Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Microcosm - Cradle Mountain National Park

There are many aspects to Cradle Mountain, the rugged peaks and panoramic views are prominent, but there is an amazingly delicate and fragile world of life too, with many interesting endemic plants.
It's everywhere really when you look, moss and lichen laden tree branches create enchanted forests with minute ferns and alpine flowers below. It was on the high plateau trail, a relatively flat area stretching between peaks, that I became conscious of feeling like there were a million worlds in that one place. Each pool a myriad of jostling patterned ground covers, filling tiny niches in almost jigsaw like precision.
I had to keep stopping and looking, with so much to see spread out across the ground, textures, colours, shapes....I could have spent so much time here.
If you have a chance to go....go!

And wombats, lots of them, roaming wild, mostly looking like furry boulders, munching on grass. I was so glad to see them. This one was wandering around our accommodation.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Low roads and high roads - Cradle Mountain

We started with the low trails on our first day at Cradle Mountain, with a circuit walk of Dove Lake. It took us through a stunning variety of forests, marshy areas, stony beaches and open grassland. In the afternoon with all cloud cleared and vibrant blue skies we headed up to Marion's Lookout. The photos from my previous post were taken on this was a picture perfect afternoon. Warmed up , we took the high trail on the second day starting with Hansons Peak, the Face track , areas of the Overland track and Crater Peak. The landscape is stunning, bold, full of magnificent views and yet incredibly delicate on the surface. Areas of the alpine highland revealed a million minute worlds full of life (I'll post separately about this). The landscape envelops you, or at least it did me, it's so in your face, harsh, beautiful, rugged and dainty all in one.
If you don't like walking a drive to the carpark at the end of Dove Lake on a clear day will give you wonderful views of Cradle Mountain, without the exertion.
I don't know if I will get back there again, but the memories of place will stay with me for a long time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Walking at Freycinet

Coles Bay, looking at the 'Hazzards'.

Freycinet National Park

I have been traveling in Tasmania at Freycinet National park, and as I've come to enjoy in parks, experiencing wonderful landscapes full of life. Morning walks along Oyster Cove beach to Coles Bay are framed by the dramatic backdrop of the 'hazards'. Crystal clear waters reveal an abundance of seaweeds, welks, limpets, small fish and bird life. Checking out the mussel encrusted rockpools has been a lot of fun.
Walks in Freycinet took us over rocky outlooks to Wineglass Bay, with pearly white sand, clear aqua surf and over-friendly wallabies. Then across wetlands full of summer flowering native flora in the peninsula's centre, reminiscent of some landscapes on Moreton Bay Islands; to the opposite coastline of Hazards beach.
I'll post some images separately.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Openings at Tweed River Art Gallery

I headed down to Tweed River Art Gallery yesterday for the opening of three exhibitions, Stuart Cussons 'De Chirico's Train', The 2011 Portia Geach Memorial Award finalists, and Personal Space: Contemporary Chinese and Australian Prints.

Before the openings curator and artist Michael Kempson gave an informative talk about the curating process for Personal Space, and discussed a few of the works in detail. The exhibition has a wide selection of printworks created through processes including etching, wood cut, collagraph, screen printing and lithography. I was delighted to see works by Belinda Fox, Rona Green, Fiona Hall and Reg Mombasa; alongside artists less known to me, such as the intriguing work of Milan Milojevic, and contemporary Chinese artists. This exhibition is well worth a visit with plenty to contemplate and admire in both the aesthetic and conceptual qualities.

The 2011 Portia Geach Memorial Award exhibition was opened by guest speaker Jenny Sages. As in the past Jenny was a delight to hear with poignant insight into the drive for artists to have their work seen.
 The Portia Geach Memorial Award is an annual award for portraiture by contemporary Australian women artists. The exhibition presents paintings by fifty two finalists from across Australia, each featuring a portrait painted from life of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters or the Sciences. This is the first time the Award has been exhibited outside of Sydney.

De Chirico's Train by Stuart Cussons presents still and at the same time contemplative works. I think these are best seen in the flesh as subtle surface finishes have an impact on the viewing of these pieces.

You can check out the continuing dates for the shows online here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Before the Storm at ATG

To open the exhibition program for 2012, Anita Traverso Gallery has a group show - Before the Storm.

This themed exhibition presents work of the contemplative and the quiet, the sublime and reflective. A space of the in-between. Incorporating artworks by fourteen of the galleries artists, Before the Storm continues until 28th February.
Papercut work from my Weather relations series can be seen in the exhibition.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A trip to Coochiemudlo Island

 I headed over to Coochiemudlo Island yesterday with Jude for a day of working outdoors. The weather was pleasant with light cloud and a breeze to cool us. Walking along the jetty at Coochie, some blue jelly fish could be seen in the shallows, as we moved back towards the deeper water the numbers increased with a constant flow headed east under the jetty. The beautiful aqua and turquoise blue colours were a bit mesmerizing. We headed off along the beach, finding several washed up on the sand.
This morning I was on google trying to identify the species, and instead came across this interesting article about research led by CSIRO Climate Adaption Flagship and University of Queensland scientist, Dr. Anthony Richardson. Numbers of jellyfish appear to be on the increase due to a combination of pollution, overfishing and climate change, with ecological consequences.

 The coast walk around Coochie is beautiful on low tide with lots to see in the rock pools and tide lines.

Unfortunately the shopping bag I had with me was filled with plastic rubbish before I'd made it to the end of Norfolk Beach, there were several items I couldn't fit and carry with me. Last week I joined an Earthwatch program on North Stradbroke Island, 'Turtles in trouble', with research scientist Dr. Kathy Townsend investigating the impacts of plastic waste on marine turtle species. I'll post more about this separately, the day has left a lasting impression - plastic doesn't 'go away'...ever.

Back to the beautiful day, settled in a shaded spot under some mangrove and the fallen flowers of native hibiscus, I made some plein air work inspired by the leaf canopy. Listening to the soft ripple of an incoming tide and looking up as the shadow of the local Sea Eagle passed over....bliss.