Friday, March 27, 2015


Last week I tried unsuccessfully to bid on a couple of aboriginal paintings at auction that went well above the estimate.

While in hospital on Tuesday, I finally succeeded in getting one by the same artist at a different auction. Her name is Emily Kngwarreye. In the final 8 years of her life, Kngwarreye produce a flourish of art that propelled her into the status as one of Australia's greatest contemporary artists.

The work I bought was painted in the year before her death, when her artistic style shifted from dots to lines, which represent the roots of an important food source – the pencil yam.

Here is an image of my painting.

And here is the monumental Big Yam Dreaming, which measures almost 3 x 8 meters, owned by the National Gallery of Victoria.


Wow, what a week.

On Monday afternoon, I went to the GP to get my prescriptions renewed. She took my blood pressure, listened to my heart, and asked me whether I had private health insurance.  I said 'yes' and she called an ambulance to get me to hospital. Apparently I was experiencing atrial fibrillation and my heart rate was 170 beats per minute. I was feeling fine so it took me completely by surprise.

Nathan met me at Emergency. I received a shot of blood thinners, and some meds to stabilise the heart rate and was then wheeled into a room where I spent the following two days getting a bunch of tests done.

I'm now on some new meds and have to go back to see the cardiologist in a few weeks. On the plus side, things I had associated with getting older (e.g. feeling dizzy when I stood up) was probably due to my condition so at least I can now receive treatment for it.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday outing

It was a very busy Saturday.

Nathan and I started with brunch at nearby South Wharf. 

I then decided to go into work to clean out my gigantic office aquarium. I inherited the aquarium when I first started at the university and my busy schedule laziness meant that the fish tank was starting to look like a cesspit (it was starting to smell like one too).  I figure it would be a good idea to do the aquarium clean out on the weekend so I could surreptitiously spread the gravel out across the garden beds adjacent to my office building (and to give my office a couple of days for the stink to dissipate). Nathan offered to give me a hand. Sucker. Actually, I'm actually glad he helped me out because we managed to clean out the aquarium in next to no time (though we both ended up being splashed with smelly detritus). The dog came along too, for fun.

After cleaning out the fish tank, we took the dog back to the apartment and then headed straight out to Mt Evelyn for a late lunch and a walk around my favourite native plant nursery, which was having a sale.  I couldn't resist these beautiful Cyathea cunninghamii tree ferns. Of course, the tree ferns were not on sale but I ended up taking one home anyway (along with some other plants for the balcony garden).
We were back in the apartment for no more than 30 minutes before heading out again, this time to Williamstown. We took the dog again. We bought some battered fish and scallops and ate them in the car (by then it was starting to get a bit cold and windy). The dog watched on (she had chicken). 

Am now back in the apartment...completely exhausted. I think I'm going to take it easy tomorrow.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

cannibal country

Andrew, in his post today, alerted me to an exhibition at RMIT that is showing an animated short film telling the story of the underground cannibals of Lake Disappointment. The animators created the short film from paintings by one of my favourite aboriginal artists, Billy Atkins, including a painting in my collection. The trees from the painting I own our actually visible in the photographic stills that Andrew took of the animation at RMIT.

Sunday flowers

This week I picked up some snapdragons from the Queen Vic markets. Snapdragons bring me back to my childhood. I first saw them at a school friend's backyard. His mum was an avid gardner and had all kinds of weird and wonderful flowers. I remember my friend showing me how you could make the flowers open and close just like the mouth of a dragon when you gently squeezed them from the sides. For me, as a kid, the sight of a snapping flower was out of this world.