A Son’s Call – Poem


A Son’s Call – a dedication to Kaz

Kaz our pet lorikeet. He is always there.

A Son’s Call

My feathered son’s call

Above them all

Each day, and all day

Reminding me he’ll stay

And no matter what brings

My heart is joyed when he sings

 

A Songbird of Articulate Words


A Songbird of Articulate Words – J.K.Leahy Story

Jenny and Tawny.

A songbird is a bird that produces musical sounds which are like singing, according to the Webster dictionary. If that’s the case then photographer/poet Jenny Campbell is a songbird in my view.

I can confidently say this after listening to her at a lunch table last week in Brisbane, reciting one of her poems about the world we live in.

I share the love of birds with Jenny, but she takes her love for these feathered creatures to another level where she stalks them in the swamps and photographs them – then writes poetry about them. The ‘stalking’ is also called bird-watching. Jenny also writes serious poetry about life, the environment and politics.

Jenny Campbell the poet.

I met Jenny a week ago in Brisbane through a dear friend Dr Susan Cochrane, an arts curator and a writer. Jenny is one of many artists participating in the Blue Mountains Garden of Earthly Delights Festival in November. In the Blue Mountains show, she will be featuring her bird photography and poetry. Dr Cochrane is the curator of the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens show marking its 30th anniversary. Another artist participating in the botanic show, is Orly Faya.

Jenny is currently in Brisbane  for the QPF2017 Australia Poetry Slam – Queensland Finals. She is one of 20 finalists. Below this story Jenny has kindly allowed me to feature one of her bird photographs and the poem she wrote for this bird – an Australian robin. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Let’s wish Jenny Campbell all the best in the poetry finals this Sunday, ( August 27th) at the Judith Wright Centre, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

Take us to another place
where vines entwine the heart
correcting misconceptions
through the first and final art

Untwine entrenched surrender
feel the struggle to betray
the very chains that bind us
as a Robin says: “G’day.”

Eastern Yellow Robin, Australia

 

Macro Mantis Max


Macro Mantis Max  – J.K.Leahy Stories

Praying Mantis Max is on the hot water jug. J.K.Leahy Pic.

I haven’t photographed with my macro lens in a long while, but tonight I was surprised by this macro praying mantis when I tried to make myself a cup of tea. It sat there on my water jug which had not been boiled yet. A closer look; Max as we shall name him or her, is adorned like a gorgeous African queen with matching coloured skirt to her large stud earrings. This little brown insect is not more than ten centimetres long without its wings.

It was very still when I took the photos, but because a hungry gecko was nearby, I lifted it away from the jug and placed him high in the ceiling. That’s all I could do. Praying mantis were part of my early life when I spent hours in the bush and gardens with my grandma. We have a song which we sing when we see one, and it actually makes them dance. I didn’t try the song tonight or make Max dance, but I tried to save Max, knowing Max had too many predators around.

Fun Fact from National Geographic:

The praying mantis is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer. By any name, these fascinating insects are formidable predators. They have triangular heads poised on a long “neck,” or elongated thorax.

 

 

LUCKY YOU, USA – TOTAL ECLIPSE


I am jealous that we can’t see the total solar eclipse in Australia, but you lucky ones in the Unites States of America will be able to witness this rare cosmic chance event on August 21. It has been discussed in the media and predicted that this eclipse will be watched by most people than any eclipse ever before. Thousands are travelling from other countries to USA to watch it. And, partial eclipse will be seen in parts of Europe.

So tomorrow, we will be watching it on our screens in Australia while you in America will watch the real thing. Be safe, wear your special glasses, and feel free to make comments here on your experience.

An artist impression of past eclipses

Courtesy of Los Angeles Times

Rosemarie Fiore’s “Smoke Eclipse #52,” 2015. Firework smoke residue on Sunray paper. (Von Lintel Gallery, Los Angeles)

 

*There is a lot of information on the internet on past and future eclipses.

 

Gum Ladies – Making Art From Natural Pigments


This is one of 50 artworks I have made. It is a collection of “gum ladies” (as I referred to this art, painted from gum pigments I’ve made from my backyard). They are all females, but I will paint some males later. It is easier for me to experiment with the female ‘mood’.

A friend curator visited and suggested that I have a solo exhibition, because “they are strong”. Another curator said, “he loved the quietly vibrant feelings embedded”.  I had really planned to show the gum ladies in a community exhibition next month, in Brisbane, but the work is taking its own course. I am very happy.

The work is painted like watercolour and sealed to hold the pigments. Once exhibited, originals and limited edition prints will be available for sale here.

Let me know your thoughts about my experiment that has now grown into something else.

 

 

The Master Creator – Puffer Fish


I’ve been wanting to share this BBC-Earth David Attenborough video for a while. Since my friend Caroline Moree introduced me to this story, I can’t stop going back to it to remind me of how hard one must work, to create something phenomenal. I would like to make this part of my Cool Stuff collection. I hope you can enjoy this too.

The Dawn Fruit Pickers: A Story


J.K.Leahy PIc. Sulphur-crested cockatoo eating a passion fruit. Is that a look of remorse at being caught red-handed or a look of defiance?

There was a commotion outside my house in Bellbowrie, Queensland a few days ago.  All the windows and curtains were shut. I dreaded that the neighbour’s dogs were back following a recent attack. The had come over a month ago and attacked our chickens, almost killing the rooster. The rooster survived the attack, but lost the use of its feet and started to develop ulcers. We had him put down two weeks after the attack.

Since then, the other three chickens’ were very nervous. They were frightened by the distant dog barks, people laughing, cars passing by, the crows that live in the back yard, and even the plane flying overhead. I was annoyed by the chickens constant panic cries and all the false alarms by now. But, I keep getting reminded by one of my favourite stories as a child, the Aesop Fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. I would have this nagging thought, full of guilt, “what if..?” (That is what if the neighbours dogs were back?)

I sprung out of bed and quickly opened the curtain. The chickens were still moving around nervously in the backyard, but nothing was on them or at them from the ground. They were staring into the trees. Something was moving in the pepper tree. The pepper tree was completely covered with my passion fruit vine and full of the season’s fruits, many were ready to pick. I could not see the moving thing; I knew it couldn’t be the possums, because with daylight, they were asleep in the roof. I had another thought, a large snake.

I moved to another room and opened the window to take a better look. Sure enough, there it was – a little white clump of feather moving in the thick greenery. The window opening distracted the sulphur-crested cockatoo and it sat up from the bushy tree and looked straight at me. In its claw was the half-eaten juicy passion fruit.

“The thief is back,” I told myself.  The same cockatoo and company also stole the macadamia on my two trees and most times, they removed the nuts while still green, and dropped them to the ground.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos can be kept as pets and they are beautiful birds to look at. They are also quite majestic when they fly and their wings are fully stretched. But these birds travel in pairs or colonies and are often quite destructive. They had come every season for the macadamia, and sometimes I chased them away because they were so noisy.

Today, the cockatoo just sat there, devouring the fruit and then took another ripe one. I did keep them away from the passionfruit bush previous seasons by wrapping all the fruits in bags. I forgot to do that this season. The bird picked every fruit and dropped the un-ripe ones to the ground. I took a few pictures, but when the bird threw the unripe fruits to the ground, I chased it off.

The next day, even before dawn, I heard noises outside my window. The chickens were still asleep. I looked at the pepper tree. It was weighed over towards my room. The pepper tree was completely covered with a gang of cockatoos, clawing their way over the passion fruit bushes and branches and eating very quietly. They worked like the fruit pickers across Queensland who rise at dawn and work their way through the orchards.

I was amazed at how quiet and sneaky they were, a complete opposite to their usual loud antiques. I was too tired to chase them off, but by the time I was ready to wake up, they left me two ripe, one wrinkled and two green passion fruits from the entire season’s harvest. In spite, I pulled the remaining five down, but I decided not to chop the vine. I must remember to save the fruit before the cockatoos return the next season. They have tasted the sweetness of the fruit of passion.

 

Winter Food for Birds


About three years ago, I bought this small plant about eight inches tall from an eighty year old man in Moggill markets, Queensland. This market has now moved away from the vicinity of Bellowrie to a nearby suburb.

This plant did not have any flowers, but the old man told me,  it will have these bell-looking flowers that the birds love. He called it a bush. My cousin Marina, a horticulturist, gave me a yellow species of the same plant. She told me the plant would be huge and I need a large space at least three cubic metres for it. When I showed her the old man’s plant, she said the two were exactly the same, the yellow-flowered one she gave me and this orange one. The orange one took almost a year to grow up to a metre or so and flowered.

My yellow plant is still about a metre tall and because I placed in a spacious spot, it has not grown into other plants. This orange bush is now branching into the chook coop and the passion a pepper tree, because I planted it before I got the horticulturist’s advice.

The orange plant needs pruning several times a year, and the plant, which I can never remember the name, (I’m sorry) provides an abundance of bird food. Daily, many little birds come to enjoy its petals, and I’m grateful to the old gardener who sold me the plant. I also love its colours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watercolour Skin Tones – JKLeahy Art


Watercolour Skin Tones: JK.Leahy Art

I had a watercolour technique class tonight in Bellbowrie, Queensland, on skin tones and the weird drawings under this image are quick demos for my students on how to draw an eye, curly hair and corn-row etc. So, don’t get distracted by the massive eye – I thought it looked cool as part of my subject’s hoody (sweatshirt).

This subject has a mid-tone and as I explained to my students, I usually subconsciously draw a person that ends up looking like someone I know and has my skin colour. This guy definitely looks like one of my relatives.

The image is slightly overexposed because I took the picture with my phone and the flash. I hope you like the study.

Tribalmystic is storytelling about people, places, and things that have extraordinary stories. Author: Joycelin Leahy

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