Monday 30 December 2019


One firefighter has died and multiple properties were lost after terrifying bushfires driven by extreme weather conditions swept across four Australian states today. The volunteer firefighter from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service died when a truck rolled near Albury, on the border with Victoria. Two trucks, including the one in which the firefighter died, were overturned by high winds. Two other firefighters suffered burns in the crash. Ten people have now died during one of the worst bushfire seasons in the nation’s history, which have burned through more than 4.6m hectares.

Temperatures reached above 40˚C in all states, including Tasmania, where Hobart recorded 40.8˚C, its hottest December day ever. Several properties were reportedly lost in fires near Fingal in the north of the island state. This evening, 16 emergency-level fires were burning in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales. In South Australia, conditions had been rated catastrophic across much of the state, but it survived the day without feared extensive property losses. Firefighters were bracing for further strong winds, in some places forecast to reach up to 120km an hour, and dry lightning strikes, which are feared to be ruinous after a day of sweltering heat.

About 12 km north of our home, in Bundoora and Mill Park, houses both sides of the Plenty Gorge parklands were threatened by an out-of-control fire that sent burning embers into backyards. At least three homes were damaged and two people were assessed by paramedics in the afternoon.

In our garden today extremely high temperatures (it was 43˚C in the shade) and searing high winds wrought havoc in our garden beds and plants. Roses were shrivelled up as though placed in oven, shadecloths were torn asunder and flew away, many plants were uprooted and a couple of statues fell over from their bases (fortunately they were not damaged). But all of these were minor issues compared to lives and whole properties lost elsewhere in our state.

A cool change came in later this evening and tomorrow's maximum is promised to be just 21˚C with rain. We're counting our blessings and remembering the bravery, self-sacrifice and tirelessness of our firefighters who do battle with massive fires each day.

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

The name of this rose, 'Firefighter' honours the work our firefighters do here in Australia and as it states on the plant label: “This rose is so named as to remember those men and women who risk their lives daily to protect ours”.

Sunday 29 December 2019


A lovely Summer day by the Yarra River, with many people enjoying the day and festive cheer of a Summer Christmas.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday 28 December 2019


The galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), also known as the rose-breasted cockatoo, galah cockatoo, roseate cockatoo or pink and grey, is one of the most common and widespread cockatoos, and it can be found in open country in almost all parts of mainland Australia. It is endemic on the mainland and was introduced to Tasmania, where its distinctive pink and grey plumage and its bold and loud behaviour make it a familiar sight in the bush and increasingly in urban areas.

It appears to have benefited from the change in the landscape since European colonisation and may be replacing the Major Mitchell's cockatoo in parts of its range. The term galah is derived from gilaa, a word found in Yuwaalaraay and neighbouring Aboriginal languages. Galahs are about 35 cm long and weigh 270–350 g. They have a pale grey to mid-grey back, a pale grey rump, a pink face and chest, and a light pink mobile crest. They have a bone-coloured beak and the bare skin of the eye rings is carunculated. They have grey legs.

The genders appear similar, however generally adult birds differ in the colour of the irises; the male has very dark brown (almost black) irises, and the female has mid-brown or red irises. The colours of the juveniles are duller than the adults. Juveniles have greyish chests, crowns, and crests, and they have brown irises and whitish bare eye rings, which are not carunculated.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Friday 27 December 2019


We have been enjoying some mild Summer weather over the Christmas period, with hotter conditions forecast over the next few days, reaching a maximum of 41˚C next Monday. Fortunately a cool change is expected on the Tuesday and the first few days of the New Year will be quite mild. At least the weather now was perfect for a walk along the Merri Creek with a glorious sky and lovely green vegetation all along the creek.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 26 December 2019


Acacia deanei (Deane's wattle, green wattle) is a tree native to Australia, which is used for controlling erosion. There are two subspecies: Acacia deanei subsp. deanei and Acacia deanei subsp. paucijuga. Both subspecies are mainly 2-4 m tall and grow on plains, slopes and tablelands, often near watercourses, in gullies or on stony hillsides, and on a wide range of soil types in Eastern Australia.

This species often flowers throughout the year, especially during March to August; pods mature mainly during October to March or sometimes later. There are about 45 viable seeds per gram. Nicking or boiling the seeds in water for a minute at 100°C is required to induce germination. The seeds start to germinate in about 5 days if grown at 25°C. Acacia deanei is a fast growing, nitrogen-fixing shrub that has the potential to play a valuable role in catchment protection.

It is relatively drought and cold tolerant; its pollen has value in apiculture. This tree is known to be moderately drought tolerant but is killed by damaging fire and does not regenerate foliage afterwards. It tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range or tolerates heavy frosts colder than -5°C. This tree has good ornamental attributes and is often used in the urban environment as a street or park tree.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 25 December 2019


Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko (Russian: Николай Алекса́ндрович Яроше́нко; 13 December [O.S. 1 December] 1846 – 7 July [O.S. 25 June] 1898) was a Russian painter of Ukrainian origin. Yaroshenko painted many portraits, genre paintings, and drawings. His genre paintings depict torture, struggles, fruit, bathing suits, and hardships faced in the Russian Empire. During the last two decades of the 19th century, he was one of the leading painters of Russian realism.

He was born in the city of Poltava, Russian Empire (now Ukraine) to a son of an officer in the Russian Army. He chose a military career, studying at the Poltava Cadet Academy and later the Mikhailovsky Military Artillery Academy in Saint Peterburg, but he also studied art at Kramskoi's drawing school and at the Saint Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts. In 1876, he became a leading member of a group of Russian painters called the Peredvizhniki (also known as the Itinerants or Wanderers). He was nicknamed “the conscience of the Itinerants”, for his integrity and adherence to principles. Yaroshenko retired as a Major General in 1892.

Yaroshenko spent some years in the regions of Poltava and Chernigov, and his later years in Kislovodsk, in the Caucasus Mountains, where he moved due to ill health. He died of phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis or consumption) in Kislovodsk on July 7 [O.S. June 25] 1898 and was buried there. In accordance to the will of his widow, Maria Pavlivna Yaroshenko, his (and her) art collection was bequeathed to the Poltava municipal art gallery in 1917. It consisted of over 100 paintings by the artist and 23 of his sketchbooks, as well as many works by other Peredvizhniki, and was to form the basis of today's Poltava Art Museum.

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 the Caucasus Mountains" - Nikolay Aleksandrovich Yaroshenko
"Portrait of actress Pelagia Antipovna Strepetova" (Detail) - Nikolay Aleksandrovich Yaroshenko

Tuesday 24 December 2019


The closer it gets to Christmas, the more the City seems to become more festive and decorated, busier and all a-buzz. We have had several sunny, warm days that are quite conducive to going out and about and enjoying the seasonal hustle and bustle.

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 December 2019


Enjoy the best of the Festive Season!

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

Friday 20 December 2019


Much of Victoria sweltered through extreme heat today, with a statewide total fire ban in place along with health alerts. Much of the northwest including Mildura and Horsham reached temperatures around 47˚C, while Melbourne's temperature soared to 44˚C.

Smoke from the New South Wales bushfires and the Gippsland fires – in Victoria's south-east has made its way towards our City, covering the sky and giving Melbourne a taste of the conditions that have been choking Sydney. Smoke extended over Victoria this morning and into the afternoon reducing visibility to about 1km in places.

The sunset was suitably fiery and the heat is persisting into the night, although a cool change was predicted, with a maximum around 22˚C tomorrow.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 19 December 2019


Serruria florida is a species of flowering plant in the family Proteaceae, endemic to South Africa. It is known by the common names of blushing bride or pride of Franschhoek. This species grows to between 0.8 and 1.5 metres in height and 0.5 metres in width. The leaves are fine and dissected and the flowers are white to pink and appear from July to October in its native range. It occurs in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve in the Cape Province.

A well-drained position in full sun is preferred by this species, which tolerates dryness. Propagation is from cuttings or seed, although the latter can prove difficult. The species is cultivated for the cut flower trade and it is also grown as an ornamental plant.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 18 December 2019


Xerox art (sometimes, more generically, called copy art, electrostatic art, or xerography) is an art form that began in the 1960s. Prints are created by putting objects on the glass, or platen, of a copying machine and by pressing "start" to produce an image. If the object is not flat, or the cover does not totally cover the object, or the object is moved, the resulting image is distorted in some way. The curvature of the object, the amount of light that reaches the image surface, and the distance of the cover from the glass, all affect the final image. Often, with proper manipulation, rather ghostly images can be made.

Basic techniques include: Direct Imaging, the copying of items placed on the platen (normal copy); Still Life Collage, a variation of direct imaging with items placed on the platen in a collage format focused on what is in the foreground/background; Overprinting, the technique of constructing layers of information, one over the previous, by printing onto the same sheet of paper more than once; Copy Overlay, a technique of working with or interfering in the colour separation mechanism of a colour copier; Colourising, vary colour density and hue by adjusting the exposure and colour balance controls; Degeneration is a copy of a copy degrading the image as successive copies are made; Copy Motion, the creation of effects by moving an item or image on the platen during the scanning process. Each machine also creates different effects.

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.
Rosie Eisor: Xerox Portrait 1

Left: Lesley Schiff – Flower in Hand, 1981, from the portfolio Seasons. Photocopy, 10 1/2 × 8 1/2 in. (26.7 × 21.6 cm) / Right: Lesley Schiff – Leopards, 1981, from the portfolio Seasons. Photocopy, 10 1/2 × 8 1/2 in. (26.7 × 21.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gifts of Judith Goldman

Tuesday 17 December 2019


Swanston Street is a major thoroughfare in the centre of Melbourne, Australia. It is one of the main streets of the Melbourne central business district and was laid out in 1837 as part of the original Hoddle Grid. The street vertically bisects Melbourne's city centre and is famous as the world's busiest tram corridor, for its heritage buildings and as a shopping strip.

Swanston Street runs roughly north-south in-between Russell Street to the east and Elizabeth Street to the west. To the south it becomes St Kilda Road after the intersection with Flinders Street, whilst the road's northern end is in the suburb of Carlton at Melbourne Cemetery. This northern section was originally named Madeline Street. The street is named after merchant, banker and politician Charles Swanston.

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

Monday 16 December 2019

Sunday 15 December 2019


At the top end of Bourke St, watching the trams go by. As it gets closer to Christmas, the City is becoming more congested and to see the road relatively free of cars and pedestrians is quite unusual this time of the year...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday 14 December 2019


The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus or, inaccurately, koala bear) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae, and its closest living relatives are the wombats. The koala is found in coastal areas of the mainland's eastern and southern regions, inhabiting Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. It is easily recognisable by its stout, tailless body; round, fluffy ears; and large, spoon-shaped nose. The koala has a body length of 60–85 cm and weighs 4–15 kg. Pelage colour ranges from silver grey to chocolate brown. Koalas from the northern populations are typically smaller and lighter in colour than their counterparts further south. It is possible that these populations are separate subspecies, but this is disputed.

Koalas typically inhabit open eucalypt woodlands, and the leaves of these trees make up most of their diet. Because this eucalypt diet has limited nutritional and caloric content, koalas are largely sedentary and sleep for up to 20 hours a day. They are asocial animals, and bonding exists only between mothers and dependent offspring. Adult males communicate with loud bellows that intimidate rivals and attract mates. Males mark their presence with secretions from scent glands located on their chests. Being marsupials, koalas give birth to underdeveloped young that crawl into their mothers' pouches, where they stay for the first six to seven months of their life. These young koalas are known as joeys, and are fully weaned at around a year. Koalas have few natural predators and parasites but are threatened by various pathogens, like Chlamydiaceae bacteria and the koala retrovirus, as well as by bushfires and droughts.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Thursday 12 December 2019


Rosa 'Just Joey' was bred by Cants of Colchester, United Kingdom, in 1972. It was named for the wife of the Managing Director of Cants of Colchester, Joey Pawsey. This Hybrid Tea rose performs well throughout Australia and there are many fine specimens in Melbourne gardens, beginning with ours, where we have no less than four bushes of this variety! It really is one of the most beautiful of our roses.

The plant is vigorous and grows well, achieving a height of 1.5 m and width of 1.2 m. Flowers are borne one per stem and can be of an impressive size (up to 20cm in Spring and Autumn, slightly smaller during Summer). The bush is disease and heat resistant and tends to survive well with a little care. The flower is an eye-catching ripe apricot colour with a loose, informal display of pretty frilled petals.

Probably its most seductive feature is its intense, spicy fragrance which will quickly fill a room, when a bunch is placed in a vase. This perfume is inherited from its parents (Fragrant Cloud x Dr. A.J. Verhage) also renowned for their strong scent. It has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit 1993 and World’s Favourite Rose 1994. When introduced, its colour and size of flowers were considered breakthroughs. This lovely rose is readily available and will reward and delight any rose lover!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 11 December 2019


John William Waterhouse RA (6 April 1849 – 10 February 1917) was an English painter known for working first in the Academic style and for then embracing the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood's style and subject matter. His artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.

Born in Rome to English parents who were both painters, Waterhouse later moved to London, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art. He soon began exhibiting at their annual summer exhibitions, focusing on the creation of large canvas works depicting scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Greece. Many of his paintings are based on authors such as Homer, Ovid, Shakespeare, Tennyson, or Keats.

Waterhouse's work is currently displayed at several major British art galleries, and the Royal Academy of Art organised a major retrospective of his work in 2009.

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 meme.
The Lady of Shalott is a painting of 1888 by the English painter John William Waterhouse. It is a representation of the ending of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's 1832 poem of the same name. Waterhouse painted three versions of this character, in 1888, 1894 and 1915. It is one of his most famous works, which adopted much of the style of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, though Waterhouse was painting several decades after the Brotherhood split up during his early childhood. The Lady of Shalott was donated to the public by Sir Henry Tate in 1894 and is usually on display in Tate Britain, London, in room 1840.

This dramatic painting illustrates an episode from the journeys of the Greek hero Odysseus (in Latin, Ulysses) told in the poet Homer’s Odyssey in which the infamous Sirens lured unwary sailors towards perilous rocks and their doom by singing in the most enchanting manner. Odysseus wished to hear the Siren’s song and ordered his crew to lash him to a mast and block their ears in order to ensure their safe passage.

Waterhouse has depicted each Siren with the body of a bird and the head of a beautiful woman, which came as a surprise to Victorian audiences, who were more used to seeing these mythic creatures portrayed as comely mermaid-like nymphs. He borrowed the motif from an ancient Greek vase that he studied in the British Museum.

When Ulysses and the Sirens was first exhibited, at London’s Royal Academy in 1891, the painting was praised by most art critics of the day. MH Spielmann, writing for the Magazine of Art, declared it: ‘a very startling triumph … a very carnival of colour, mosaicked and balanced with a skill more consummate than even the talented artist was credited with … The quality of the painting is … a considerable advance upon all his antecedent work’. At the time of Sir Hubert von Herkomer’s purchase of this picture for the National Gallery of Victoria, in June 1891, the Ulysses was only the second work by John William Waterhouse to be acquired for a public gallery.

Tuesday 10 December 2019


The city lights reflected in the Yarra River are a always a wonderful sight!

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 9 December 2019


The last few weeks in Melbourne have been characterised by cool, wet weather reminiscent of Autumn rather than Summer. In fact, last week we had snowfalls of 20cm up on the slopes of our Victorian alpine ski resorts!

Well, things definitely changed today with hot, dry, summery weather. The mercury climbed to 39˚C in the City and many regional centres had temperatures in the low forties. Needless to say that anyone who could go, went to the beach today... The rest of the week promises to be cool again, with some showers.

Make hay while the suns shines, my grandfather used to say.

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 7 December 2019

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.