Thursday, 30 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 7

Two more fabulous sets of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil cards have arrived.
The first comes from my lovely and inspiring friend Liz Monaghan in the US. Liz has used the image of "Loud Larry" who looks like he is scared and in trouble and screaming for help:-) Liz has used decorative paper, stamps, ink, marker, brads, chain and charms for her beautiful cards.

Liz' ATCs

The second set is from my wonderful and always inspiring friend Louise Kirby. I am so lucky, Louise also takes part in our art journal round robin and me being next in the circle I always get to admire and get inspired by her beautiful entries in person.

Louise's cards closed

A black gate opens to a nightly garden scene under the full moon where witches dwell in lovely little houses.

Louise's cards open

I can't believe Louise also gifted me one of her wonderful goddess shrine ATCs. I just have to show pictures of it too and you can see more of Louise's inspiring art on her blog.

Thank you both so much for taking part in this swap!
Until next time... xoxo

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 6

Two more packages filled with amazing creations arrived today.

Here are the beautiful ATCs from Lorraine Rigby in England. I must admit my scanner is not doing these or any of the other cards received any justice. Lorraine has created such beautiful cards full of symbology that remind me of Tarot cards.

Lorraine Rigby's ATCs

And the second set arrived from Beth Gould in the US.
Now I must warn you Beth's cards are pretty scary... Beth mentioned that she had some crazy dreams and I am not surprised:-) But her cards are deliciously creepy and dark!

Beth Gould's cards
A big thank you to both Lorraine and Beth for taking part and your beautiful cards!

Until next time.. xoxo

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 5

When I got home today a beautiful package from Trine in Denmark was waiting for me. The package was decorated with beautiful stamps, postage stamps and even a poem by Mary Oliver.

I wonder what the postman thinks delivering all these beautiful artistic packages.

Trine's cards are very elegant in design featuring bats, ravens, girls with face paint on, full moons and stylised plants.

Trine's ATCs

Trine used Ink, Aquacolor, Paper Images and Gel medium.

Thank you Trine for taking part and your creations which I love!

Until next time... xoxo

Friday, 24 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 4

Two more sets of beautiful  ATC creations arrived for the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil swap, both from England.

The first set is from my good friend Mary Larner whose sepia coloured creations I just love! These little cards have such an eerie and spooky atmosphere with ghostly figures lurking behind trees or under the archway.
Mary used bleached vintage photos, vintage text and pictures from a 120 year old book, transparencies and distress inks.

Mary Larner's ATCs

The second set is by Lynn Kelman who created these beautiful cards with a different and wonderfully spooky atmosphere based on her stone angels. In Lynn's accompanying letter she says these beautiful words:


Lynn Kelman's ATCs

Please click on the photos to see a bigger picture.

A big thank you to Mary and Lynn for taking part and your beautiful cards!

Have a great weekend!

Until next time...

Monday, 20 June 2011

Strawberry farm, Beach and Scones

This weekend we went for a drive to the Sunshine Coast and on the way we stopped at a strawberry farm. The strawberry season has just begun (June to November) here in Queensland. It is a PYO or Pick Your Own farm and is very well equipped with a farm shop with a Cafe, a lovely picnic area on the lawn surrounded by fields and a children's playground.

When we got there it was later in the afternoon. There were lots of kids from a birthday party there who seemed to be having a great time. The most popular with the kids was not the playground but a pyramid of hay bales placed in the lawn that the kids climbed and threw hay at each other.

On the second sign it says no eating allowed in the field

One of the fields was in conversion to organic farming.

All the strawberries were grown in plastic covered rows.

After enjoying afternoon tea in the lawns of the farm and having bought a kilo of strawberries to take home, we drove on to Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast to the beach.

It was way too cold to swim but we saw birds plunge themselves head first into the water to catch fish. We also saw graceful dolphins further out in the water coming up every so often for a breath of air. Following are some beach impressions:

Fished out of a rock pool, a mermaid has lost her shell bracelet.

Cool patterns from barnacles on the move

The next day we had Devonshire Tea or what I recently learned is called Cream Tea in England. We made scones and topped them still warm with the strawberries from the farm and a dollop of cream.

Homemade scones might not look as nice as the bought ones but they taste great!

Here's the scone recipe we use, it is easy and quick and comes from the Masterchef TV series:

Date and Lemon Scones

Preheat oven to 200C


150ml milk
150ml cream
1 egg whisked                    combine wet ingredients in a bowl

3 cups self-raising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chopped dates
zest of 1 lemon                  combine dry ingredients in a bowl

pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix gently to make a dough.

Caution: do not overwork the dough or you will end up with hockey pucks not scones!

As soon as there is a crumbly mixture forming turn the dough onto your work surface and pat together to form a dough about 2cm  (1 inch) thick. It will still look lumpy and that is fine.

Using a round cookie cutter or a glass cut out the rounds and place on a baking tray.
Brush the scones with a mixture of milk and a little sugar and bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Enjoy warm  with your favourite jam (or fresh berries) and cream.

Here's the link to the original recipe where you can even watch the episode to see the masters at work:

I wanted to say a big Thank You to all who take the time to read my little blog, the followers and for all the comments left here. I treasure everything and don't take it for granted.

And before I go I would like to tell you about my lovely (art) friend Gillian Lee Smith
from England who is raising funds for the Willow Foundation. This organisation makes special days for seriously ill people aged between 16 and 40 available. Gillian is an amazingly gifted artist and is selling prints in a medium and a large size to raise funds for this charity. So if you can spare a moment hop on over to Gillian's blog and read about her amazing weekend away and see her beautiful prints.

Until next time... xoxo

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 3

Today another set of fabulous and SCARY cards arrived, this time from Lois in the USA.

Lois has used coloured markers and pen for her creations and the result is colourful and wonderfully detailed:

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATCs by Lois
I hope you'll click on the photo to enlarge as the longer you look at the cards the more detail you see.

Thank you Lois!

Until next time...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 2

Another package arrived today with the wonderful creations for the "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" ATC swap by Christine Stuart from England.

As I unwrapped Christine's cards they seemed to get scarier with each card.

There are ghosts, zombies, little devils, hand-eating toads and other monsters all in a wonderful setting of a flowering garden.

Christine Stuart's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATCs

Christine used water colour paints and glitter.

I think these cards illustrate beautifully our childhood fears of monsters that might lurk in the most benign looking places like a garden.

Thank you Christine!

Until next time...

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Blue Bird of Happiness ATCs and another journal entry

I have finished the ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) for Mary's "Blue Bird of Happiness" swap. Those that wish can make an extra card and Mary will make a display for the hospice her dad attends.
I based my cards on the Australian version of the blue bird: The Blue Wren or  Splendid Fairywren (Malurus splendens). The movable wing hides the Chinese character for happiness.


Another project I finished was working in Lynda's art journal. Lynda chose the theme "Languages" for her journal. Being the 8th person to make an entry in Lynda's journal there are lots of good interpretations already in the journal.

“Language shapes the way we think, 
and determines what we can think about.”
Benjamin Lee Whorf

I started out by collaging little bits of old atlas pages to a sheet of water colour paper the same size as the journal. I then used a light coat of gesso over that and experimented with my latest Golden paint acquisition: Indian Yellow Hue (I love that colour, reminiscent of the saffron coloured robes of Buddhist monks), Terre Verte Hue, Ultramarine Blue and Primary Cyan. A rough background slowly emerged, with little flecks of place names from the atlas collage still showing through.

I painted a version of a tower of Babylon to allude to when the whole world spoke one language. I found the leather offcuts from my owl ATCs lying around and decided to use them on the tower to give it a fragmented, ruinous look. On the right side I did a gel transfer of a phrenology head. It is my first successful gel transfer, as I find they can be quite tricky. I have no idea what possessed me to try one in someone else's journal but luckily it came out well, although the writing is in reverse (I can't get everything right at once it seems... ). I then cut 6 doors into the left page which open to reveal an old planet earth illustration from an atlas. Around the earth is this quote: 

"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world"
Ludwig Wittgenstein

This quote is very true for me. I love learning languages and trying to communicate with different cultures in their own language. I had the pleasure of knowing a Portuguese friend of my aunts before I spoke a word of Portuguese and my impression of him then was that of a loud, boisterous and slightly scary man. Imagine my surprise to meet the same man again years later but being able to speak with him in his language and finding out he is the exact opposite: a gentle, caring and funny man. 

While learning a foreign language is not easy and filled with misunderstandings, jokes lost in translation and countless opportunities for people to have a laugh at your expense, languages do give us an opportunity to get a feel for a foreign culture, a glimpse into the soul of another people and to broaden our mind.

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages 
know nothing of their own.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One of the best way to keep your brain young is learning a new language.

Until next time...


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 1

I am organising an international Artist Trading Card swap with the theme: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I know there is a book by John Berendt and a movie (which I enjoyed very much) based on the same title but my swap is not based on either of those but rather on the evocative title of those works.

Today the first cards have arrived all the way from Canada from Marie. I love Marie's interpretation of the theme, starring a not so well behaved Little Red Riding Hood. Marie used watercolour, acrylic paint, collage and marker.

Marie's ATC cards
I will post a photo of the cards as they arrive here. It will be great to see how everybody interprets the same theme differently.

Until next time...