Tarzan Swing Eungella National Park

Fungi for art

Fungi on a log by the side of the Finch-Hatton Gorge track

One day these beautiful shapes, subtle colours and textures will find their way into a painting.

Sun strikes in the Rainforest: Paluma Range National Park

By the side of the Andree Griffin Rainforest Walk at Paluma township, the sunlight caught this elegantly twisted buttress of a massive, strangler fig carcass bought to life by its velvet green coat of moss.

The tropical rainforest of the Paluma Range feels lusher, and more encompassing than the subtropical littoral rainforest remnants close to my home on the Sunshine Coast. An hour and a half drive inland from the arid seaboard city of Townsville, this verdant forest must be haven for locals.

From the photo it is difficult to gauge the size of the buttresses. Look closely at the next photo for the tiny red way marker on a sapling behind the fig. To the right, barely discernible are Colin’s black hat and his shoulders.

Oz Slow Travel

Slowing right down. A carcass along the Gulf Developmental Road which is also called the Savannah Way, a far more evocative name no doubt conceived for the benefit of tourists on the way to Mt Surprise and the Undara Lava Tubes.

In Queensland, Australia we are fortunate to be in a COVID-19 free bubble. Within the state we can travel freely, taking COVIDSafe measures such as recording our visits to public places, and being more thorough in our infection prevention measures. So, Queenslanders are, like me, taking to the open roads. 

Queensland is a vast state, Australia’s second largest state, two and a half times the size of Texas with a population of 5.11 million people, 3.6 of whom live in Brisbane or the south eastern corner. Sometimes it’s a long way between ‘places of interest’ when you leave the coast. These places are not the bucket list, big ticket items like the Grand Canyon or the Tower of London or the ‘big five’ on African Safari. 

There is natural beauty, but not of the grand kind; there is ‘white man’s’ history which is by definition short; and there is extraordinary wildlife, but not of the variety that turns the tourists into surrogate game hunters aiming their cameras for the best shot of the beast. 

Rather there are small friendly towns, often with evident civic pride and a willingness to share their history with passers by. Such places lend themselves to slowing down after a long drive, having a yarn and a beer with a fellow traveler or a local – whoever is at the bar or more likely on the veranda – at the local pub. 

Aussie bush is a bit scrubby and untidy for sure, monotonous even. But when you really start to look, it’s wondrous. Sleepy little towns are easy to pass through without a pause. Each one has a story if you take time to discover it. All that’s needed is willingness to slow down, notice and appreciate the little things, and to start to feel a connection to the amazing land that others knew so well before any Europeans realised it existed.

Bhutan: Travel Through Art

A monk washes robes in the the courtyard of a Buddhist temple in Bhutan

Art Travel

Today I took some paintings of Bhutan out of storage. I would have been travelling right now, but instead I am preparing for Noosa Open Studios. If it wasn’t for Covid-19, I wouldn’t be opening my studio space up for people to visit. If wasn’t for the border closures between Queensland and the southern states, I probably wouldn’t be opening up the studio either. Our Covid world seems more uncertain and less predictable, even for the lucky ones like Queenslanders who are in an state with virtually no transmission and where contact tracing is swift and effective.

Crossing the stream, Bhutan, Oil on Canvas, 18×24″, 45.5x61cm

Every day the relentless statistics that are a shorthand way of describing death, grief and distress flash up on my screen. We all need uplifting diversions at the moment, so it was wonderful to remember those amazing wanderings in the verdent mountains. How lucky I have been. Every experience seems all the more precious. We can all travel visually, through art and photograghy.

Oz Slow Travel

Slowing right down. A carcass along the Gulf Developmental Road, rebadged the Savannah Way for the benefit of tourists on the way to Mt Surprise and the Undara Lava Tubes.

In Queensland, Australia we are fortunate to be in a COVID-19 free bubble. Within the state we can travel freely, taking COVIDSafe measures such as recording our visits to public places, and being more thorough in our infection prevention measures. So, Queenslanders are, like me, taking to the open roads.

Queensland is a vast state, Australia’s second largest state, two and a half times the size of Texas with a population of 5.11 million people, 3.6 of whom live in Brisbane or the south eastern corner. Sometimes it’s a long way between ‘places of interest’ when you leave the coast. These places are not the bucket list, big ticket items like the Grand Canyon or the Tower of London or the ‘big five’ on African Safari.

There is natural beauty, but not of the grand kind; there is ‘white man’s’ history which is by definition short; and there is extraordinary wildlife, but not of the variety that turns the tourists into surrogate game hunters aiming their cameras for the best shot of the beast.

Rather there are small friendly towns, often with evident civic pride and a willingness to share their history with passers by. Such places lend themselves to slowing down after a long drive, having a yarn and a beer with a fellow traveler or a local – whoever is at the bar or more likely on the veranda – at the local pub.

Aussie bush is a bit scrubby and untidy for sure, monotonous even. But when you really start to look, it’s wondrous. Sleepy little towns are easy to pass through without a pause. Each one has a story if you take time to discover it. All that’s needed is willingness to slow down, notice and appreciate the little things, and to start to feel a connection to the amazing land that others knew so well before any Europeans realised it existed.

Paddington Reservoir Gardens

Its worth a walk up Oxford St Sydney to discover these sunken gardens designed around the remnants of an old water storage reservoir. The old Paddington Town Hall at street level is in the background.

Ah the Ocean

The familiar smell of the ocean, different at a city wharf it’s true, not like the expansive surf rolling on to the sandy beaches where I live, but beckoning me all the same. After all the time in the desert, it feels like I have come home.

Maritime Museum at San Diego

Home is only a train, a bus and a plane away. What a wonderful adventure I’ve had. Now I can hardly wait to see how all these experiences meld and influence my creative endeavours. I feel full of energy and ideas.

Bilbao Park, San Diego

For two special people