Williamstown Literary Festival 2014

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I’m lucky enough to be Program Coordinating the 2014 Williamstown Literary Festival. I do hope that if you’re on this side of the world on Saturday May 31st and Sunday June 1st you’ll join me at the Williamstown Town Hall and Library for a weekend of books and ideas. You can keep up with all the festival news at the fest website and by signing up for the festival enews.

Kereru – In New Zealand Even the Pigeons are Spectacular

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I recently spent a wonderful week on the south island of New Zealand at the 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress. On the very last day of our visit we made it to the gorgeous Dunedin Botanic Gardens for a morning spent oohing and ahhing over the gracious lawns, gardens and magnificent trees. Just as we were leaving we found this beautiful creature pecking away at leaves in trees just near the entrance gates. It was kind enough to pose. You can click to make bigger. More on the lovely native wood pigeon here.

Fragments

I’ve always been thrilled to find little shards of china buried in the garden or on digs along land that used to be near housing. I love the ornate decorations. I want to know the story of the cup or plate or bowl – how did it come to be exactly there under my feet? I have quite a collection and I am drawn to people who like to pick up and collect the things I do. 
This little as yet unfinished drawing, done in fine pen on quite rough water colour paper features pieces from my own treasure trove and a couple of spectacular pieces borrowed from a dear friend.The beauty of undertaking to draw something with lot of fine details is that you get to know it very well. The way the leaves intertwine, the shading to add depth to the decoration, the placement of petals just so, a temple here, a blossom there. I’ll never look at a teacup in the same way. 
Drawing the fragments has also been an exercise in faith – the faith in my ability to represent the art already inherent in those small remnants of something useful. At times I found myself struggling with confidence – I could actually almost hear the doubting voice when I was about to tackle a particularly complex decoration. I’m practicing quietening that voice and learning to continue working in spite of it. It’s a nice feeling to make it to the other side of that doubting time and settle to work or in this case settle to play.

PS – If I was doing this again I probably wouldn’t start on really rough paper – every time a .005 pen tip hits a bump it’s like driving into the side of a mountain!