What a wonderful prompt from WordPress this week – https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/evanescent/

“Evanescent can be any fleeting moment in time. It could be the moment you drop a seed into your garden, marking that promise of new growth to come. It could be a photo of the Eastern Phoebe that visits your deck each day, wagging her tail as she calls her own name. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, it could be that carpet of leaves that fell overnight, before the wind scatters them. It might be the moment you light the first fire of Fall.”

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Down here on the shores of the Southern Ocean autumn has definitely been evanescent this year.  Nearly every day for the past month has been wet and windy.    The autumn leaves in the parks and gardens mostly droop in soggy brown clusters or rattle as they blow in drifts down the gutters.  Blue skies are a rarity.

Evanescence –
glimpses of autumn gold
between showers.

Rocks as energy

I’m finding life very intense at the moment.  My feeling nature seems to have become more acute and I am becoming more aware of the energetic fields in the natural environment.   Today began with major tree felling going on next door.  At the sound of the first branches falling my legs started to shake.  It was a weird feeling.   I think it’s in the Star Wars movies where they talk about a disturbance in the force.   This morning felt like that.   As the men started to bring down the branches of the really big eucalypt it felt like a disturbance occurred in the energy field of the neighbourhood.

The noise of wood chipper was appalling so I went out.   When I came home later I saw the branches on all the trees that hang over my neighbour’s back fence have been removed but the smaller trees are still standing.   The large tree is now a massive tree trunk sticking up about 12 feet into the air.   It’s already partly covered in ivy.   I guess in time it will become totally covered and look like a tall thin tower of ivy.

The energy still felt kind of fractured and the wood chipper was still going so I decided to see if the rumour that the Southern Right Whales had arrived from Antarctica already was true.  (they spend the winter in the Southern Ocean here).    I drove out to the lookout.   There were quite a lot of people about.   My whale spotting strategy is to scan the ocean in the direction where most people are looking.  Sure enough, far out to sea I caught sight of the distinctive spume of the Right Whale.   As I watched I saw the dark shape of the head appearing from time to time and, once, the tail fin.   The animal was so far out I caught no more than glimpses.   All the same, there was a moment where my sense of myself in time and space suddenly expanded.   Maybe it was the thought of the creature swimming all the way from Antarctica that did it.    For a brief instant I felt like I was part of the vast cycle of life on this planet – hard to describe but it was enough to make me think I’ll be doing a lot of whale watching this winter.

So –  a day of high drama.   During the past week I got back out to the rock cliff I featured last week.   I walked in as close as I could get and concentrated on taking photos of the detail.    Reducing the photos to B&W highlights the dramatic presence of the rock wall.  I think the photos work as a visual metaphor to convey something of the intensity I’ve been feeling lately. Although the final photo is of a vertical rock face it suggests the power and energy of the sea to me.   It goes some way towards corresponding with the kind of feeling I get when I see the whales.


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prompt:  Sally D’s mobile devices challenge – challengers choice

Haiku fragment and phrase


“First and foremost, and certainly the guideline which I have consciously or unconsciously followed the longest, is the one that a haiku must be divided into two parts. This is the positive side of the rule that haiku should not be a run-on sentence. There needs to be a syntactical break dividing the ku into two parts…

For the purposes of this discussion, I would like to call the shorter portion, the fragment and the longer portion, or rest of the poem, the phrase.”   Jane Reichhold

prompt:   http://chevrefeuillescarpediem.blogspot.com.au/2017/05/carpe-diem-universal-jane-17-fragment.html

A not so obvious narrative


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2017-02-09 16.40.16-01  Photos taken with my phone


This week Sally D has included her thoughts on Black & White mobile devices photography as part of her challenge  https://lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/sally-ds-mobile-photography-challenge-black-and-white-palms-and-succulents/.    She writes-

“Black-and-white photography continues to inspire my view of the world, its obvious and not-so-obvious narratives. When color is stripped from the subject, there is a closer affinity to purity of sight. Hidden layers often are revealed and elements of capture can be more enticing.

Color is reality, but monochrome is part (among other characteristics) dreamy boldface plus suitable subject. As I watch the world before me, suddenly the possibility for the b&w appears, is made clear and then clearer. I see the real in a new dimension. The image is influenced by the mind’s interpretative abilities. The intuitive eye fills the heart’s center, recreating what is seen and what can be seen.

The photographic journey continues on an adventure that enlightens and illuminates the visual landscape. A subject can be rendered so differently in full technicolor vs. black and white.

The reduction to basic elements (sans color) makes the stilling of a moment something beyond its original intent. Does this decision by the photographer impose a significant change in the viewer’s reaction? Or is the work simply an explanation and expression of the way that the artist sees the subject?”


Whenever I drive past this rock face I imagine ways to photograph.  The folds and crevices  suggest Black & White photos to me but I feel I am yet to make a photo that truly resembles what I see in my mind’s eye. 

When I stop my car and walk up to closer to the rocks their sheer presence somehow distracts me from my original intention.   I always  plan to take detailed close ups  but always end up taking shots of the wider view.  I’ll be going over that way tomorrow.   Perhaps it will be the day when my intuitive eye will fill my heart centre and I’ll get closer to recreating what can seen.   I live in hope Smile

Seeking ‘Ma’

Despite spammers hijacking my blog last night and filling the comment threads with gibberish and despite the current threat of the global cyber attack I am still utterly addicted to online research.   When  the artist and haiku poet, Belinda Broughton commented on my last post – ‘Ma’, the Japanese aesthetic of space, is similar to the ‘Buddhist emptiness’ that you’re referring to, isn’t it? I call it ‘dreaming room’ – I was off on another binge.

In an article in the online magazine Rice Paper by Colleen Lanki I read –

Ma is a Japanese aesthetic principle meaning “emptiness” or “absence.”  It is the space between objects, the silence between sounds, or the stillness between movements.  The term describes both time and space, and is much more than a “lack” of something.  The emptiness is, in fact, a palpable entity.

Simply put, ma is the aesthetic of space-time.’     https://ricepapermagazine.ca/2013/02/%E9%96%93-an-aesthetic-of-space-time/

In a Kyoto Journal article by Gunter Nitschke  I read –

‘Many waka and haiku poems begin with a phrase that employs ma to paint the atmosphere of energy of the setting.   For example –

木の間 (ko-no-ma) Among trees (literally: place/time/mood of trees)’  Kyoto Journal – ma

Tracking down what Belinda meant by ‘dreaming room’ I discovered an essay on writing haiku by Denis Garrison https://denisgarrison.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/dreaming-room-an-editorial-essay/   He writes – ‘By “dreaming room,” I mean some empty space inside the poem which the reader can fill with his personal experience, from his unique social context.’

Reading these articles I had my own ‘aha ‘ moment  –


prompt – https://haikuhorizons.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/haiku-horizons-prompt-road/

Focusing my intention.

The light of the recent full moon in Scorpio was piercing, penetrating. In the wee small hours aspects of my own psychology were revealed to me. The cold, hard facts were laid out so I could not help but see them. At 3am while searing white light found the chinks and gaps in my bedroom curtains I lay awake thinking things through.

One of those things I thought about was this blog.   It could so easily meander off into the same direction as my old blog.   It is already showing a tendency to become no more than a way of filling in time when I’m bored and/or a place to vent about life’s petty trials and tribulations.    Having blogged that way on ‘Art and Life’ for several years I know how frustrated I get with that.   The blog becomes a rambling collection of good, bad and indifferent creative efforts that, more often than not, arbitrarily change direction frequently in  response to other people’s blog challenges.

I started this blog in an attempt to be more focused.  If I want to keep doing it I need to decide now to refine the focus or I resign myself to repeating the patterns that ultimately lead to  death by inconsequentiality.

Part of the problem I’m having with this blog is the stated intention.  The idea of working with words and images and exploring how they work together is leading me into new directions.   Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading about Basho, haibun and haiga.  That led me into a deeper investigation of haiku and Zen Buddhism.

From there I went into reading about how the Buddhist concept of emptiness is reflected in Chinese and Japanese ink brush painting.

In a landscape painting empty space often indicates cloud, mist, sky, water or smoke,
partly depending on the suggestions that the solid forms supply. Nonetheless, the
real mystery of the emptiness is that empty space refers to qi (chi),
a cosmological term which is formless, but bestows life to Chinese painting     http://www.heweimin.org/Texts/mystery_of_empty_space.pdf                                                                   

   Li Shi (李氏)12thC Imaginary tour through Xiao-xiang

I then began exploring how the mid 20th century American painters Ad Reinhardt was influenced by Chinese painting, voids and emptiness.  At the same time I took a detour into reading and thinking about haiku, haiga and landscape photography.

  Haiku and photo by Ron C. Moss https://www.behance.net/gallery/27565659/ron-c-moss-haiku-and-photography

Looking at all this art and thinking about the ideas behind it has made me re-think my approach to incorporating words and images in my own work.   In the past I’ve skimmed over ideas, gleaned a broad overview and used that as a launch pad for creative expression.   It’s all happened quite quickly and I haven’t thought too deeply about my own processes.   Now I’m feeling the urge to slow down, think more deeply and respond in a measured way.   All that takes time.

If this blog is going to work for me long term it has to be focused.  I have to discipline myself to use it in a methodical way.   Probably the best way at present is to use it as a place to reflect on what I’m reading and thinking about.  Ultimately my goal is to create work that incorporates images and text but I might need to explore a metaphorical Outer Mongolia before I get there.