Monday, February 27, 2012

'Bermagui Reflections'

This painting was done around 1990 for my Bermagui solo show at Brighton. The reflections nearly sent me crazy, but the result was worth all the work. 

It came runner up in the National Atelier Competition and it's photo was in Australian Artist Magazine.... October 1991 ( I think?).

People came into the show looking to buy it, but it was snapped up early.

I have since done it in pastel as well, and that has sold off my website to a man who bought others at Brighton.

The boats and water were beautiful early in the morning and late afternoon, with still water, orangey light and not too many humans around.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wise Words Indeed.

Cloudy shapes

On my daughter's Facebook page, she posted the picture above showing a dog/cloud, and wondering whether it was Photoshopped. It's very clever, so I said I would do one as well. Being a poodle person, I chose one as my 'doggy cloud', and see below for my effort.

It takes a while copying, cloning and pasting sections, but I'm pleased with the result.


I have just bought a new pen tablet and am looking forward to it arriving next week. My old one became obsolete as I updated computers and operating systems, and they never updated their drivers. 

I am really looking forward to having one again, because I want to do digital art and maybe translate it onto canvas in paint.

'B J's Got a Rock'

This painting is 20 years old, and when I was painting in acrylics. It was presented and sold in my solo show at a gallery in Brighton. I sold 29 paintings on the opening night, which was a HUGE thrill. Sadly, the current financial climate seems to have somewhat slowed down spending these days.

I was fascinated by painting water then and still am now, and the fine glazing of light paint on the surface was really working for me.

He was a dear old dog; one of those obsessive, gotta have something in your mouth kind of pooches, and I worried about his teeth wearing down with all those rocks he was carrying.

I really love this painting.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I am not so sure what kind of train this is, but I like this painting very much as well. It displays the solidity and the power of the metal required to drive these trains. 

It is in oils on canvas with gallery wrapped edges, measuring 610 X 915 mm and is available for sale at the 'studio price' of $1200.

There will be more train paintings to come.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My 'Red Rattler'

Coal Creek at Korumburra was full of lovely rusty peeling machinery and historic objects. When I returned some years after my reference photos were taken, it had all been taken away. The place was pristine and not nearly so interesting.

'The Tait trains, also referred to as the "Red Rattlers", were a wooden bodied Electric Multiple Unit train that operated on the suburban railway network of Melbourne. They were introduced in 1910 by the Victoria Railways as steam locomotive hauled cars, and converted to electric traction from 1919 when the Melbourne electrification project was underway. The trains derived their name from Sir Thomas Tait, the chairman of commissioners of the Victorian Railways from 1903 to 1910. The first cars were built during 1909 with the last entering service in 1951.

 A Red Rattler in 1983 at St. Kilda station

The trains were initially known as "Sliding Door" trains, as opposed to the Swing Door then in service. They were later known as "Red Rattlers" or "Reds" until the 1950s when the blue painted trains were introduced." (Thanks to Wikipedia for that info).

I remember as a young woman, going to work at Ripponlea and other trips, riding these trains and feeling a great affection for them even then. They did rattle!

I recently read a book 'Strange Country' by Mark Dapin. He wandered around Australia documenting odd pastimes by Aussie people. In it, he talked about 'gunzels', dedicated train spotters and collectors of all things train. There were even collectors of train timetables and other oddities.

I did paint the K190 steam engine years ago and got a 'highly commended' for my trouble. I still have that in my collection. It's quite large, so maybe not so saleable. I probably would give it away to the group that take care of that engine.

Train spotting is very interesting if you like machinery as I do. I went to see the Flying Scotsman when it was out here, and have hung over bridges with the camera poised as a steam train roars underneath. Once, I rushed back to the car as one passed by and raced to get to the next vantage point for another shot.

Puffing Billy has not passed my gaze and I have painted two paintings, both of which sold to a train collector.

It was sad, seeing this old carriage peeling and rusting, but it's shapes, colours and history really inspired me to do it justice. There is not a single stroke that I would change, I like it so much.

It is in oils on canvas with gallery wrapped edges, measuring 610 X 915 mm and is available for sale at the 'studio price' of $1500.

There will be more train paintings to come.

Tarted Up Website

Well, my brain is fried, but I've had a giggle creating 'image maps' for my website. They're a lot of fun; you create an image, then put 'hot spots' on it in your web builder. They link thru to new pages, like any other, but the graphic stays complete. 
New gallery light box for 2 of 4 galleries are done (blerg!!!) and 2 more when my head comes back on straight and my bum's not so sore.The pages are a bit quirky, but I learn a lot by putting ideas into action.
For a look see, go to

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Listing my Paintings

I have put in my site description that Bliss Hill is for my paintings as well as daily life, so I decided I would put a painting in every few days and any interesting details about it. Some will be sold, and some will be for sale.

Number 1 is 'Drifting'

A few years back, Mr Bliss and I went with a couple of our favorite people to cruise down the Murray from Echuca for four days on a house boat. Traveling so slowly and almost silently was very relaxing. The River Red Gums were majestic along the banks and I took a lot of photos of the water, trees, sunsets and wild life. I haven't painted any riverscapes yet, but I did paint this.

The river is a dull brown most times, but does get a bit of a blue green glow on bright sunny days. I have painted many reflections over the years, mostly from boats at Bermagui, so I have a bit of a fascination with them.

I hung over the side of the houseboat and threw some plucked wattle into the water and photographed it as it floated away. 

Painting all those ripples sent my brain a bit mushy, but once you establish where everything is, it's like embroidery.

This oil painting is quite large, and now belongs to a friend of mine who loves to decorate her beautiful house. She snapped it up as soon as it was done.

She comes up to my house most Tuesdays, and has done for around 12 years to draw with me in my studio. I rarely go to hers because we catch up on our friendship up here.

She does put on a wonderful Christmas lunch for our small group every couple of years, so I caught up with my painting in December. I still love it, and so does she.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Going Into Hot Seat Millionaire

Well, I haven't written about it, but it's really happening tomorrow.... all day!

I have passed the online quiz and then the second audition with a 30 question quiz, interviews and write-up about the interesting bits of my life, so tomorrow I go to meet Eddie!

The nerves are just buzzing around the edges of my brain, but I am determined that I am just going to experience it, enjoy it, and be prepared to lose.

Lots of people talk about how they sit in their TV chairs and answer questions in quiz shows and how they would do well if they went on. I have been doing that for years, and finally decided to have a crack - 'put my money where my mouth is'!

Five episodes are being taped tomorrow afternoon, but we have to be at the studios for rehearsals, etc, at 8.20 am sharp. I am off into the city tonight and staying at the Vibe Savoy, which is '7 minutes' away from the Docklands studio.

Mr Bliss is coming in tomorrow lunchtime as my 'supporter', and a couple of other pals for the audience experience. Mr Bliss has been told firmly he is not to put his thumb up when Eddie asks him how I'll go!

Stay tuned, there'll be more!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Turning Vegetarian

I love the flavour of meat! I have always salivated when there was a roast in the oven, or lamb chops on the barbie. But I can't do it any more.

The Four Corners Live Animal expose started me off, and it horrified most Australians with the brutality and cruelty in Indonesia. I couldn't even watch the footage, as I knew it would be burned into my brain forever. The stubbornness of the government refusing to work towards putting a full stop on this dreadful trade opened our eyes to the all-mighty dollar taking precedence over the welfare of sentient beings under our care.

I, and local animal welfare activists campaigned heavily in Baw Baw Shire, writing letters to our local MP Russell Broadbent, and further afield to Canberra. We held a petition signing on a Saturday morning, gaining over 500 signatures in only a few hours. People were furious, even local cattle producers.

Nothing helped, apart from the short term ban, and weak promises made about controlling where the animals went and how they were treated. Nothing was done about mandatory stunning before slaughter, and still hasn't. 

Sheep are currently being sent to many middle eastern countries and undergoing horrific slaughter practices, not to mention the 2 - 3 week trip where many are starving or dying from stress and illness.

In the meantime, I remained a determined meat eater, and our lambs produced the year before were being slowly fed into ours and our family's freezers. We knew that their last day on earth would be a worrying one for them, but we took them down Sunday night and they were dispatched by 8am the next morning. 'End of life' is a problem for every sentient being, us included, just our lambs lives would be somewhat shorter than usual.

The last time we went to the local abattoir, my thoughts were changed forever.

There was a very young ewe in the race, with a tiny lamb. It was Sunday evening and it looked like they had been there all weekend. No food or water. The mother had no milk, and the baby was very distressed. I looked around, hoping there might be someone nearby who could do something to help her, but the place was deserted. I looked for CCTV to see if I could take them home without being caught. I could see none, but I thought I would be charged with theft if I did. On reflection all these months later, I should have rung the RSPCA. At the time, I could think of nothing I could do to resolve it. For a long time afterwards, the imploring look the little mother was giving us was etched into my brain.

Next, a huge truck came in, heavily loaded with sheep three tiers high. I stood by it and waited for the driver to unload it and watched the sheep. They were exhausted and distressed, some lying down with others standing over them, all jammed in tight together. Urine dripped down onto them from the load above.

The truck left after discharging its load and we offloaded our two animals, herding them up the race to their allotted pen. My last sight of them was of their woolly rear ends and skinny little legs trotting into the unknown, ears swiveling in confusion and fear.

The whole episode was very difficult, far more than the times before, just topping off the horror of the Indonesian hell.

The final nail in the coffin was the expose of the extreme cruelty to pigs in the Giles Abattoir in Trafalgar. That was our abattoir!

I have not eaten meat since.....

Since then, I have been plunged into a world of animal suffering. Animals Australia, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (whales in the Southern Ocean), PETA, and groups fighting against Fur Farming and China's unbelievably ruthless fur trade have become my heroes, fighting endlessly to stamp out animal cruelty.

I feel wonderful about not eating meat, and am slowly building up a supply of terrific recipes that work for us. Sadly, Mr Bliss wants to continue as a carnivore and we have had some tussles over the proportion of meat free days allotted to each. We settled on half a week veg for him, and the other days I throw him some meat to go with my veg dinner. I don't like handling meat anymore, because I see each piece as where it came from the animal, but I have no choice or there will be a ruckus in the household. He does enjoy our veg meals nevertheless. So long as he's fed....

My final step is to try and phase out milk products. We live in a dairying area, and often see tiny calves who have been wrenched off their mothers at birth being transported off to market, and sold to be killed. Boy babies don't make the cut, unfortunately.

I love cheese and milk, but had soy this morning on my cereal and in my tea, and it was fine! Not a problem. I will buy some soy cheese and see what that's like next.

One of my daughters has turned veg, and the other is nearly there, without any influence from me. I try very hard not to lecture or judge others, as there's nothing worse than a sanctimonious vegetarian. It is very surprising how many people I know eat little or no meat, some confirmed vegetarians for years!

We will never stamp out animal cruelty or meat eating, but I am doing my bit.

Our ewes are now retired and munching grass contentedly out in the paddock.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Not Again!

I have just had a call from the Red Cross AGAIN asking for a donation. I get a call maybe once a week or ten days, and I am so sick of it.... always having to make excuses while trying to be polite. It's such an invasion of privacy, to be assailed in your home. But, they are real people on the other end, trying to earn a living while doing good work, and I do try to treat them as such.

I bought some raffle tickets around four years ago, and they are still opening the conversation with a big 'thank you'.

I began donating blood last year and tell them proudly that I do, and they make pleased noises, but it still doesn't steer them away from their appointed task.

So today I said, "Oh no, not again!", quite loudly. While the poor man floundered around, I said most of the above, and that I was supporting a lot of animal welfare stuff at the moment and really wanted to be left alone. We laughed, and he asked me if I wanted to be put onto the 'do not call' list, and I sighed loudly with relief and said YES please!

We parted in good humour and I now look forward to some peace.

PS. When I have more time, I will write about my new found vegetarianism and the animal welfare battles that are dear to my heart.