Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Commentario de Bello Lungicus,

 or is it a chapter of I Claudius?
It isn’t yet the Ides of March but my current medical diagnosis reads like Julius Caesar’s great work or Robert Graves’ scandalous, orgiastic tell-all novel of the Roman highlife, “I Claudius”!
Yes, the Pseudomonii and the Proteus Mirabilii are doing battle with the Alveoli and the Cilia for possession of the scrap of lungs that I have remaining. Consequently, I am hooked up to what is charmingly called the “Out and About” program (a name I always play in my head with a Canadian accent…Ooot and Aboot).
Far from being “out and about”, I am at home attached to what looks like a baby bottle full of the poison that I hope will do a “Livia” (she who had a way with poisons) on my enemies.

Other than the small problem of what used to be called “walking pneumonia” I am feeling remarkably positive, hoping that this will work and I will be spared the routine two weeks in hospital.
The Prof. goes his merry way, Lawn Bowls have become his life and I scarcely see him in the daylight hours nowadays, blessed as we are with almost perfect weather. The view from our balcony still delights and enchants us after four months in our now not-so-new place.
I continue to fool around with trivial stuff, stamping and colouring, saving my energy for the battle within.
And remember...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another chance...

to make New Year's resolutions. The first go 'round most likely fallen by the wayside by now.
That is, Chinese New Year is coming up and thus my attempt at the phonetic rendition of "Happy New Year" in Cantonese, plus the character for Good Luck!
Apologies to any Chinese whom I may have inadvertently insulted.
There is no more splendid sight than massed Chinese lanterns something I have wanted to paint for a long time.
So here it is a, Chinese image on a card done in Japanese style, we live in a wonderfully diverse and interesting world!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why not?

Yes, why not indulge in a bit of silliness now and then?
Today my silly activity was to take the stamps I carved yesterday and stamp them onto shrink plastic just to see how it would turn out. The results definitely won't win any prizes but they were a lot of fun to make and I really do need several more dangly things on my keychain!
I have scanned them on an image of a stamp which is about 3 inches high for scale.
I did head my blog "Diary of a wasted life", so you were warned. I long ago decided that rather than save myself for something big, my life would be wasted on moments of joy and fun and I am doing pretty well on balance!
Don't worry, you will hear about the crappy bits too!
Shrinky Dinks rule!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Time is still a'flying...

the words on a card I just received from an etegami chum and ain't it the truth?
This last week has flown by. A visit by overseas son and granddaughter was all too brief and was rather unexpected. Son was working and we had the pleasure of having our granddaughter to ourselves for three whole days.
Apart from making and flying paper airplanes, drawing silly pictures and learning about Minecraft from an eight year old, (am I the last person in the Universe to find out about this phenomenally popular online game?)  creativity was put on the back burner. I had forgotten how exhausting an eight year old can be.
I have been left a little flat now that they are back home and I am without inspiration so decided, as suggested by a friend, to carve stamps of some of the drawings I had created for greeting cards way back when (see sidebar). It was fun to carve them, the results are mixed to say the least but I hope I can create a few stamped etegami  using printed Japanese papers for the kimono.

A bit messy but you get the idea.

Our mild Summer has finally shown a spark of life and the pace of life has slowed as a consequence of the mounting heat, not that we are experiencing the searing temperatures blighting other areas of the country, still I am thankful for the breezes we catch off the harbour.
In fact on reflection I have a lot to be thankful for and I am properly grateful.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tired but happy.

The long awaited meeting of Urban Sketchers happened today in Newcastle and was a great success.
About 15 dedicated sketchers made the three hour train journey from Sydney, some of them getting up pre dawn to catch the train. About half a dozen locals showed up with the promise of more to come, so fingers crossed that we will have enough people to get some momentum. In any case, happen what may, I met some lovely people today. Sketchers are such nice people! Newcastle turned on a brilliant day, 30 degrees C, light breezes and clear skies.  Serendipity!
My morning sketch.

My afternoon sketch.
Now to collapse!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A whole lot of yackety yack!

Yesterday was great, two new friends came to lunch and two old friends came to dinner so by evening I was all talked out! A white wine with lunch certainly oiled the vocal chords a mite but it was fun swapping experiences with folk that you had only had what I call a "meetings" kind of friendship with and to find that you have many things in common.
Today of course is a quiet day, in recovery mode and a day for making a couple of etegami.
The first is in response to a call for illustrations of Japanese cuisine. I chose chawan mushi, a kind of savoury egg custard which I think epitomises traditional Japanese cooking...simple ingredients very carefully prepared.

The second card is to send to my buddy in Victoria, Carolyn. I was browsing her blog (Sermon for a Bird; here) and loved the images she has posted of rubber duckies. Carolyn is a consummate wordsmith (love that word) and a published author (read about it here) who is now enrolled in the league of etegamists to our great delight.
Meanwhile back here at the ranch I am hoping like crazy for mild weather this Saturday for my first group sketch-about. Sounds like something we might have done in the 'Seventies but with clothes on this time!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Too boring to blog.

My life at the moment is just too boring to blog about. I sit here in my apartment feeling smug and happy, okay there have been a few hiccups, like dealing with prednisone problems but otherwise happy. I have at last accepted that I will be on the dreaded drug for the rest of my life and I have stopped the horrible weaning off regime which left me a crippled mess with flu like symptoms and no energy.
BUT, I have bounced back and I am, as usual, filling up my time with too many hobbies. My latest obsession is to teach myself to draw the figure from memory in any perspective and it ain't easy folks but hugely absorbing. Must get myself a good book on anatomy for artists so I will know what I am trying to draw!
Etegami making has slowed after the orgy of card sending and receiving that is New Year but I have made a couple in the last two weeks, now I just have to figure out how to make the nude a subject of etegami and I can combine my two current crazes.
This weekend is the inaugural Urban Sketchers Newcastle meeting with a group coming from Sydney to kick start the locals. It may need a big kick but wish us luck and good weather for Saturday.
Ah, who can resist a pretentious pun?
Guess what I am having with my tea this evening? I love red bean paste so much that I have even taught my Japanese daughter in law to make it! (I think she was just humouring me).