Saturday, 30 March 2013


Sister Jenny and Freddie arrived at midday yesterday - perfect clear sunny weather so we just hung out all afternoon moving from riverbank to deck to barbecue to indoors after dark.  the big beautiful moon rose over the river again in a clear velvety sky - a lovely easter day

      gin and tonics on the riverbank with my duty free bombay sapphire - noice

a stroll down to the lock - we saw lots of the beautiful little grass parrots all over the
 . . . yes, you've guessed it,  grass :0)

Thursday, 28 March 2013


What a lovely day - cool, breezy and after a whole night's rain, big puddles everywhere and the ground is soaked.  so good.    a day spent in mildura, shopping for the weekend, lunch with donnie and julie and an afternoon tidying up the house in the cool weather.   and then tonight . . .

THE EASTER MOON  coming up over the lock  -  magic


IT'S BEEN RAINING ALL NIGHT! and it's still pouring at 7 am 
here's a small preview of my show opening on Wednesday, after an easter weekend with sister jenny, freddie and sunny,  all good :0)
*feel free to fw the invitation on to anyone who may be in the area in the next 3 weeks

riverbank at gol gol l
thegoa lagoon

thegoa lagoon

white-necked heron

pelican on the murray l


Wednesday, 27 March 2013


at beijing airport


 AAAH  - back in the green, the hoses may not be behaving but it's all ok.  a hottie today - 37 deg, and then i reckon we're into warm autumn days.  busy this week finalising work for the show next wednesday, and sister jenny and freddie and daughter sunny's visit on easter weekend.

6.30 this morning
feels good

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


I finally arrived home tonight after catching up with everyone in torquay. it was great to breathe fresh air and see clear blue sky, to have lunch with the torquay gang down at Front Beach Cafe -  with all the front doors open and a warm breeze blowing in.

I stayed with denise on saturday and gail two nights, this morning i had a wander around her garden  before i left.

these are fragments 
of the mosaic table
gail has created in
her backyard - made
from broken pieces
of china, small
mementoes, all
contributions from
friends and family.

corio bay -  silvery in soft autumn light as i drove through today

this makes me angry every time i see it - 'happy hens'   what a joke, there's their home in the background, a huge long shed where they don't even see light of day

this lovely
was in a 
tiny cemetery 
near avoca 

i'm collecting
photos of
these, maybe
i'll have an
exhibition of
drawings of
angels and
one day.
BLUEY enjoyed the drive home.

i love these storage vats - one day i'll do some etchings of them

these interesting constructions are hanging in the hop trees, they look like spiderwebs with something trapped inside, i can't imagine what,  maybe just dried leaves

It's good to be home - but the watering system's not working, the automatic system didn't come on and the pump was going when i got back, it shouldn't have been.   :0 {


I didn't see a lot of birds in beijing but these magpies are everywhere, they call them happiness birds. they're about as big as our magpies but they have a very long tail and when they fly their wings are a round shape and the tail fans out, they're lovely. 
i don't know what this little bird is
more magpies, up on the great wall 
a crow next to a magpie's nest - the nests are huge, maybe they
 add to them year by year, they seem to get very deep

the magpie looks small, but it's dwarfed by the huge next



TUESDAY march 19

it's getting smoggy again here after a bright blue clear day yesterday...
i'm so tired though, it's not the right time for me to be doing a trip like this, i'm still way below par, but today is my last gig   YAY  and it's only 45 minutes so tomorrow is a free day and thursday we're being taken to the great wall.

i loved this little boy - a sweet little character

this little boy was in the cafe  at lunch, in his mao cap 
the air - just awful

Ann james doing
her  wonderful demo -
lovely watercolor
wash with charcoal
over the top.

these students were older,
around 13-14 and all
very shy, a bit of a tough
crowd but nice kids

another great
on the way
the smog tonight


Look!  snow 

- i  opened up the
blind and there 
it is, spread out before me.  it's
my day off too - 
and the sun is 
out and sky is 
whoo hoo  !!

Alison in the snow next to the hotel, it was gorgeou

i'm just back from a great day with alison lester  at the panjiayuan market - fabulous stuff at crazy prices.  i didn't buy anything much, it all fits in my handbag but we had a lovely day, the sky was blue and big lumps of snow were sploshing off the rooves all around us.  and drifting out of the trees in the breeze.  all very lovely. 

we hired a driver (a lovely shiny black mercedes benz and leathery luxury :0) because we had four places to go but by the time we made it out of the market we were surprised to see we’d already used up our four hours  -  it was enough, we’d had a great time 
and bought a few 

 It took us a long time to get through
this section - gorgeous jewellery,
brass, all kinds of metal things, old
ceramics, this gorgeous girl with
alison was from a regional tribe,
not sure of the name but she
was lovely and her stall of jewellery
was wonderful

The last couple of days have been really good, i’ve been able to enjoy this big plush hotel instead of feeling like it’s a prison. it’s amazing how different everything is with great people around.
we tried out a few of the restaurants and bars here  and it’s nice to see familiar faces down at breakfast.  yesterday morning was magic sitting in the Feast brekky restaurant and looking out to trees and tabletops with about 4” of snow piled up, dogs bounding around in the snow, a mum and her two black and white chubby pups.

THURSDAY  march 21
last night the four ‘A’s’ from australia, anne, ann, amberlin and alison, with another ann MC-ing, did a panel session on various aspects of our illustrating work, and john, the wonderful teacher from the western academy took us to an amazing dumpling restaurant for dinner. it was sensational, every dish delicious -  squid, chicken, eggplant, charred beans, dumplings – so many subtle flavours in each dish.  it was a real treat.

Heading off to our
gig in the bus

After our gig, pam mcintyre, john byrne (from western academy), me, alison, gong, our wonderful translator, amberlin kwaymullina, ann james and tom birdseye, american writer   - and now off to dinner

this dumpling restaurant was packed with people, noisy, energetic and the food was fabulous 

it's always great to see a sign like
this as you enter a restaurant

today we’re off to the Great Wall!

the embassy has organised a day for us to take a trip out to the great wall and it's clear sky and crisp clear weather.
Arthur picked us up in the bus - alison, ann, ann, amberlin, pam and I.  it was about an hour and a bit through kilometres of city then open fairly bare country. the bare trees are lovely, full of the big
scrappy magpies nests i love - i'll miss them when we leave

i won't even describe the great wall - we saw it in the most perfect conditions, fresh air and beautiful snow, we managed to negotiate the icy bits  and we almost had the
wall to ourselves when we got there.

heading off on
the cable cars  -
fun whizzing
over the 

WHOO HOO  - so good to be here

 IT WAS A GREAT DAY and then in the evening we had an evening at the library where ann and
i had worked for the past few days.   We met publishers from china - here is amberlin with images from her books which have just been published in China.

andrew kelly from wild dog books, with gong and a chinese illustrator

the sun's just come up and my last morning here looks like it will be  fine and relatively (repeat relatively) clear.  our trip to the great wall  yesterday was sensational - with the recent snow the landscape looked just magical and the day was clear skies and crisp fresh air up in the mountains,  it was a pleasant hour's bus trip through countryside to get there and we spent a couple of hours climbing the wall and walking along the top up and down uneven steps, some deep and some really shallow, some with a slight sideways slope.  there was a lot of snow will piled up everywhere but we all managed to avoid slipping on icy patches and finished the day with a great lunch at a local restaurant.   last night we had a 'meet the publishers' event and afterwards i caught up with dear friend tony, i thought i was going to miss him but he came back from hong kong a couple of days early and we managed dinner at a hotpot restaurant last night.

tony and li at the hotpot restaurant, great food and so good to see tony and to meet li

I've just got time before my flight this morning to borrow a hotel bicycle and go down to the 798 arts district with andrew kelly, a melbourne publisher who's  visiting here too.

the 798
arts district
is a huge
complex of 
bauhaus buildings
that now houses
galleries, studios
shops and cafes.

we saw some
exhibitions by
chinese artists -
specially one 
of mongolian
people in their
landscape and
a really funny
one of photos of
a chinese hero
of the mao era,
cleverly constructed photos based on
a true character.

the 798
is a popular 
area for photo
shoots and we were 
lucky to come
across two right 
next to each other.

the wall below is made 
of rows and rows of 
agi pipe, really

The embassy sent a car to take me to the airport - an old london style cab, it was very flash and spacious and comfortable.

the toll gate on the way to the airport is this lovely traditional structure

in contrast - this is the sensational CCTV building on the right, it's massive, this photo gives no indication of scale

 crazy neon


SAT 24th        
now i'm back and sitting up in bed at denise's in geelong under my favorite bright orange blanket, a plunger of coffee by my side.  the trip home was uneventful, except for the wonderful london cab that the embassy sent to drive me to the airport.  sunny picked me up and we had a leisurely op shopping morning before i drove down here.