paints and pens, stuff i've made

Pomp & Circumstance, ver.2

H.M.S. Pomp & Circumstance 2

What I did on Easter Sunday and Monday: Repainted the H.M.S. Pomp & Circumstance on a larger canvas.

I loved the idea of a city-ship with an animal figurehead, lurching through green waves and clouds, but the first version of this illustration was too small (5″ x 7″) and a bit cluttered. I’ve streamlined my ideas, since, and cleaned up my city, and am liking this version much better!

My apologies to those of you who purchased a Society6 print of the first version and now feel cheated! I just couldn’t help myself, after I saw the bigger Society6 prints, and how terrible the tiny image, enlarged to 13″ x 16″ and every bump of canvas showing, looked… (Psst! Moonike, message me!)

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aboard the M/V sonofagun, Darwin, Australia, life

Some pics (but no birds)

Sadgroves Creek

Sadgroves Creek

Sadgroves Creek

crocodile trap...occupied this morning

Last night the mesh door of the trap was up; the following morning the mesh door had dropped…i.e. someone was inside the trap. We scooted over to have a look, but it was a very small crocodile, impossible to see or photograph in the dark centre of the trap. I didn’t even try…I’ve taken pictures of bigger crocodiles swimming, out in the open, around our boat, so this little lizard wasn’t exactly front page news.

Sadgroves Creek

Although I can hear them everywhere, I don’t have the thousand-dollar lens that will help me get a photograph of a bird hidden in the mangroves from the distance of my boat…so until I’ve worked up the nerve to push my little dinghy into the tangled mangrove roots and sit quietly until I find some birds (or maybe some big reptile finds me, first?) I don’t think I’ll have any bird shots for you…

Sonofagun in Sadgroves Creek

Last, a recent photo of ol’ Sonofagun in her new neighborhood…

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weve moved!

Okay, so it’s not quite the huge job that moving a house on land would be, but still, this is a big change for us! From being moored right in front of the yacht club that we use as our “landbase”—with mangroves on one side, the wide open Darwin Harbour and a flat horizon in the distance on the other side—the F/V Sonofagun was towed almost to the top of Sadgroves Creek last Wednesday. We’re now one-and-a-half kilometres away from the yacht club, and the trip ashore is five times what it used to be!

Despite the huge distance I now have to go to get to work (and the nasty new outboard motor that I have had to learn how to use, because rowing ashore would take over an hour) I am loving it here. The spot is deep among the mangroves of a National Park. Sheltered from the Southerly winds and choppy water of the Top End’s “Dry Season”, I’ll be able to work in peace and quiet all through this windy time of year. The mangroves here are denser, deeper—hemming us in on both sides, and no horizon line to rest one’s gaze upon—and there are so many more birds moving through the foliage…not just the usual sea eagles, kites, terns, gulls, pelicans or cockatoos, but little passerines, small and brilliant blue kingfishers, rainbow lorikeets by the hundreds, frog mouths and maybe even night jars. There’s much more activity in the water, too…fish (and lord-knows-what-else) constantly splashing, gurgling and boiling the surface of the green, glass-smooth waters of the creek. We are also just two boats away from the floating crocodile trap that sits at the intersection of the Sadgroves’ headwaters, so I guess we’ll be seeing many more of those big lizards, now, too. Hoo boy.

The nights are darker, and we can no longer see the lights of the city—the stacked Lego towers of illuminated units or the blazing halogen lamps from the industrial wharves—nor hear the constant rumble of bulldozers and forklifts. Almost no traffic on the water where we are, as most yacht people live along the bend where the creek opens up into Francis Bay (you can see the dense lines of white boats in the satellite image)…the only dinghies that go past us are Captain Seaweed’s (he’s at the very top of the creek, and spitting distance from the croc trap) and a few weekend fishermen. It’s like we’ve moved to a sleepy little town in the mountains, after the hustle and bustle of living in Francis Bay, where a fishing ramp unloads speedboats all day, most days of the week, and the big fishing trawlers, work boats, and tugboats come and go, creating huge bow waves in their wake that used to send us rolling like a barrel.

I’ll try and get some pictures to do the place justice! I really hope to capture what it’s like to live up a quiet, green, serpentine creek…surrounded by crocodiles and miles of tangled mangroves.

aboard the M/V sonofagun, Darwin, Australia, life

We’ve moved house! (boat)

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amazing people, books + poetry, Inspirations

Adiós, Gabo

Marquez

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Humanity has lost one of its brightest lights. Heartbroken, today, to hear the news of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s passing. I read One Hundred Years of Solitude when I was 17, and it set the rest of my life on fire. Both beacon and doorway, it set me off on a quest to make beauty, integrity, and the magic of the everyday world a part of my life.

cien años de soledad

You will never grow old. You will never be forgotten. We will speak your name with love and longing, always. Live forever in the dreams pursued by those whose lives you entered and altered.

“If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

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blogging

Last year I made just over a hundred dollars with WordAds…that doesn’t sound like much, but it was fine since I don’t push this blog or ram it down people’s throats via social networks, and the amount at least covered annual registration of my domain name, getting my WordPress blog to use my domain name, plus little fees here and there associated with keeping a not-terribly-businesslike blog up and running.

It’s not a source of income, this blog…if anything, it gobbles up time, energy, and internet credit (which, in Australia, is absurdly expensive…$180 for 12 GB of data). So I was grateful for the WordAds earnings…$7 here, $10 there…seemed like not a bad deal in exchange for a little square at the foot of each post with some stupid video for Carlsberg beer or Luminosity.

But these new ads suck. Things popping up in front of my own photographs is not cool. I assure you that I hate this as much as you do, the way I hate the ads popping up in front of Youtube videos.

So I’m turning the ads off completely. There are better ways to make a hundred dollars…and without compromising values, aesthetics or integrity. Please bear with me if I mention my designs for sale on Society6 more often, or promote new journals in my ETSY shop with monotonous regularity, but at least this stuff is my own, and in return for helping me make ends meet, you’ll be getting something handmade or beautiful (or both). You win, I win, and together we can keep third-party advertising and their pushy, ugly corporate interests to a minimum.

These new ads

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blogging, life, Online Shops

I’m 6! I’m 6! I’m 6 years old today!

Six years ago, completely clueless and feeling like a total dumbass, I started this blog.

Thank you for being here, for holding my hand, for commenting, and for giving me frequent thumbs-up signs to boost my confidence. I no longer feel like I am talking to myself, or into the void. The Smallest Forest has become a relaxed and welcoming place for me express myself and share things from my life with others. Do you remember the post where I marveled that I had somehow attracted 1,500 followers? In a fraction of the time that it took to reach those early readers, TSF now has 10,000+ followers. My word.

Almost as though they were sending The Smallest Forest a birthday present, Society6 has just offered us all $5 off each item plus FREE SHIPPING. Offer lasts until April 13,  2014, at midnight, Pacific Time.

Please click the button below to avail of the promotion.

April 2014 S6 promo

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Online Shops, paints and pens, stuff i've made

Craft-bottomed girls, get on your bikes and ride!

A girly retro pink bicycle, resplendent with wire baskets and crocheted doily wheels—don’t snigger, this is actually a pretty accurate representation of the bicycle I still ride…only mine’s red and named Ruby Belle—sets off (on her own, because I wasn’t confident enough to paint a rider!) to have an adventure some place exotic and fabulous!

Just posted this in my Society6 shop today.

Art is afoot…society6 has added rugs to their list of products.

The original was painted some years ago, and disappeared en route to Germany by post. Luckily, I took high-res pictures.

 

Handmade journals with this design are coming, too…no, not on Society6! I mean my own handmade and bound journals, covered in beautiful linen-cotton canvas (as soon as I get my Spoonflower fabric…I’M SO EXCITED!). Stay tuned!

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