24 December 2010

2011 calendar is finally ready

My calendar theme this year is sketches from walks with my dog up to the headland at Mona Vale in the northern part of Sydney.

Its a bit late. I'm sorry about that but I hope you like it anyway.

Visit www.duck-books.com if you would like to buy a calendar.

23 August 2010

Book now on sale: "A Cat goes Kayaking"

As some of you may know, the "30 linoprints in 30 days" project on this blog became an exhibition at Sheffer Gallery a few weeks ago.

"A Cat goes Kayaking" is the book based on the exhibition and the blog. It contains all 30 linoprints and all 30 stories.

You can buy it here: www.duck-books.com

19 July 2010


I know that I said I would post on my blog twice a week. I know that I haven't, but I sort of needed a break and got a bit to busy with a few other things, including getting ready for my exhibition....

... and book launch!!

Here are details of the exhibition opening:

15 June 2010

Bye bye, big sky

Going to be living closer to the ground very soon. I'll really miss the big sky, but the trade-off will be that I will be closer to the sea.

Which is not bad.

06 June 2010

Invitation - Melbourne

If you are in Melbourne, you might like to go to the A3 Show in Northcote, which opens on Friday, 18 June. Both my prints from the Sydney show will be in the Melbourne exhibition. You can also buy prints from all participating artists online ... click here.

04 June 2010

Party People

Sometimes at a party, you see people you haven't seen for years and years. And you might think: "My, how the passing years have been unkind to them."

Of course, you reassure yourself that time been far gentler to the friends you see all the time. They haven't changed much at all.

Of course.

30 May 2010

Rhino Travels

I know a lovely librarian who rides with the rhinos in her dreams, and sometimes also in her holidays.

So that the rhinos recognise her as one of their own, a horn curiously grows on her forehead when she travels to their land. Just as curiously, it disappears again before she goes back to the library.

But I still know it was there.

27 May 2010


So, what now?

I am very happy that I finished my 30 linoprints, because at the beginning, I wasn't sure I could do it. And even though the project was exhausting and sort of took over my life, I am a bit sad to leave it behind.

Still, it's boring to stick with one thing forever, and I have new ideas that I want to work on. As for this blog, my plan is to put up something new every Tuesday and Saturday twice a week. Stay tuned.

Before that, though, I am going to catch up on some SLEEP.

26 May 2010

Day 30 - Washing Lines

Most people hang up their washing all wrong. They don't realise that the most important thing is to get it looking lovely. All the t-shirts together, all the trousers together, all the towels, all the socks, all the undies. And of course each line has to have the same colour pegs all along.

The other thing is that washing should be hung so that things dry quickly (ie, no big overlaps) and so that there are no creases in awkward places (I love washing lines but I really don't like ironing). Most people don't seem to think about this, either.

Whether it's washing that is hung up all higgledy-piggledy, or whether it is perfectly neat, I really enjoy looking at washing lines. And I have discovered that quite a lot of people share my obsession with the matching pegs. Which I find surprising.

25 May 2010

Day 29 - Breakfast Sausages

When I was 16, I lived in a town that had pretty cold winters. Often, we would warm ourselves up by starting the day with a full English breakfast. I remember one particular morning:

Jennie: "How many sausages will you have?"
Me: "How many are there?"
Jennie: "Seven."
Me: "I'll have seven."

We sat down to breakfast and Jennie put all the sausages on my plate. They smelt good, and I knew the others really wanted some. And I'm sure they thought that I would be happy enough to call a joke a joke, and then share the sausages.

But in my stubborn teenage mind, it had become a dare, and I had decided I would eat them all, even if I exploded afterwards. Which I nearly did. All day at school, I felt ill. All day at work, the others probably felt hungry.

Funnily enough, I became a vegetarian a few years later.

24 May 2010

Day 28 - TV Game Show

Once, I was a contestant on a TV game show. It was a sort of bravery dare to myself and it was exciting but I was very, very nervous.

Apparently I somehow made the other two contestants very nervous too and they made lots of mistakes. Which was surprising because, the night before, David the 'carry-over champion' nearly had the highest score ever. But on this night, the three of us managed to achieve the lowest scoreline in the history of the game.

Anyway, I won lots of prizes even though I only lasted a single episode.

23 May 2010

Day 27 - The Perfect Shop

Every Wednesday evening, when all the other shops were closed, we went to our shop and sat on the red sofa and talked and enjoyed a very nice bottle of wine.

It was the perfect shop because it never had any customers, but we closed it after a year.

22 May 2010

Day 26 - Hungry Monster

We walked along a narrow street one day and we saw a graffiti monster sprayed on the wall. Just then, a motor scooter drove up and parked right by the graffiti monster. A guy hopped off the scooter and went to deliver a pizza.

I turned to talk to my friend, and when I turned back, the scooter was gone.

I think the graffiti monster ate it, and it still looked hungry.

We crossed to the other side of the street because we didn't want it to swallow us too.

21 May 2010

Day 25 - Forest Stories

I went to an exhibition yesterday, where lots of giant transparent leaves hung from the ceiling.
The leaves told stories of the forests.
Some of the stories were very sad.

20 May 2010

Day 24 - Swimming

Where the sea is warm and where the little fish dart to and fro in the shallows of the clear, turquoise water;
that's where I love to swim.

19 May 2010

Day 23 - Starry Night

I'm out of the city for a few days. Walking home from the little restaurant where we ate a lovely dinner, I looked at the sky.

Without any cars around, it was so quiet.
Without street lights, everything was black.
But up in the sky, there were millions of stars. In the city, all the lights make it impossible to see the stars, but here the night sky is just magical.

A shooting star flew by and I made a wish.

18 May 2010

Day 22 - Flying

When I look out of the window of an aeroplane and see another plane flying not all that far away, I feel slightly anxious.

17 May 2010

Day 21 - Clouds

There's a chill in the air today and the weather really feels like autumn now. It's cloudy too.

Living in an apartment that is up high feels like you are living in the sky. Its sort of like a nest high up in a tree, but not as windy.

Even though I'm not much of a cold weather person, cloud watching is fun from here.

16 May 2010

Day 20 - Cup of Tea

Ah, my morning cup of tea. I love it so much that I drink it out of a cup the size of a bucket.

Well, nearly the size of a bucket.

15 May 2010

Day 19 - A Day in the Life of Dog

Two long walks. One in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Another couple of shorter outings for Dog to take a leak and sniff interesting smells in the courtyard and on the street.

Morning spent on self-appointed duty of scaring birds off the balcony.

Afternoon spent playing fetch up and down the hallway, as many times as he can persuade someone to throw his toy.

Waits till no-one is looking and then finds a nice clean basket of freshly washed and folded laundry. Climbs into the basket and snuggles into the freshly washed clothes for a little nap.

Looks very guilty when someone discovers him in this 'hiding spot'. And sort of embarrassed.

14 May 2010

Day 18 - The Kayaker

When Dog and I went for our walk by the river this morning, I saw a strange sight. A man was paddling his kayak in the direction of the city, and the strange thing about it was that there was a cat sitting on the front of the kayak.

The man was wearing a business suit, which was also odd. I mean, if you were really going to work by kayak, wouldn't you wear boating clothes, and change into your suit when you got to the city? Also, I don't know of that many offices in the city that welcome cats.

All day I have been wondering whether the man was really kayaking to work, or whether it was a performance of some sort.

13 May 2010

Day 17 - Sounds

This morning I was sitting at my desk, listening to the sounds of a piano that were drifting into my apartment. I thought, "How nice that someone's piano practice today is Satie's Gnossiennes."

Only a little later did I realise that it wasn't someone doing their piano lessons, but that it had wafted up from the shopping centre down below. Mostly the shopping centre's music isn't as pleasant as Erik Satie. It gets switched on early in the morning and although it isn't loud, it is always there. Until mid-morning, that is, when other noises join in and the muzak is drowned out by the coffee grinder of the café downstairs, and the gardeners in the courtyards, using their blowers and hedge trimmers, and general people noises.

One night in December, they forgot to turn the muzak off in the evening, and Christmas carols penetrated my brain the whole night through. When I woke up the next morning, I was very tired.

12 May 2010

Day 16 - Body of Water

When I came home from Fifi's exhibition, I made a linoprint of the sea, even though my sea will never be as liquid as hers.

Fifi's paintings are beautiful! The exhibition opening was tonight and was just swept away with the loveliness of her work.

There were lots and lots of people, so I didn't stay all that long because I'm not very good with crowds. Fifi and I introduced ourselves in real and not just in cyberspace, but we only said a few words because it was very busy. I think I will go to the gallery again in the next couple of days, because I would like to take a bit more time to look at the pictures.

11 May 2010

Day 15 - Coconut Macaroons

My Grandfather used to love it when I baked coconut macaroons, but he always ate too many.

When he became diabetic, I once modified the recipe to use some sort of artificial sweetener instead of sugar. That turned out not to be such a good idea because he still ate too many and they ended up having a fairly strong laxative effect.

He sort of wasn't quite so keen on macaroons any more after that.

10 May 2010

Day 14 - Kitchen Goddess

One day, Jane became a kitchen goddess. She whipped up a feast for ten people and she even made four salads.

"Call me Martha Stewart!" said Jane.

But I don't think it will ever happen again. To tell the truth, the kitchen is not really her domain.

09 May 2010

Day 13 - Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday, I was at a shopping centre and there were flowers for Mother's Day on sale everywhere. It was probably the same at every shopping centre in the whole country and I wondered how much fertilizer and pesticide was used to get all these perfect looking flowers ready for exactly this day.

So I thought I would make my mother a picture of some daffodils instead. I hope she likes it.

Happy Mother's Day. x

08 May 2010

Day 12 - An Adventure at Sea

Sometimes I think I would like to go on a great sea voyage in a trusty small and sturdy boat. I'd have an adventure on the ocean like Tim in "Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain" or like Moominpappa in "Moominpappa at Sea" or even Pi in "The Life of Pi".

I might see whales and sea monsters, and they wouldn't bother me a bit.

But then, an enormous wave would come and I would wish I was back at home, snuggled up in bed with a book.

07 May 2010

Day 11 - Slim Dusty

Up in Guyra, they have a 'Lamb and Potatoes' festival each January, although I'm not sure that the lambs find the event all that festive. A few years ago, Marc and Moni and the kids and I happened to be in Guyra at the right time, so we strolled around and we bought our lunch from festival stalls. The others said the lamb was delicious, but I just had a bowl of chips.

There were lots of other interesting festival stalls along the highway. In one section, about a dozen small, restored steam engines were on display, with their motors chugging along and steam puffing out of the chimneys. I couldn't figure out what they were for, but they smelt like the engine room of the old Manly ferries, and I liked that.

A bit further along, there were arts and crafts stalls. One local farmer was selling pottery figurines. He told me that he had made them at evening classes. All his figurines were of country music legends. I have never been a country music fan, but the Slim Dusty figurine was so wonderful, I just had to buy it. It sits on my bookshelf and I look at it every day.

06 May 2010

Day 10 - A loaf of fresh bread

None of the stories I wrote today turned out the way I wanted, so eventually, I just decided to draw my hands writing in my notebook, and make a linocut of that.

Then I baked a loaf of wholemeal bread and made a pot of pumpkin soup. I love it when the house smells of warm fresh bread. Tastes delicious, too.

05 May 2010

Day 9 - La Paloma

Up in the attic of a very old house that I used to visit once upon a time, there was an antique music box. It was a disc music box and was quite big. You had to wind it up and then, when you dropped a penny in the slot, a big metal disc would begin to turn and music would play.

Whenever I was alone in the old house, I would quietly climb up the stairs to the attic and wind up the music box. There was a jar of pennies next to the music box and I would drop one in the slot and then I would listen to it play La Paloma (Click to listen). Tears would roll down my cheeks because I loved that tune so much.

When I am drawing, I often absent-mindedly hum the tune of La Paloma. I still love that tune.

04 May 2010

Day 8 - May 4th

This afternoon, when I picked Malo up from the school bus, without even saying "Hello", he burst out with, 'Today is International Star Wars Day."

I said, "Errr, hello. And you know, there is an International Day for Children, and an International Day of Peace and an International Day of the Tree and lots of other international days, but I am pretty sure that there is not an International Star Wars Day."

Malo replied, "Yes there is. May the fourth be with you."

03 May 2010

Day 7 - Hairsalons

Quite a few years ago now, I used to like my hair to look as weird as possible.

Old photos remind me that I once had it all dyed very bright blue. Another time, I had my hair all dyed in black and bright orange horizontal stripes, with the right side cut into a bob, and the left side cut very, very short. For some reason that now escapes me, I also once had a lightning bolt shaved into my hair at the back.

These days, I usually just have my hair in a plain ponytail, which sort of seems like a missed opportunity, since there are 4 hairsalons just an elevator-ride away, in the shopping centre downstairs.

I am pretty sure that my kids are grateful for this missed opportunity, but I do wonder how all these hairdressers find enough customers.

02 May 2010

Day 6 - In the Fog

It was very, very foggy this morning. I couldn't see the city in the distance. I couldn't see the river or the ferry. I couldn't even see the other apartment buildings close by.

All I could see were seagulls that were very near: swirling and circling and endlessly squabbling in the grey mist.

01 May 2010

Day 5 - National Permaculture Day

Today is National Permaculture Day: 'A Day of Positive Action for you and the Planet'.

Permaculture is not just organic gardening: it is conscious system of design for a sustainable and agriculturally productive ecosystem that has diversity, stability and resilience, and is in harmony with the landscape and people.

There are interesting events around Australia: www.permacultureday.info

(Sorry, the print is a bit rough because I printed it very quickly and with not enough ink.)

30 April 2010

Day 4 - Very Hungry Pigeon

I had lunch at a cafe in the city with a friend today. We sat at an inside table because I felt cold. While we talked and waited for our food to arrive, we watched pigeons pecking crumbs that fell to the ground at the outdoor cafe tables. One pigeon had nibbled so many tasty crumbs that it could literally not fly. So it just kept waddling between the tables, looking for more fallen crumbs.

29 April 2010

Day 3 - Blue Mountains

The other week, we went for a bushwalk in the Blue Mountains. We looked at the Three Sisters and saw the cable car glide by. We walked a long way and in the evening, our legs felt very tired.

28 April 2010

Day 2 - Spoilt for choice

I grow vegies on my balcony and I harvest some of them fresh each evening to cook dinner or make a salad. But if I don't feel like cooking, there are 6 restaurants within fifty metres of my apartment. One Italian, two Japanese, one seafood, one Chinese, and a restaurant that just calls its food 'Asian-style'.

27 April 2010

30 linoprints in 30 days

Am I foolish to set myself this challenge?

Friends who know me well, know that 'time management' is something I find a bit challenging. Doing things to a schedule often just collides with the meanderings of my imagination, where time is elastic and where I discover all sorts of wonderful unexpected things.

Nevertheless, I plan to post a linoprint a day for the next 30 days. Any encouragement will be greatly appreciated :-)

03 April 2010

If things don't change...

I like this list of thoughts I read a while ago. They will you get through almost any crisis. And if they don't, I think you will still feel better for having read them.

1. Indecision is the key to flexibility.
2. There is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.
3. One-seventh of your life is spent on Monday.
4. Never wrestle with a pig: you both get dirty, but the pig likes it.
5. Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.
6. If things don't change, they will stay as they are.

(Thank you to the unknown originator of this list. The pig is for you, but you will have to share it with Tolli.)

25 March 2010

22 February 2010

Icecream Truck

I was out walking with Dog this afternoon, when the icecream truck went by.

It drives near where I live fairly often. With so many apartments, there are always bound to be a few kids wanting to buy an icecream.

The icecream truck used to always play 'Greensleeves' but lately, it often plays 'Lambada'. Did they change the tune to catch the attention of the demographic that pays for the icecreams?

Today, the truck played 'Greensleeves' and it reminded me of a man I knew, who was once a little boy. The little boy's mother often didn't have enough money for icecream, so she told her little boy that when the truck plays the music, it is the driver's signal that he has run out of icecream. For years the little boy believed this story.

The man grew up and had two children. He told his children that when the truck plays the music, it is the driver's signal that the truck has sold out all its icecream. But his children never fell for the story.

05 January 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! (Slightly belatedly.... well..... I'm not exactly known for my punctuality.... )
I have a feeling that it will be a very great year.
Malo and I watched the New Year's fireworks from our balcony. We couldn't see the fireworks cascading from the harbour bridge, because we're too far away, but we had a great view of all the fireworks in the sky.
We had our own little party, we lit lots of sparklers and we drew patterns and words in the air with them, we shared the sounds of celebrations of people in other apartments., and at midnight people yelled 'Happy New Year!" to each other across the buildings. Malo also insisted that we listen to ABBA, so we did.
Dog hid under the bed. He doesn't like fireworks, even if they're far away.