Friday, April 30, 2010

Melaleuca Wetlands - Coochiemudlo Island

I mentioned the Melaleuca Wetlands at Coochiemudlo Island in my last post, a special place I felt. It's hard to describe in words, sometimes a place just seems so bursting with life, the light is right, perhaps the time of year and plentiful rain, gives a glow to everything. We were towards the end of our time with a ferry to catch back to the mainland, but even a quick walk here was well worth while.

Seed collection - Coochiemudlo Island

The jetty at Victoria point.

Hibiscus tiliaceus

Bribie Island Pine, Callitris columellaris

Winged seed of Bribie Island pine.

I don't think the weather could have been more perfect for the Redland Bushcare seed collection trip to Coochiemudlo Island. This was my first trip off the mainland to a bay island, arriving by ferry gave the impression of a sea change paradise.
We collected seed from several species along the sandy foreshore. Trees on Coochiemudlo Island are quite spectacular, some windswept into sculptural like forms. We walked through groves of Banksias in full bloom, gnarled casuarinas and eucalypt species, and some towering Bribie Island pines. Towards the end of our walk we headed into the Melaleuca Wetlands, variety of species changed with dense undergrowth of fern, grass and vines, giant stately banksia, charred paperbarks and butterflies dancing on air. This place felt special, I will need to return again and spend more time exploring this wonderful area. Pictures of the wetlands on my next post.
Thanks to the Redlands Bushcare Environmental education staff and volunteers for a great morning of knowledge sharing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thomas Spence

An exhibition of works by artist Thomas Spence opened on the weekend at Redland Art Gallery. The exhibition titled '35 years of expressing the inexpressible' is presented in partnership with Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery. I wasn't familiar with Tom's work but was immediately enthralled with his detailed and skilled draftsmanship. The works capture deeply personal experiences, memories and locations in scenes often set in a night time light. Graphite, charcoal, ink, acrylic, scraping out and collage are combined skillfully to achieve chiaroscuro like tonal contrast and minute detail. I felt drawn to works such as 'A prayer for the Lamb' and peered in the windows of 'Until the end of the world'.
If you enjoy drawing or appreciate highly individual styles of artwork, this show is well worth viewing. The exhibition continues until 30th May at both Redland and Stanthorpe Art Galleries.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Art and Health

Late last year I was invited to develop a concept design for an area of the new Gold Coast University Hospital, currently under construction. I was thrilled at the opportunity of being involved in the Art Program. Some objectives of the integrated artwork program include creating a calming environment for visitors and patients. At the same time creating a conducive environment in which to work, while exploring relationships between art and science and art and health. Artists involved in developing schematic designs for the Gold Coast University Hospital include Stephen Short, Carly Scoufos, Daniel Templeman, Glenda Orr, Sherrie Knipe and myself. You can see schematic designs and details in the Art Program Update.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bushcare Birders - Redlands

This month I joined the Redlands Bushcare Birders group at Wallaby Creek Bushland Refuge. We walked through beautiful mixed woodland of ironbarks, spotted gum, acacias and various eucalypt on a circuit trail that took us to the edge of Tingalpa and Wallaby creeks. We watched many birds in the leafy canopies, including Yellow-faced honeyeaters, Grey fantails, Varied sittella and Rufous fantail. It was quite a show with constant darting between trees, some birds worked along tree trunks and branches; but all too fast for my camera to capture.
The creek edge presented a peaceful, lush setting with early morning light sparkling on the mirror like surface. Two cormorants were spotted up creek and a large sea eagle nest that appeared vacant this season.
It was a beautiful morning and location, I must admit I enjoy these trips for seeing the variety of vegetation as much as the birds. Thank you Boyd for sharing your wonderful knowledge of birds, their calls and habits.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sea grass watch - Ormiston - Redlands

Views into Raby Bay.

50metre tape.

In the thick of it.

Sea Grass.

Some inhabitants (dancing crabs).

Today I joined a group at Ormiston to carry out sea grass watch activities. I was told this would be a muddy site, but perhaps I hadn't quite prepared myself for this. We moved out past the mangrove line to a marker where we ran a 50 metre tape to work along. It was very interesting to see the variety and volume of life forms occupying the shallow waters and mounds of mud in the flats. At 5 metre intervals details of the seagrass vegetation and life forms were noted. I saw lots of different tiny crabs, hermit crabs, sea snails, whelks, clams and unidentified moving shell creatures. The last image of tiny crabs with white claws were in large numbers on some of the raised mud flats. I watched them draw their claws in to their bodies and then throw them out wide, repeating this activity, I thought of them as dancing.
In areas seagrass was shooting new growth, in others were signs of eating, possibly by sea turtles. There were no unpleasant smells which you might think would accompany an area like this. Just a myriad of life, which I wouldn't normally see. This makes the squelching mud that finds a way of coating everything worth the venture.
Thank you Dianne for leading us on a fun adventure.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Phaleria clerodendron

I have been missing my walks around the Australian Plant Communities at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Work is fairly solid at the moment with no time for journeys to the gardens. So I had a look at my images from last year remembering my delight in seeing the Phaleria clerodendron in flower and fruit. One of the volunteer guides explained to me that this plant is not seasonal in a calendar sense. It flowers when there has been lots of rain, so this timing can vary year to year. We had a lot of rain in Brisbane over the last year, making for rather stunning displays. I like plants that shoot flowers directly from branches and the tree trunk, it looks so striking.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Paper work installation

I have been making a series of papercut works that will form an installation titled 'co-existence'. I am trying to capture the deeply layered environments I have been visiting. There are the dominant, upfront species I see immediately - the trees - giant scribbly gums or textured casuarinas. Then I often notice the variety of grasses, ground covers and smaller flowering plants. As I look longer there are often fungi, butterflies and other insects. Movement and sound draws attention to a variety of bird species, on occasions a water dragon, and often at this time of year, dragonflies, damselfly and grasshoppers. These sightings can all occur within a few square metres of bushland refuge. The more I look the more there is to see.
My installation is made with various paper cut panels depicting flora and fauna species. Some wall mounted others hanging as veils overlapping with opaque and transparent material. I envisage as I walk in front of this work separate elements will be revealed and concealed. Overlapping will create shadows and broken surface, I hope it will capture a sense of the connected web of life within environments.
Now I just have to finish the work. Images of the completed installation will be posted in July.