Thursday, 28 June 2012

Bridging the Gap

Last week we had a visit from a friend of a friend who was in between jobs and wanted to spend some time in the bush to do some thinking and get his hands dirty. He arrived on the biggest motor bike I'd ever seen ...a Goldwing for thoes in the know. His name is Graham and he was very brave to come out here with out any introductions or even know if he would like us, he had told us that he would like to stay for about 7 to 10 days which is a long time if you don't like the people or the place.

Tony and Graham working in the shed

We and he had nothing to worry about as he is a very nice man and fitted in very well and he seemed to like us in return. He and Tony mucked around doing some fencing and cleaning out stock troughs. This wasn't the easiest of job as it turned out because while Graham was here it started to rain and turned very cold, for the coast that is. So mucking round with water and troughs in the rain wasn't your ideal job in thoes conditions. Tony was so impressed with the way Graham just got in and did things with out any complains. He would come home at the end of the day wet and cold with he biggest smile on his face!!

This is what the weather was like for most of Graham's visit

When Tony went back to work Graham started to work for me in the garden. He really go stuck in and the garden looks great now. He hacked back all that was overgrown and did all the hedging, he did this in the rain as well.

The title to this post is bridging the gap. I am a firm believer that the time as come for us, the people on the land to extend a hand to thoes in the cities. We need the likes of Graham to come out and see what we do on the land, how we run our businesses, how extremely hard and expensive it is to constantly change our ways to keep from offending some one in the city who says we need to do things differently, most of these people have never been near a beef producer, farmer or had any experience of what goes on in a day to day agricultural business. 

Graham leaving. Came as a stranger left as a friend!
We need to encourage people form the non rural areas to come see how we do things. Only then can we change people ideas. Plus you make new friends and that's a wonderful thing.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Some Things Never Change

Some things never the weather in Toowoomba. It excelled it's self last weekend when I visited. I decided to go down and take my cards to the Queens Park markets, and also it was a good opportunity to catch up with some good old friends. We hit the Park at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning and it was bleak and cold with a wind chill factor of some thing very low. Anyway by about 10 a.m. it was beautiful and what a great part of the world to sit and watch the Sunday morning traffic through the Park, lots of people taking there dogs for a walk in the crisp morning air. It was great to see all the different dog breeds and to compare the breeds with their owners...very interesting. But that's wasn't why I was there. I have done a series of blank cards which I have mentioned before. I did them for Beef Week and they were well received so I have put them on my website. I have managed to get them into a few different shops, but I can sell them cheaper at Markets as there is no middle man, so to speak.
Willy series Card 3

Sweetie series Card 3

My friend and I just set up a table with my cards and the gift boxed cards and we did very well. It is very interesting to watch people when they spot my cards ...they start to smile...which is very nice to be able to make people smile.

Cocky series Card 1

The other interesting thing happening at the same time was a cycling comp which I didn't really find out what it was but there were lots and lots of people of all ages peddling flat out round the Park. One amazing woman pulled up on her bike to buy some cards having just finished a ride of 80 klms !!! I asked her if see was going home to drink a BOTTLE of wine she said ABSOLUTELY!! (she was probably well into her fifties, what a woman.!)

Annie series Card 2

We pulled out of there at about 3 pm and met another friend then went to a lovely little coffee shop called The Angle Coffee Shop. We had a couple of glasses of wine then a great meal as we hadn't eaten since 5 am and were a little tucked up!! We then went inside and had a coffee before departing company. We had lots of laughs as old friend do.

There is nothing so nurturing for the soul as good meaningful and inspiring conversation.

Add caption

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Saturday, 23 June 2012

Don't's next weekend

Woke up early on Friday morning with the horrible realisation that the Yaraka Gymkhana was this coming weekend and that I had promised them a painting to auction to raise money for the Flying Doctor. After I jumped out of bed and ran round in circles for a while I realised as I looked blurry eyed at the calender that it wasn't this week end but the following one. THANK GOD. So then I knew I had to get stuck in and get some thing done.

 I had actually given it some thought a few weeks ago but having had the previous weekend in Toowoomba and then arrived home to a visit from my bridesmaid who I hadn't seen for 30 years I'll fill you in on that later... so some how the painting had slipped my mind for a week or so.
Last year I had the idea of sending a painting out there for them as they are always looking for new and interesting things to auction. We were intending to go but didn't manage it as something came up as it has for the past 10 or so years that we have been trying to get back to the Yaraka Gymkhana.
Tony and I go back along way with regards to Yaraka and it's gymkhana. We used to take horses there and compete well before we were married and Tony spent his childhood on the properties of Emmet Downs and Isis Downs, his father Dick McLean managed both. So he went off to both Yaraka and Isisford gymkhana's and competed from a very early age.

This is last years Auction Painting

The painting I sent out last year was very well received and according to all reports a great time was had forming syndicates to purchase the painting. It was eventually knocked down to the Peta and Peter Darcy syndicate. I heard that it was then given to Peta's brother Paul Moody as a thank you gift for having the Darcy's and their group of friends from Brisbane to stay for the weekend. I know and love the Darcy's and we go back a long way. But that's another story!

This is this years Auction Painting

So I decided to try and find an some old photo's I had taken back when we lived at Emmet in the 1980's. I thought I would have trouble putting my hand on any as most of my old photo's have never made it into an album and are just floating round in a great big plastic box (well at least it's plastic!!). But would you believe they were right there on the top. So after quite a few sketchers to try and work out what to do I thought this one was the best. It is Mark Payne and I can't remember the name of his very smartly coloured piebald horse in the foreground with 2 other riders who are Tony McLean on Princessa and Mike Wacker. I don't know what the race is but it would probably be either The Flutter or The Walk, Trot and Gallop. By the looks of things I would say one of the two on the out side would have won as the front horse looks as though he is pulling up.
For those of you not in the know regarding the the two above mentioned events, The Flutter is a race which is just that a race from start to finish. It was a very hotly contested event and back in the day when we used to ride in gymkhana's it was really something to have the fastest horse there. (I don't think this race is run any more I think "they" decided it was too dangerous.)
 The Walk, Trot and Gallop event involved walking for a certain distance I would say about 200 meters at a guess, when you got to the marked distance then you broke into a trot for the same distance again, and again only after you got to the distance marker you could start to gallop. The difficulty was that if you were in the walking phase of the race and the leading horses started to trot then you had to keep your horse still at a walk if you started to trot before the appointed mark you had to stop and turn your horse around, this would put you further behind.. It was especially hard to keep your horse at a trot when the leaders were galloping off into the distance!! 
Actually I do think that the painting must be the Walk, Trot and Gallop as it always had a very exciting finish as it was unusual for a horse not to do break in either the walk or trot so sometimes the fastest horses were way back in the field when they got to the gallop and it was great to watch them coming though the field. I would say this is what is happening in this picture as Tony's mare was very fast and a Quarter Horse which meant she could really cover a short distance very quickly. Mike's horse was no slouch also. I just can't remember it's name I will have to ring him and ask he will remember for sure.
So the long and short of it all is that I did get the picture done and it is now packed and ready to go on the bus to Blackall tomorrow where my sister Grace will collect it on their way out there on Thursday. We were all ready to go this year but can't go now as Tony will be at work. We were going to stay with Lock and Ruby Kent at "Mt Marlow" station which would have been great to catch up with them and also I think with this cold change that is upon us at the moment camping would be no fun!! 
Well that's it for now ...see you down the track

To view more of my original Australian outback paintings please visit

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Back into it at last

This is the image that I decided to do I liked the way the horse was really getting along and the legs will look good in a drawing but I didn't like the composition so I had a little fiddle and cut the picture and joined the together more so that the horse and beast were connected and there for made a more pleasing overall picture 
You have to agree that that looks better

This is what I started with a full sheet watercolor paper 640gsm good heavy paper it is a little on the expensive side but it is wonderful to work with

I then cut it in half and then in half again then  I drew in some lines and sketched the horse and rider and the beast

I then started to add the red ink I started off using a new very fine nib that I have just bought but found at about this stage that it was too fine for the paper and was picking up little bits of the paper and this was making the line too think and was wrecking the drawing so I reverted back to my tired and true old one. I will try the new nib on some smooth paper and it will be fine I think, the idea when I bought it was to see if I could get a really really fine mark....we will see.

You can see my nib pen in this image that's the one I pretty much use all the time 

I have got the horse finished now and things are going along well

This is the finished Campdrafter Drawing I will probably come back to it in a couple of days and do a couple more little things to it but all in all it is ok for what it is.  I think I have managed to capture the movement and rush of the horse and the beast, this will go to Roma Campdraft as a trophy

Friday, 8 June 2012

Just Quickly

Last Friday night my daughter AJ and I went to the Rockhampton Art Gallery to attend the opening of the Gold Award which is an award  for invited artist from around Australia. There were 8 artist in total. I gather that the winner of this award won x amount of money and then on top of that the Gallery purchased the art work. On the same night there was the Bayton Award which was for Central Queensland artist only. This "award" had a pre- selection process where you sent in your entries via CD's and you were then notified if you were selected.
Firstly the Gold Award..... I was so excited to go as it is not often that you can see great Australian art right on your door step...and I do LOVE to look at great art .  When I go to an art gallery I walk until something stops me in my tracks, I may slow down to have a quick look at something but I'm really looking for some thing to jump out at me. Well I rushed into the part of the Gallery where these paintings were hanging and it was very crowded but nothing will stop me when I want to see good art. So I walked and I walked and as I walked my heart sunk. I don't know how to say this in a nice way but the paintings were uninspiring to say the least. I then walked  into the other part of the gallery away from most of the crowd and BANG there was a painting that DID pull me up in my was a large painting by Ben Quility. I just loved his Archibald winning painting of Margaret Ollie and this was just magnificent !! I stood and looked and looked and was so happy to be able to see such a painting in my home town. It didn't win but that didn't matter, what won was so bloody awful that I have really nothing to say about it other than the older I get the less I understand....enough said.
Secondly The Bayton Award.  To view these painting you had to go up to the second floor of the gallery. AJ and I went up to look at these local artist work, well what can I say... they, the judges seemed to have selected the paintings so that they all hung nicely as they all looked to share the same color tones which was all browns and nothing I mean nothing jumped out at you. I really think that art should have impact it should make you stop look and ponder and wonder and try and work out how that artist went about creating that work, where he or she was coming from and what  they was trying to say....I'm sorry but they were just boring.

The winner of the Bayton Award
The winner of the Gold Award

I have probably said too much and been too critical but really the people running the Rockhampton Gallery need to get down off their high horses and try to be a little less predictable !!!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The big brand (not)

When I arrived home from visiting Bill and Kellie and Charlie, Tony had also arrived home from work so we thought it was time to brand a small mob of cows and calves that had just been over looked and a job that we had been meaning to do, anyway yesterday we got then in and realized that the calves were rather large so some fun was had branding them as most of them were far too big for the cradle....but we manged ..thank god there were only 13 to do. I have decided to take my camera with me now I am doing this blog so that I can have some photos to share with you it also makes the story far more interesting ..don't you think... . If you have had a look at my new card range (if not please do on this website). You will recognize the horses and the dog featured in the card paintings. There are the Annie cards, after my dog she doesn't get out much meaning she doesn't go to work much anymore but when she does she gets sooooo very excited, yesterday she was actually running in circles round Sweety as Tony was trying to saddle up. She has a bit of trouble in the long grass as she can't see where she is going and has to keep jumping up in the air to see where the cattle are. I managed to get some good photo's of her and also of Sweety and Tony.  That's if for now . Catch you down the track. Actually all going well I'm going to start a drawing this afternoon so you can follow me with that.

My Gift Box Set of Blank Cards
See how big they were
This is called recycling!

Annie going to work

Sweet & Tony

Annie, Sweet & Tony off to work

Trip to Longreach & "Stratton"

Just returned from a trip to Longreach. I drove out on Monday a trip of about 700 klms . Usually I leave early and get there well before the sun goes down in the west an advisable thing to do when heading west, driving into the sun at the end of a long trip is not much fun especially when kangaroo's are starting to get out and about. I took my daughter Lucy's car as I am taking care ? of it while she is in Canada . I did manage to get there with out mishap. I stayed at a very good old friend's place and as things tend to happen when friends get together we had a lovely dinner and drank a little too much and had a very happy time. The reason for the trip was to visit my father who is now in the old people's home in Longreach. It was his 81st birthday on the 29 th May which is also Tony and my 32 rd wedding annisversary . My  sister's Wendy and Grace were also there for his birthday. Wendy travelled from her property outside Blackall and Grace from her property outside Wallumbilla which is just south of Roma.  We took him out for lunch at the Qantas Hanger where he loves to go as he is an aircraft lover and enjoys looking at all the planes on display. He is very frail and getting a little slow but really brightened up to see his 3 girls. I left the following day and drove home didn't get away very early so didn't arrive home to St Clair until quite late on Wednesday. I was pleased we all made the effort for Dad and it was nice to catch up with my sister's as we don't get to see each other enough.



Earlier this week I drove to the cattle property "Stratton" which is where my son Bill and his wife Kellie live. They had a son ( my grandson ) Charlie Lawson on the 2nd of May in Toowoomba he is our 1st grandchild and I think I fell in love the moment I saw him,  he was born on my birthday made it extra special. I hadn't seen him since he was born so when Bill asked if we could come and help them wean ( take the calves off their mothers) I was a goer but then rain intervened and Tony couldn't go as he had to go to work, he works 7 on 7 off ( days ) at Rolleston Mine, and as it worked out I went on my own and we didn't end up weaning as it was too wet but we did have a day in the saddle shifting cattle round so they didn't eat out their holding paddocks where Bill had them waiting to put them in the yards to wean. I had lots of cuddles with little Charlie and I bathed him the 3 nights I was there a little scary at first as I hadn't done that for some time!! Kellie is a great new Mum and seems to be taking it all in her stride.