Category Archives: Travel

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…

…it’s a plane. On Saturday 25th October 2014, as I was out in the garden watering my plants, I heard the drone of a plane overhead. Where we are it’s not uncommon to see biplanes and vintage planes flying over, and on celebration days like Anzac Day, the jets that fly past Perth often go over Rockingham first. Nearby Garden Island houses Australia’s largest naval fleet, and sometimes we hear their jet engines.

But this day was rather different. As I looked up, expecting to see one of the usual suspects, what I saw instead was something quite different, and something I’d never encountered before. My son’s best friend, Cooper, was over for a playdate that afternoon, so I called both boys out to witness the strange plane in the sky. Cooper is quite an aviation buff, but this had even him scratching his head.

This is what we saw (yes, I had to Google it until I found it, as I didn’t have my camera or mobile phone on me when it happened):

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Weird, huh? Like a kite.

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not something you see every day. After finding the image on Google, I still had no idea what this plane was. I couldn’t make out it if had 2 or 4 engines, it was too far away, and I only managed to find some images on Google after searching under several possible keywords (some of them being such as “plane with diamond-shaped struts, plane with cables, kite-like plane”).  But at least I was in the right area. I decided to search under the name on the tail – Fugro, for more information.

Turns out it’s a “Geophysical survey aircraft, undertaking magnetic and electromagnetic surveys for mineral exploration companies” (Source: http://www.airliners.net) This particular model is the CASA C-212-CC40 (or possibly CC50). Not much information is forthcoming from the internet, but judging by the look of the cables suspended in a diamond-shaped configuration between the head, wings and tail of the aircraft, one would assume perhaps they are to aid in the collection of data or geological mapping of the ground.

Sounds about right. Western Australia’s most important industry is the mining industry.  I Google “Fugro” and found the company’s website. I found some information about aerial mapping from this link.

Well, there you go.  You learn something new every day!

Conscious Living Expo, Perth, Western Australia 2014

Well, here I am today at my first big Mind, Body, Spirit Festival ever. This one’s called “Conscious Living” and it’s held this year at Belmont Racecourse in Perth, Western Australia, from 16-19th October.

I don’t really know what to expect. I’m hoping to see stalls selling crystals and Tarot/Oracle cards, as well as clairvoyants and psychics of all kinds giving readings. Those are what I’m going to the Expo for. I doubt I’ll be able to afford a reading of any kind, as their prices tend to start from $50 for a half-hour reading. But I want to see what’s there, and if there’s any unusual type of readings on offer, e.g Lenormand cards. And if there’s any Oracle card decks for sale there that I have yet to add to my growing collection AHEM. Or books, one must absolutely have books, of course!

The main attraction, however, is Braco from Croatia, who apparently has a soothing and healing power of people, just by using his loving gaze. For more information about Braco, read here. Here is a photo of Braco in action, taken from his webpage.

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(I missed out on the Early Bird special which included a “gazing session” with Braco, so if I really want to go see him, I’ll have to pay extra for it, if it’s not booked out already). For those who are already familiar with Braco’s Gazing, it’s his birthday on 23rd November, and he’s offering free Live Streaming sessions here.

The website for the Expo http://www.consciouslivingacademy.com/demo/index.php/visitor-information has a downloadable PDF document showing who some of the exhibitors are, as well as a floor plan. I’ve printed that out to help me get around.

Here’s the PDF document, if you’re interested:

http://www.consciouslivingacademy.com/demo/images/PDFs/CLE-Perth-2014-print-standard.pdf

So, for today, it will be just a quick snapshot of what’s happening at the Expo, then if I find anything else that’s of interest, I may expand on it in a further post. Meanwhile, enjoy the pics! :-)

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Aboriginal Black & White Paintings

I am a lover of all things colourful, however some of my favourite Australian Aboriginal paintings are black and white. There’s something almost spiritual about black and white art, almost as if the restrictions imposed by the limitations of colour have brought about another kind of depth or way of seeing.  Australian Aboriginal Art Dot paintings (both the colourful ones and the black and white ones) are steeped in tradition and carry historical meanings and even contain encrypted secrets, however they are also very abstract and modern in their own right.  For me, the beauty of these paintings lies in their ability to straddle the Past, Present and Future.

(The following is quoted from Source: http://www.aboriginalartstore.com.au/aboriginal-art-culture/aboriginal-art/aboriginal-dot-paintings/)

Dot paintings today are recognised globally as unique and integral to Australian Aboriginal art. On the surface the dot is simply a style of Aboriginal painting, like the use of cross-hatching or stencil art. Exploring deeper into the history of the Aboriginal dot painting a world of camouflage, secrecy and ritual is discovered.

The term ‘dot painting’ stems from what the Western eye sees when faced with contemporary Aboriginal acrylic paintings. This painting style arose from the Papunya art movement in the 1970s. Papunya Tula artists used a process which originally mirrored traditional spiritual ceremonies. In such rituals the soil would be cleared and smoothed over as a canvas (much like the dark, earthy boards used by the Papunya Tula) for the inscription of sacred designs, replicating movements of ancestral beings upon earth. These Dreaming designs were outlined with dancing circles and often surrounded with a mass of dots. Afterward the imprinted earth would be smoothed over, painted bodies rubbed away, masking the sacred-secrets which had taken place.

This ritual was shifted from ground to canvas by the Papunya Tula who eventually added an array of naturally produced colours to the restricted palette of red, yellow, black and white produced from ochre, charcoal and pipe clay.Such pieces reveal a map of circles, spirals, lines, dashes and dots, the traditional visual language of the Western Desert Aboriginal People. However these marks were permanent and due to arising interest made public, creating internal political uproar. Consequently representations of sacred objects were forbidden or concealed through the dotting technique.

Whether a concealer of deeper, spiritual meaning or simply symbols of fruits, rain or feathers the acrylic dot paintings of the Aboriginal People become increasingly complex and innovative artistically. The paintings of Johnny Warrangula Tjupurrula implement techniques of overlaying dots and superimposing patterns causing objects and shapes to merge in and out of one another. Acrylic Aboriginal paintings are highly emotive incorporating an innovative balance of traditional and modern. The dot technique, whether as a concealer or a signifier offers a sense of movement and rhythm causing the flat canvas to sing, jump and dance with energy and life, much like the rituals which inspired them.

Bear in mind that although they may be collectively called Dot Paintings, it’s not just dots that make up the fabric of this painting style. Some artists merge their dots into lines, or paint lines and add dots to either side of them afterwards. Others go to the other extreme and use dots only to emphasise or accentuate circles or shapes. Each Aboriginal Artist has his or her own innate style, no two are alike, and each has his or her own palette of colour and set of symbols that makes his or her trademark. For example, one artist may be known for his Bush Medicine leaves, another for her Witchetty Grubs, and another for her Snakes, another for his Lines.

Here are just some black and white Aboriginal paintings that I have curated from Google Images. Just to show you how diverse they can be.

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Emu Feathers close up

I know the question on your mind now is: are these painted using white paint on a black background? Or using black paint on a white background? It’s kind of like how you’d ask “Is a Zebra black with white stripes, or white with black stripes?” :-)

Watch these YouTube videos and find out for yourself!

(Source: Desert Arts Centre)

Australian Aboriginal Art Symbols – A Primer

I am fascinated by Australian Aboriginal Art. And I confess that until recently I had no idea what the various symbols meant; to me, they were simply beautiful swirls, circles, squiggly worm shapes and dots. However, after visiting my 11-year-old son’s school on an Open Day recently and looking at his Aboriginal Art assignment and seeing charts showing the meanings of various symbols, I’m happy to report that I now know a little bit more about Aboriginal symbols. So, the next time I see a piece of Aboriginal art, it won’t be just beautiful swirls, circles, squiggly worm shapes and dots, it would mean a group of men and women gathered around a fire in a campsite, tracks to waterholes, digging sticks, even mountains, the Sun, Moon and Stars. Here are some examples of Aboriginal symbols I found on Google Images. Because these were drawn by different people, some of them students, there is a fair amount of overlap in the symbols. But it gives you a good idea of what to look out for the next time you see a piece of Aboriginal Art. symbols symbols_page33 7fcc7f8e803473c0c07698064dad3f3b aboriginal text Ab-symbol-31 Ab-symbol-21 And here is my son’s very own attempt at creating Aboriginal Art:
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And from the school’s Art noticeboard:
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Australian Aboriginal Artist : Janet Golder Kngwarreye

Contemporary Australian Aboriginal artist Janet Golder Kngwarreye (born 15 November 1973) is from Boundary Bore in the Utopia region in the Central Australia, approximately 270kms north west of Alice Springs. Utopia is renowned for its development and nurturing of extremely talented contemporary Aboriginal artists.

Janet is married to Ronnie Bird Jungala, son of famous Utopia artist Lindsay Bird Mpetyane. They have 4 children. Janet’s mother Margaret Golder and father Sammy Petyarre are also established artists. Emily Kame Kngwarreye, a famous artist, was Janet’s grandmother. Janet would have been taught to paint by her family and has been active since 1997. Her painting style is even, fine dot work, creating linear patterns and the major subject she paints is “Awelye” or ceremonial body paint using fine dot work and linear patterns. She is well known for her depictions of Bush Medicine, where she depicts the leaves of particular plants found in Central Australia which contain medicinal properties. Traditionally women would gather the leaves, boil them and add a resin and use this paste to treat a variety of ailments. Both men and women have important roles to play within the Aboriginal community as healers. Janet also has the appropriate cultural knowledge and permission from the Aboriginal Elders to depict the Dreamtime stories of the Mountain Devil Lizard and Emu.

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Watch Janet at work here on YouTube:

 

RETROSPECTIVE : DALIENUTOPIA

Another of my favourite mobile photography themes is Surrealism. Back in April 2011, when I first discovered the Baigup Wetlands just across the river Swan from where we were living in Ascot then, I devoted an entire series of iPhone photographs to the weird and wonderful Australian gumtrees in that swamp, as well as in the reserve on our own side of the river.  I even self-published my first Blurb book, titled “DALIENUTOPIA“, a play on the words “Dali”, “Alien” and “Utopia”. If you like it, please buy a copy!

Here is the link to my DALIENUTOPIA, and here are some of the images from that Series. All photos taken and edited using an iPhone 4. (I’m so happy to have found my images on my external hard-drive. It’s very difficult to find anything there, as I wasn’t terribly organised then and things would be filed willy nilly without a care for chronological order, or titles. Consider this a Retrospective of my mobile photography career!)

Before you ask, Yes, I DID spend a lot of my time ankle or even knee deep in mud for the sake of my Art :-).

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Australian Aboriginal Artist : Walangari Karntawarra

Continuing with my exploration of Australia’s Aboriginal artists…it never ceases to amaze me how this country continues to produce such a plethora of talented people, each one even more amazing than the next, if that is even possible. It must be something in the hard red earth of Australia.

Walangari Karntawarra is a contemporary Australian Aboriginal artist. He has a distinct style that is somewhat different from other “Dot Painting” artists. I like to describe his style as “evolved”, as it shows a subtle shift in nuance from other contemporary Aboriginal artists…it is hard to explain, just look at the images below (courtesy of Google Images). You can see direct representations of animals such as snakes, and in another painting you can almost discern a decidedly modern Jackson Pollock-like style, in yet another abstractness lives side by side with traditional Aboriginal symbols. All done with a meticulous eye for colour, clarity and detail.

Walangari also has his own website
Walangari states on his website: “Aboriginal Art encompasses a wealth of visual art, dance, performance and music. These art forms are all part of our traditional culture and remain important ways of educating people about our beliefs.”

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

No Teddy Bears Picnic

If you go down to the woods today…

Just some awesome photos that I’ve collated here from a couple of my Pinterest boards. I’ve been pinning them under “Amazing Places” or “Awesome Photos”, sometimes both! I’ve always loved images of trees in a forest, shrouded by mysterious mist and fog, with shafts of sunlight breaking through. Could be the Red Riding Hood in me 😄.

If you’re wanting to know who the photographers are, please look at my Pinterest boards, and when you click on the images therein, you will be taken to the website. Magic carpet wha hey!! 😁 If you’re not on Pinterest yet, why ever not?

Don’t you just want to go there already? Just to stand and stare, and wonder at the glorious magic of Mother Nature?

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Australian Aboriginal Artist : Paddy Nyunkuny Bedford

Paddy Bedford (1922-2007), like Eastern Anmatjerre artist Emily Kngwarryee, produced paintings for no more than a decade at the end of his life. However unlike Kngwarreye, who produced in excess of 4000 paintings before her death in 1996, Bedford painted only sparingly for most of his late-blooming, artistic career. At their best, his minimal abstracted ochre works have an equal power and strength to those of Rover Thomas, the founder of the East Kimberley style. However Bedford was physically capable of producing major paintings for only a limited period of his life. (Source: http://www.aboriginalartresource.com/aboriginal-artists/paddy-nyunkuny-bedford/)

Paddy Bedford was known by his nickname Goowoomji and also by his Gija name Nyunkuny. As a senior law man Paddy Bedford was involved in painting as a part of ceremony throughout his life. However, he only began painting on canvas for exhibition after the establishment of Jirrawun Aboriginal Art in 1997. In a remarkable career as a painter, that spanned less than ten years, Bedford achieved great critical acclaim in Australia and internationally.

Bedford’s paintings reveal a deep love of his country: the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. Many of his works depict features of this distinctive landscape such as the rivers, stock-yards and roads that were integral to Paddy’s traditional life and that as a well regarded stockman. Much of the subject matter of his paintings are inspired by important events in his life, such as the Bedford Downs Massacre as well as his family dreamings of emu, turkey and cockatoo. Towards the end of his career Paddy declared that he had painted all of his father’s country and his mother’s country and that he was just painting.

A major retrospective of Bedford’s work was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 2006.
(Source: http://www.moragalleries.com.au/pbedford-estate.html)

I love the wonderfully abstract nature of Paddy’s paintings. They have the ability to look traditional and modern at the same time. They look deceptively simple, yet speak volumes to me. By keeping his colour palette simple and restricting it to black, white and the rich reds, ochres, browns and yellows of the Australian outback, Paddy manages to evoke a sense of history, to paint a frozen snapshot of his beloved land.

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Australian Aboriginal Artist: Susie Bootja Bootja

A while back, I started talking about Australian Aboriginal Art and Artists. I pulled together several YouTube videos that I’d found that demonstrated how some of these artists created their works.

Now I’m going to concentrate on one artist at a time. Australia has a wealth of Aboriginal artists, a tradition that goes back millenia. The artists I’ll be showcasing on my blog, however, will be contemporary ones.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art:

“Contemporary Indigenous art of the western desert began when Indigenous men at Papunya began painting in 1971, assisted by teacher Geoffrey Bardon. Their work, which used acrylic paints to create designs representing body painting and ground sculptures, rapidly spread across Indigenous communities of central Australia, particularly following the commencement of a government-sanctioned art program in central Australia in 1983. By the 1980s and 1990s, such work was being exhibited internationally”.

Susie Bootja Bootja has her own Wikipedia entry. You can also find her biography and photos of her work here.

Here are my favourite paintings by Susie Bootja Bootja, that I’ve taken from Google Images and Pinterest.

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image Photo of Susie Bootja Bootja (1935-2003)

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