27 November 2009

Thank you

Dear readers: thank you for reading my blog this year, and for your kind comments, even though my posts have often been intermittent at best.

I plan to blog much more regularly from now on.

If you would like to win one of two calendars I am giving away free, just let me know in the comments below. I will randomly select the two winners next Friday (4 Dec). Free postage to anywhere in the world included :-)

23 November 2009

At last

The 2010 calendar is finally ready. The illustrations are a bit of an assortment: a few linocuts, a couple of watercolours, pencil drawings, even a multi-plate etching and a screenprint. here are some images that are a few years old, but I liked them and thought they needed to come out from just sitting in an art folder.
As usual, the calendar is printed on recycled card and is in a CD-style cover that folds out. If you would like one (or more), you let me know via the Edition9 website, or here. If you already have a cover from a previous year, I can send pages only at reduced cost.

Hope you like it!

19 November 2009


The moon sleepily cast its silver light over the meadow, as the gentle cow still nibbled on dew-covered blades of grass, late into the night.

A strange box-shaped comet burnt across the sky, but nobody saw it, and nobody heard it.

16 November 2009

Alien food

I found these pictures again yesterday. They are from a few years ago.

They reminded me of the time when Malo told me that he was half-alien. For some months, my little half-alien would only eat mash potato with sauce pictures. I was endlessly peeling and boiling potatoes. Mashed with butter and milk, then got to work with the sauce bottle. There were sauce family portraits, sauce drawings of the moon and the stars, our car, our house, and Malo's name (frequently). But these are the only ones I took photos of.

Anyway, he survived the mono-diet and seems to eat 'normal' food now.

13 November 2009

The cosmologist said...

I vanished for a while. Sorry if you missed me. I slipped into a wormhole and took a while to find the way out again.

Anyway, last night I had dinner with my friend Catherine and she told me that she recently had a conversation with a cosmologist. That must be an interesting job. I wonder, are they physicists or philosophers or both or neither? The cosmologist commented that, when humans on our planet look up at the dying sun in 5 billion years time, those humans will have as much similarity with us as we do with amoeba.

For me, that idea is simultaneously completely comprehensible, and utterly incomprehensible and beyond imagination.

03 September 2009

White laminex

When I hear the phone ring, the first thing I do is pick up a pen or pencil. The second thing I do is pick up the phone.

It doesn't matter if I don't have a piece of paper I can use right there, because the top of my desk is white laminex.

As I talk on the phone, I subconsciously scribble and draw and take notes on the laminex desk top. When there are so many scribbles that there is no room for any more, then I wipe the top of my desk clean with eucalyptus oil or metho, and I start again.

17 August 2009

Postage Stamps

All day, I design imaginary postage stamps and I dream that, one day, Australia Post will ask me to design real ones for them.

14 August 2009

Chain letters

A week or so ago, my son received a chain letter. (See letter to the right. Click on it to view larger image.) I was wondering what I should do. He was overwhelmed by a guilty kind of sense of responsibility, but to help him to keep the chain going just went completely against my gut instincts. So I wondered some more, and did a bit of thinking, and then I wrote a letter back to the parents of the (very young) child who sent the chain letter to my son:

Dear Friend,
You say that the chain letter you sent to my child was commenced in 1998, and has never been broken. If this were true, then it would mean:
  1. If one child started the chain letter in 1998, and sent it to 6 other children, and each of these children then sent it to 6 others, then after these 2 rounds, 36 kids would be involved.
  2. The chain letter instructions state that it must be sent on within 4 days. Let us just assume (to make the mathematics simpler) that the post takes 3 days to deliver each letter. So then, this would mean that every 7 days (or each week), the number of participants increases by a multiple of 6.
  3. Thus, after 8 weeks, already 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 children are involved. That equals 1,679,616 children. After only 8 weeks.
  4. From 1998 to 2009 is 11 years. In 11 years, there are 52 x 11 weeks = 572 weeks.
  5. So, if the chain has never been broken, that would mean that the number of kids involved in the chain is 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 ..... and so on, for 572 times) ie, 6 to the power of 572.
  6. Now think about this for a moment. After only 200 weeks, the sum would look like this:

  7. The chain letter was two hundred weeks old in approximately 2002 or 2003 and already the number was incomprehensibly, ridiculously astronomical. It has 155 noughts after if, for goodness sake. There are not even nearly that many people on the planet. Probably not even that many insects. But you never know with insects.
  8. Therefore, it just is a mathematical impossibility that the chain has never been broken and the contents of the letter must be a hoax.
You see, chain letters operate on the basis of guilt. The recipient is made to feel that you will let down ALL THE PEOPLE BEFORE YOU if you do not keep the chain going.

It is not good to be manipulated by feelings of guilt, especially where that guilt serves no productive purpose. If I write letters premised on guilt, then I prefer that they be for Amnesty International, where pressure through feelings of guilt might serve some useful purpose, like saving political prisoners. Or something like that....

It is pathetic to manipulate children through mindless guilt.

Therefore, I am sorry that I am unable to allow my child to participate in this alleged Guiness Book of Records Chain Letter.

Kind wishes,

12 June 2009

Swimming Pool

I was 17 when I discovered that not everyone else saw the world as fuzzy as me, and that I needed glasses. Wanting so badly to be cool, wearing glasses just didn't fit the image I was pathetically striving for.

My parents were always pretty tight with money, but somehow, I managed to persuade them to get me contact lenses. That was in the days when contact lenses were very expensive and had to be cleaned with a cleaning solution and then boiled to disinfect every night.

One summer Saturday, the parents of the two little girls I regularly babysat, told me that I would be babysitting the girls at the house of a friend of theirs that day. As it turned out, a mega-rich friend with a fantastic mansion and enormous swimming pool. The girls would have their cozzies and I could bring mine too. There was another little girl at the friends' house and I was looking after all three kids while the parents were out.

It was a hot day, and we had such fun playing in the pool. Such fun, that I completely forgot that I was wearing contact lenses. It wasn't until it was time to go home that noticed that my right contact lens has vanished. Into the pool, obviously.

When I got home, I was terrified of telling my parents. I knew they would not react well My dad yelled at me: did I have any idea how expensive contact lenses are, and why wasn't I more careful? He said there was only one thing to do: he was going to get his scuba diving equipment and find the missing contact lens in the pool.

Like a drowning fish, I gasped. In disbelief. In horror. Was he completely insane to think it was even remotely possible to find a tiny invisible plastic sliver in a big swimming pool? Did he truly think that the pool owners would let a complete nutcase go scuba diving in their pool? Did he want to ruin my life?

In an instant, he was already putting the scuba gear in the car. I pleaded, I begged, I promised I would never ever be so careless again. Eventually he relented. I've never been sure if he realised himself what an idiot he would look like, or if he eventually figured the health insurance would pay for a new contact lens.

The memory still sends shivers of panic and embarrassment up my spine.

23 April 2009

I am still here

"After a few years living in Narrabeen, I felt we were on the verge of becoming 'normal Australians'... "

I have been working like crazy lately, and also been on the road alot, so I haven't had much time to blog .... not even to look at my favourite blogs .... I have missed you all.

At the moment, I am at the blue house in the forest. Saying my farewell to it, because its time to move on. I wonder where my adventures will take me next. Feeling a bit sad, but also excited about what might come next.

Driving up here last week, I visited a friend I had not seen for 38 years. She lives in Armidale and I stayed the night there. We talked about old school days in Narrabeen. Rusty memories suddenly became vivid again.

The furniture is all out of the blue forest house now. I am sitting on the floor of the empty house, with the sun streaming in. Tomorrow I am on the road again with Malo and Dog. They are wonderful fellow travellers, both of them.

06 March 2009


  1. vesna has the most beautiful feet

  2. there's a guy in an apartment in the next building who always plays his leonard cohen cd very loud on a friday night. he's probably heartbroken, but i love listening to it.

19 February 2009


Sometimes you see a dog wandering along on its own. It might be a stray dog, or it might be a dog that has just decided to jump the fence and go on an outing alone while its owner is at work. Until a few years ago, when I saw such a dog, I would have crossed the road to the other side of the street to avoid it: because I was afraid. I had a few bad experiences with aggressive dogs when I was a kid, and those experiences sort of left their mark. I did not understand dogs at all. I thought they just like to sniff and bite people.

But that changed when Dog wandered into my life. You could say Dog has been rescued twice, because his previous owner rescued him, full of good intentions, from a doggie rescue shelter for abandoned or abused dogs. But the previous owner found that he was unable to cope with all that caring for a dog requires.

Given that I was sort of afraid of dogs, it is strange that Dog should have ended up with me. I did not want a dog at all. It is a long story, but suffice to say that he sort of insinuated his way into my life.... and also, Mog really wanted him.

So now Dog, the almost-non-barking, doe-faced, Jack Russell/Mini Fox Terrier/ Australian Red Cattle Dog cross, has been with me for about 3 and a half years, and I have definitely become a dog person.

I love going for long walks with Dog. I chat with other dogs and their owners when we are at the park. I love the way Dog races up to me with his tail wagging like crazy after I have been at work all day. I love the way he does a face like the cat in Shrek when he is begging me to play with him or throw his toy for him.

I even let him sleep on my bed. None of my friends can believe that one!

So now I just have to look out that the python in the garage does not eat him. Because I am very fond of Dog.

04 February 2009

Urban oasis

The usual route Malo and I take to walk to his school bus is along the river, and then up the hill past a building site, then a little further along to the bus stop. After I say goodbye to Malo, I walk home with Dog via a different route, which is through an industrial area where there are lots of mechanics and panel beating workshops: a pretty ugly urban landscape, but Dog likes it because one of the car workshops has a dog he likes to talk to.

So this morning, we were doing our usual thing. The bit along the river is quite nice. We feel smug that we are not caught in the daily traffic jam on the bridge, we count pelicans, and watch ferries. Malo usually ends up a bit wet because he likes to jump waves made by the ferries' wash.

On my way back home along car workshop street, something different caught my eye. Something green. I looked again, and I laughed. The Guerrilla Gardeners had been at work overnight. A vacant lot which had been just bare soil littered with broken glass, had been transformed into a small urban oasis. A green space for the mechanics and panel beaters to eat their lunch, with even a kennel as a shady resting spot for the car workshop dog!

The whole street looked infected by this sudden arrival of a small green jewel. A happy start to the day.

26 January 2009


Today is the Australia Day holiday, and until about an hour ago, it was a hot sunny day. Not noticing the change of weather approaching, I took the dog for a walk. We had only been out for about 5 minutes when it began to drizzle. Not too heavily, though.

A little further on, Dog and I encountered a group of about 30 laughing, inebriated young people, leaving the lovely riverside park. Seemed that the rain had brought an end to their celebration. Quite a few wore shorts or t-shirts sporting the Aussie flag; one or two were even draped in the flag.

Dog and I walked on, and got to the park. The scene the group had left behind from their barbeque party in the park left me puzzling about what tricky thing it is, loving one's country ...

16 January 2009

There's a Bobcat in my garden ...

I've been at the forest house for about 3 weeks now. I had so many plans to do lots of drawing and illustration and blogging while I am here. But there is so much work to be done in the enormous garden, so that my artwork has had to take second place.

At the moment, there is an small bulldozer filling in a leaky dam and levelling an area at the front of the property. The frogs figured out a day or two ago that something was about to happen, and relocated themselves to the small pond at the bottom of the garden. Smart frogs. Their croaking and the singing of the cicadas and the calls of tropical birds still manage to drown out the noisy bulldozer. I have been pulling out weeds and invading creepers, and am getting the vegie and herb garden a bit more organised.

Its magic here. In a week I head back to the city. Sometimes drawing has to wait!

08 January 2009

Double happiness

After 4 days on the road, we arrived at our destination. It is peaceful and beautiful here, my blue house in the forest, surrounded by tropical vegetation. Away from it all, yet not too far from beaches and nearby towns.

The first thing I did when I arrived, even before I made a pot of tea, was to put a load of dirty laundry in the washing machine. Don't know why I love washing clothes so much, but I do. Love the thought of the clothes being clean and smelling fresh soon. Love sorting light colours from dark colours so you don't end up with pink clothes. Love the smell of the laundry powder. Love watching them go round and round through the window of the front loader. Love hanging up the freshly washed clothes with matching pegs. Love watching storm clouds brewing in the distance, worrying about whether it will stay bright and sunny till my washing is dry.

Whilst the first load of clothes was in the machine, I unpacked the car and made a pot of tea. We had a small lunch and settled into the house. Two loads of clothes washed and hung out to dry, then we headed to the beach.

Double happiness because today it is raining, and the forecast says it will rain for the next 3 days. But my washing got done in time. All nice and clean and dry. When the sunny weather returns, the ritual begins again.

02 January 2009

Time to do very little

Before Christmas, everyone is madly rushing to get all their work done before the year's end, and to get everything ready for the silly season. And then Christmas comes, and goes. And then you have my favourite time of all: that time after Christmas and into the first weeks of the new year, when there is no pressure and when you head to the beach often, but most of all, you just lie on the sofa with a beer and a book. Perfect.