Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Wonder of Colour - Slugs, Gems, Buttons, Beads and Feathers

A friend emailed me photos by a brilliant underwater photographer, David Boubilet and I just have to share with you this fascinating photo of what I imagine are sea slugs. Aren't the colours just mind boggling? I adore them and they are such an appealing pair!

While writing about colour I have to introduce a wonderfully talented friend who lives with her husband in a lovely house, built by him -  a glorious unspoilt rainforest hideaway behind the Sunshine Coast.  She is Renee Blackwell of Renee Blackwell Design ( and in the peaceful surroundings of her bush studio, she creates exciting and unique jewellery using gemstones, ethnic beads and buttons which she seeks out from all around the world. Her designs are so striking and many of the colours combined are beautifully subtle, so that they can grace any attire. Be sure to look at her website and her blog.

Rings created from vintage German and French Metal Buttons (Brass and Pewter) set in sterling silver.


Swarovski Crystal
Vintage French Button 1940's
Vintage Bronze German Button
Set in Sterling Silver

Top:Dark Smokey Topaz
Middle:Picture Jasper
Bottom:Fossilised Dinosaur bone (found in the Australian outback!)  cut and polished and set in sterling silver.

Of course I must mention the breathtaking colours I find in feathers which I employ for my Images de Plumes. They never cease to make me wonder at nature. Here is a collection of just a few in a picture I sold in Tasmania recently.

Elegance - dressed with the feathers of an Emu, a Peacock, a Rainbow Lorikeet, a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, a Cattle Egret and a Pheasant Coucal together with the hair of a Turkish Swimming cat.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Feathers, Fur, Snakeskin and Butterfly Wings

The rainforest holds so many secrets, yet many we never see unless we are lucky. Nevertheless we can hear them -the rustle in the undergrowth, the plop of a berry falling from a tree, a thump as some little mammal leaps past, a cry or call of some hidden bird in the canopy, the trickle of water, the quiet slither of a reptile and in between all that, the silence as a butterfly shimmers past.. Here I have tried to capture some of these secrets using the adornments nature has given them, feathers, fur, snakeskin and butterfly wings.

This is only a small picture and the birds are barely two and a half centimetres in size - they were quite a challenge, while the butterflies were even greater challenges! Well I put it down to experience, but this sort of picture is not really "me" so I doubt I will repeat it, but we must take on challenges as they come, and some you win and some you lose. The picture is being exhibited in an exhibition opening here in Maleny next Saturday 12th December at the Maleny Artworks Gallery ( The Director, Ken Munsie had the great idea of getting artists to take a grid from a map and create something applicable to that grid. As you can see I took a local rainforest area. It will be fascinating to see what all the artists have come up with.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


A garden path lined with bluebells, forget-me-nots, azaleas and silver  birches.

Tasmania in the Spring surpassed all my wildest expectations! I felt I was back in my homeland of England  with the abundance of bluebells, daffodils, jonquils, tulips, azaleas, trees laden with blossom and much more, all amongst green rolling hills and vales or in verdant gardens. Add to all that the elegant Georgian houses and buildings - it was sublime.  Not so sublime were my dashed hopes. "You will find the art world Tassie-ccentric" a friend told me just before I set out for my selling holiday in that fair isle. Indeed it is, for although I found many wonderful shops and galleries filled with the excellent work of Tasmanian artists and crafts people, no one wanted my Images de Plumes  because I was not a local, I was from the "mainland". I was treated with great civility and interest and indeed admiration, if I may say so, but I was graciously turned away as "we cannot make a precedent, we only sell the work of Tasmanians". I still can't make up my mind if it is admirable to be so supportive of one's own, or very insular and limited? Anyway, everyone should visit Tasmania in the Spring, where the b & b's are so welcoming and comfortable and the fish is a diner's delight.

Fields of tulips in northern Tasmania
In Sheffield  there are a number of buildings covered in wonderfully executed murals.  A competition is held when artists display their murals in a park to be judged and the winning one is added to the town's collection.  To wander through the town discovering these treasures is a delightful and intriguing experience.

A Sheffield mural
There seems to be so much artistic talent to be found in Tasmania. One town is making its name with developing topiary in its gardens as can be seen here with this elephant and baby.

Never one to miss a feather for my collection, I did very well with Peacocks who seemed to be moulting profusely whenever I came across them, which was quite often. This splendid chap obliged and you can see from my Priscilla in Peacock that they are turned to good effect.

Images de Plumes created with Peacock and Wompoo Pigeon feathers

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Little Gem Known as Maleny Artworks

In the blissful town of Maleny where I live, we are blessed with a charming little art gallery called Maleny Artworks.  This is run by Ken Munsie who is a much respected member of the art community here.

Ken mainly works with paper and clay often combined with wood.

He says he always been fascinated by clay and the tactile sensation he gets when working with it; the smoothness of this most pliable material. He uses a homogeneous mixture of paper pulp made from shredded office paper and recycled clay to create the paperclay with which he composes sculptures inspired by shapes and forms of both nature and man-made edifices.  He enjoys translating these concepts into sculptures, giving them shape and form, and perhaps a life of their own. When everything comes together, it is truly satisfying to see and feel, he says, and creating his art fills him with good emotions, energizes him and reinforces his confidence as a sculptor.

Ken feels his work doesn't have to look pretty all the time. Sometimes, it evokes different emotions and feelings. That's OK. If the viewer feels something, then he feels he has communicated and is happy. His sculptures convey a story that reflects a  balance of newly acquired knowledge, intuition and uncertainty - all producing individual and unique works of art.

Ken has constantly changing exhibitions at his gallery of a stimulating variety. He founded the Collaboration of Maleny Artists,COMA, and is always keen to promote emerging and local artists who are  worthy of his support . Paintings, pottery, sculpture, jewellery and much more are always on display at Maleny Artworks which makes it a most pleasing place to visit. See Ken's website for much more information about his activities and work and the artists happily supporting his

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Talented Photographer Friend

My friend Margi Parton, has been staying with me. She is a very talented photographer of many parts. She started her photographic career filming peoples' pets and being fond of animals she has a way of capturing them in a charming way. See Truly Scrumptious wearing all her bling.

Margie then went on to do stunning landscape photos of central Australia and other bush scenes depicting the mind boggling colours that the Australian landscape presents.

Added to that she has a marvellous eye for seeing beauty and style in what many would consider just rubbish -  an old piece of rope, a bit of rusted wire, a battered wooden door and much more. In all her photos her eye for colour and design, her sense of beauty and the quirky, together with her technical knowledge, all go to produce the most wonderful, eye catching and often unusual photos.
They have great appeal when mounted on canvas and gracing a wall.  I am sure Margi will go far, she deserves to, she is very dedicated to her art. Look at her website and see what I mean, and also her blog

I have to say Margi is a bit of a party girl, this is her on the right drawing on her "weed"  but she is normally a glamourous blond!  I am our hippie friend's other companion, as we all are playing it "cool Man" at a 60's party!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Burning the Midnight Oil

I am off to Tasmania for the first time early in October so am frantically trying to create as many Images de Plumes to take with me. Being an Owl by nature I keep on working until well after midnight having got a second wind at about 10.30pm. Mind you electric light I find is not the best light to work in, so I keep thinking I will have to change my lifestyle and get up earlier and go to bed when most bodies do. I am going to Tasmania to expand my market, but it is an unknown quantity so that makes it both exciting and nervewracking.. However I have great hopes as people keep telling me that Tasmanians will particularly like my more classical form of art,  that is it is not the large, bright canvasses that are so popular in sunny Queensland.Well we will see!
Here I have used the feathers of a Macaw and a
Guinea Fowl

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Here We Go!

After spending hours setting up this blog with the stalwart help of my friend Lesley Stipanov, the bear maker par excellence, I am hoping this will be the first of many blogs.  Follow this space for something more soon......