Today I bought a pastel box, pastel pencils, and some more pastels. I had two boxes of soft pastels that i’ve had for years – no idea where I got them. I needed more Australian colours – the greens and browns we have here are very different sorts of colours to the ones that come in boxes suitable for other climates. Everything here is very subtle greens and browns. I use a lot of the earth colours in the vegetation when I paint landscape.
I finished off this picture I started on Thursday. I think the tree on the left works, the one on the right is a bit there and the rest look like an 8 year old (albeit a very arty 8 year old) could have drawn them. Not a fan, really, i will do better next time.
But it was fun sticking purples and yellows and browns and greens and blues in to try and get interesting vegetation effects without going boring plain green – the photo I took was very very boring green.
The place I took the original picture of this was at the Grange, which is a bit of remnant woodland down near the Clayton tip, bang in the middle of suburbia. Sometimes, due to the proximity of the tip, it’s pretty ripe on the nose. I like the scrubby open woodland that used to cover most of Victoria. You don’t have to go far from where I live – bang in the middle of post war housing in suburbia in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne – to find some staggering pretty scenes.
When people think of Australia, they often think of the outback, red sands and iron stained cliffs, or beach scenes, or possibly rainforest. These things are super cool but we have a lot of way more subtle landscape than that. I’m fond of a good arid vegetation. To surive in the conditions of poor leeched sandy soil, heat, and no nutrients and rainfall, and yet be teeming with vegetation – now THAT is pretty darn cool. Australia is the oldest surviving land mass – billions of years of all those nice nutrients draining into the sea, leaving nutrient poor soil behind. Also – recurring drought. No water, no nutrients, what is a plant to do? Improvise! What the vegetation has come up with to compensate for that sort of thing is pretty terrific (I will do an enthusiastic blog post about the use of schlerids in Australian flora some time in the future when it’s time to bore you all). Victoria is full of breathtaking scenery and beautiful places.
I met a Spanish couple on a tour of Torres Del Paine National Park (in Pategonian Chile – my goodness that was a cold cold but interesting place to be) – and they’d been to Australia and they wondered aloud at the idea that anyone would go anywhere else if they lived in Australia. They loved and adored it and wanted to go back desperately. And they’d not even made it to Victoria!I mean, really, those other places are so nice, but really! they only saw the really showy bits! Come hang out in Victoria and see the nicer bits. Also, Melbourne, consistently voted worlds most livable city…. Because it’s freaking nice, and it deserves it.
Victoria is beautiful in so many ways, there is Mallee and desert (vegetative desert) up in the north west, right down to cool temperate rainforest just in the south east – and everything in between. I love Victorian vegetation, it’s pretty sweet to be able to jump in the car, drive 15 minutes or 2 hours (or 8 hours if you’re going to the little desert area!), and be somewhere magnificent. I love eucalyptus, the smell of being out in the bush (anywhere with multiple trees is ‘the bush) smells of Eucalyptus and it’s great.
Anyway, This post is sort of dedicated to Lynne, who is one of my oldest friends and who is currently residing in Seattle, and who probably would like to see some photos of The Grange as at August 2014 – here they are!