Monday, 14 October 2019

SEASONAL

Some flowers in our garden, which is now all abloom with springtime vigour:
Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'; Krantz Aloe; Pansies.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

DUCKLINGS

The chestnut teal duck (Anas castanea) is a dabbling duck found in Australia. Males have a distinctive green head. It's duckling season now and the proud father is looking after the children...

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.



Thursday, 10 October 2019

ST JOHN'S WORT

Hypericum perforatum, also known as St John's wort, is a flowering plant species of the genus Hypericum and a medicinal herb that is sold over-the-counter as a treatment for depression. Other names for it include Tipton's weed, rosin rose, goatweed, chase-devil, or Klamath weed. With qualifiers, St John's wort is used to refer to any species of the genus Hypericum. Therefore, H. perforatum is sometimes called common St John's wort or perforate St John's wort to differentiate it.

Hypericum is classified in the family Hypericaceae, having previously been classified as Guttiferae or Clusiaceae. Approximately 370 species of the genus Hypericum exist worldwide with a native geographical distribution including temperate and subtropical regions of Europe, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, Middle East, India, and China. St John's wort is a perennial plant with extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its stems are erect, branched in the upper section, and can grow to 1 m high.

It has opposing, stalkless, narrow, oblong leaves that are 12 mm long or slightly larger. The leaves are yellow-green in colour, with transparent dots throughout the tissue and occasionally with a few black dots on the lower surface. Leaves exhibit obvious translucent dots when held up to the light, giving them a ‘perforated’ appearance, hence the plant's Latin name.

Its flowers measure up to 2.5 cm across, have five petals, and are coloured bright yellow with conspicuous black dots. The flowers appear in broad cymes at the ends of the upper branches, between late spring and early to mid summer. The sepals are pointed, with glandular dots in the tissue. There are many stamens, which are united at the base into three bundles. The pollen grains are ellipsoidal. When flower buds (not the flowers themselves) or seed pods are crushed, a reddish/purple liquid is produced.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

NATTIER & HIS BLUE

Jean-Marc Nattier (17 March 1685 – 7 November 1766), French painter, was born in Paris, the second son of Marc Nattier (1642–1705), a portrait painter, and of Marie Courtois (1655–1703), a miniaturist. He is noted for his portraits of the ladies of King Louis XV's court in classical mythological attire.

He received his first instruction from his father, and from his uncle, the history painter Jean Jouvenet (1644–1717). He enrolled in the Royal Academy in 1703 and applied himself to copying pictures in the Luxembourg Palace, making a series of drawings of the Marie de Médici painting cycle by Peter Paul Rubens. The publication (1710) of engravings based on these drawings made Nattier famous, but he declined to proceed to the French Academy in Rome, though he had taken the first prize at the Paris Academy at the age of fifteen.

In 1715 he went to Amsterdam, where Peter the Great was then staying, and painted portraits of the tsar and the empress Catherine, but declined an offer to go to Russia. Nattier aspired to be a history painter. Between 1715 and 1720 he devoted himself to compositions like the "Battle of Pultawa", which he painted for Peter the Great, and the "Petrification of Phineus and of his Companions", which led to his election to the Academy.

The financial collapse of 1720 caused by the schemes of Law all but ruined Nattier, who found himself forced to devote his whole energy to portraiture, which was more lucrative. He became the painter of the artificial ladies of Louis XV's court. He subsequently revived the genre of the allegorical portrait, in which a living person is depicted as a Greco-Roman goddess or other mythological figure.

Nattier's graceful and charming portraits of court ladies in this mode were very fashionable, partly because he could beautify a sitter while also retaining her likeness. The most notable examples of his straightforward portraiture are the "Marie Leczinska" at the Dijon Museum, and a group of the artist surrounded by his family,"The Artist Surrounded by His Family", dated 1730. He died in Paris in 1766.

Nattier blue (mass noun - dated): A soft shade of blue, especially in fine textiles. "She carefully chose the shade of delicate light blue of the curtains to match the fine Nattier blue of the silk upholstery of the armchairs in the morning room."
Origin: Early 20th century: After a colour much used by Jean-Marc Nattier (1685–1766),  the French painter.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
L: Nattier - "The Comtesse de Tillières (1750)" Wallace Collection, London
R: Nattier - "Portrait of a gentleman in a blue coat"  The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle.


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

AT THE MARKET

Preston Market is the second largest market in Melbourne selling fresh produce, clothing and homewares with a variety of restaurants and food stalls; it attracts over 80,000 visitors per week. Construction on the Preston Market began in October 1969 when Preston Mayor W. K. Larkins drove home the first stake in the site of the former Broadhurst Tannery. The original investment in the site was $2 million. The market opened in 1970 and by 1976 the market had grown to include 46 green grocers, 15 delicatessens, 4 fish shops, 4 poultry shops, 19 butchers and a variety of small goods shops including toys, clothes, carpets, plants, and sporting goods.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.








Monday, 7 October 2019

SPRING

We went for a walk today and it was quite evident that Spring has definitely sprung! The flowers are blooming the days have lengthened, a host of fragrances are in the air and the birds are singing on every greening branch.
The flowers below are from (L to R): Wattle; Cineraria; Onion weed.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

AT BRUNSWICK ST

Brunswick Street is a street in inner northern Melbourne, known for cafés, live music venues, quirky shops, street entertainment and alternative fashion boutiques. Brunswick Street runs north-south through the inner northern Melbourne suburbs of Fitzroy and Fitzroy North, from Victoria Parade at its southernmost end, crossing Alexandra Parade, and continuing until it reaches St Georges Road in Fitzroy North, near the Edinburgh Gardens; there, its former northward course is continued by a much smaller residential street named Brunswick Street North. Tram route 112 runs along the entire length of Brunswick Street for part of its journey.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.








Saturday, 5 October 2019

GREEN BOTTLE FLY

The common green bottle fly (Phaenicia sericata or Lucilia sericata) is a blow fly found in most areas of the world, and the most well-known of the numerous green bottle fly species. It is 10–14 mm long, slightly larger than a house fly, and has brilliant, metallic, blue-green or golden coloration with black markings. It has short, sparse black bristles (setae) and three cross-grooves on the thorax. The wings are clear with light brown veins, and the legs and antennae are black. The maggots (larvae) of the fly are used for maggot therapy of infected wounds.

Lucilia sericata is common all over the temperate and tropical regions of the planet, mainly the southern hemisphere, Africa and Australia. It prefers warm and moist climates and accordingly is especially common in coastal regions, but it also is present in arid areas. The female lays her eggs in meat, fish, animal corpses, infected wounds of humans or animals, and excrement. The larvae feed on decomposing tissue. The insect favours species of the genus Ovis, domestic sheep in particular. This can lead to "blow fly strike", causing problems for sheep farmers, though Lucilia sericata is not a major cause of blow fly strike in most regions.

The flower is Felicia amelloides (blue daisy, blue marguerite), which is a species of flowering plant of the family Asteraceae, native to South Africa. F. amelloides is synonymous with, and formerly known as, F. aethiopica, Aster amelloides, Aster capensis, and Aster coelestis.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

FORGET-ME-NOT

Myosotis (from the Greek: "mouse's ear", after the leaf) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae. In the northern hemisphere they are commonly called forget-me-nots or scorpion grasses. The common name "forget-me-not" was calqued from German, Vergissmeinnicht and first used in English in AD 1398 through King Henry IV. Similar names and variations are found in many languages.

Myosotis alpestris is the state flower of Alaska. Plants of this genus are commonly confused with Chatham Islands forget-me-nots which belong to a related genus, Myosotidium. Myosotis have pentamerous actinomorphic flowers with 5 sepals and petals. Flowers are typically 1 cm diameter (or less), flat, and blue, pink, white or yellow with yellow centres, growing on scorpioid cymes. They may be annual or perennial with alternate leaves. They typically flower in spring or soon after snow-melt in alpine eco-systems. Their root systems are generally diffuse.

Their seeds are found in small, tulip-shaped pods along the stem to the flower. The pods attach to clothing when brushed against and eventually fall off, leaving the small seed within the pod to germinate elsewhere. Seeds can be collected by putting a piece of paper under the stems and shaking the seed pods and some seeds will fall out. Myosotis scorpioides is also known as scorpion grass due to the spiralling curve of its inflorescence.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

MAGRITTE AT THE MUSEUM

René François Ghislain Magritte (21 November 1898 – 15 August 1967) was a Belgian Surrealist artist. He became well known for creating a number of witty and thought-provoking images. Often depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context, his work is known for challenging observers' preconditioned perceptions of reality. His imagery has influenced pop art, minimalist art and conceptual art.

The Musée Magritte Museum, located in the heart of Brussels, brings together the world's largest collection of art by René Magritte: 230 works and archives are displayed. The multidisciplinary space houses paintings, gouaches, drawings, sculptures and painted objects, as well as advertising posters, musical scores, photographs and films. The Museum also has the most important collection from the artist’s "vache" period.

The first image is "La saveur des larmes" (1948), which is exhibited in the Magritte Museum in Brussels. The artist's tongue-in-cheek photo mimics several of his canvases where men in bowler hats appear.

In the second image there are two works housed in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. "L'Éloge de la dialectique" (1937) and "Rose and pear" (colour etching and aquatint, printed 1968).

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.


Tuesday, 1 October 2019

BY NIGHT

Colourful reflections of city lights on the Yarra River, by night.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 30 September 2019

INTERIOR

A digital collage of an interior scene, produced in Photoshop.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

BY THE POND

By the pond the reeds are seeding and the fresh new green of Spring is making its appearance. The sky turns from grey to blue and the sun appears and disappears behind rolling clouds. The water birds are just grateful that the rains have filled the pond.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

WINGED VISITOR

We have several birds that visit our garden and this spotted dove is a frequent one. Last week it decided to come into the fernery and got trapped there. Some crumbs on the concrete floor got it to fly low and find the door out into the garden again.

The spotted dove (Spilopelia chinensis) is a small and somewhat long-tailed pigeon which is a common resident breeding bird across its native range on the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The species has been introduced into many parts of the world and feral populations have become established. This species was formerly included in the genus Streptopelia with other turtle-doves, but studies suggest that they differ from typical members of that genus.

This dove is long tailed buff brown with a white-spotted black collar patch on the back and sides of the neck. The tail tips are white and the wing coverts have light buff spots. There are considerable plumage variations across populations within its wide range. The species is found in light forests and gardens as well as in urban areas. They fly from the ground with an explosive flutter and will sometimes glide down to a perch. It is sometimes also called the mountain dove, pearl-necked dove or lace-necked dove.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
as well as part of the Camera Critters meme.

Friday, 27 September 2019

SUNRISE

Sunrise from my window with the guest appearance of some birds. The days are getting longer!

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

BUDDLEJA

Buddleja commonly known as the butterfly bush is a genus comprising over 100 species of flowering plants endemic to Asia, Africa, and the Americas, within the Buddlejaceae family. The generic name bestowed by Linnaeus posthumously honoured the Reverend Adam Buddle (1662–1715), a botanist and rector in Essex, England, at the suggestion of Dr. William Houstoun. Houstoun sent the first plants to become known to science as buddleja (B. americana) to England from the Caribbean about 15 years after Buddle's death.

As garden shrubs Buddleja is essentially a 20th-century plant, with the exception of B. globosa which was introduced to Britain from southern Chile in 1774 and disseminated from the nursery of Lee and Kennedy, Hammersmith. Several species are popular garden plants, the species are commonly known as 'butterfly bushes' owing to their attractiveness to butterflies, and have become staples of the modern butterfly garden; they are also attractive to bees and moths. The most popular cultivated species is Buddleja davidii from central China, named for the French Basque missionary and naturalist Père Armand David.

Other common garden species include the aforementioned B. globosa, grown for its strongly honey-scented orange globular inflorescences, and the weeping Buddleja alternifolia. Several interspecific hybrids have been made. Some species commonly escape from the garden. B. davidii in particular is a great coloniser of dry open ground; in urban areas in the United Kingdom, it often self-sows on waste ground or old masonry, where it grows into a dense thicket, and is listed as an invasive species in many areas.

Popular garden cultivars include 'Royal Red' (reddish-purple flowers), 'Black Knight' (very dark purple), 'Sungold' (golden yellow), and 'Pink Delight' (pure pink). In recent years, much breeding work has been undertaken to create small, more compact buddlejas, such as 'Blue Chip' which reach no more than 0.6–0.9 m tall, and which are also seed sterile, an important consideration in the USA where B. davidii and its cultivars are banned from many states owing to their invasiveness.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

LANDSCAPE & LORRAIN

Landscape painting is the depiction of landscapes in art—natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, especially where the main subject is a wide view—with its elements arranged into a coherent composition, in a celebration of nature. In other works, landscape backgrounds for figures can still form an important part of the work. Sky is almost always included in the view, and weather is often an element of the composition. Detailed landscapes as a distinct subject are not found in all artistic traditions, and develop when there is already a sophisticated tradition of representing other subjects.

The two main traditions spring from Western painting and Chinese art, going back well over a thousand years in both cases. The recognition of a spiritual element in landscape art is present from its beginnings in East Asian art, drawing on Daoism and other philosophical traditions, but in the West only becomes explicit with Romanticism. Landscape views in art may be entirely imaginary, or copied from reality with varying degrees of accuracy.

If the primary purpose of a picture is to depict an actual, specific place, especially including buildings prominently, it is called a topographical view. Such views, extremely common as prints in the West, are often seen as inferior to fine art landscapes, although the distinction is not always meaningful; similar prejudices existed in Chinese art, where literati painting usually depicted imaginary views, while professional artists painted real views.

Claude Lorrain (born Claude Gellée, called le Lorrain in French; traditionally just Claude in English; c. 1600 – 23 November 1682) was a French painter, draughtsman and etcher of the Baroque era. He spent most of his life in Italy, and is one of the earliest important artists, apart from his contemporaries in Dutch Golden Age painting, to concentrate on landscape painting. His landscapes are usually turned into the more prestigious genre of history paintings by the addition of a few small figures, typically representing a scene from the Bible or classical mythology.

The first painting below is "David Anointed King by the Prophet Samuel." by Lorrain (1647). Oil on canvas. Collection of the French king Louis XVIII (purchase 1682). Louvre museum (Paris, France).
The second painting is also by Lorrain, "River landscape with Tiburtine Temple at Tivoli" (c. 1635), at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest, 1967.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.


Tuesday, 24 September 2019

WILLIAMSTOWN

Williamstown is an inner suburb of Melbourne, 8 km south-west from the central business district. At the 2006 Census, Williamstown had a population of 12,733. Williamstown is approximately 15 minutes by car from Melbourne via the West Gate Freeway or a 30-minute train journey from Flinders Street Station. Ferries from Melbourne's Southgate Arts & Leisure Precinct take approximately 1 hour. Representative of Williamstown’s maritime history, large scale maritime industry dominates Williamstown's piers precinct and a maritime theme characterises the Nelson Place tourism precinct.

BAE Systems Australia's Marine division (formerly Tenix) has operated out of Williamstown dockyards for nearly 20 years, during which time it has built ANZAC-class frigates for the Royal Australian Navy, and will also conduct completion of the Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock vessels. The Nelson Place tourism precinct offers some of Melbourne's best waterfront eateries, many catering for al fresco dining and some with spectacular views of Melbourne's city skyline through the masts of bobbing boats on the foreshore. Also located on Nelson Place is a diverse range of arts, crafts and other speciality shops.

HMAS Castlemaine, berthed at Williamstown (and seen in the first photo) is open for public inspection and allows visitors to explore an original World War 2 warship. She is one of the 60 Australian-built Bathurst class corvettes to serve throughout World War Two and the last such vessel still afloat, having been restored by volunteers over three decades. Castlemaine is open to the public on weekends and public holidays.Today visitors can see how crews lived and worked during the war years, witness the original engines turning over and view a wide range of artefacts documenting Australian maritime history.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.



Monday, 23 September 2019

VERNAL EQUINOX

The Vernal Equinox in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia was on Monday, 23 September 2019 at 5:50 pm AEST. On the two equinoxes every year the Sun shines directly on the Equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal – but not exactly. The Vernal Equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from North to South in September (in the Southern Hemisphere), marking the beginning of astronomical Spring.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

VICTORIANA

Melbourne's rich architectural heritage from the Victorian era can still be found in some pockets of the City and suburbs. Such heritage is in real danger of encroachment and destruction by new building developments that are choking our once beautiful city. Enjoy while we still can...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.



Friday, 20 September 2019

LOVELY DAY

A wonderful Spring day and where better to spend it than at the Parklands...

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

SPRING BOUQUET

An early Spring bouquet from our garden. You can see anemones, freesias, bluebells, stocks, primulas, calendulas, marigolds and eau-de-cologne plant foliage. As we are becoming hemmed in by development in surrounding properties, our garden is becoming a refuge for many birds and insects seeking shelter and food in it. Large numbers of bees visiting have put me of the mind to construct a hive or two in the back!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

KLIMT

We have a multitude of paintings hanging at home, nearly all of them originals, either painted by us or by friends (a few of them who are professional artists). We only have a couple of reproductions of works by famous painters hanging on a wall, Of the thousands of paintings that we like, one may ask why choose those particular ones to buy and hang up on the wall?

First, these artists are great favourites, and to have something of theirs on a wall to see daily and admire gives us great satisfaction. Second, the reproductions are facsimile paintings that are done by professional copiers who have great skill in copying faithfully the art work. They work in oils and the colours are brilliant and reproduce wonderfully the spirit of the original. This is something admirable in itself. Third, by viewing such a work in its original dimensions and skilfully painted in the same medium as the original one gets a much better idea of the artist's vision (compared say to a print or a photon in an art book, or a picture on Google).

One of the reproduction paintings we have is Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss". Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d'art. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. In addition to his figurative works, which include allegories and portraits, he painted landscapes.

Among the artists of the Vienna Secession, Klimt was the most influenced by Japanese art and its methods. Early in his artistic career, he was a successful painter of architectural decorations in a conventional manner. As he developed a more personal style, his work was the subject of controversy that culminated when the paintings he completed around 1900 for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna were criticized as pornographic. He subsequently accepted no more public commissions, but achieved a new success with the paintings of his "golden phase", many of which include gold leaf. Klimt's work was an important influence on his younger contemporary Egon Schiele.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.