Monday, December 5, 2016

Ingrid and her tin hat.

I think there might be a bit of a theme happening here. Waiting for the tram in Chapel Street, South Yarra this afternoon I noticed a young woman sitting on a bench outside the hairdressers. I commented on her 'tin hat' because the sun was bouncing off it and it reminded me of all the Christmas tinsel adorning shops.  'It keeps the alien's away' she said and we had a laugh. Of course she was waiting for hair dye to be applied to her bleached hair. I might had asked her what she was reading but I didn't because the tram arrived.
Ingrid, Chapel St. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2016

Not a partridge in a pear tree

Walking past the Melbourne Town Hall last week I noticed this beautiful image of a tiny sparrow sitting on top of one of the decorative trees on the pavement. Entirely appropriate that perched on the pinnacle the little sparrow becomes the star of Christmas.
Sparrow on tree. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Two treasures

The gymnasium is closed until next Monday whilst they install new equipment, so this morning I went for a swim, the first I've had since Summer and that seems like a long time ago, because I'm absolutely sure that Melbourne has been mostly cold for the past seven months. Afterwards I had a coffee with long time friend Steve Middleton and then went into the city to meet up with Leonie. As luck had it Peter Murphy, photographer, teacher of English and collaborator (at the moment) with Lloyd Jones on one of Lloyd's amazing, strange and wonderful performance pieces to be showcased at, where else but LaMama, happened by Signature cafe where we were sitting, so the three of us sat together and had a long talk about, well, just about everything. Here's a link to information about the LaMama performance that Peter is involved  in.
Peter Murphy and Leonie Osowski. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2016
Afterwhich, Leonie and I went off to see Wild Colonial Boys an exhibition about notorious bushrangers, including Ned Kelly at Old Treasury Building, Spring Street, Melbourne. The exhibition was interesting but I loved the room in the building which housed polished timber furniture and deep, leather chairs used by the Governor.
Inside Governor's room. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

In praise of public hospital staff and reconstruction of tram tracks

This post is in praise of administrative staff, nurses, doctors and surgeons of public hopsitals. At ten thirty this morning, after several weeks of severly blocked ears and subsequent dizziness, deafness and discomfort, I presented myself to the Ear and Ear Hospital, Emergency Department, where I was triaged as urgent and sent through to the nurse for assessment approximately ten minutes after I arrived.
After providing the nurse with a list of my allergies and other vital information about my chronic vestibular migraines, I had my temperature taken and blood pressure tested. The nurse was wonderful as were the admin staff.
Shortly after I was lead into another room and Hannan, an Israeli ENT doctor, who had been in Australia a mere four months and generally assisted in ear operations with the intention of becoming a surgeon, used suction to withdraw the build-up of wax from my right ear. I was a little distressed with a sudden loud noise, so he used an implement to withdraw the wax from my left ear.
His kindness and understanding were unsurpassed, however apparently he was impressed by the fact that I welcomed him to our country and thanked him for his understanding of my general anxiety about having my ears pocked and prodded.
I could hear properly for the first time in months and could decifer particular nuances of speech that disappear when you have heaving loss. From the moment I was triaged to the moment I left the hospital was only about 40 minutes. I was impressed by the efficiency I encounted and walked out of the hospital happier than I had been and headed into what now appeared as a very noisy city. I took a couple of photographs of the reconstruction of tram tracks down Swanston Street, had a cup of coffee and came home.
It's a cold day and Melbourne presented her usual grey veil. But I don't care because I can hear.
Reconstruction of tram tracks Swanston Street, Melbourne looking towards St. Paul's
Cathedral, Sunday 27 November, 2016. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2016
Bull dozers removing soil during reconstruction of tram tracks down Swanston
Street, Melbourne outside Melbourne Town Hall. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Honorable Paul Keating at Kathlene Fitzpatrick Theatre, The University of Melbourne

Paul Keating at Kathlene Fitzpatrick Theatre. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2016
I was pleased this morning to be occupying one of the five hundred and six seats in the Kathlene Fitzpatrick Theatre at the University of Melbourne to hear The Honorable Paul Keating, 24th Prime Minister of Australia, in conversation with Troy Bramston, who was launching his recent book Paul Keating: The Big-Picture Leader. As I looked around the fully packed theatre I noticed academics, television personalities as well as Steve Bracks and Barry Jones.
Audience for Paul Keating in conversation. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2016

Paul Keating was witty, funny and insightful. He spoke of his political father and strong mother as well as the love and confidence he gained from his grandmother who thought he was just wonderful. He discussed power and responsibility and although agreed that he thought it strategic America have a presence in the pacific ocean he discouraged the idea that we continue to plead for America to hold our hand. I may be wrong but I think he was suggesting in regards to decisions made by Bob Hawke when Keating was his deputy, that Keating was certainly the puppet master. Keating has lost none of his wit and didn't hold back when it came to him talking briefly about Liberal Party politics and in particular about Robert Menzies. The discussion was lively and I almost bought the book though decided against doing so because the sales line was so long and I was happy enough that Paul Keating walked a few feet from me enabling me to take his photo.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

St. Kilda Beach and the St Kilda Botanical Gardens

The weather was beautiful today and it was the first time in a few days I felt well. I did see Arrival (sci-fi film) at the Kino on Monday, but have been suffering from a virus that left me with runny nose, blocked right ear and a general feeling of malaise. So, today I went down to St. Kilda Beach (many people also had the same idea since Melbourne's weather was set to soar to 30C degrees).

I walked along the beach front to the Marina and noticed a sign that said St. Kilda Botanical Gardens. I've lived in Melbourne all my life and I didn't know St Kilda had a botanical gardens. I walked in the general direction of the arrowed sign and got side tracked when I saw the renovations being carried out to Acaland Street, which looks amazing with only half the road now taken up with tram tracks and the remainder of the street tiled with lovely seats under umbrella type coverings.

So, I sat on one of the shaded seats and ate my yoghurt before walking to the Botanical Gardens, which were only a block or so away. I loved it. It was much cooler than the scorching sun on the beach and the heat of the street. I particulary like the pond, the rose garden and the conservatory

Having taken photographs and relaxed in the well manicured surrounds, I walked through the back gates back to Chapel Street, where I caught my tram home. What a lovely day. A bit hot in the sun, but I'd slip, slopped and slapped so didn't get burnt. I notice that the sunsmart message has finally got through in our community because when I passed a Primary School, all the children playing outside were wearing red t/shirts and red hats. It was an amazing sight, made even more amazing I thought because they were in groups and using natural tree twigs and branches (some of them quite large and heavy) to construct something in their school yard trees. Teachers were watching on to advise the children weather their construct was likely or not to hold. Overall, an enjoyable day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


It was cold outside, mosquitoes were threatening to sting me and there was almost continuous cloud coverage over Melbourne, however I persisted and managed to take some hand held photographs (with my trusty Lumix camera) of last night's Super Moon, which was much brighter and larger than usual. When I first posted this I failed to say that the first image (below) is one that I took of the full moon in December 2015, however the Super Moon last night was so bright it was difficult for me to get a photograph which showed those lovely craters.
Full moon, Dec 2015.  Photo: Julie Clarke (c)

Supermoon Nov 14 2016. Photo: Julie Clarke (c)

Supermoon Nov 14 2016. Photo: Julie Clarke (c)

Supermoon Nov 14 2016. Photo: Julie Clarke (c)

Supermoon Nov 14 2016. Photo: Julie Clarke (c)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Recent Paintings - Early September to Early November 2016

This series of paintings made since the beginning of September is sympathetic to the notion of shifting focus to the time of my younger self, to significant personal memories and world events. In particular, the space race, the moon landing, the Olympic Games in Melbourne and the first time I heard about the bombing of Hiroshima. Space, time and a sense of place.  The word 'place' (plateria) suggests situation or locale, however, it originally meant an open space or square and in my project reality is remediated as square space.
My project began with the purchase of a set of Vintage colored Cuisenare wooden rods of varying lengths, which I used to create a design. Whilst doing this I recalled using Cuisenaire rods as a child to build houses, unaware they were intended as a mathetical aid.
As a teenager I worked for a short while as an assistant designer at the Victoria Carpet Company in Danenong. My duties included mixing paint to accurately depict the color of wool swatches chosen by the designer to reflect the flowers and leaves in his design. Using this paint and squared off brush bristles, I painted each small square, which represented one tuff of wool in the overall carpet design onto graph paper which would then be given to those making sample Axminster carpet squares.
More recently I noticed areas of pixilation that occured on screen whilst I was watching television, disrupting usual viewing and challenging my perception about the nature of visual images in digital culture which, like the human body, may be reduced to noughts and ones, or DNA. The macro altered to the micro. The solid, material rods, refigured and remediated into a flat painted area.
In some of these paintings I utilized the grids I'd already painted onto stretched canvas. Most are 30 x 30cm, except One Small Step, which is 30 x 40cm and Oil Refinery, which is 40 x 50cm. I may or may not add to this collection.
Oil Refinery



One Small Step

The first time I heard of Hiroshima (marks on a Japanese monument)

1960's Axminster carpet