December 2023 Mailbag No 1

Letter box seen near Nimbin, New South Wales Photo: Anne Newman

This letter box with a letter lying inside recently caught my eye and after I had snapped the image I imagined the occupants of the property excitedly awaiting the arrival of this correspondence. Was it from a distant relative or friend? Was it a birthday card? My mind was creating all kinds of different scenarios - all centred around the expectation, the excitement of seeing a letter waiting patiently to be opened.

I found my mind wandering back into history and sadly to all the wars our loved ones have been involved in and how their beloved waited and waited for a letter from the front confirming that their dear one was still alive.

This reflection was very much emphasised by the latest painting by South Australian artist and blog team member Rowdy Wylie created for Remembrance Day, 2023.

Did you see this post? If not please check it out through the bookmark link below.

Remembrance Day 2023
For this year’s “Remembrance Day” the thoughts were to keep the composition simple specifically focusing on the main elements of remembrance & the sacrifices made by our ANZAC heroes. Rowdy Wylie

Monica in Tanzania wrote in reponse to this post the following:

Hi Rowdy

Firstly that I want to say, that I still propose to write a comment about your "Outback" creations, but time is "going like a Boeing" and I do not seem to get there. My wish is like a Sword of Damoclese hanging over my head. WILL happen.

Now, to your painting for Remembrance Day! For me, it is your best production yet!

The smoky sky, shot with flames, and sparks, renders palpable the heat of the battlefield. The black silhouettes of the military men, only serve to enhance that conception.

Then the Lone Pine reminds us that glorious, green nature will rebound again.

The poignant disc cross reveals, I speculate, the halos that were sculpted around the saints' heads, and it behoves these valiant men, who gave their lives for their beloved country, to be placed in the same category.

I wonder if the poppies are nature's way of reminding us of the red blood that was shed on our behalf?

Then the flags and "THE LAST POST!" always reduce me to tears.

Finally, Rowdy, I always say that the frame can make or break a picture. You are gifted. Your frame, increases the 3D dimension of the scene, to the "Nth" degree.

Thank you most sincerely for the thought and contemplation that goes into these solemn, but declarative depictions.


Also, your acknowledgement of the Aboriginal tribes that have preserved your home territory, and still do, is appropriate and heart warming .M.B Tanzania

This year has been an horrific and tragic year for many as their beloved countries continue to be at war - something we cannot and should not forget. We send our deepest sympathy to those of you who are affected by the current wars or still grieving for loved ones lost in the past. Somehow Earthlings must unite more sincerely, learn to communicate more effectively and work more constructively to resolve the differences which keep so many of us apart.

And now to the second item in the mailbag. Trevor Lee from Canberra treks, quite frequently, about Australia and indeed the world! Recently he stopped in Lake Cargelligo (the Central West region of New South Wales) which is very proud of its water tank art work created by artist Heesco Khosnaran who was assisted by @erinhaywoodart & Damien Mitchell in April 2022.

Water Tank by Artist Heesco Khosnaran who was assisted by @erinhaywoodart & Damien Mitchell in April 2022. Lake Cargelligo, the Central West region of New South Wales, Australia Photo: Trevor Lee

Australia has a particular reputation for the Silo Art which peppers the Australian rural scene across the country. Julie has showcased some of the examples in a post she wrote some time back and which you can check out by following the bookmark link below.

Silo Art across Australia!
The Silo Art in Northam, Western Australia was just the beginning of a huge number of silos and water towers now painted across Australia. (Photo: Courtesy of Bewley Shaylor, and Huffington Post).

Trevor also spotted some guerrilla knitting near the edge of Lake Cargelligo.

Guerrilla knitting near Lake Cargelligo, the Central West region of New South Wales, Australia Photo: Trevor Lee

If you haven't caught up with guerrilla knitting you might like to read the article below which explains the history of the Yarn Bombing movement.

What is Yarn Bombing? About the Guerrilla Knitting Art Movement
What is Yarn Bombing? Yarn bombing is part street art, part graffiti, and part activism, … Read more…

And also from Trevor, some rather dramatic street art from the same area.

Street Art near Lake Cargelligo, the Central West region of New South Wales, Australia Photo: Trevor Lee

And now let's move onto sculpture and a couple of the responses we got to our post on Australian sculptor Ola Cohn as given below.

Ola Cohn
Sometimes I am alerted to an image from the past which is worth its weight in marble or bronze, or whatever medium the artist was working in. Read on…

From Monica in Tanzania:

Hi Anne

I sometimes think that my favourite medium of art is sculpture. Ola is a sculpture herself- her face is sculptured, and her working clothes are sculptures, with deep creases and folds.

I needed to use my readiing glasses and magnifying glasses to discern all the elements of 'The Fairies' ."Elements" is the right word, because there is a book called " The Fairies" written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He heard about two little girls in Yorkshire, who played by a stream, and reported that they saw Fairies. They borrowed their Father's camera and took photographs of them. Their Father was astounded, and had the pictures examined by experts, who verified that the photos were genuine. Conan Doyle travelled to Yorkshire, and spent hours by the stream. He was rewarded, and reveals some wonderful snapshots in his book. Manly P. Hall, the famous Author of scientific Esotericism, says that fairies are 'Elementals', and that there are many 'Elementals' that we humans cannot see.

Back to Ola, who probably could see fairies, - her creations are delightful. The little boy, who is curious about the world, and the nude young lady, are testimonies of the beauty of normal human beings Her Angels are majestic and statuesque, and convey the aura of these heavenly beings, exquisitely. Finally, her little drawing of the tiny girl who says, "I did 'em!" Is a magnificent presentation! When she writes "I DID 'em" does she mean that she knitted the socks, or sculpted them? She portrays a ball of wool and knitting needles, - or am I way off track. Anyway, the drawing is perfection, per se.M.B. Tanzania

And from Marg Walker a very special treat as we have learnt that her father's family knew the Cohn family and would visit them when he was a small boy.

The pictured bust (plaster) entitled Some Kid was done by her with my father sitting for her. Dad said he was about 3, so around 1915. She also did another one called Aussie Kid with my dad wearing a slouch hat. Dad said there was another Some Kid tucked away at the Bendigo art gallery. I remember visiting her at her home and studio in either East Melbourne or Collingwood when I was a child.
Some Kid has pride of place in my home.

Some Kid by Ola Cohn (Don Walker as a child by Ola Cohn) Photo: Marg Walker

And to complete today's mailbag two wonderful paintings from Edwina Smith an artist from Toowoomba in Queensland who like me has a large strain of Scottish ancestry running in her veins.

The Lone Piper
As we approached the small pier at Inverewe, Scotland “a lone piper” stood on the rocky shoreline and played “Over the sea to Skye” Thanks to John “Rowdy” Wylie “a lone piper” now graces my lounge room.

The painting at the back shows Edwina's Ancient Cunningham tartan which she danced in as a child, the family crest and "our castle window". The painting in the foreground showcases the Scottish Thistle using acrylic paint.

Edwina Smith's Ancient Cunningham tartan, the family crest and "our castle window". The painting in the foreground showcases the Scottish Thistle using acrylic paint. 

We will be showcasing more of Edwina's art in a post in the new year. And we have a second December mailbag coming up in a couple of days.