Thursday, 5 December 2019


Eremophila maculata, also known as spotted emu bush, or spotted fuchsia-bush is a plant in the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae and is endemic to Australia. It is the most widespread of its genus in nature and probably the most frequently cultivated Eremophila. It is a spreading, often densely branched shrub with variable leaf shape and flower colour, but the other features of the flowers such as the size and shape of the parts are consistent. The inside of the flower is often, but not always spotted.

Eremophila maculata is a low spreading shrub, which usually grows to less than 2.5 metres tall. Its leaves range in size from 3.8 millimetres to 45 millimetres long and 0.5–18 millimetres wide and range from almost thread-like to almost circular but are nearly always glabrous and always lack teeth or serrations on the edges.

The flower colour often varies even within a single population and may be pink, mauve, red, orange or yellow, often spotted on the inside. Its flowers occur singly in the leaf axils and have a glabrous, S-shaped stalk, 10–25 millimetres long. There are 5 sepals which are egg-shaped but end in a sudden point and are green or purplish-green. The 5 petals are joined for most of their length in a tube 25–35 millimetres long, but the lobes on the sides and bottom of the flower are often turned or rolled back. The outside of the petals is glabrous but the inside surface of the tube is hairy and the lobes have a few spider-web like hairs. There are 4 stamens which extend beyond the petals. Flowers may appear in almost any month but are most prolific in winter and spring.

The fruits which follow the flowers are dry, almost spherical and have an obvious beak. This plant is well known in horticulture and hybrid forms and cultivars such as "Carmine Star" and "Aurea" have been developed. The most common form in gardens is the cherry-coloured form of E. maculata subsp. brevifolia but other colours are becoming popular. It is easily propagated from cuttings, with firm tip cuttings taken during warmer months striking the most easily. In nature, spotted emu bush often grows in heavy clay soil and in the garden can be grown in similar soil or even in deep sand. A sunny position sheltered from strong wind is ideal but the shrub is very drought and frost hardy and can be grown in coastal areas which are sometimes subject to high humidity. It is recommended for gardens in the hotter, drier areas of the United States such as Arizona and New Mexico.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019


Johannes Vermeer (Dutch: [joːˈɦɑnəs fərˈmeːr]; October 1632 – December 1675) was a Dutch Baroque Period painter who specialised in domestic interior scenes of middle class life. He was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime but evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, and frequently used very expensive pigments. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work. Vermeer painted mostly domestic interior scenes. "Almost all his paintings are apparently set in two smallish rooms in his house in Delft; they show the same furniture and decorations in various arrangements and they often portray the same people, mostly women." He was recognised during his lifetime in Delft and The Hague, but his modest celebrity gave way to obscurity after his death. He was barely mentioned in Arnold Houbraken's major source book on 17th-century Dutch painting (Grand Theatre of Dutch Painters and Women Artists), and was thus omitted from subsequent surveys of Dutch art for nearly two centuries.

In the 19th century, Vermeer was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who published an essay attributing 66 pictures to him, although only 34 paintings are universally attributed to him today. Since that time, Vermeer's reputation has grown, and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Like some major Dutch Golden Age artists such as Frans Hals and Rembrandt, Vermeer never went abroad. And like Rembrandt, he was an avid art collector and dealer.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the My Corner of the World.
In 2005, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne hosted the most comprehensive display of 17th century Dutch masterpieces has come to Melbourne for the second exhibition in the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series. On the left is a detail of the painting "The Procuress" (c. 1656), the man depicted believed to be a self portrait by Vermeer.
On the right is "The Love Letter" (Dutch: De liefdesbrief), which is a 17th-century genre painting by Jan Vermeer. The painting shows a servant maid handing a letter to a young woman with a cittern. The painting is in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
"The Art of Painting", also known as "The Allegory of Painting", or "Painter in his Studio", is a 17th-century oil on canvas painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. It is owned by the Austrian Republic and is on display in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. This illusionistic painting is one of Vermeer's most famous. In 1868 Thoré-Bürger, known today for his rediscovery of the work of painter Johannes Vermeer, regarded this painting as his most interesting. Svetlana Alpers describes it as unique and ambitious; Walter Liedtke "as a virtuoso display of the artist's power of invention and execution, staged in an imaginary version of his studio ..." According to Albert Blankert "No other painting so flawlessly integrates naturalistic technique, brightly illuminated space, and a complexly integrated composition." Many art historians think that it is an allegory of painting, hence the alternative title of the painting. Its composition and iconography make it the most complex Vermeer work of all. After Vermeer's Christ in the House of Martha and Mary it is his largest work.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Thursday, 28 November 2019


Dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial plants native mainly in Mexico, but also Central America, and Colombia. A member of the Asteraceae dicotyledonous plants, related species include the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum and zinnia. There are at least 36 species of dahlia, with hybrids commonly grown as garden plants.

Flower forms are variable, with one head per stem; these can be as small as 5.1 cm diameter or up to 30 cm ("dinner plate"). This great variety results from dahlias being octoploids (that is, they have eight sets of homologous chromosomes), whereas most plants have only two. In addition, dahlias also contain many transposons (genetic pieces that move from place to place upon an allele), which contributes to their manifesting such great diversity.

The stems are leafy, ranging in height from as low as 30 cm to more than 1.8–2.4 m. The majority of species do not produce scented flowers or cultivars. Like most plants that do not attract pollinating insects through scent, they are brightly coloured, displaying most hues, with the exception of blue.The dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963. The tubers were grown as a food crop by the Aztecs, but this use largely died out after the Spanish Conquest. Attempts to introduce the tubers as a food crop in Europe were unsuccessful.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019


Ukiyo-e, literally meaning ‘pictures of the floating world’, is the name given to the multi-coloured woodblock prints that were exceptionally popular and affordable to the general population of Japan during the Edo period (1600–1868).

After centuries of military upheaval and hardship for the middle classes, the Edo period ushered a new era of peace and stability. People's attention turned to making money and enjoying life. The general public was inspired by a vibrant consumer culture, new fashions and recreational pursuits. A new style of theatre called Kabuki gained great popularity, and people’s interests in travel, sport and literature flourished.

To service these new passions, entrepreneurial publishers worked with leading artists and employed carvers and printers to develop an intricate multi-block/ multi-colour printing process, producing some of the most exquisite prints and illustrated books in all history. Ukiyo-e prints and e-hon printed books focused on popular subjects and were mass-produced for sale to the public.

These printed works give us a detailed window into the tastes and life styles of Edo period Japan just as magazines, posters and the Internet represent our current-day society. For example, images of Hollywood stars can be compared to Kabuki actors, movie action scenes to dramatic Japanese historical dramas, sports stars to sumo wrestlers, fashion models to bijin (beautiful woman), comic books to e-hon picture books and historical manga. Almost all the subjects of popular twenty-first century culture can find similar themes produced in Ukiyo-e prints of the Edo period.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
Katsushika Hokusai is regarded as one of the most influential and creative minds in the history of Japanese art. His unique social observations, innovative approach to design and mastery of the brush made him famous in Edo-period Japan and globally recognised within a decade of his death.
In 1909 the National Gallery of Victoria purchased five works from Hokusai’s iconic Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji series, including his most celebrated image The great wave off Kanagawa (The great wave - see above), 1830–34; two works from his A Tour to the Waterfalls in Various Provinces series; and four other major works. These astute acquisitions established a legacy of Japanese art in Australia that has now extended for more than one hundred years.
Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese: 喜多川 歌麿; c. 1753 – 31 October 1806) was a Japanese artist. He is one of the most highly regarded designers of ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings, and is best known for his bijin ōkubi-e "large-headed pictures of beautiful women" of the 1790s, including erotic prints. He also produced nature studies, particularly illustrated books of insects.
Here is his "Kitchen Scene" ca. 1794–95.