"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Balmy days in wine country

 Friends of ours saw an ad about a good deal for a two-night stay at Warrenmang, a winery with accommodation in the Pyrenees region of Victoria. Although we couldn't all go together due to everybody's commitments, DH and I thought we'd make use of the deal which was really good.
We'd been to Warrenmang several times, with friends, and with my sister, so the place is very familiar to us. It has very pleasant accommodation in log cabins or a large multi-room cabin for groups. Each cabin has a balcony and looks across the vineyard and adjoining national park. Warrenmang boasts an award-winning restaurant, and even though the famous hare dinner hasn't been on the menu for many years, the food is sublime. Most people, of course, come for the wine, but I rarely drink these days, and neither of us drinks red wine, so that's wasted on us. Still, I enjoyed a glass of bubbly on the terrace, watching the sun go down.
The harvest was on, and only a few vines remained with grapes still attached. Guests were encouraged to try the grapes, and they were delicious, small and sweet.
Kangaroos are regular guests here and come out to graze in the evening.
We spent the next day driving to Halls Gap, a small village in he mountains, and tootled around enjoying the scenery. There are some good lookouts that are quite accessible and provide lovely views over Halls Gap.

We saw lots of wildlife too, from eagles, currawongs, cockatoos, wrens, and kookaburras to an echidna, kangaroos, and lizard.
I really liked the trees on our trip, they were often large, old gums with pale cream and grey bark. Some of them were huge, with hollows for possums and owls.
On the way down the hills we saw these interesting rock formations. Would have liked to take more photos, but it was difficult to stop or park.
Later that day, we headed back via Avoca and enjoyed a leisurely dinner at the winery. DH had a yummy duck and veg, followed by icecream, and I ordered one of my favourites, house-made gnocchi with mushrooms and spinach, followed by a pretty raspberry muffin with chocolate an cream. Very indulgent!
Luigi, Warrenmang's owner, is trying to sell the winery. One can only hope somebody who loves the place will buy it and keep it going as a tourist venue and restaurant. We'll certainly keep going back.

Friday, March 6, 2015


 Golly, that came around quickly! Once again it's Friday night with friends, and due to the lack of anything interesting to sew, I once again turned to the paints. This is my very first entry into my art journal. I think I will dedicate this journal to poetry. I don't like motivational sayings or flowers and babes, so poetry it is.
I prepared my page a few days ago with a coat of Gesso, which I pressed all over with a bath sponge for texture, and used impasto with a stamp for the wavy bits.
So tonight I started with a couple of gelatos and kinda mushed them all over, mostly using my fingers. Looks a bit offputting, but I've found that things tend to work out ok later.
I added some Dimensions ink around the edges with a dauber, which gave the edge more depth and better colour. Then I dabbed the lines with some copper metallic stuff, and again used a stencil for the background, with Lumiere old bronze.
The page is about travel, so I added a few bits and bobs about travel, the Eiffel Tower, a Kaisercraft arrow, and a suitcase cut from "Daphne's Diary" magazine (it's brilliant!).
Slowly things are coming together.

 Now for the poem, one of Hans Christian Anderson's which I liked. I glued the words down, darkened the paper with some pastels, framed them in black marker and gold pen. Then I added a few streaks of Inka gold to the page, and finally some bubbles with black oil pastel.
Et voila! My first art journal page finished.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The old picture challenge: Nightmare

"Nightmare" is the word of the month. Hmm, what gives us nightmares? It's often the mundane, everyday things that turn our dreams into something more sinister. So I took some ordinary photos and played a bit with Picasa, to turn them into something that might give you nightmares.
The first photo was taken last year in Singapore, and depicts three lanterns with faces of different deities (one is the Mountain God). I thought they looked pretty forbidding and like something that might haunt your dreams.
The second photo was taken a while back in a small Melbourne alley. he street art owl was quite benign, but once you play with colour etc. those eyes really pop and that fierce stare could give me the willies!