book, but because it was taking so long, I just packed them away.

It was an interesting experiment, but I don't think I will do it again.

It has been an eventful week or so. Our sewing group met and that evening one of them tested positive to Covid. By some miracle, I was the only one who didn't get it. Then my daughter and two grandchildren got it and once again, I missed out. I feel as if everyone I know has it at the moment.

Bye for now,

Linda


Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Permission to Play

 I signed up for a 12 month on-line Art course with an Australian artist named Laura Horn. I think I must have seen Laura's art in Instagram and liked her style and when she advertised her new course, I signed up.

I am not expecting to become a painter and I already have so much to do but I did feel ready for a challenge. The last couple of years have sort of taken a toll on me and I felt a bit burnt out and needed something fresh and new to inspire me.

The first month was called Permission to Play. I got out my paints and practiced some mark making and did some acrylic painting.


Then I decided to make paint swatches of my paints, so I knew what they actually were. It was time consuming but fun.



Because I went away for 2 weeks, that is all I managed to get done in month one. I am being very kind to myself and realise that I am a beginner to all this and do not expect to make any masterpieces. I hope that I can stay in that frame of mind.

Month 2 has just started and we are playing around with watercolour paints, water soluble crayons and Inktense pencils. I am enjoying myself.

I am also busy receiving entries for the Victorian Quilters Showcase and organising a quilt exhibition for Kyabram in June and July. Lots to do.


I posted my quilt Melbourne Malaise off to SAQA in the USA this week. It will tour around with the SAQA Haven exhibition to various locations for 2 or 3 years. I wonder if we will have forgotten all about Covid when I see this quilt again.

Melbourne Malaise by Linda Steele


Bye for now,

Linda

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Port Douglas Holiday

 I have recently returned from a wonderful 10 days in Port Douglas, which is in far North Queensland. One hours drive north of Cairns. I cannot remember if this holiday was postponed from 2020 or 2021 but it was so good to get away at last.

It was so nice to be in tropical, warm weather, especially as we are going into winter soon down here in Melbourne.

I have never been up in the tropics before, everything was so green and I couldn't stop exclaiming over the huge leaves.





I saw flowers that I had only seen in books before.







I went with my husband, daughter and her husband and their two children Jack and Anna, it was one of those busy holidays where we packed in a lot of activities.

Here is Jack and Anna at the Wildlife Habitat which was wonderful.


We drove to Mossman Gorge one day which is at the start of the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest rainforest in the world.

Mossman Gorge

We went on a long walk and found a beautiful river.


Here I am showing how big this rock was.


It was my birthday while we were up there and we went up to Kuranda for the day, we went up the mountain by cable car and down by the train, it was so scenic and beautiful. We went to Bird World and the Butterfly park.

I saw so many wonderful birds during our trip.









We went to a koala talk at the Wildlife Habitat.



Crocodiles live up there and are apparently in all the waterways so you don't decide to randomly have a swim somewhere. We went to the crocodile park and saw so many, they were very scary.



One day, my husband and I drove another 2 hours north to Cape Tribulation which is right in the middle of the Daintree Rainforest. It is the furthest you can go without having a 4-wheel drive car. It is where the rainforest meets the sea. It felt so untouched by humans and you could imagine coming across a dinosaur.




We got up early one morning and walked to the beach to see the sunrise, unfortunately there was a big bank of cloud that day.


Jack and Anna had to have a swim in the pool everyday.



There were lots of these lipstick palms everywhere.



It was a wonderful holiday and I have come home feeling very inspired by the plants and birds.

We went to restaurants, went out on a huge boat to see The Great Barrier Reef, shopped and went to cafes. It was amazing, unfortunately I didn't get to the Cairns Botanic Gardens or the Aquarium which are supposed to be fabulous. I guess I'll just have to go back one day!

Bye for now,

Linda