Monday, January 6, 2014

From the cool of the mountains to the summer heat of home!

Really missing the vistas of Springbrook Mountains and the National Park since arriving home on Wednesday... New Years Day. Its uniqueness, this region known as;

 The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (formerly known as the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves) include the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world, large areas of warm temperate rainforest and nearly all of the Antarctic beech cool temperate rainforest. Few places on earth contain so many plants and animals which remain relatively unchanged from their ancestors in the fossil record.
The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986 (extended in 1994).
The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia were one of 15 World Heritage places included in the National Heritage List on 21 May 2007.

Having time to muse on this recent trip and the work being done by the Springbrook Rescue Project
that we took part in whilst staying at Koonjewarre has been very useful. Not rushing about during the present heat means thinking and reading time... always productive for  disparate ideas to get a chance to weave together a bit! As I tap away on the keyboard my feet are soaking in cold water and an overhead fan and small floor fan are chugging away.

The pond at the entrance to where I stayed on the mountain retreat had this beautiful moss-covered tree that was stunning and absolutely had to be photographed. The location is utterly unique 

One of the highlights of the week was meeting Aila Keto whom you can read about here at Jane Elix's blog or below here:

Dr Aila Keto, Australia

03 July 2012 | News story
Australian born Aila Keto is the founder and President of the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society (ARCS), an NGO Member of IUCN. She has made a sustained and major contribution to conservation science, policy and practical programmes over several decades, and is widely acknowledged for her leadership, influence, knowledge and experience. Continue reading here.

The work of Aila Keto, husband Keith Scott and supporters of the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society have played a massive part in building recognition and awareness of this region's global  uniqueness as a biodiversity hotspot.

About ARCS

Founded in 1982, the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society (ARCS) is a national, non-government, not-for-profit organisation with headquarters in Brisbane. Its goals are to protect, repair and restore the rainforests of Australia through research, lobbying, public education and grass-roots support. ARCS has succeeded in achieving protection for large areas of Australia’s rainforests and continues to play a leading role in the ongoing work required to conserve this rainforest heritage.

image found here

Through 2013 I kept coming across whispers, news articles and reports from this region about Springbrook National Park's future. The work of the Rescue Project and in particular Aila Keto was being challenged in the media and my concern over the politics of this state, change of Govt plans and more led me to spend time in Springbrook at Xmas to find out for myself what was at stake. The possibility of a longer residency was discussed and when there is something to report I will of course post on it.

In the mean-time I am pouring over the images I took whilst up there and thinking my way around this very critical topic as I draw in the studio back at home again. I've also been revisiting the Flickr sites of a couple of keen photographers, especially by Black Diamond + here, who's extensive background in Australian Rainforest Fruits, seeds and such has long informed my own work at Homage to the Seed. Please note the COPYRIGHT NOTICE if you visit his professional flickr site. Images are not shared without permission and I've had excellent communications when I've written so I ask you respect this request.

Visit this page

Through the flickr page I found the link to the Rainforest Seed Project which was put up by the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney which is something I definitely wish to learn far more about.

This excerpt  comes from the link about to the Project.

Australian rainforests - diverse and vulnerable

Australian rainforests cover only 0.3 % of the land and yet contain more than 50 % of the plant biodiversity of our nation. Three significant World Heritage listed areas that occur on the east coast of Australia have large rainforest components. In NSW and southern Queensland, the so-called ‘Gondwana Rainforests’ occur as a ‘discontinuous chain of islands in a sea of fire prone eucalypt and agricultural lands’. They contain more than 200 species of rare and threatened plants and animals.

There is much to absorb and attempt to somehow bring to my own project. Drawing is good thinking time and last night I cleared space to get into drawing with Sepia ink.

The four images below are all inspired by images found at Black Diamond's Flickr site. Each is a species I wish to learn more about

This species is the Australian Native Peanut tree, Sterculia quadrifida, and the photo below was taken by Denise Rivers ... see post at Homage to the Seed here. I recently planted this species at my new home, in a pot as instructed, especially as I was unsure how large a tree it might grow to be.

 I was drawn to some images of the Native Wisteria or Callerya megasperma.
Scientific Name:Callerya megasperma (was Millettia megasperma)
  • Pronunciation:call-ERR-ee-ah meg-ah-SPERM-ah
  • Common Name:Native Wisteria
  • Derivation:Callerya:

    megasperma: large Seed
  • Type:Vine, tall woody Climber to the tops of trees, Climber,
  • Family:Fabaceae
  • Flowers:Purple, lilac, spring
  • Fruit:Pods, long woody velvety with large brown seeds
  • Vegetation Type:Sub-tropical Rainforest, Wet Eucalypt Forest

Here is  a very simplified version of this seed pod. It like to take time to really get to know a species and do many drawings, simple and complex in order to build some familiarity.

 Below is the same pod, drawn in ink and aquarelles.

Cross-referencing info online brings much more to the process of drawing. Often the documentation,  whether through blogging or other means,  leads to a far greater understanding of the species role in the eco-system.

Each time I visited a viewing point on the mountains  and gazed out to the coast (in this image below you can see high rise buildings through the haze ) I could help but wonder how many people have travelled to the Gold Coast to visit, or been enticed to stay without even stopping to ponder these ancient mountains, let alone visit and acknowledge their importance and value.

Lookout from Springbrook. Boardwalk and lookout, Gold Coast
Image from here.
I spent New Years eve in the temporary Studio I set up at the mountain retreat. Only 4 of us were left onsite that night...and we shared a simple meal of Avocado on toast and various nibbles. And chocolate! We talked about the places we value and have travelled to. I then returned to the studio and did some drawings and pondered the year coming in.

My new years resolution was to make sure I identify the seeds
I photograph asap so I don't forget where they came from or 
what they are. These were found onsite up there yet I forgot to 
get the name and now have to track them down when I can.

Thos pods below are Mahogany and have been collected ages
ago and are a good drawing subject in workshops and classes.

May 2014 see more people on this planet awakening to the life-giving value of the environment beyond real estate prices and development possibilities. Every day and every conversation counts if we are going to succeed in keeping this planet sustainable for human life. Not caring and not acting on this is as much a problem as anything being done out-right to destroy the natural ecosystems that preserve our future.  I wish I could say otherwise!

Best to all,

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Blogging for me is an extension of keeping a journal which I have done in various forms over the decades. The difference being this is not a closed book! I like that it offers an opportunity to explore that which concerns me as an artist and as an individual about living and participating in this vastly complex, unquestionably exciting yet unnerving time in human history. Through the blog I hope to increase the possibilties for cross-pollination which I believe can strengthen the sense of being part of something both personal and universal that is vital, expansive and refreshing.