Little old ladies and a bare bottom (Day 152)
A day of dogs, beach, art and bare bottoms!
If you had a dog, what type would you have and why? I’ve realised that I’d have a medium sized dog, especially after walking two very small dogs this morning on the beach. They walk so slowly! Alix takes out her friend’s three little dogs, Bonny, Bella and Sprocket each week as well as her own three. How she manages six dogs I’ll never know, well I do – she is very well trained and so are the dogs. So while Tim and Alix were throwing balls and walking along with the 2 Labradors, the Schnoodle and Sprocket a Maltese, I walked along with the two dainty old ladies – Bonny and Bella (Silky Terrier and a Shih Tzu cross). Well, I am certainly not gaining many steps on my fitbit with these old girls. It was pleasant though dawdling along the beach in the glorious sunshine. After dropping the little dogs back, we returned home, Tim and I got the nets and cleared the pool of leaves, skimming the top. So satisfying.
Later on in the day, I got my steps in as we walked along the coast at Cronulla. It was lovely seeing lots of children playing in the water having fun. We walked past Shark Island. Apparently they do have sharks in this area, however it is very rare that there are any fatalities. We didn’t see any sharks, however the usual bird spotting still fascinates us. A sulphur-crested cockatoo was eating a sandwich (which is dangerous for their health) and two beautifully coloured rainbow lorikeets were close by. We walked as far as the memorial for Matthew Flinders, George Bass and the “Boy Martin” who sailed past the headland in the ship Tom Thumb II in 1796, discovering and naming Port Hacking. What a strange name! Perhaps one of them had a hacking cough.
As we walked back, we noticed that there was a yellow tinge in the Sky. Some back burning in the Holsworthy area, southwest of Sydney got out of control on Friday and is still causing havoc. Many people have had to be evacuated, including Kathy, Joanna’s friend who we met a week ago. The blaze has affected nearly 3,000 hectares and more than 470 firefighters have been fighting the flames for three days now. Luckily there have been no serious casualties. We hope that they will be able to get this fire under control today.
We needed to get back as we were going out in the evening. On our travels we like to try new things and Alix invited us to the live drawing group that she goes to each week. I don’t think she thought we would go, but both of us were up for that. We have been so inspired by Alix’s artwork and all the other artists we have met on our travels that we both fancy having a go at some painting ourselves, progressing on from playing Squiggle with one another. During the day Alix took us to an Arts and Crafts shop that sold exactly the type of paint that I was looking for. Some water colour paints on 4 small round trays that screw together for travelling – perfect. We can’t wait to use them and see what creations we come up with.
We arrived at the Scout Hall with Freida greeting us. She has been running the live drawing group for over 20 years now. There were about 16 of us sitting around the room (it can be up to 27 people at times) and a young lady in the middle wearing a red Chinese silk gown. When we were all ready, Freida set the clock, the young lady Mel, slipped the gown off and we had 25 seconds to draw her. We did this a few times, the time increased to 1 minute, two, ten, fifteen then 20 minutes. Each time Mel changed the pose. I found it much easier drawing her back, there was less detail going on. I discovered that I really enjoyed drawing the curves of her bottom and legs and was in flow, occasional thoughts passed by and then disappeared into the mist. I was at one with the pencil and paper.
Alix had given us both some tips before we arrived. Squinting helps to define the shadowing and looking at the “negative” space, for example the area between the arms and body. This really helped, focusing on the shapes and the shades, rather than the body. Such an enjoyable evening and I think we both felt that our drawings were better than we anticipated. Well chuffed.
We chatted to a few people during the two breaks. (It was silent whilst drawing) and it turns out that Mel the model will be in Tasmania when we are there in a few weeks. She is a performer so we will look out for Melanie Eden when we are there and hope to see her. One of Alix’s friends Trudy asked us about our travels and we shared that after Oz we’re off to Japan. She gave us a few tips which will be extremely useful – such as having free tours in Tokyo by elderly people as they like to practice their English.
When we returned back home, Alix had arranged a Skype with her sister and my friend Karen. So lovely to see her and have a wonderful chat. A great end to a fabulous day.