'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

'Saemangeum' Triptych.

Here is my end of year diploma piece, entitled 'Saemangeum'.
It was exhibited with a single page of information that contained more or less the same information as my recent 'Saemangeum' post.
Size of piece: 2760 mm x 610 mm.
Acrylic on canvas.

I'd enjoy getting your comments regarding what you take from this work, and any questions.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Miranda: Background Information 2

From the NZ Department of Conservation sponsored 'Meet the Locals' New Zealand television series, this is a little look at Miranda on the Firth of Thames.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Saemangeum - some background information.

Click on image to enlarge.

Saemangeum is an estuarine tidal flat on the coast of the Yellow Sea in South Korea.

It was dammed by the government of South Korea's Saemangeum Seawall Project, after a long fight between the government and environmental activists, and was originally scheduled to be converted into rice-growing agricultural land. However Korea is now a net exporter of rice and it is now planned to be a tourist destination and top-end residential housing and parklands.

Prior to 2006, this area had played an important role as a habitat for migratory birds. The completion of the seawall (that you can see in this Google Earth screenshot I just made) is likely to be a major contributor to the decline of many species. Around 400,000 shorebirds depended on the Saemangeum estuary as an important feeding ground on the 24,000 km migration between Asia and Alaska and Russia, including the two endangered waders Nordmann's Greenshank and Spoon-billed Sandpiper (each species with fewer than a thousand surviving birds).

A conservation organisation has accused authorities of having failed to monitor the project's impact on local wildlife in a transparent way, and carried out and independent monitoring programme in 2006. The project of filling in the estuary was begun in 1991, but was slowed by a series of court actions by environmentalists.

The completed seawall is some 33 km long, and replaces a coastline that was once more than 100 km long.

After the estuary has been completely filled, an area of about 400 square kilometres will have been added to the Korean peninsula, making it one of the biggest land reclamations in history.

The Saemangeum seawall was completed in April 2010, officially becoming the longest sea-barrier in the world. On August 10 this was certified by the Guinness Book of Records.

The plans for the development of Saemangeum are due to be completed in 2020.
Environmental groups such as Bird Korea, and delegations from the Miranda shorebirds Trust, New Zealand, are promoting greater awareness of the enormous impact of reclamations in the Yellow Sea.
Some are calling for the seawall gates of Saemangeum to be opened, saying that it is not too late to reinstate the tidal estuary back into the high-producing food source stopover critical to migrating wader birds.

This information has been adapted from Saemangeum, Wikipedia

More information on this topic is available. For example:

• Birds Korea about Saemangeum.

• Korean 'Intelligent Technology' Times article dated 29 March 2010 Saemageum to be Reborn as the Stronghold of Global Business.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

End of Diploma Exhibition

This was the theme upon which we all (13 0f us) based our end-of-year exhibition work. Of course mine would have to be something about bar-tailed godwits...

(Oh, and I haven't forgotten the grapes competition, folks.)

Monday, 15 November 2010

Kon-Tiki and I

This post is an experiment to find out if I can share one of my favourite books with you.
Erik Hesselberg was one of the crew aboard the Kon-Tiki, and not many people know that he wrote and illustrated a book about the voyage. It was part of my growing-up years and I loved to pour over it, and later to read the words. I consider it a delightful visual feast.

Kon-Tiki and I, by Erik Hesselberg. 1950 ed.

Saturday, 13 November 2010


How could I have forgotten how much I love irises? I've known this lovely one - a gift from my daughter last Christmas - was about to open for the first time some day soon, but I just gasped at the sight of this beauty a few minutes ago when I went out to water the garden.

Why do I love irises so much? It's party the colours. Such an astonishing range from blues through the violets into the yellows, browns and blushes, pinks, plums and whites.
It's partly the upswept, convoluted complexity, and the surprising richness and textural contrast of the 'beards'.

It's partly the mysterious hidden depths, and the soft shade within on a sunny day. It's like a miniature room in there.

And it's also the flamboyant frills and ruffles like a flamenco dancer's dress.

But, mainly I think, it's because I love to paint them, and they often get the better of me. I love the challenge of them.

Thank you N, for this one!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Brain

It has been said that our brain can never understand itself. It's a bit like trying to pull yourself up by your own boot-straps, or licking your elbow... or something.

Here, in my opinion, is a wonderful little clip showing how tricky it is. If you understand this, please explain in the comments box.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Sorry - a useful form.

Found on http://cherylbernstein.blogspot.com/2010/10/causing-offence.html

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Tower of London

The diary account of a mother and daughter's trip to the World continues....
7/9/05 Part 1. Waiting.

Another lovely hot day again. We took an earlier than usual train to Liverpool Street Station (day return: £1 for N and £18 for me - rather a big difference!) then the underground to Tower Hill. We bought tickets for the Tower from one of booths at the entrance. While we were waiting I took some views of the London skyline.

Tower Bridge.

Londoners call the Swiss Bank 'The Gherkin'. It's easy to see why.

St Katherine's dock and the new City Hall.

This view shows part of the Tower moat.

Last time we were here it was bucketing down. I remember peeking out of the underground at the torrential rain and saying to the kids - N was only five then - 'Let's leave it for another day'. Poor N has had to wait nearly ten years.
And the time before that, I was eleven and feeding bits of cornet off my ice cream to the pigeons. No sound guides back then. And you could spend as long as you liked gawping at the jooles.

Our Yeoman Warder ('Beefeater' - but they don't like the term, apparently) was old, grumpy and jaded, and seemed not at all to be looking forward to showing us around, as he stood waiting by the railings with his RT in all his finery in the hot sun.
I suppose it was understandable. He'd probably shown a zillion people around before, and was very hot, to boot. But despite this, he was extremely interesting and we had a great tour.

Next: Part 2. The Tower.