Monday, 10 June 2013

Budgie the Galah

It's winter here in Australia, our farm is still blanketed in fog with only the muted shapes of gum trees in the mist. I have just fed the ponies at the back door and put out some seed for our galah, "Budgie." Our galah (rose breasted cockatoo) was born on the property but broke her wing while learning to fly. I hate seeing caged birds, but Budgie would not be alive if my daughter hadn't rescued her. She has an indoor and outdoor cage with a sliding door which she can open in between. The outdoor cage has a shelf where we spread seed, so every day Budgie throws a party for her friends and family.

Sometimes the sulphur crested cockatoos come and muscle in on party time, they are twice the size of the galahs so it is hard for the galahs to stand their ground. We have a lot of birds here as we have a good bush and grassland habitat and also plenty of supplementary food which they glean from the spilt horse food and the horse manure.

Bird Themes ... Amelia's Wren Tattoo

The breakfast show on JJJ has lost Elize Strydom as newsreader and Amelia Marshall is the new reader. Thanks to Amelia I have revisited this poem. Little birds should rule the world. I have written a book about it called Mobile Magic.

I was listening to Tom and Alex this morning and the callers couldn't guess that Amelia had a wren tattoo on her wrist inspired by this poem.

“may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile”

― E.E. Cummings, Complete Poems, 1904-1962


The early Sydney GLBTQI scene, Oxford St Collage and Mardi Gras 2012 and 2013. Original music on this video is from samples by Annette Schneider, produced by Albert "MC Fade" A-Yeboah, at the recording studios set in the beautiful countryside at Jerrangle, NSW near Canberra, Australia.

Kate and Annette became lovers in 1978 at high school and then moved to Sydney to live together and study. We were active in the Queer social and political scene. We were members of Gaysoc at UNSW and the Gay Rights Lobby.
We participated in the Stonewall March in 1979 and the Mardi Gras and other GLBTQI events in the early '80s before we moved to the country to build our rural business and family. Annette designed the "Outrageous Gay Mardi Gras" poster in 1980, the National Gay & Lesbian 1980 Conference Poster and, with Bob Hay, a lot of the Gaysoc posters.

As a professional artist, Annette has had a stalls at Fair Day, participated in a lot of Mardi Gras festival art exhibitions and has a listing in Liz Ashburn's book,"Lesbian Artists". Together with our children we have also participated in the Mardi Gras Festival equestrian event, "Mardikhana". "The Pink Triangle" was a Gay Food Stall which Kate and Annette ran at Taylor Square (in the tobacconist alcove next to the pawnbroker) and at the Queen St Fair in the 1980s.

Kate and Annette and their family celebrated the 35th anniversary of their relationship by having a float or "moving installation" in the Mardi Gras Parade.  Their son, Lee, drove the family truck in the parade. (Lee participated in the 1991 parade as a baby in a backpack) Our children, relatives and friends, both GLBTQI and straight, joined in a celebration of an 'out and proud' farming family. Kate is a horse breaker and riding instructor and Annette is a visual artist.

Our "moving installation" celebrated our history and rural lifestyle with farm animals, dancing, light art performance, a bunch of happy people and a fabulously decorated truck.
For images of Annette's art please have a look at her website We started our relationship with major involvement in the Sydney GLBTQI scene so it was exciting to celebrate our joint anniversary with this family float.

The float was our own medium rigid Mitsubishi Dual cab tabletop with stock-crate, decorated with symbolic representations of our country life (The truck's name is "Anything's Possible") Our family and friends, in costumes of their own choice, shared the celebration in this lavishly decorated stock-crate. There were disco lights, original dance music based on farm noises, rainbow tinsel, rideable horse sculptures, rainbow bread-bag sheep sculptures on fake grass, flying and dancing birds overhead; the whole truck was transformed. The sculptures and costumes made from remnant, recycled or found objects is reflective of our ethics and lifestyle.

We were absolutedly amazed when we won a Mardi Gras Gold Show-stopper award for our family float.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Horses, donkeys, all the beasts; transport that pollutes the least.

 A quick film, made for the 48 hour eco-film challenge and pieced together from some shockingly bad quality footage taken with my Samsung Handycam. Have you tried to film the moon on a frosty night with a handycam? The film was made by me on our farm over the weekend, then put together with stills from my own artwork by myself using iMovie. For some strange reason iMovie wasn't processing two thirds of the footage I had taken so there was film I wanted to use which was left out. It has been said that I am no film-maker, but I hope you enjoy some of this weird compilation. At least I tried. 

Reach for the moon, I say. I really don't like the sound of my own voice but I think a lot of people have that problem. I have transcribed the poem which I wrote for the film below. The music was made from samples I made which were produced by MC Fade at his Jerrangle recording studio near Canberra, Australia.
The strangeness of the story is partly because of my bird obsession and partly because I had to include a couple of different things in the plot, to prove that it was made over the correct weekend. I had to have a character called Jacquie Adams who was a social worker and a prop of a pair of sunglasses. All filming and scriptwriting had to be done within the specified 48 hours but entrants were allowed to use previously created still photos which they owned the rights to. For an unprepared film made entirely by myself, I don't think I did too badly. It didn't make the list, but I was up against teams of film-makers which could be any size and came from all over the world.

“Birds…scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth. They know the truth. Screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears, but sadly we don’t speak bird.”
― Kurt Cobain

It's the last full Autumn moon, summer's over, Winter soon
Gaea wants you all to know what you should do is take it slow
Humans, we know change you shirk, so what you need is social work
A sad case-study, humankind, so out of sight and out of mind

Her social workers? Well, we're birds - spying on the human herds
Country, city we are there, in all weather, foul or fair
Mountain, forest, lake or bog, see right through your human smog
Will you save that national park or keep on struggling in the dark?

If you humans think your best, you're ignoring all the rest
The world's not yours, now pay the rent, have some caseload management
I'm here to have a little chat, but how to act? Can't tell you that
I've forms reports and interviews, for information... watch the news

I'm Jacquie Adams, I'm a bird, Earth's in trouble, have you heard?
I'm here to help but it's your choice, come on humans, use your voice
Great Southern Land, you're full of greed, come notice those who live in need
Do not fear the winter cold, but endless heat unless you're bold.

A lifestyle change is not the end, all current rules were made to bend
How do we make this work for us? Can't understand? What's all the fuss?
Ecology, our stewardship, might keep afloat this sinking ship
Remember there were dinosaurs... Change not coming? Change the laws.

Tell me have you seen the sun... have you got your glasses on
Australia, you have got to see, it could provide our energy
Renew, sustain and tell your Pollie, they have got to spend the Lolly
Not on fracking Greenhouse gas or for drilling in the Bass

Group together, be a force, harness up this solar horse
Speaking of the solar horse, it's not the only horse of course
horses have been used for yonks, horses, mules and faithful donks
around the world in every nation, beasts sustain the population

The fuel price gains, the beast remains.
For those without a car or truck, an animal to help means luck,
to carry food or firewood, to plough the field, a livelihood
90 million equine mates help families survive their fates

Their energy's sustainable if you just keep their bellies full,
manure is good for growing crops, no algal blooms from nitrate props.
So take advice from Jacqui Bird, be partners with the equine herd.
High tech low tech, take your pick, the world needs change and make it quick.

How did you get to work today, car or bus, bike, train or sleigh?
And how about the supply chain, where'd you get your beef and grain?
Just count the miles your food must travel, it's a puzzle to unravel,
Chinese peas and US pork, what energy is on your fork?

Potato's not a perfect round? Go plough it back into the ground
Go bulldoze all Australia's North, so goods can travel back and forth,
irrigating shallow soil, tanking up with pure crude oil,
Coles and Woolies, they won't stop, so buy food local when you shop

Cyclone, wildfire, tsunami, just think of how the world might be
You chose fast food I choose slow food, tell me do you really know food
Lifestyle with consumer choices, less iron birds with shrieking voices
We want less waste and much less greed, and definitely much less speed

To save our world will be a plus, that's how we'll make this work for us.
And don't forget to save the trees, we birds all need them, pretty please.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Cyriac Harris animation & Bonobo

Cyriac videos are well worth watching, more at
He uses adobe photoshop and after effects for most of his animation.

Animating an Elephant

I've been looking at ways to do simple animations, not with this style of image, but as a way to animate my 2D drawings. Here's a program which I find interesting, but it needs to be used in conjunction with photoshop so that makes it less simple.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Abstract Expessionism, Drip Painting techniques

 Janet Sobel (1894–1968)  and Jackson Pollock (1912 to 1956) developed the art technique of "drip painting" in the 1940s. Pollock was inspired to experiment with this expressive technique after seeing an exhibition of Sobel's work. Pollock laid his canvases flat on the floor and applied liquid household paints with brushes, sticks and syringes.  Pollock's painting technique moved away from the considered and figurative Western art traditions although later in his work he resurrected figurative content. He claimed that he was influenced by American Indian sandpainting techniques.

When you make art on the ground it changes your view and way of working. If you paint with a large canvas in this way, you move around the area in order to physically paint. This takes the artist out of the traditional Western landscape or portrait genres by subverting the singularity of direction usually implied. The decision as to which direction is vertical or horizontal then becomes more random, a choice made by the artist or viewer.

Earth, Wind, Fire; My Molonglo,  1400 X 1800mm,   Annette Schneider,  May 2012, Acrylic, Decomposed Granite, Quartz and traces of Bogong Moths on Canvas (currently on display at the bushfire memorial exhibition, Mt Stromlo)

I have used drip painting or abstract expressionism as part my artwork, on a car as well as on canvases laid flat on the ground. I find it a very direct and satisfying means of paint application. Using paint in this sort of way requires extreme focus and control, but contains a random element that makes it exciting and dangerous to use, especially outside on a windy day. Janet Sobel often combined figurative elements with the abstract texture in her painting. I also like doing very detailed figurative work, but I often then perform a "slash and burn" abstract around it, drawing in free arcs and "scribbles" or painting directly from the tube, then I usually spend some time on the painting in reflective adjustment of detail.

Family Ties,  1400 X 1800mm,  Annette Schneider,  1998,  Acrylic on Canvas