This week

By Vita Forest

Spit to Manly walk, Sydney


This week I have been 

WRITING She should be

READING the lovely poems of Misuko Kaneko (Are you n Echo?)


GETTING back to the gym after missing it for about 10 days (all those parent teacher interviews…) My mental and physical health is much improved.

HOSTING Bookclub and 

EATING slow cooker pulled pork (mmm mmm).


PLANNING programs and units of work for next term.

FINISHING Term 1

SKETCHING again after all the rain, at the truly delightful Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour.


CATCHING up with Fleur and having a cuppa and a laugh.

WALKING the iconic Spit to Manly walk with Vastra and Saskia then

SWIMMING at Shelly Beach at Manly – a weekend can’t get much better than that!

This week

By Vita Forest


This week I have been

READING The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

WRITING Overheard… In the playground

WATCHING Rosalie Lum at a preview with Lucy. We liked it!

DANCING 

  • in the school hall as the teachers performed a surprise flash mob for the kids
  • in another school hall with Lucy at her Year 6 Dinner dance (she has now finished primary school…)
  • at Zumba of course

FAREWELLING my little people as the school year ended (for them).

SKETCHING at Milsons Point and its surrounds

WALKING and SWIMMING at the beach with Vastra and Saskia

EATING pomegranates and mangoes

This week

By Vita Forest


This week I have been 

WRITING Mobile Tales 4 – a fishing expedition

READING Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

MAKING 

  • Bookmarks for my class
  • Florentines with my Mum, Lucy, Saskia and Laura (must remember to be careful with the chocolate…)

CELEBRATING

  • My birthday!
  • Thanksgiving with our American colleagues at work.

WATCHING Fantastic Beasts and where to find them (how fab to visit the world of Harry Potter again – albeit many years earlier).

VISITING Echo Point at Roseville Chase with Lucy, Sui-Sui, Alessandro, Saskia, Laura and Rowdy for a lovely picnic, a walk along the beach  and a game of Sardines (climbing rocks and trees barefoot).

MEETING up with Vastra for a coffee while Lucy practised dancing.

DRAWING peonies on a paper tablecloth and eating a favourite desert (Flan Catalan with blood orange) with Lucy and Max at a lovely local restaurant.

REQUESTING  some fast-finishers in my class to sort dirty dance gloves from clean ones (I did not suggest they sniff each one and yet they did…).  The grimy gloves are currently soaking in the laundry, soon my clothesline will look like we live with a company of mimes.

This week

By Vita Forest

Isaboe “helping” me with school reports


I have been

WRITING 


READING 

  • The charming quirks of others by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
  • An American Tragedy by the very eloquent David Remnick

FINISHING a course on Dyslexia

LISTENING to Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons with the light out, as the sun set, with a cup of tea, as I try to 

FIND some sense in this crazy world

Seeing Henry

By Vita Forest

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Reclining Figure: Angles 1980, by Henry Moore

Joan Didion said, “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.”

To this I would add, “I don’t know what I see until I draw it.”

Today at sketch club we fanned out to find a subject from the steps of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.  The weather forecast was iffy – rain was predicted, but the sunny skies contradicted that certainty.  The art gallery is a good standby – lots of scenery outside, and easy to duck inside if the heavens open.

Some artists went straight for the interior, borrowing the handy stools that the art gallery will lend a sketcher and searching for a subject in the cool inside.  The sun was shining, the breeze was gentle, so I decided to stroll around outside and see what I could see.

I didn’t walk far before I came to the large Henry Moore sculpture on the lawn of the gallery.  It’s a female figure sprawling casually on a rectangular plinth, like a sun bather on a beach towel, or one of the many picnickers you will see in the parklands around the gallery.  She leans back on her elbow, glancing over her shoulder, feet bare.

I have always liked the monumental solidity of it, the way the folds of the skirt are captured in the hardness of bronze.  I have walked by it a million times.  But when I started to draw, I realised there was a lot I had never noticed.

If you stand close (which I did to do a study of the face) you can see the imprint of Moore’s tools leaving scratched lines in what I took previously as smooth metal.  As if he sketched over the whole body.  You can see how the weather has streaked the bronze with green, so again, that smooth colour that you register from a distance, is fact rather painterly, with contrasts of icy mint green and deep chocolate brown.

I moved from the shade of one tree and into that of another – a new vista appearing.  I could now see that the figure, rather than being a bulky simplification of forms, had some quirky character details – there were toenails on the feet, and the left foot was turned in, slightly pigeon-toed, with the toes raised from the solidity of the plinth.

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She is wiggling her toes.

I could record the lines of the hair pulled back off the face, the eye peering behind as if in surprise, the thin indent of the lips and again the patina of the weathered bronze which suddenly made the face so vulnerable.

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Detail of her face – notice the lines of her hair

I guess that is what happens when you spend an hour or two looking at the one object, unpicking it, discovering its secrets.  You learn how it fits together, how the light and shadows move over it, you appreciate the way the parts make up the whole.  So, as various sightseers stepped in for a quick photo and were then on their way, I stayed with her, luxuriated in having one focus, and made a friend out of an old acquaintance.

Later, I moved back to the steps and tried drawing some passer-bys and a fellow sketching pal who was across the road.  (He caught me at the bottom of his sketch too – hat and all!)  Then I turned and saw another bronze sculpture – a gallant soldier on a horse and began doing some quick sketches of the pair.  This time I noticed that despite having on a rather solid looking helmet, the soldier had bare legs and bare feet!  I wonder how he fared in the battle…

Soon it was time for our Show and Tell, we trickled back to where we first met, crossing the road, walking up the hill, back out into the light after the dimness of the gallery.  We compared and praised and marvelled at our different styles and what a range of subjects caught our attention in the same place.  It’s comforting to realise how individual we all are.  And what secrets are illuminated if we take the time to stop and look.  Thanks Henry!

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The folds in the fabric of the skirt is the main feature that I used to notice.

This week

By Vita Forest


This week I have been

READING The Circle by Dave Eggers (hope to have it finished before Book club…)

DISCUSSING with my kids how radicchio sounds to them like a spell from Harry Potter, try it – Radicchio!

FINDING out that our dance group got through the auditions and into the big interschool performance to be held later this year.

WATCHING some Olympic finals with the whole school – deafening cheers!

GETTING the carpet in at last. The kids love it “It’s like walking in a meadow of soft grass.”

VISITING Balmoral Beach with my Dad, sister Briony and kids Max and Lucy on a sunny winter’s afternoon.

SPENDING some time hanging out with the kids and the cats,  luxuriating on the velvety soft carpet, while looking out at the blooming camellia tree, as the sunshine streamed in.