Thursday, April 30, 2009

Juicy Yummy Watercolour

It's sad today as all but one of the other artists is leaving. It's cold and grey outside as I hide in my studio playing with yummy watercolours.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The community

Last night there was a fund raising supper at Ragdale and I opened my studio to show supporters from south Chicago my work and how I used my studio space. i was a little reluctant as the new work is still a bit raw. It turned out to be much more enjoyable (in fact painless) than I had expected and I got to meet some really interesting people including local poets, editors, composers and other visual artists

Today I showed my nettle knitting to Maja an artist from Berlin and we began to toss around some ideas about placing the work in the landscape. Within one hour Maja was also knitting and we are now working on a collaborative installation. We now have to get permission to leave the installation to biodegrade in the prairie. It's a very exciting project and we are both sad that we will not be able to observe and document the decay.

Tonight after dinner we listened to four of the writers in residence read from their works. Each read a piece which had never been read to an audience or published before and it was so good to hear the voice of the writers as they spoke their own words.

It's Monday night and after a warm and overcast day it's raining again.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009


Last night as I wandered back to my studio bedroom in the cold crisp spring I thought about artists communities. I had just had dinner and sat around the fire sharing conversation with half a dozen writers and artists from different backgrounds and aged from mid 20s to mid 70s. The atmosphere was open and accepting and everyone talked freely without fear of rebuke or censure. That is not to say that ideas were not challenged.

The magic of an artists residence is not only that it gives you the opportunity to work but that it also gives you the chance to meet with others for a short period of time and share ideas. The magic is in the immersion, for a short time, in an environment of trust and safety and, before any competitiveness, bitchiness or dependencies can develop you are back home. I know that may sound cynical but for the moment I am enjoying this remarkable opportunity. Ragdale is a very special place.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

18 Degrees and Sunny

Spring is back so here are todays garden obs. I thought that you might also like to see the new amber beads which I bought at Ragdale market the other night. They go some way to compensating for all the jewelry I lost when our house was burgled last week.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Studies for new work.

Here's one of the small studies I've been working on in my first week at Ragdale. To see more check out my other blog.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Weather, Life etc

As you might notice weather observation have crept onto this blog. It seems easier to record everything here rather than separate weather images for a separate blog.When I get more images of the work I am making I will decide whether they should be here or on pink squadron.

After the Rain

Here are some of my favourite puddle shots.


I walked into Lake Forest this morning. The rain yesterday, which was preceded by that dusty smell which lasted several hours, has resulted in lots of lovely puddles. The forget-me-nots which had cobalt violet buds are now opening to large blue flowers much bigger than the ones I am accustomed to in Australia.
But the big news is that there is a 90 percent chance of snow tonight. I am charging the camera.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Scilla Siberica

The blue flower which the locals class as a weed is Scilla Siberica. It can invade my garden anytime.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Garden

Here are some more views of the garden and from my studio.

Saturday at Ragdale

Here are some horticultural notes from the botanical artist manque. It got to a warm 23 deg C here today and this morning the violets and forget-me-nots have begun to bloom. More daffodils and jonquils are out and there are some unidentified shoots and some mysterious blue star shaped flowers appearing. Spring was in the air so I hobbled into Lake Forest and came home with a magenta azalea for my studio.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

OK, everyone else knows this. Turn your head to the 90 deg to the left please!

I didn't know that I couldn't shoot movies in portrait format. This blog is turning into a watch Susan learn how to use the video function on her camera documentary.

I should have reshot it or maybe even learned how to edit it. But I like the commentary, so, here it is, hot from the press.

When I come to my senses I will replace it.


I'd like to say that this is exotic Illinois prairie grass but I have no idea what it is. It's the remains of last years growth after winter.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Not Sprung Yet

Today I went to the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. No photographs, no pens, no food, no smoking, no dogs.(Ref image of disappointed dog waiting in car.) So here is my account from memory. They had an exhibition of the work of Buckminster Fuller a hero of mine from my brief studies of architecture. Dreamer, visionary, philosopher, mathematician, architect, planner it made you feel good just to be in the presence of all of his ideas. And, there were beautiful geometric, geodesic drawings and models. I'll definitely go back for another look. It is, however, a dangerous activity as one has to get by the sirens ( not sure of the spelling. I mean temptresses not loud horns) in the jewelry section of the museum shop. I was iron willed and only bought a couple of books about geometry.

As you can see from the images, spring has not sprung in Chicago. There are those tight brown buds on the trees which will burst into green the moment the temperature rises. I am not sure what weather phenomenon explains the blue trees. I will cross the road tomorrow to investigate.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I know you can't see both players at once but listen to the birds. Short, sweet and experimental. But I'll get better. Hey I'm a painter, collage, installation artist. Give me a break.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Silk Slippers

Every Girl needs a pair of purple silk slippers embroidered with bok choy and snow peas.


I just love pictograms. So this is my current favourite. I am 178cm tall and I had to stand on a chair with arms outstretched to get this shot. But, if you are feeling really resourceful and want to hang your clothes from the sprinkler system, please be advised that it is not a good idea.


Yesterday I left the hotel without my camera. So there are no images to support this post. I went to an area where local artists and craftsmen had studios and shops in a lane way where there were also coffee shops and tearooms. It was interesting to see that there were photographers and models everywhere I went. This is obviously considered a very marketable aspect of Shanghai.
It was only a very small area, almost a veneer, and ten steps away the relentless commerce of local life continued with shops selling obscure body parts of roasted birds and house hold goods.
I walked for a while until my foot gave out and then went to the famous Bund which was being dug up. I think Campbell Newman is on their planning committee.
Again there were some small shops and then street after street of office buildings.
I have steadfastly avoided anywhere that advertises and sells brands.
One more comment. The food has been really ordinary if not downright awful. I wonder if the cultural revolution generation forgot how to cook. The only good things have been the really fresh green steamed veges.
I fell like I have visited the western veneer of China and as I am not a traveller who enjoys the voyeurism of tourism in third world countries I don't know if I want to see more.
I am looking forward to my favourite Chicago tomorrow.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Through the outward looking glass

All the walls of the Museum are glass and the views of life in contemporary Shanghai speak of the new and the old worlds.

Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art

The museum had an exhibition of new media. Some of the work was a little less inspiring but I loved this work which was presented in an enclosure covered in wallpaper with chinese script and beautiful diagrams with layers of images over the top. Inside the walls were covered with projections of english script. The work was a collaboration between a Chinese and a European Artist but as my reporting skills are still not up to scratch I omitted to write down their names.
Of course I loved the work because of the colour.

Thoughtful recommendations for enjoyment

I hope this is visible. The writing on the tea tray says 'adding some hot water gives you a better taste'. I followed the directions but I am a little tempted to put the suggestion to the test and try the dry tea.


I love a country where tree hugging is acceptable.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Isn't it beautiful?

This my first image from Shanghai. It's a fire extinguisher box at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art. That's not to say there was nothing else noteworthy. ( more coming) I just thought that it was exquisite.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What am I Doing??

Well it's three and a half days until I leave for Ragdale. I am very disorganized. I should be doing the BAS statement which falls due while I am away. I should be tidying up my affairs but I am much too busy uploading music to my computer and washing possible travel clothes in the new washing machine. If you follow this blog for long enough you might one day see the old washing machine star in a film and then, and only then, will you understand my uncharacteristic interest in this new domestic implement.