Category Archives: Flora and Fauna

A little Daisy Love

Daisies are my favourite flowers. They are cheerful and exuberant. They are one of the few things I can grow without ever having a problem with it, unless if it’s very hot and I don’t water enough. No pests, no diseases, the dog doesn’t eat them either. Win all around.

Daisies belong to the Asteraceae or Compositae, which is an extraordinary large and widespread family of flowering plants with currently 32.913 accepted species names in 1911 genera lists and about 13 subfamilies. Quite the family tree, really.

Like in any family there are some black sheep. The Dandelion, for example, much loved by many, has become a significant weed in some parts of Northern America.

Daisies grow almost anywhere in the world in one form or another. They are mainly herbaceous plants (plants without a woody stem above ground) but they can also be shrubs and trees and climbers.

The daisy also has some fancy family members, which includes food crops, like the lettuce, chicory, globe artichoke, sunflower, amongst others. The cut flower industry enjoys Chrysanthemums, Gerberas, Dahlias, Tagetes and Zinnia. The Chamomile is a family member, also, and the Echinacea. As well as Calendula, Tarragon or Marigold.

And the whole family is good for bees, because of the abundance of pollen. Not so good for humans with hey fever. But hey, can’t have everything, right.

So I paid homage to my little daisy love with this creation of Daisy Love. I actually had some people be astounded by the fact that this grew in my garden, which of course it didn’t, but in Photoshop. Although I’m flattered because if it looks that realistic then I must have done well.

daisylove

 

 

 

 

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Not Top 10

According to the Australian Geographic, the Bernese Mountain Dog is not in the Top 10 of Australia’s Most Popular Dogs. And it’s not in the Top 10 of the Most Intelligent Breeds of Dog, according to the University of British Columbia anyway.

If you live in Australia, you may be forgiven if you’ve never even seen a real Bernese Mountain Dog, they are quite unusual down under.

However, there are few at the local dog club, and they tend to draw everyone’s attention at the Christmas party, when they are dressed up and pull a little cart, especially built for the occasion, to help Santa, tinsel and all. Quite adorable.

Even though I am from Europe and have spent considerable time in the Alps, I have not seen too many of these dogs either, but I have met Suzie, who was my model the other day for a colour splash dog silhouette. She is really only a puppy and therefore looks quite slender.

Bernese Mountain Dogs should be ‘good-natured, self-assured, placid toward strangers and docile‘, all of which Suzie is. Desirable traits for any dog regardless of breed, but even more so for a dog that can reach up to 50kg and more of weight.

If you want to read more about the Bernese Mountain Dog and its history, have a look here.

In the meanwhile enjoy Miss Suzie’s silhouette in hues of blue and purple, with red and yellow splashes xx

bernesemountaindog

 

 


Kaleidoscope Collection

Kaleidoscopes have been around since 1815 when one Sir David Brewster developed them. Already at their time they proved to be a huge success, with over two hundred thousand sold in London and Paris in just three months. Still today they are fascinating for old and young.

A proper kaleidoscope is ‘an optical instrument in which bits of glass, held loosely at the end of a rotating tube, are shown in continually changing symmetrical forms by reflection in two or more mirrors set at angles to each other. A kaleidoscope operates on the principle of multiple reflection, where several mirrors are placed at an angle to one another. Typically there are three rectangular mirrors set at 60° to each other so that they form an equilateral triangle, but other angles and configurations are possible. The 60° angle generates an infinite regular grid of duplicate images of the original, with each image having six possible angles and being a mirror image or an unreversed image.’

I have always been fascinated by kaleidoscopes, and even more so by their endless mathematical possibilities. To me, they are mind-boggling and deeply soothing, probably as well as many kaleidoscope images do reflect mandalas.

Mandalas are deeply rooted in Indian religions but forms of them can also be found in christian architecture and art. Over the last century, mandalas have made their way into western psychological interpretation, thanks to Carl Jung, the pioneer in the exploration of the unconscious through art making.

While mandala and kaleidoscope inspired images in colouring books and the painting and drawing of them is popular in both art therapy classes and for the art lover at home, this digital age has also given us a gazillion of plug-ins and photo-effect apps to turn any and every photo into a multitude of artworks.

My kaleidoscope collection is inspired by the mathematical rules on which kaleidoscopes operate. They are all created from an original photograph, taken by me, and then applying a number of layer effects in Photoshop, to create an image that could represent itself if we were looking at the original scene through a kaleidoscope. Many times, my creations seem to be having a tendency to want to be mandalas, too, and as there is no doubt in the balancing-process of the psyche when it comes to mandalas, I let them. This is a creative process, each image is worked on individually, no pre-fabricated action or filter is being applied.

My aim is to create an image that gives the colours, the look and the feel of the original photograph.

I’m hoping that they appeal to everyone who loves science and art, and has a taste for the quirky.

Small prints are available through my store, but large acrylic prints have proven to be popular. They do look stunning in large, if I may say so myself 🙂

kfuchsia

kbottlebrush

 


Not Like Van Gogh

Time again to say thank you to all and everyone who goes through the troubles of following the journey of az pictured, whether it be on the blog, Facebook, Instagram or with the Lens Cap Chronicle, my very own newsletter.

This journey would only be half as much fun if I had to make it alone. I may only be a small business, but I put my heart in soul into my work. Not like Vincent Van Gogh, who said ‘I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.’ At least I hope so 😉

So here’s to you all and my thank you comes with a little visual treat, showing all the latest Instagram posts of mine, that have been featured on some of the collaboration fun sites that I follow.

If you want to check them out and get some creative juices flowing: @hiyapapayaphotoaday, @rainbow_wall, @tv_neatly, @shotwithlove, @seekthepositive, @365_today, @keepingwiththetimes, @its_my_week

IGThankYou


Love Pulses

Since 1960, the United Nations promote international awareness and action on certain issues by creating special observances designated to days, weeks, years or decades. Scrolling down the list, one can find such wide ranging topics as Human Rights, Co-Operation, Anti-Apartheid, Volunteers, Thanksgiving, Microcredit, Physics, Freshwater, Rapprochement of Cultures, Natural Fibers, Family Farming, Crystallography, the Potato and many more.

While 2015 brought us the Year of Light and Light-based Technologies as well as the Year of Soils, 2016 is the Year of the Pulses. I confess, I didn’t see it coming. I should have remembered an interview I saw years ago, where Matt Preston, the well-known, mostly colourfully suited and tied food critic and judge on Masterchef, was raving about ancient grains and announced Quinoa as the true trend for the upcoming (then 2012) year, and sure enough, we got the International Year of Quinoa in 2013.

Maybe I should have paid attention to the recipes in magazines over winter, and the ‘super home-cooking ideas’ from a certain supermarket, because, looking back, there were a lot of peas and lentils and the like. Hm. Well, we know now why.

Funny enough when I googled ideas for images for the Year of the Pulses towards the end of last year, I found quite the confusion, as many times it was the Year of the Pulse, or the Year of Pulses, a funny little translation mishap possibly, which in most cases seems to have been rectified by now.

Pulses4

In any case, 2016 and Pulses it is.

Stock up on your pulses, ‘get creative’ with green and yellow peas, lentils, chickpeas and eat ‘delicious, nutritious and sustainable’, as the slogan of the Global Pulse Confederation tells us. Yes, there is such a thing.

Well, I’ve started off with a little bit of creativity, we’ll see how it translates into the kitchen.

Pulses3

 


Hedgehog of a Different Kind

We had the first fresh mangoes on the weekend. So I guess we’ve declared it to be SUMMER.

The mango is widely considered to be THE summer fruit in Australia. 23 Million Australians enjoy about 8 million trays of mango every year.
Last year was even a record year of 9.5 million trays but we’re already told that the national crop will be down due to troubles with flowering and a late season.

The juicy stone fruit originates in Malaya and eastern Asia, where Buddhist monks took mango plants on voyages as early as the 4th and 5th centuries BC. By the 10th century AD Persian traders had taken the fruit to the Middle East and East Africa, and on Portugese ships it made its way to India, South America, the Philippines and West Africa. The mango arrived in Australia in the 1800s and has been cultivated commercially throughout tropical and subtropical areas around the world ever since.

In fact, the mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines, and the national tree of Bangladesh, where it even gets a mention in the national anthem “The fragrance from your mango groves/Makes me wild with joy,/Ah, what a thrill.”
I read that the EU contemplated a ban on the import of Indian mangoes last year, due to them not meeting their health and hygiene regulations. Seeing that India only accounts for less than 1% of the international trade even though they are worldwide the largest producer, I suspect they might not be too worried.
Apparently all things mango are the third national obsession in India, alongside cricket and Bollywood.

In Australia mangoes are grown in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.
The mango harvest is made up of several varieties “Kensington Pride” is the most common (65%), followed by Calypso™ (20%), “R2E2” (6%), Honey Gold™ (4%) and Keitt (3%). 92% of the Australian crop are consumed in Australia, 95% as fresh fruit and the rest in the food processing sector. Only 8% are exported.

Traditionally, the first tray of mangoes is sold at the annual Brisbane Mango Auction at the Brisbane Markets in late September/early October, and all proceeds go to charity. This year’s winning bid of $30.000 was split between Diabetes Australia and Life Education Queensland.

Ah mangoes. They are best eaten fresh, and straight from the fridge. Nothing more refreshing on a hot summers day than a mango hedgehog. However, as they don’t last long (because they don’t last long, and because they DON’T last long) I have always a pack of frozen fruit in the freezer, for smoothies. Yum Yum Yum

References 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Mango


Part of Our World

This post is totally unrelated to photography, but totally related to az pictured’s daily fairings during school holidays, which just finished for us.
You see, my young one is a great singer. Choir boy, soloist, rock-star in the shower. And he has this tendency to burst into song ….. constantly and always and everywhere. Sometimes with no break for hours. Of course, he doesn’t even realize, that he’s singing. I am used to be working largely in silence and solitude. So when he’s home, shut doors are just not enough in this blue board house of ours.
Naturally, I love him to bits, he’s my baby boy, my fairy child.
But at the end of those school holiday song days that feel like they are 20 hours long, my mind is going in circles with bits and pieces of a gazillion songs, all started or partially sung, and none finished.
Just for fun, I spent two days writing down his musical bursts. Read them and feel free to test your musical knowledge, figuring out song titles/band names/stage pieces/advertising slogans/snippets from movies ………
And then imagine hearing this list back and forth, with a plentyful of ooohoooo’s and aaah aaah, lalala’s inbetween.
You are welcome 🙂

You gotta put your hands in the air, yes your hands in the air, doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo
Somewhere beyond the sea, somewhere waiting for me, I’ll go sailing.
The pines were roaring on the height, the winds were moaning in the night,
We must away, ere break of day …
YOU SHALL NOT PASS!
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
I think she’s got it, I think she’s got it
Hm hm the fresh food people, bringing fresh food to you
I need a dollar, dollar, a dollar is what I need, yeah yeah
And she will be loved, she will be loved.
Papa, paparazzi
Take on me, take me on, I’ll be gone in a day or twooooooooo
Doesn’t that sound familiar, doesn’t that feel close to home, doesn’t that make you shiver.
Settle in to play ‘do you remember so and so’,
Number three is never say her name
Hold on, if you feel like letting go. Hold on, it gets better than you know.
I’m gonna take you for a ride on a big yet plane, hey hey
Tonight we are young, let us set the world on fire, we can go higher aaaaahhh
Degrumph went the little green frog one day, and the frog went grumph grumph grumph,
But we all know frogs go ladidadida, ladidadida, ladidadida
You’re unpredictable
Hey Mr Tallyman, tally the banana, daylight cometh we wanna go home
I don’t care, I love it. I don’t care, I love it, I love it
We will, we will rock you, sing it, we will, we will rock you
I love rock and roll, put another dime in the juke box baby, I love rock and roll,
take your time and dance with me
My life is brilliant, my love is pure, I saw an angel, of that I’m sure,
Forever young, I wanna be forever young
I won’t hesitate no more, no more, it’s not ok, I’m yours
High and mighty alone we are kings, whirlwinds of fire we ride
Providence brought us the crown and the ring, covered with blood and our pride
I am a gummybear, a yummy gummybear. I am a yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy gummybear, oh yea
Who will buy my sweet red roses, two blooms for a penny,
Any milk today, mistress, any milk today mistress, two blooms for a penny
Who will buy this wonderful morning? Such a sky you never did see!
Who will tie it up with a ribbon and put it in a box for me?
I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing, ’cause everyone listens when I start to sing
I’m so grateful and proud, all I want is to sing it out loud
Red: the blood of angry men!
Black: the dark of ages past!
Red: a world about to dawn!
Black: the night that ends at last!
And this is what she had to say, a pearl necklace, she wants a pearl necklace,
she wants a pearl necklace
Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!
Be a man, you must be swift as a coursing river, be a man, with all the force of a great typhoon, be a man, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon, of the moon
Prince Ali – fabulous he – Ali Ababwa, genuflect, show some respect:
Down on one knee.
We go together like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong
Remembered forever as shoobop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom
Chang chang changitty chang shoobop, that’s the way it should be, wha ooohhhh, yeah
And it’s not easy to be me. Up, up and away, away from here, well it’s allright
You can all sleep sound tonight, I’m not crazy, or anything
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave
With what you wanna say
Down, down, the prices are down. Down, down
You got the moves like Jagger, I got the moves like Jagger, I got the mooooooooves like Jagger.
Collecting your jar of hearts, tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
And she will be loved, and she will be loved
What do you want from me? What do you want from me?
Can’t read my, can’t read my, no-one can read my pokerface
Come on Barbie, let’s go party
In the circle,
I can go the distance,
Strangers like me,
Part of your world

PS For the record: the music taste in our house is eclectic at best. Nothing is off limits. It’s part of our world.

PPS When I say the ‘young one’, he’s not too far off being a teenager, and there is an every so slight change in his lower register already

PPPS If you’re puzzled by some of the song combinations you might want to check out this link and this one, they might explain a lot


Clean-up Art

The recent clean-up of my studio let me `find` a great many things for which I had great craft and art ideas. One thing I found was the large and sturdy shoe box of my husband’s work boots, which was filled with seashells, rocks, beach glass.

When we moved to the coast the kids were very little. And as all little (and possibly very many big) kids they LOVED collecting seashells. It was a new thing and exciting and one way to spend time at the beach, especially in the beginning when they needed to be eased into this new thing, the ocean, which was loud and wild and a bit scary at times.

As this shoe box naturally contained the best and most beautiful shells, sea glass and rock pieces and pebbles ever collected, something had to be done with them.

With the help of a plain old lattice piece from the hardware store and a lot of Liquid Nails, all these special beauties found their place on our new garden artwork.
Once the Liquid Nails were dry and our fingers cleaned from this extraordinary sticky stuff, a coat of outdoor suitable clear sealer was applied.
Now it decorates the most boring side of our garden and makes us happy every time we look at it.

Note: This post is not a call to action for depleting coastal shorelines of seashells and/or rocks. All these shells were collected in a space of about eight years, which puts it in perspective. If you intend to collect seashells from a beach, you should check with local council, as it is illegal to remove ‘anything’ from very many beaches in Australia.

SeashellLatice1

SeashellLatice


Positive Facebook

Many people lament Facebook and its quirks. Ever since the last big changes in 2014 especially small business feel the effects in a negative way, as no matter how much time and effort we put into posts and maintenance of our sites we tend to gain little reach and even less exposure.

But, as with all negative things there are always positive, and since I’m a glass half full kind of girl, I have found myself a wonderful positive outcome from good old Facebook:
Shared on the page of the very unique and special Handmade in the Hunter Markets was the post about The Little Black Cow Farm Stay.

As it should be with social media, after scrolling down their posts, I got intrigued and visited The Little Black Cow Farm Stay website and read through all their blog posts.
That lead to my knowledge about an Open Day, which my young one and I were very excited to participate in during the Easter Holidays.
What a wonderful day we had! Feeding the goat and sheep and Willow, the little black cow, and patting the one week-old guinea pigs. We checked out farm machines and olden day tools and devices. Some very clever and futuristic art was created as well.

And I took photos. I had asked permission beforehand, even though it was a private visit, I cannot help myself now can I  😉
See for yourself what fun we had.

LittleBlackCowblog


One Lake View

I hope this blog post finds you all well.

Just a quick one, so that you know I’m still here. Very busy at the moment, daily at the lake or the beach or in the studio. Not enough time in the day, but enjoying every second of it.

This image is a recent one going into my ‘Lake Views’ collection. Gorgeous sunset, I was running late (got held up at the kids’ soccer) and was racing down to the Reserve and started snapping as soon as I jumped out of the car. Took about 2 minutes for the red and the sun to be gone, and the day to be over.

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