This art I made from graphite or pencil drawing has a lot of softness from smudging with water. I used an old toothbrush and my hands. I gave new life, a Papua New Guinean scenery in the background to the mother and baby, I had previously drawn. Since this part of the drawing process was taken, I added a pig pen in front of the first hut and more details to the foreground.
At this point in making the artwork, I had stopped working because ten minutes earlier, I accidentally drank a whole cup of graphite water, thinking it was my drinking water. I was thirsty, but not that thirsty. It just so happened that my older son Nathan had set the cup of my drinking water next to the cup I was washing the graphite in.I did not know what I drank; I was too absorbed in the work even when I thought the ‘water’ did taste funny. Ten minutes later, I became so thirsty again so when I reached out for the cup – I noticed the difference and went outside thinking I would throw up.
In a slight panic, my younger son Chris rang 000 here in Brisbane and then got put through to the “poison centre” and was told, “your mum will be ok”. I was told to drink plenty of water and milk.
Well mum is ok. Apart from a very dry throat and mouth for a few hours, I felt alright.
I am guessing that drinking water contaminated with medium must be a very common mistake for many people who make art. Feel free to share what you have eaten or drank that you shouldn’t have – like your art material.
Kaz, our pet lorikeet is a father, and he has been for about a month. I only just found out a week ago. I guess I am a grandmother again, having already had several ducklings being born to ducks my sons and I have raised in Bellbowrie, Queensland.
Weeks before the baby was born, Kaz the lorikeet came for chats in the Umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla) while I was hanging the washing. He normally visited us on the verandah where he grew up, at the front of the house. I thought at the clothesline was an odd place for him to be. A three metre drop just under where he sat was a typical place for snakes, and even the snake catcher reminded me a few times. “Dry leaves under shady dry quiet place with both sunny and dark nooks – a snake haven” he said with a grin. I suppose one day, I would cut everything down, but I didn’t have the heart to damage the place. Both the pythons and brown snakes were removed by snake catchers from this spot and taken to the park. Currently, a baby green tree snake lives there – he is only 50cm long and suns itself on the back verandah often.
Near the umbrella tree where rainbow lorikeets gathered, Kaz would fly low onto the mango tree branches and tell me long-winded tales while I hung the washing or tended to my garden. I wished I understood him. The changes in the pitch and his excitement showed there was some important things happening in his life, but all I could do was respond in whistles, PNG pidgin and make my own sounds so he knew I was listening. He always responded cheerfully. Often he would hop onto the clothesline for a few minutes before he flew away.
One day, two weeks ago I heard a baby bird cry and a soothing motherly response just above the clothes line. I heard these cries start a month ago. It was louder and closer. It sounded like a baby parrot in the umbrella tree, but I could not see it. The giant leaves hid the birds. I also did not know what type of parrot it was, but I suspected a rainbow lorikeet because these birds loved the spiky flower of the umbrella tree which turns into fruit.
A week went by and I noticed my feathered son Kaz coming out of the same tree. He usually slept in the palm and the gum trees in front of the house. At the house, he came alone and stayed longer than five minutes which was his usual visiting time. He also chased baby parrot Boz out of its cage and ate the crumbs. Katz often stayed in the cage for a while longer. He was unaccompanied. His female partner was nowhere to be seen. Since he had left home, Kaz always flew with her. I wondered if she ditched him which wouldn’t have surprised me because Kaz could get rowdy and demanding at times. Last week, he flew down to me when I arrived home and flew straight back into the umbrella tree and made so much noise. He called loudly and whistled. I followed him and could hear the baby bird as well.
Under the clothesline I listened. I saw Kaz on the branch, his partner and a baby bird. I was so surprised, but my thoughts went back to how little he was and how he just fitted in my hand when he first came to us. Kaz could not stop talking and shouting. I stared at him realising I had become a grandmother. That was what all the clothesline storytelling was about a week ago. At that moment, my excitement and sense of pride felt like I could easily fly up to the umbrella tree. I could not tell anyone about Kaz’s news as I was alone. I felt strangely moved and wanted to hug Kaz and tell him I was proud. But he is the wild thing he is supposed to be, and I just hope he can see how happy I am for him.
Over the week, I watched Kaz’s family and how attentive the parents were; keeping their little one safely in the large leaves of the umbrella tree. They protected the baby from crows, kookaburra and other large birds. Kaz visited the house daily to bring ‘take-aways’ of honey, bread, fruit and seeds back to the nest.
Today, almost a month after I heard that baby bird, a rare moment presented itself when the whole family flew to another umbrella tree 20 metres away. It happened while I was walking in the back. I quickly ran back into the house to fetch my camera. The lighting was terrible and the shots were fleeting, but I am happy to share some rare images of my feathered family. Life can give you joy in the most interesting ways.
When the Cattleya orchid bloom, the petals remind me of watercolour on paper. Translucent layers, flow the streams into each other. Lights, waiting to burst in unseemly angles. The orchid’s veins like fine ice crystals are so delicate that it bruises to touch; such a complete contrast to its thick leathery dull green leaves.
Inside, many secrets are kept. But who is to know…
When you are up close to a Cattleya, there are so many things to look at and the mind can play tricks on you. I get lost in the ‘skirts’, the twists of the lines, and ruffled ends of its petals that tilt like a Latin dancer’s skirt. Sometimes the ruffles can look like bird feathers.
It is not hard to see a Latin dancer stretch her legs and throws the ruffled hem back, leaving the wind and the music to take her. Round and round in her twists and turns until the last note, a high-pitched violin is played to bring her home.
That note is also the mosquito humming in my ear as it bites me. I know I am staring at the orchid under the tree outside my house. Show is over.
Inky the octopus didn’t even try to cover his tracks.
I loved this story so much I had to blog it.
By the time the staff at New Zealand’s National Aquarium noticed that he was missing, telltale suction cup prints were the main clue to an easily solved mystery.
Inky had slipped through a gap left by maintenance workers at the top of his enclosure and, as evidenced by the tracks, made his way across the floor to a 15-centimetre-wide drain. He squeezed his football-sized body in — octopuses are very malleable, aquarium manager Rob Yarrall told the New Zealand website Stuff — and made a break for the Pacific. Read more from Karen Brulliard in Washington Post.
Here is a poor re-production, but I wanted to show this painting I re-worked of a sunset in Suki River, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. The original and proper re-production are superior. I worked in Suki for a short time and have fond memories. The place is surrounded by water. You can look as far as you can and the water never stops. The river joins to others and small lakes that are a home to wildlife and fish. The scenes are quite breath-taking. In a typical evening, here right off the edge of the airstrip (which I did not show but it is at the back of this family), canoes would come across from the villages to pick up the passengers. Then, someone would hold the lamp or a torch as the rest paddled all the way home. Sometimes the trip took three to four hours.
If the villagers were lucky, a motored dinghy would be there to fetch them. And it was not always the fastest, some dinghies would run out of fuel on the way home, so the travellers still needed to paddle. After one of my community craft development workshops, there was no dinghy so eight women paddled me to the airstrip, it took us two and a half hours and they all stood in the single out-rigger and pushed with long sticks and paddles. They told me to sit. I was not brave enough to stand and paddle. We got there on time.
Sarah Breedlove (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919), known as Madam C. J. Walker, was an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist.
Eulogized as the first female self-made millionaire in America,] she became one of the wealthiest African American women in the country. Walker made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of beauty and hair products for black women through Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, the successful business she founded. Walker was also known for her philanthropy and activism. She made financial donations to numerous organizations and became a patron of the arts. Villa Lewaro, Walker’s lavish estate in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, served as a social gathering place for the African American community. The Madame Walker Theatre Center opened in Indianapolis in 1927 to continue her legacy. Both of these properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
I am away from this blog to spend time finishing some projects. I am also working on a new website for tribalmystic blog and adding a gallery to the blog. Hopefully, that will all be completed soon. If you have any queries, email me. Above in one of the series of market scenes from Papua New Guinea (PNG) I am working on. It is a quick shot with my mobile phone to give you an idea of the image. It is a typical scene in the PNG markets.