Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nectar feeding in December

Screeches from Rainbow Lorikeets alerted me to the stunning flowers of Mango Pine, Barringtonia calyptrata, as I walked around the Australian Plant Communities this month. The flowers hang in large shaggy cream tendrils, which the birds gradually worked their way down. I had to marvel at the wonderful synergy in green between feather and leaf.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Seeding in December

Snow Wood Pararchidendron pruinosum

Cassia sp.
Robert's Tuckeroo Rhysotoechia robertsonii
These plants flowered over the last couple of months and now have wonderful displays of seed pods. These capsules of new life vary as wonderfully as the flowers do. It continues to amaze me how nature packages life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Flowering in the APC

Salmon Bean Archidendron vaillantii

Freshwater Mangrove Barringtonia acutangula

Syzygium tierneyanum

Homalium circumpinnatum
It didn't take me long to head back to the Australian Plant Communities at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha. Although my residency is finished there now, I plan to continue recording observations from my walks over the next few months to have a full year record of the seasonal changes and plant highlights. I enjoyed the walk so much I wondered if I would ever stop going.
There are many plants in flower this month, just a selection above. The continuing dry spell is making it tough for some plants, others seem to revel in it. I saw several plants that were in flower a couple of months ago, now full of seed pods. I plan to post some images of individual plant species showing their cycle of change throughout a year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Redlands Indigiscapes Centre Bushland

I visited Indigiscapes at Capalaba today to see the bushland area that surrounds its visitor centre and native plant nursery. It was a grey and overcast day, but I found this drew my eye to the textural qualities of vegetation. There are walks on either side of a lagoon that forms part of Coolnwynpin Creek. As you can see from the images above, vegetation is varied in a relatively small area. Giant scribbly gums with recently peeled bark give a warm golden hue to an otherwise subtle grey-green palette. This subtle background is punctuated with details in knobbly textured bark, dark seed cones and dense leaf and bark litter. I observed water dragons, moor hens, butterflies and birds within the reserve. On sections of the walks nearby housing that surrounds the bush area becomes visible. I enjoy seeing these pockets of natural habitat that sit within suburban surrounds.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Venman Bushland National Park

Notes from my site visit to Venman Bushland National Park, West Mount Cotton Road, Redland; in October 2009.

"The first thing I noticed when I stepped out of the car was the distinctive smell. A delightful warm aroma of eucalyptus leaves and dry earthy smell, that tells you, you are outdoors in the Australian bush. I headed along part of Tingalpa Creek circuit. Many trees are sprouting new growth, lush green foliage sparkles in the sunlight. It is interesting to see how quickly the 'view' of the landscape alters with every few steps on the track. A constant new perspective emerges as foreground, middle ground and distant elements layer and alter with each step presenting a fresh panorama. Wonderful bark diversity - spotted gums, casuarinas, wattles, others in ribbons, flaking and discarding.

Towards the creek some paperbarks appear, beautiful pale pealing layers on trunks. The water is still, a deep silent pool in the landscape. Lush green undergrowth grows along the edges - bracken, lomandra, dianella and other grasses. The underlayers throughout the track are quite a feature. Grasses of various species, some in open patches, others amongst dense tree trunks. Others flattened by wind, rain and native animals, flop in clumps upon itself. More with dry upright seed stems blow in a gentle breeze.

I feel a warm happiness each time I spot a really large tree amongst the bush. They are often broken from years of storm and fire; top missing with giant hollows flowing through their trunks. Everything has a place in the cycle of life in this environment. Several trees have the mark of death; fungi steps up the branches and tree trunks signify that life has passed on and a new phase of decomposition and rebirth is beginning. The Australian bush holds many treasures, for me it is often the textures and subtle shades combined with punctuation marks of highlight that give it a special beauty of its own."

What next?

As one project draws to an end another begins.

I have started work on a new phase of my Greenbelt Project. For the next six months I will focus on the biodiversity values of natural heritage sites in Redland City.

In exploring the vital role plants play as the foundation of life, I am interested in attributing a sense of valuing in my representations of vegetation. Works reject any thoughts of a monotonous view implied at times by the term 'bush' in Australia. Each site is unique; I seek out the beauty, intricate detail, unique qualities, textures and colours that characterise and identify each environment. Nothing is superfluous in nature; every species has a role to play in an interconnected web of life.

What role do people play in shaping habitat? How do we find balance between conservation and development to maintain biodiversity values?

If you have any thoughts on this I would love to see your comments. Thank you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Flowering in December

With the residency exhibition finishing on Sunday, my time as Artist-in-Residence at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens is now complete. I have decided to continue recording seasonal highlights on monthly walks in the Australian Plant Communities area during December, January and February. With my residency beginning in March this year I missed the three months of Summer and would like to have a full year of records to reference. It will be a nice way to continue visiting the gardens over the next couple of months.
I only had a short time today to visit the subtropical area. Two plants are standing out strongly at the moment with wonderful flowers - The Lacebark, at top, and Flame Tree below.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thank you

'Mimosaceae Family Traits' 2009. Nicola Moss.

'No Two Days are the Same - Araliaceae Family Traits' ©2009. Nicola Moss.

Botanica opened on Thursday night, showing works developed from my nine month residency at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt. Coot-tha. I would like to send a huge Thank you to all my friends who were able to attend the exhibition opening and to many unable to make it who sent me messages of support and best wishes. THANK YOU.
A big Thank you to Margot MacManus, Visitor Services Officer at the gardens, who kindly spoke at the opening about the residency and my involvement at the gardens. The residency has been a wonderful opportunity to develop my arts practice through focused observation and skills development.
Thank you to all the staff, volunteer guides, education officers and gardeners who made me feel so welcome at the gardens and enthusiastically shared their knowledge of the wonderful world of plants.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Botanica 2009 - Residency Exhibition

'Family Traits - Proteaceae' ©2009. Nicola Moss.

I would like to extend a warm invitation to attend Botanica 2009.

I will be exhibiting artworks from the 'Family Tree' series, developed during my Artist-in-Residence experience at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha in 2009. Each day of the exhibition I will be in attendance and look forward to seeing you if you have an opportunity to visit. Thank you.

Botanica opens on Thursday, 3rd December from 6.30 - 9.00pm. Queensland Herbarium, Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong.

To be opened by Dr Gordon Guymer, Director, Queensland Herbarium.

RSVP for opening night by Friday 27th November to Jay Stewart, Ph: (07) 3403 2535.

Exhibition continues Friday 4th - Sunday 6th December, 10am - 4pm. (Sunday closing 3pm)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bombax ceiba

During my residency at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt. Coot-tha, I have grown to love this tree, Bombax ceiba. It has a beautiful form with branches departing its main trunk at regular intervals. Its leaves are a soft grey green, with a cooling feel in Summer. In September it put on a spectacular display of large crimson red wax like flowers on bare branches; the overall effect a little like a giant candelabra. This month the flowers that have pollinated are dispersing seed. Huge puffs of translucent white, cotton wool like material carrying a single small black seed, were being carried off the tree in a gentle breeze. Observing the various stages of a plant cycle has been one of the great experiences of my residency.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Bunya Forest

I haven't posted many images of the fabulous Bunya Pine forest at the entrance to the Australian Plant Communities; it is striking all year round, but even more so this month in a flush of lime green new growth.
The pointed leaves almost appear soft in their fresh growth form. It is a wonderful sight if you have an opportunity to visit the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt. Coot-tha this month.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Layers of Life now in print

As part of my Artist-in-Residence at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt. Coot-tha I decided to make a book about my experiences, observations and artworks developed during the nine months.
Last year a good friend, Susan Buret, introduced me to a self publishing site called Blurb. On checking out their site I was quite excited about the opportunity to make a book, I just needed a suitable project to base it on - the residency has been that project.

I started this blog as a way of keeping track of my experiences and to assist with the eventual making of the book. This blog has provided me with far more than I initially envisioned, support and comments from colleagues and friends, making of new friends, and my family in Melbourne having a much better idea of what I 'do' are just a few.

I would like to extend a generous Thank you to all the people who have supported me during my residency and assisted with the making of the book. THANK YOU.

'Layers of Life' features monthly chapters of seasonal highlights in the Australian Plant Communities, with accompanying chapters presenting visual inspiration from the Japanese, Temperate Region and Arid Region gardens; and a chapter dedicated to artworks resulting from the residency.

Signed copies will be available at Botanica in early December, or orders can be placed online.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Seed pods in October

October is an interesting time for observing plants with seed pods in the Australian Plant Communities at Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha. Quite a few trees are beginning to sprout new foliage, with branches still close to bare, dark pods create striking silhouettes against the sky.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Flowering in October

There are some wonderful showy displays of trees in flower this month to be seen in the Australian Plant Communities. Snow Wood, at the top, covered in hundreds of fluffy ball like blooms in shades of cream to golden yellow is spectacular. Deep red flowers of Tree Waratah can be seen on the tips of upper branches, a strong contrast to surrounding green canopy. Cassia is also in flower with beautiful cascades in butter yellow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Walk with the Education Officers

Last week I was joined by Lee-Anne, Paul, Tanja, Gemma, Francis, Helen, Margot and Ann on a visual tour of the Australian Plant Communities. With so many eyes and a wealth of knowledge held by the Education officers, the walk was a wonderful experience of spotting many textures, flowers, new growth and dramatic forms. Thank you all for coming I had a great time and hope you did too.

Paul has put together a great photo story of the walk, you can view it here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Leaf Litter in October

For part of the time on my walks around the Australian Plant Communities at the Brisbane Botanic gardens Mt.Coot-tha, I am looking at what has fallen on the ground. The accumulated debris of leaves, seed pods and flowers can be a great indicator of nearby plants. There is a lot of leaf drop now as dry weather continues in Brisbane, but again this creates beauty in its own way. Seeds of the Blue Quandong gathered in large drifts on path edges, such an incredible colour amongst the reds, gold and green more commonly seen.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Caldera Art Awards 2009

'Conserve - Develop' ©2009. Nicola Moss.

'Conserve - Develop' is one of forty finalist works selected for the Caldera Art Awards 2009. The awards were established to promote biodiversity values in Australia's Green Cauldron region.

The Caldera Art Awards exhibition will be on show at The Centre, (Scenic Rim Regional Council), 82 Brisbane Street, Beaudesert; from the 16th October to 29th November.

Fabulous Foliage in October

Alectryon tropicus

Garuga floribunda

Barringtonia acutangula Freshwater Mangrove

Each month when I walk around the Australian Plant Communities area at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha, there are trees to be seen with new leaf growth or foliage changing colour. These are like vibrant accents within the surrounding canopy. Wonderful shades of cool grey green, rust red and orange-green were on show in October.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Growth Patterns - Sapindaceae Family

'Growth Patterns - Sapindaceae Family', 2009. Nicola Moss.
Acrylic, pigmented ink and graphite on assorted acid free papers, plywood panels. 190 x 190mm each.

Artworks from my residency at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha are starting to come together as finished pieces. 'Growth Patterns' , above, features observations of new growth sprouts, unfurling leaves and flower sprigs of various plant species in the Sapindaceae family.

Works developed from the residency will be exhibited at 'Botanica' held in early December 2009 at the Herbarium in the gardens at Mt.Coot-tha.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Flowers in October

Graptophyllum thorogoodii

Cordyline stricta

Coronidium 'Sunnyside Up'

Anigozanthos "Big Red'

Eremophila bignoniiflora

The Australian Plant Communities area has many plants in flower at the moment, I noticed this month that several were small in scale but striking in form and colour.

October in the Gardens

On my walk around the Australian Plant Communities area at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha this month, there were a few highlights, one being the wonderful peeling bark on large gum trees. Perhaps their skin is feeling a little dry too, with no recent rain and stong gusty winds . It makes for a dramatic contrast of new and old layers.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Developing Artwork

'Family Traits (series)' detail. ©2009. Nicola Moss.

I am experiencing what feels like an enormous tide of ideas at the moment in response to my residency at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha. All the months spent observing and taking in details of surrounds, plants, layers and connections has distilled to a time now when I don't have to think about what I want to create. The ideas are flowing freely, as I make artwork more ideas develop, so it feels more like a time of capturing as much as I case I lose it.

There are not many times when I have felt like this working on a project, I put it down to having an extended period of time to absorb and focus ideas before producing works.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Developing Focus

My residency at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha has been a great opportunity to focus on responses to a place over the time of nine months. Heading towards the end of the term, I am aware of an increasing clarity in my residency artworks. There is also a more general realisation of how I relate to 'place', a focused visual awareness of how and what I see and the way these observations are interpreted. It has been the serial observations in one location over a period of time that has enabled me to understand further how I see and interpret connected layers of life.