Thursday, March 29, 2012

It is that time of year again.
This week is Balloon Festival in my city, and every morning down at the lake
over 30 hot-air balloons take to the skies.

Yesterday morning early, I drove around the lake to watch  the first balloons go up,
I love the way they make us all smile.

Once the balloons were up and on their way,
so was I.
 I drove over the Kaimai range into the Bay of Plenty to Mount Maunganui
and Papamoa Beach where my friend Joan lives. 

That is Mount Maunganui in the background.
Maunga means mountain and nui means big in Maori, so we should just say
Maunganui .

We walked the long and beautiful Papamoa Beach.

If you look very carefully, you may see a speck on the horizon.
It is The Rena, the container ship that ran aground on  the reef out there last year,
causing an oil spill and tipped hundreds of containers into the sea.
Luckily the beaches have been cleaned and it is hard to believe
there was ever a disaster here,
but a big crane on the horizon is still working at removing containers.

This morning we walked around Maunganui.

The sun shone and it was very warm. 

It felt like Summer.

A lovely walk in the shade of the pohutukawa trees.

I drove home again this afternoon,
back over the Kaimai hills to the green Waikato Basin where I Live.
Funny how two days and one night away can feel like a whole holiday.
I have come home
refreshed and spirit lifted.
Thank you Joan.
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Were there flowers on the feijoa tree this year?
Did I see the blackbirds feasting on the flowers as they always do?
I cannot recall.
I just take it for granted, when Autumn comes,
 there will be those luscious little gifts of green fruit 
lying on the back lawn.
I gather up their deliciousness
and laugh and say
feijoas mean Autumn to me.

This year
something is wrong.
This year is the Year of the Water Dragon.
Rain.  Wetness. Lush gardens,
there are no feijoas lying under the
Feijoa Sellowiana!
Did a strange coolness about Summer
upset her?
Has she taken the year off?
A Feijoa Sellowiana Sabbatical?
I look at the tree
and somehow, suddenly,
Autumn is just not the same. 
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I've come to the end of my Japanese Moleskine journal.
It has been quite an adventure
keeping this visual diary.

I look back and see it is more
the journey of my crazy but wonderful mind.
I've been pondering on the wonder of light
and colour and sight lately.

My dear neighbour Pete The Jazz Man, aged 79,
was telling me about his old friend who has become colour blind.
"So" said I. "He now sees the world as it really is."
Really is, without light, that is.
A world of shades of grey.

'Colour is the suffering of  Light' 
                                                   Melissa Green.

The fact that colour is light reflected into my eye and transmitted to my brain
astonishes me.
The fact that colour is not intrinsic to an object,
'things' are not 'made' of colour, astonishes me.
The fact that when dye or paint is applied to a canvas, it is the surface that is changed
that reflects a different light. 
Now you have probably understood all this for simply ages.
I am a slow learner.
Well, I've known about it. I was a teacher. I've explored light with children many times.
Somehow though, I'm only just beginning to understand.
Our world isn't quite as I thought it was!

All these ponderings land in my visual journal.
I feel like I've made a break through with colour that just may influence my art.
Paints terrified me. I gave up. My strong point was design I was told.
I took to black and white. Pen and paper, as you'll know if you've been following this blog.
Hundreds of black and white doodles, but I've kept thinking about colour.

Now, I've come to the end of the line in this journal..

behind the last page is the beginning of the return journey.
Backwards I will go on my arty adventure.
I will keep on pondering about light and colour.
Who knows what might happen.

PS.. the sweet little bird I clipped from a magazine is instantly recognisable
as a Don Binney bird.  Don Binney is one of my favourite NZ artists.
Indigenous NZ birds in flight are his signature icon.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Equinox blessings
blogging friends..
be it Spring or Autumn..

from my little Autumn garden
to yours.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We've had a big warm easterly wind.
It's very hard to take a photo of wind.
Trees swaying and bending.
Leaves skittering and dancing westwards down the street
and gathering in an eddy at my garage door.

A photo is too still.
Wind is not a good subject for a still portrait. 

I can see over the road in the Daycare Centre,
the creative teachers have been hanging billowing streamers
on the branches of the playground trees.
The children are loud and screechy in the wind,
running and flapping about like small wild ponies.

It was too rainy and wild for a walk around the lake early this morning.
Instead I stayed in bed and read.
This afternoon late
I took my walk.
The warm easterly wind blew in my face
and whipped my hair in all directions
and the cicadas were so loud.
My instinct was to run and screech into the wind
for sheer joy, like the children,
but others walking by rather inhibited me!

Instead I gathered an autumn tussie-mussie

and brought home these beautiful leaves. 

The evenings are drawing in.
There is a new feeling of darkness.
At night I'm woken by acorns falling on the Daycare roof
and find myself creeping about checking out strange bumps and thumps.
There is a feeling in my soul
of a mellowness.
I find myself counting on my fingers and working out when our Halloween
would be.
Yes .. this is
But Easter is coming.

I fetch Juliet's books,
"Dancing With The seasons"
and "Celebrating the Southern Seasons"
(By Juliet Batten.)
I will read them again and settle myself into the season of Autumn.

All my life I have participated in the church year.
The Catholic liturgy is rich in ritual and festival.
The festivals are rooted in ancient seasonal celebrations.
They are however, from the northern hemisphere
and more and more I long for our southern seasons to be celebrated,
rooted in the earth, the universe.

I am so grateful to Juliet for her wonderful scholarship and wisdom.
Long ago she began to explore our seasons and ways to celebrate them.
It was my most happy day when I discovered her books.
Later I had great pleasure meeting this lovely and special woman,
and of course following her wonderful blog,
which you will find here...
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday afternoon.
Just the time for doodling in my Japanese Moleskine
while I listen to Arts on Sunday -
about the first Pops Orchestra in NZ;
a nz radio drama;
a muso who has put kiwi poets' works to music
and a debut novel from Sacha de Basin,
Sacha has written about the notorious Minnie Dean,
the only woman ever executed in NZ.
Sacha tells the story from Minnie's perspective.

I doodle as I listen.

This is an earlier page inspired by  the exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery -
Degas to Dali,

and this is today's page about light and colour
and design.
A scrap of wallpaper design  was the starting point.
A visual diary is a wonderful means of recalling a day.
I'm sure Minnie Deans will come to mind whenever I look at these birds,
which was not my intention at all.
We will never know the truth of Minnie Dean.
She lived in harsh times.
No one is an island.
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I've been fortunate to have visited Ireland several times.
It feels like home.
Love to my friends and family there..

and goodness..
but I think green does improve
my looks!

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

This little work of art
 I found inside a book today.
A book
I never quite finished reading.

A strange delight
to rediscover
created by one's self
and quite

like a small time travel
back to another

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Friday, March 16, 2012

The first thing I saw this morning
was a perfect web on my bedroom deck.

I should sweep it away
but I couldn't destroy such a masterpiece. 

The second thing I saw this morning was this bright hot-air balloon.
I should be making my bed but I stayed to watch
it sail over the trees.

The third thing I saw this morning was
the fabulous blue sky
and the shining of the sun.
I should be making my porridge but
I sat for a while with the sun warm on my face.

Now this morning I should go to the opening of the new hall at my favourite school,
to be dedicated to a favourite Principal who sadly died last year.
I should finish mowing the lawns.
I should vacumn the house and clean the windows.

Then I remembered.
Never should on yourself !

I have a friend who cares for her needy significant other.
Friday is her respite day. A deserved day off.

not 'shoulding' on myself,
I gave her a ring
and said..
"Let's go for a drive.
Let's go to Raglan by the Sea
for fish and chips by the ocean."

"Oh Yes!" said she. "That would be perfectly wonderful!"
The fish and chips wrapped up in newspaper were perfect.
The flask of hot coffee just right.

The sun shone and the ocean sparkled. 

The greedy gull was friendly and cheeky. 

The fat cicada on the harakeke sang his heart out right where we sat. 

The greedy gull posed for the camera.
"Do you like my head to the right.. 

or my head to the left..?" 

In Manu Bay the left rolling surf rolled in for the surfers. 

The best kind of left rolling surf in the world.

We checked out the shops full of nic-nacs
and arty stuff

and had a final flat white at the Blacksand cafe.
Our day was delicious, reviving and magic.
  A most special day spent
 Down By The Sea.
And what's more I can tell you
there had not been one should..
not even a small one..
nor even a whisper..
not one single

 in the whole of our day.

 And the last thing I saw

was at home on my keyboard..
 a single white feather
carried in by the breeze.

Not large enough for a greedy white seagull,
but a totem of some kind..
just perfect for me..
some kind of a blessing
for giving up
some kind of a blessing
like a kiss from the sea.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Today friend Jan and I went to Woodlands, Gordonton,
for lunch.

(you can visit Woodlands here)

Jan and I worked together for fifteen years
teaching fondly remembered children with special needs.
We could write a book about our shared adventures, our successes and our failures;
the ups and downs of our own family lives we've shared;
the tears and the belly laughs.
So much shared history behind us
and now both of us are relishing our retirement.

We meet up on our birthdays
for a lovely lunch at Woodlands.. 

a place of beauty and peacefulness. 

Thank you Jan!
See you at Woodlands in June. 
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