When living on the 12th floor there are limitations on cooking outdoors. No wide open spaces for campfires here but I still manage to do a significant amount of cooking on the balcony. Fortunately winters in Sydney are not as cold as many places. About 8°C (46°F) now at 3am but earlier when cooking it was about 12°C (53°F) outside.
I had real warming winter fare tonight. I made rissoles with beef, rice flour, breadcrumbs, rosemary, oregano, paprika, and peppers. I cooked onion and tomato with the rissoles and had it with potatoes pumpkin and cabbage and a dark rich gravy. The sort of old fashioned food that gets me through the night. Yum!
It is a bonus that I get to enjoy the glorious view of the city while I cook. I feel very fortunate.
Mel Freedman has been coming to my sketch club for more than 10 years. He is from Glasgow and his happy Glaswegian accent and his passion for drawing are well known in the studio. This year he did the big tour of Europe and naturally did lots of drawing while there. He was happy to let me video him showing the art class his drawings from the trip and afterwards I asked him a few questions about his artistic adventures and why he draws so much. This is the result.
What a week full of surprises from friends. Firstly Saul visited, then yesterday Phil Aspden arrived just after class. Phil is the other of my closest friends who I met when I was 20 and living in Jake's Monastery. Phil was the one responsible for me moving into the monastery. (in case you are wondering the monastery was not a place of monks - it was an old rooming house full of artists, writers, poets, musicians, writers and other bohemians. I met Phil at an exhibition we both were in just 3 weeks after I moved into the Cross (again - not a religious institution, just the common name for Kings Cross used by locals). He was living in the monastery and let me know a few days later that a room had become available. Saul moved in a few weeks later.
Phil is a very valued friend but he lives a long way away and so we don't see each other very often, although it would be more often if I wasn't such a workaholic. Last night I had a lot of work to do too - I had to do the covers for the sketchbooks for the hens this weekend. But we went up to the Kings Cross Hotel and had a drink at the cocktail bar on the 5th floor. Many years ago Phil had lived there when the hotel was run down. Afterwards I worked on the sketchbooks until 7:30am.
I couldn't sleep. The change in weather does that, but I had also suffered from nightmares. I was in a car being driven by a woman I did not know and she decided to commit suicide by driving at high speed into oncoming traffic. I don't think her death wish had anything to do with me - I was just the unwitting passenger who couldn't do anything to stop events unfolding. Hate that and especially hate that a dream like that stops me from sleeping.
I had had about 2 hours sleep at most but since I couldn't sleep I started to do emails and catch up on some things. It was fortunate really because ordinarily I would have been asleep at the time, but being up I heard a voice from the street calling out to me. It was an old friend from up the country who had come into town unexpectedly. It was Saul Munro and it was wonderful to see him and have him in the studio for a few hours. Friends are such a reassuring aspect of reality after nightmares have earlier been unwelcome guests.
I have known Saul since I was 20 years old. He is a sculptor (very talented) and with an admiration for Zadkine and ancient Middle Eastern cultures. Over recent years he has dealt with the digital revolution by ignoring it. After all clay and stone are timeless materials that existed long before modern electronics and will continue to exist long after humanity has morphed into something else and things digital are long gone. Can't argue with that - it's true.
Before my iPhone 3G S I had never owned a video camera, had never made any kind of video. Now I have made 3 and number 4 is in progress as I write this (processing the clips for stabilization which takes quite a long time). With 3 movies on YouTube and viewing numbers going up quickly I am having fun but also experiencing a crash course in editing. The editing process is at least doubled because I spend as much time with my nose in the manual as I do making the edits. Fortunately Apple's iMovie makes it easy for beginners like me. My rapid progress is obvious in the 3 clips (all now on YouTube) however I don't think that the Academy Of Motion Pictures is going to be contacting me any time soon to clear shelf space for an Oscar.
As good as an Oscar (for me), however is going on YouTube. I think YouTube is a huge social change. It removes the artificial barriers of the past between "real artists" and everyone else and gives everyone the opportunity to be a filmmaker and share slices of their life with the world. By uploading videos I had to "sign up" for YouTube which is really easy and has expanded my YouTube usage to more than just looking at videos. I never knew before that YouTube Channels existed. I am loving it.
It is almost a year since my last post, a very emotional year. Sometimes dealing with the ups and downs of life requires a little privacy, or in this case a lot of privacy. Hence my blogging has taken a back seat for a while.
Not that it has been a year without good things. Some of them have been very good. I went on an extended holiday to Queensland with my boys in a mini-van so they could have Christmas with their grandparents. It was very special. It was also a big year for computer purchases with 2 computers for my boys, and an Axiotron Modbook for myself. There has also been the joy of the iPhone and most recently making iPhone videos to upload to YouTube. Over the next few weeks as I get back into making regular diary posts I will intersperse them with posts under the general heading of "The Lost Year" to detail some of the major happenings so we can catch up better.
Recently I returned to Facebook after an absence of several months. It was wonderful to catch up with all my friends. I know that this diary has a good readership so to all of you - it is a good feeling to be back. I love social media and the way it has revolutionized life.
Saturday night I have my 5 boys in the studio for dinner. That is often hamburgers. Last Saturday I made spaghetti, Sicilian style, with mushrooms. Gian wasn't there for the food, he was working at MacDonalds but arrived after work to participate in the project for the night, which was a large Mothers Day Card.
Already it is the second term of art classes and sketch club. It hardly seems possible that time could go so fast. The classes are busy and have a wonderful buzz about the artists who come along. Some are just beginners and some are very experienced, but they all feel like part of a family. They probably don't realize that the principal reason I hold the classes is simply because of the joy I feel in seeing artists gathering with the model and each discovering their personal triumphs and frustrations as they take charcoal and chalk and pencil, watercolor and ink, and make marks on paper (whether perfect or imperfect) that reflect that deep human need to make sense of our world through making pictures.
Isn't it beautiful? A brand new 17inch Macbook Pro laptop with high resolution screen. All shiny aluminum. It represents new possibilities and long months saving up. The zen-like simplicity of the machine barely hints at the power beneath. 2.5GHz Penryn Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB RAM, Nividia GeForce 8600M GT video card with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, 250GB hard drive. Most desktops aren't that powerful. Pure geek heaven.
Over the last month I have been busy creating 4 new web sites, one for poetry and the other 3 are for erotic images. They all have a structure and appearance closely integrated with Gatherr.com They are loads of fun to do.
po-mz.com This is a simple site that consists of poems that I post there as I come across poems worth sharing. Some of my own poetry gets put there too. The poetry crosses barriers of culture and time and reflects my personal favorites and reading habits.