Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Gorgeous Lilies in my Garden.

 It's the first time that I've grown these lilies, so I'm not quite sure exactly what colour pink they will turn out to be.
                        Not quite the deep pink that I was hoping for, but lovely all the same.
 These gorgeous lilies have several names, Maltese cross Lily, Jockey's Cap lily and the correct name which is Sprekelia. They look so spectacular, yet are very easy to grow and multiply prolifically.
 This is another new variety for my garden and much more the depth of colour that I was looking for.
These Hippeastrum lilies I think used to be called Amaryllis, or maybe that's the accepted name these days. Anyway they are really spectacular, and again the bulbs multiply nicely.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Next Stage.

          I've sealed all 3 plates with matt gel medium and also with a light coat of gesso.
         Interestingly the colour of some of the materials has leached through both of these sealants.
After a night under my weighty book press the sphagnum moss has flattened a bit, but it may still be too lumpy to print well. I'll let these dry and then the exciting bit, to print from them.

Monday, 20 November 2017

New Collograph Plates.

 While I was away recently I keep on the lookout for suitable natural materials to try on collograph plates. I came home with several bags of bits and pieces to try. The plate above used sawdust on the light board mountain cut outs, with mulberry bark in the middle ground and finely chopped tree bark for the fore ground. All the material on the sealed plates have been glued into place, but not themselves sealed.
 Again I have used sawdust, this time for the fine tree leaves and strands of bark for the trunks. I have also added some dried oak tree flowers below.
For this one I crumbled some dried sphagnum moss, the sort of stuff that you get from a plant nursery, for the tree leaves, with several strands of worsted yarn for the trunk and branches, and with shredded bark for the grasses below. Unfortunately the dried moss has started to swell with the water in the glue, so I will have to see if I can flatten and seal it suitable for printing.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Mitta Valley.

 This is part of the beautiful Mitta Valley in Northern Victoria. Whilst it can get very hot and dry here, the Spring days that we spent in the valley were warm, sunny and with views of lush green pastures.
 Again my eye was caught by some abandoned machinery, this time a small trailer that had been over taken by weeds.
I just love this tiny garden taking hold in the tray of the trailer, complete with spider web. You can just see the tree covered hill in the background.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Rural Artefacts.

I have been away from home for a few days, exploring some of the North Eastern parts of the state of Victoria.
While walking the dog around the tiny town of Strathbogie I came across some old artefacts that I just had to photograph, such as the huge pile of rusty farm bits lying in the grass behind a derelict old house. What a bonanza for anyone wanting things for rusting of paper or fabric.
 It was a very hot morning, so even if I had wanted to take any pieces, the thought of snakes lurking under the bits of tin certainly put me off doing that!

This appeared to be the remains of an old fireplace, and someone had added their finds of odds and ends to the stonework.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Rhubarb Flowers ?

It never occurred to me to think that a Rhubarb plant might have flowers, so I was very surprised to find my very old, at least 17 years old, plant in flower.  Some of the flowers have gone on to form reddish seeds too, which are very attractive. The stalks of the flowers are very strong, although hollow and are easily as tall as I am. What a surprise!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

A Touch of Paint.

 These two prints are more or less rejects, being too dark and not rubbed back enough. They are therefore ideal candidates for me to practise painting the grasses for future prints.
This one above is really a mess of lines and blur, but useful nevertheless for choosing colours for such an image. I thought that I needed white to give the grasses some sparkle, but in fact it's the orange that makes a real difference.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Gorgeous Roses.

 I don't think that I have ever seen such a wonderful display of roses as I saw in the Benalla Rose Garden this week. I was trying to locate the flower with the most iconic rose perfume, so I seem to have only photographed the red flowers, although there were many other colours too.
 There were all sorts of variations in the form of the roses, from the expected  shapes of the blooms above, to the almost cabbage like flowers below.
 This one caught my eye just as I was leaving, just so pretty with the deep colour on the outer edges of the petals to the white in the centre.

Friday, 10 November 2017

A Good Season for Irises.

 I have no idea what the names of these Bearded Irises are, but they are all equally beautiful I think.
    The previous owner of our property planted all the blue varieties, and I added the yellow one.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

More Butterflies.

 I just love butterflies, I love to watch them and to photograph them. These are all photos of butterflies that occur in my garden in the foothills of the Victorian Great Dividing Range, in the Strathbogie Ranges. This above is our Australian Admiral.
 I have only seen the  Glasswing butterfly in the garden during one season, as it is much more of a tropical butterfly.   This particular year they were around in their hundreds, but have never returned.
 This is a female Common Brown.  The male has different markings and is about a third smaller.
                This is just one of several 'Browns', which are quite often hard to tell apart.
A Chequered Swallowtail is also not a common visitor, but here it is sitting on a bright Azalea flower in my garden.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

For Something a Little Different.

 The caterpillars that I posted yesterday were all butterfly larvae, which are usually not very hairy. Moth larvae on the other hand are very often extremely hairy. The one above, belonging to a Cup Moth is spiky rather than hairy however, but look at the amazing colours and patterning!
 These different moth caterpillars are sometimes called woolly bear caterpillars because of their very woolly coats of course. I have no idea what sort of moths they will turn into.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Who is Eating my Mint Plant?

I noticed that there were large pieces missing from my healthy looking mint plant, and it didn't take me long to locate the culprit, this large bright green caterpillar. It may be the larvae of the ubiquitous Cabbage White butterfly, but I have my doubts. It's a much brighter green than those caterpillars usually are, but then it's not eating dull old cabbage leaves, but somehow it doesn't look quite right to me.
 Below is the Cabbage White Butterfly that we all know, this time on a Loquat tree flower.
 This beautiful butterfly below is a Dainty Swallowtail, previously called a Dingy Swallowtail. I think that the new name is far more appropriate. 

 The caterpillar above left is the Dainty Swallowtail larvae and the one to the right belongs to the Orchard Swallowtail, the butterfly seen below. Both butterfly larvae feed on citrus fruit leaves, but the Orchard Swallowtail rarely ventures south a far as Melbourne. With global warming perhaps we'll see this splendid butterfly in our suburban gardens  competing with the smaller Dainty Swallowtail which is reasonably common in Melbourne during the summer.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Garden Pots.

This is a little corner of my back garden where lots of plants are in flower and where I seem to have a mini collection of earthenware pots. While they are a nuisance because they collect rainwater and provide a home for mosquito larvae, I really love the juxtaposition of plants and pots, as evidenced by some past embroideries of mine.
 I can't identify most of the plants here, but I do know that the front right are nasturtiums. The background is an automatic stitch on my sewing machine and the rest of the stitching is free motion machine embroidery.
Some years a group of 10 (I think) embroiderers from the Embroiderers Guild Victoria were nominated to take photos of a Melbourne garden, produce several textile works reflecting the garden and to mount an exhibition as a fund raiser. For quite what I have forgotten I'm afraid. The garden was open during some of the time that the exhibition was on, and it was all a great success, selling 40 of the 42 textile artworks that were on sale. This work above shows a corner of the house and some huge concrete pots.
 I loved this shady corner of the garden, with flowering hydrangeas reflecting the blue of the pot, orange abutilon and the large tree behind. I have no idea what the ground cover was, but it was very densely covering all the soil.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017


I was hesitating about throwing these prints out because of the waste of expensive printing paper, so I decided to paint the grasses and see what the image looked like.

 It is certainly an improvement, but I'm not sure how appealing such an image might be at an exhibition. I need some more contrasts or something.  Thinking............
                   You can of course click on the image for a slightly larger version.
This is a print using another collage plate that I wasn't happy with . It wasn't looking too bad until I made a bit of a mess in the lower middle. Perhaps I can chop out the better bits to use in something else ! I'm still not quite sure about painting the prints, but it's been an interesting exercise.