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Photo Challenge – Thursday Doors

I haven’t participated in a WordPress photo challenge for a while, so the ‘door’ challenge I stumbled upon on the travel blog of Miscellaneous Musings of a Middle Aged Mind was a great way to tempt me out of my cacoon!!

I love the textures in old doors, and also the historical stories behind them (if you will excuse the pun). I also love the way modern technologies – electricity wiring, downpipes, etc – wind and weaves respectfully around the doors.

So I am sharing a few doors I captured during some travelling through France. The first two are from Vallauris, where I did an art residency, and the other if from Vence which I visited whilst in France during the residency.

Enjoy 🙂

Peeling pint textured door, Vallauris, France, with an inset of the gorgeous textures

Peeling paint textured door, Vallauris, France, with an inset of the gorgeous textures

vallauris-door, France

vence, France

Sunday Studio Visit – Re-Visiting The Olgas

There’s not alot going on in the studio today – I am firing the kiln with mostly student works, playing with some new button jewellery designs and planning my next day of throwing…. what I’ll be making and stuff like that – I am planning this day to be Tuesday… best laid plans!

I am also going through some pics from my recent trip to Darwin, via Alice Springs on the Ghan. So far I have shared some SUNSET images and KATHERINE GORGE images…. today I will share some images from The Olgas. Kata Tjuta, also known as The Olgas, are a group of large domed rock formations located about 365 km southwest of Alice Springs, in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia… more can be read about them HERE.

I have also written a poem and drawing inspired by The Olgos which you check out on my POETRY blog.

Here are some pics…. have a great Sunday 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit – Photography and the Katherine Gorge

Photography and the Katherine Gorge and the Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge

I am not doing much in the ceramics studio today…. it has been a busy weekend of friends birthday parties and engagement parties – so I am hoping to get into the studio tomorrow.

In the meantime I thought it would be  good opportunity to work on some photography catch-up and go through the pics from my recent travels to the Northern Territory. As regular readers may know I traveled through the Northern Territory recently with my mum and sisters on The Ghan with stopovers along the way – you can see a previous post HERE.

So for today’s studio visit I thought I’d share pics of the Katherine Gorge and relate them to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge : Intricate – which is about line and pattern.

For me line and pattern is not just about Golden Mean type geometry, but also Natural Geometry, or what call Sacred Geometry,  which  mirrors the organic nature of our universe, which I have expressed previously in posts such as this ONE.

So, it seems obvious that I would share an image from my experience of the Katherine Gorge for this challenge.

The gorges and the surrounding landscape are owned by the local Jawoyn people, who are custodians of Nitmiluk National Park, and manage it in conjunction with the Northern Territory National Parks body. In Jawoyn, Nitmiluk means “place of the cicada dreaming” and if you visit at the right time of the year you’d know what this meant via your ears! All of the boat tour services are owned by the local indigenous people who share their knowledge of the gorge and history (where appropriate) and some funny stories too!

Katherine Gorge is a deep gorge carved through ancient sandstone by the Katherine River and is made up of thirteen gorges. During the dry season the Katherine Gorge waters are calm and ideal for swimming and canoeing. There may be freshwater crocodiles in the river, as they nest along the banks, but they are harmless to humans. As my partner said, during a previous visit he made the the gorge – they just nibble your toes! However, Saltwater crocodiles regularly enter the river during the wet season, so swimming at this time is not a good idea! We visited the gorge only weeks after the waters had lowered, so were lucky enough to be able to do the river cruise.

We were able to visit the gorge as The Ghan did a stopover between Alice Springs and Darwin with a variety of activities “trainees” could do – we picked the gorge.

It was an amazing experience…. the views were breathtaking and the commentary on the boat tour was delivered by a local indigenous person who knew lots of local history tainted with a bit of funny colour!

So my pic for the challenge is this one…. and following that is a gallery of images taken at the gorge showing more images of Nature’s amazing line and pattern – if you haven’t ever visited the gorge, it is well worth the trip 🙂

katherine gorge 032_21_1

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Intricate.”

Sunday Studio Visit – a few weeks late!

OK… I have not been on this blog for a couple of weeks including the Sunday Studio Visit, but that’s because I have been on holidays!! Yes, artists get to have holidays too – I know bizarre!

It was actually a bit of a pilgrimage – my mum was born in Darwin, Australia but left at a young age as her father was in the Air Force. So, she was really keen to visit again and took her three daughters with her, of which I was one!

It was not as simple as that, however, we went to Darwin on The Ghan

Now I had grand intentions of posting stuff while I was away… but …. ‘grand intentions’ – say no more! The fun and frivolity got in the way – oops!

I arrived home a week ago today, and then a couple of days later promptly got sick – sore throat, nose, head, etc (hotel air conditioning & planes) – so not alot got accomplished!

So…. my Sunday studio visit today will be about two poems and drawings I have published on my POETRY blog since being back, and I’d like to share an array of sunset pics from my trip.

My first poem and drawing was about the AUSTRALIAN DESERT and the second was about ULURU (pics of the drawings below)

My sunset photographs cover the journey, and include pics from my phone and camera depending on what and where I was at the time.

I do plan to post some photos of my trip in the near future so stay tuned 🙂

More Monochrome Madness

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a weekly challenge  called Monochrome Madness on fellow bloggers site Leanne Cole Photoraphy .  Leanne is a photographer and her site is obviously about photography. This weekly photo challenge is relatively new and is a great challenge and attracts some fantastic artjst contributions… so I thought I would give it another go this week…

My contribution is a photo I took in Seoul, Sth Korea in August 2011 while participating in a ceramics festival and exhibition in Gangjin, a coastal town famous for its celadon ceramics in Sth Korea. After the festival we traveled throughout Sth Korea ending in Seoul, where we saw lots of fantastic architecture – and my image for this challenge was of a great building I saw in Seoul which featured a wall garden – it was one of the first wall gardens I had seen in modern architecture in real life.

Images of my travels through South Korea can be seen on my Facebook page here and here

The complete Monochrome Madness post on Leanne’s blog can be viewed HERE Check it out for the other great entries 🙂

 

2 Picture 001 (28)-3

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

This weeks WordPress Photo Challenge got me thinking about my travel photos from Italy, as I have not posted for quite some time about these travels, I wondered if I had finished the Italy posts? I couldn’t really remember. So back I went through my posts, and found that I had not yet written a post about Florence. So this is a mini post about Florence combined with the photo challenge.

Since the theme is ‘horizon’ I will stay on topic, and only post images containing horizons… the rest of Florence will have to be featured in a future post.

The images are a combination of the skylines from the amazing Il Duomo and Santa Maria del Fiore in the centre of Florence, Ponte Vecchio, views from the Piazzale Michelangelo and the Piazza della Signoria.

Other images from my Italy travels which included Venice, Pisa, Verona, Rome, Naples and Pompeii can be viewed here, or by clicking the Travel category to the right of the page.

Enjoy 🙂

You can check out other Weekly Photo Challenge entries here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/weekly-photo-challenge-horizon/

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

Usually when a creative prompt is given to me about ‘pattern’ I think of the the natural environment or the organic surfaces of my ceramics and how those two concepts blend together, but throw in the word ‘line’ and it adds a whole new dimension.

So, this weeks WordPress photo challenge immediately drew my mind to the urban environment which is quite often a combination of lines, patterns and textures – especially old and crumbling built landscapes.

I’d love to comb through my current and immediate environment for some inspiration, but am a bit flat chat at the moment, so after shuffling through some images I already have I decided to post some shots of gorgeous lines and patterns I collected while in Italy earlier this year.

I hope you think they are gorgeous too 🙂

Other entries in this weeks photo challenge can be seen here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/lines-patterns/

Antibes: Third Time Lucky – ummm NO!

I follow the WordPress daily prompts, and occasionally come across one that sparks a light in my mind. Yesterday’s prompt was ‘Never Again’, and the brief was: Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!” And my mind went into ‘yikes’ mode : talk to any of my family and friends and they will probably know the ‘never again’ moment of my travels as Antibes (sorry, Antibes, I’m sure you are lovely to everyone else – except me, and my partner and my son…..)

So, what happened you ask curiously? Well, I was on an artist residency in Vallauris, France in 2010 for six weeks with my partner and son, and it was fantastic! As part of the research for the residency, but also ‘fun’, we did alot of travelling around to towns surrounding the Vallauris area., and one of these towns was Antibies.

Antibes is a town on the coast of Italy, about an hours (maybe less) bus ride from Vallauris. Picasso lived there (as well as in Vallauris) for quite some time in the Chateau Grimaldi, a castle owned by the Grimaldi family for many centuries, or at least I think it was owned  – you will have to Google that for yourself! (see my reluctance below). The building is now a Picasso museum, and was perhaps the one thing that went right while visiting Antibes.

Picasso Museum

Picasso Museum

The places and location details in this post are all from memory, because I am too scared to Google any information (again, you can do that) in case I download a black hole of the universe virus on my computer. AND, when looking back through all the brochures and maps and tourist paraphernalia I collected while in France I found NOTHING for Antibes – obviously I threw it all away in case it caused the plane to implode on the way home… or something…

So memory it is…

We went ‘there’ three times…

First Attempt.

The first time I wanted to see an 11th century church (I can’t remember , you google it) which housed a unique wooden cross which had been hidden by local priests during World War Two from the Nazis – and had survived (I guess thats a ‘good’ Antibes thing). I wanted to see this cross, not because I am religious, but because I love art and history and art history… but no. The church was closed for cleaning!

11th Century Church Antibes

11th Century Church Antibes: the signs on the door explain that it is closed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, we went for a walk around the wall that boundaries the coast, because at the end of it was going to be an aquarium (I think, again, not game to Google it), but it was closed for renovations!

Sheez… we decided to wander back to the town centre, via the stone wall, to indulge in a wine. Now I live in a rural town where everything closes early- but this is France, right? Wrong! No sooner had we sat down and paid our money that we were being ‘encouraged’ to leave…. oh so frustrated, we skulled (an Aussie word for necking it…. hhmmm, another Aussie word for drinking it really fast all in one go) and caught the bus home.

My son sitting on the stone wall lining the beach front at Antibes - because everything had gone wrong whenever we visited the place I was petrified he would fall and be a mangled mess on the other side!!

My son sitting on the stone wall lining the beach front at Antibes – because everything had gone wrong whenever we visited the place I was petrified he would fall and be a mangled mess on the other side!!

Second Attempt.

We thought we would give a viewing of the church a second chance – it is on the tourist ‘to do’ list afterall with no time restrictions… Hmmmm…. NO, sorry, closed for choir rehearsals – Easter was looming. UUmmm…. since when are churches ‘closed’ during choir rehearsals, or anything for that matter? What if I was a devout catholic in need of God time? I was raised catholic, so know about this sort of stuff…..

But do not fear…. We had been clever and tied this trip into the Saturday morning produce market…  where – surprise, surprise – we got massively ripped off by an opportunistic pate vendor! We were, to him, an easy (ignorant, he thought) target. So after tempting us with tasting yummy dips, and us politely not asking how much, (because we had not yet been ‘ripped off’ in France) he charged us exorbitantly. So we ended up being polite targets (rather than ignorant targets), because we knew what he was charging us but didn’t say anything – though of course I wish we did!

Being persistent, however, we did have an afternoon plan: visiting the local castle – every town in France has one of those! Fort Carre is so called because it is shaped like a star and has five points – so ‘carre’, I think, is star (I can’t remember if that is the translation, so, again, you will have to look it up).

Fort Carre1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking to the castle was quite a journey, and upon arriving we discovered we had approached it from the wrong side, and couldn’t for the life of us find the entrance. So, we did what most desperate insane people would do, and jumped the fence – I had a skirt on and was not very happy! Once inside we found our way to the ‘office’ where were hoping to book into a tour. BUT, and by now we were used to ‘buts’, tours were only offered in Chinese and French!! This was not on the tourist brochure!!

Third Attempt (and perhaps the worse).

So, third time lucky, we thought… in actual fact it was third time the most unluckiest!!

Again, the church was closed – I can’t even remember why now, the trauma has pushed it from my mind!

Our plan for the afternoon (after visiting the church) had been to catch the bus to Eden Rock, a town on the outskirts of Antibes, where there was (apparently) a Napoleon museum… couldn’t find it for the life of us…. so we just soaked up the ambience.

eden roc

Eden Rock

Once ambienced out we decided to walk a little further into the town for a coffee or wine. It was a pleasant walk, the weather was nice, the scenery was lovely, but after a forty five minute walk we were a bit thirsty. What did we discover about Eden Rock – lots of hotels with fancy smanshy bars and restaurants – no average bars, coffee shops or pubs to just sit and relax.

eden roc4

The walk into Eden Rock’s town centre

And so the unsated trek back to the bus stop. Upon arrival we were in time to catch 6pm bus, luckily because that was the last bus. Guess what? 6pm came and went, and we waited and waited. After about forty five minutes a couple of locals walk past and asked why we were at the bus stop. Uumm, our answer, waiting for the bus. Their reply, but the last bus was over an hour ago. our reply, but the last bus was 6pm. Their reply, yes which was almost two hours ago. The conversation was becoming very confusing. Our reply, what time is it? Their reply, almost 8pm.

Anyway…. after much ‘he said’ ‘she said’ we figured out that it was day light savings the night before and the clocks had been put forward (or back, I can’t remember, and I am too angst ridden to figure out) so we had actually missed the bus. Arrgghhh!! there was no other solution than to walk back to Antibes. I am not sure of the kilometeres involved, but it took us about 1.5 hours of fast walking. Why fast walking? because we had to get back to Antibes in time to catch the last bus back to Vallauris. As well as power walking we also attempted hitch hiking – but apparently that is a bit frowned upon in France. So we had no chance of being picked up. Did we make it back in time to catch the bus? Of course not! After walking our hearts out we missed the bus by FIVE minutes! OK, don’t panic, catch a taxi. Where are the taxi ranks? Near the station, in the town centre…. uummm, no! Actually nowhere!

Finally, after much scrounging around in shops and telephone booths we find a taxi phone number, and successfully manage to order a taxi despite the language barriers.

The taxi does deliver us safely home, but we are a little suspicious that we have been overcharged – again ignorant tourists. But, we are too tired to care!

I would love to visit you again Antibes, but  fear I cannot!

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This post was written in response to the WordPress daily prompt  “Never Again”
More responses can be seen here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/daily-prompt-never-2/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpieces (1)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpieces Part 1 & Part 2

I was undecided about how to tackle this weeks photo challenge – so I decided to publish two posts. this is Part 1. Part 2 can be viewed herehttps://dawnwhitehand.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/weekly-photo-challenge-masterpieces-2/

PART 1

I have come across so many masterpieces during my overseas travels, and while I would love to do a post on small incidental ‘masterpieces’, the big ones just so boggle your mind when you actually see them! Not to mention those you are not allowed to photograph (although with iphones everybody was clicking away!), such as David at Accademia Gallery in Florence and the inside of the amazing Basilica in Venice. Of course, then there there are the off-beat masterpieces, such as the ‘religious’ paintings I saw in a church in Rome on the via Nazionale. It was a church that had steps leading down to it from the street – something unusual in church psychology, as usually churches lead upwards towards the heavens. Within this church were quite unorthodox paintings featuring very natural depictions of the environment, nature and people – not at all the the typical depiction of saints and churchly activities normally decorating such sacred walls. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to research the church a bit more, as we were on our way to catching a train so we couldn’t stop and peruse, though I did get some photos; but it is definitely on my curiosity list for the next visit.

Having said all of that, I do remember visiting a gallery in Vietnam back in 2009 where there was no ‘gallery’ climate control, but merely fans to keep the visitors comfortable, regardless of how it caused the paintings to bang backwards and forwards on the walls. This was no fault of the gallery curator, who was educated on all aspects of preservation and curatorialship – it was to do with funding! The question that weighs down many arts projects world wide.

And of course then there were all the original Picasso’s I saw while in France, including the chapel he painted in Vallourus. And speaking of chapels, what about the Matisse chapel in Vence, France (couldn’t take photos in there, however)….

And so the big question of what to post as a masterpiece?

The challenge calls for one image – so I will post one main image, with a photo mosaic of some other images. Unfortunately all of these images are Italy shots, as my USB drive needs replacing on my computer, so I can’t access images from my other travels (France, Vietnam, Korea- I have been jiggling the connections for over an hour- maybe I will update this post in the future)…

The image I am posting as the main masterpiece I enjoy because it extends beyond the perimeters of the paintings boundaries – I like breaking rules….
Images on church ceilings are so hard to capture, but hopefully it captures the mood, and the gold gilding surrounding it!!

Verona 048_1_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the mosaic of images 🙂

Further contributions to this WordPress weekly photo challenge can be viewed here:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/out-of-this-world/

Tivoli Gardens, Rome, Italy

It has been quite a while since I posted a new article on my travels in Italy at the end of last year. I had been a bit overcome with my other blog – A Poem and Drawing a Day, and recently I came to the end of the 365 days, so I find I now have a bit more creative headspace for other projects – including posting a bit more regularly on this blog.

I am going to get the ball rolling again with a post about Tivoli Gardens at the Villa d’Este, Rome.

According to friends we were hanging out with while in Rome, the estate was built by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este for his mistress and son – a bit of sixteenth century Italian scandal right there! I have not been able to confirm this ‘rumour’ via research (that is, that he built and renovated it for his mistress and son), but if he was anything like his grandfather, Pope Alexander VI – who had multiple misstresses and children, it is quite possible! Apparently during this time, and until recently it was an asset of the Catholic Church- according to our friends. It was purchased by the Italian State after World War I and restored, and refurnished with paintings from the storerooms of the Galleria Nazionale, Rome into the tourist attraction that it is today.

If you ever visit Rome, these gardens should definitely be on your ‘to do’ list. As well as the gardens and waterfalls being spectacular, the villa itself is furnished with period pieces and the walls are covered in masterpieces (like most other places in Italy). We visited during the afternoon, and looking out over the landscape from the villa walls we were treated to a sunset that was sublime.

So without any further ado, here are some images form our day visit… enjoy 🙂

PS: more information about Tivoli Gardens can be found here.

 

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