Monday, August 22, 2016

Return to Oz

It's been a while...Mr Rosanna and I got back from Singapore and Malaysia in the early hours of yesterday after three weeks spent experiencing the tropical heat of Asia - and boy was it hot!  And yes, we had lots of adventures while we were overseas -  both good and bad - which I will go in to at some later stage (probably in 2 - 3 parts) suffice to say that it's always great to return home - there is no place like it and you always have a greater appreciation for where you live when you have something to compare it with.  It was a lovely surprise to find out that Melbourne was once again crowned the world's most liveable city, while we were away.
Roald Dahl Day image via
A few quick things to mention today - the Melbourne Writers Festival opens this Thursday and I love that they're having a special Roald Dahl Day at Federation Square on 4 September as part of this event.  Son number two was dying to see the movie The BFG while we were away and also bought a copy of the book.  The A1 Darebin Art Salon at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre also starts this week and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what's on show by local artists in the north-east - all pieces in the show will be no larger than A1 in size.
The BFG movie image via Wikipedia
Tickets are still available to my first Bold Thinking Series public lecture for La Trobe University 'Is gambling a bigger threat to sport than drugs?' which I think will be a fascinating topic given Melbourne is the sporting capital of Australia, and on the back of the Rio Olympics - I'm looking forward to hearing what the speakers have to say - there is also a live feed if you can't attend in person.
A1 Darebin Art Salon montage image via Bundoora Homestead Art Centre
Finally, I'm loving seeing blossom on the trees and the sun coming out from behind the clouds - Spring is around the corner and I'm glad that the dark days and nights will soon be gone.  Melbourne Spring Fashion Week also opens this week - while in Malaysia, we managed to catch one of the very glamorous runway shows for KL Fashion Week, which was a big (and loud!) event.  Locally, the Eaglemont Village 2016 Spring Fair is being held this Saturday and I'd love to take my children to this if the weather stays dry.  I'm glad to be home!
Image via Eaglemont Village

Friday, July 29, 2016

100 Days, 100 Nights

I'm sure glad it's nearly August - would you believe I've already seen blossom starting to appear on the trees as I head to work at La Trobe University?  I'll be glad when Spring arrives which isn't too long now...
Image via
If you need to stay indoors, the Melbourne International Film Festival opened yesterday and one of the movies I'd like to see is Miss Sharon Jones - Mr Rosanna and I have seen her perform a couple of times here in Melbourne and her life story is very inspiring.  Open House Melbourne is also on this weekend, of which Bundoora Homestead Art Centre will be participating.
Image via Wild About Melbourne
Locally, you can also head to the Wild About Melbourne pop up market indoors at The Spotted Mallard in Brunswick, while if you're feeling more adventurous, the Eaglemont Village Sizzling Saturday market is also on tomorrow.

My friend Helen Webster is also holding her annual Raffal winter sale next Saturday 6 August from 3 - 5 pm at the Ivanhoe Uniting Church in Seddon Street, Ivanhoe where you'll be able to find some beautiful shawls, stoles, scarves and jewellery.  For more information call Helen on 0408 051 644 or email

I've been a busy bee organising the upcoming Bold Thinking Series of public lectures for La Trobe University at the State Library Village Roadshow Theatrette.  There are some interesting topics and speakers for each event and I'll reveal more closer to the time.  Have a great weekend!

Disclaimer: Miss Rosanna is a Board member at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre

Monday, July 25, 2016

Local Profile - Nadine Dudek

Nadine is another local artist after my own heart - we both share a love of all things bird! She was also another of the smiling faces, which stood out in the crowd at my recent talk at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe, and who contacted me afterward to say thank you.  I've had a plethora of native birds in my backyard over the past year including powerful owls, cockatoos, galahs, rosellas, lorikeets, spotted pardalotes, tawny frogmouths and wild budgerigars and I love that career-change artist Nadine is just as entranced by our feathered friends.  Read on for more about Nadine...
Name: Nadine Dudek
Occupation: Artist
Lives/works: Viewbank
How long have you lived/worked here? I’ve lived in Banyule for 15 years, 8 years in Macleod and 7 in Viewbank.
Describe yourself:
I was born in Melbourne and raised in Canberra where I went to university to study science. My father had told me I was going to be an engineer, I lasted a single physics lecture before I told him he was wrong. I travelled down the career path of science for twenty years, studying and working in Melbourne. Along the way I had read enough magazines, books and inspirational quotes to be sure that at 40, something big would happen. So it was that just before my 40th birthday, possibly spurred on by the panic of reaching the next decade, I decided I needed a career change and took a giant leap into the unknown. I should qualify that - at first it was more like a toe in the water. While my reckless self wanted to quit science and become an artist, my sensible self told me perhaps I needed to see if I was any good first. I embarked on 18 months of part-time science, part time art, which in reality meant I did both half-heartedly. In November 2015, I finally made the decision to leave my old life behind and pursue a second career as an artist. Both terrifying and exhilarating I am yet to regret my decision and have found that many of the skills I developed as a scientist are surprisingly useful as an artist (I do miss looking down a microscope).

Now I spend my days in my studio painting wildlife. My medium of choice is watercolour, although every time I go to a demonstration or talk, I find myself heading to the art shop to buy something new (focus, must focus). I feel so privileged to be able to do what I love every day.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east:
When I first moved to Melbourne I lived in Carlton, and often succumbed to the lure of Lygon or Rathdowne St. When we moved out to what my colleagues disdainfully referred to as ‘the burbs’ I was delighted to find there were enough excellent cafes and restaurants in the area to keep my inner foodie happy with the added bonus of plenty of cycling and walking tracks to balance the visits to said establishments. I enjoy that I live surrounded by greenery and still have the delights of the city within easy reach. Given my affection for painting birds, I also love that my garden is full of Eastern Spinebills, wrens and wattlebirds rather than the sparrows and pigeons that frequented my porch in Carlton (which possibly makes me a bird snob).

For more information:
Mobile: 0416 966 290

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Get better soon

I've very inconveniently got sick this week after doing a bit too much these past few weeks.  Mr Rosanna's a bit cross with me for bringing it on myself although I have become much better at saying no these days and trying to pace myself.  I've also tried to limit the late nights as I think these in particular tend to catch up with you as you get older.
Image via Bar Nonno
Having said that, Mr R and I had an awesome night out with my ex-client Pat Mackle from Avant Card, and her partner Paul, on Saturday night at Bar Nonno on High Street in Northcote, smack bang in between Merricote and Barry, near the Westgarth Theatre and a bit deceptive from the front - the dining area goes way back into the building with tables and banquette seating.  Pat and Paul are one of the most fun, and youngest at heart, couples we know and the food at Bar Nonno was the best I've had in a long while.  Our starters included mixed oysters, prawn rolls and mushroom arancini balls which were all delicious followed by mains including John Dory and Beef Bourguignon matched with wine for those who were drinking.  Bar Nonno is actually a wine bar with the family who own it having their own Carlei Wines.
Mirka Mora x Gorman  Rainbow silk top image via Gorman
Pat was wearing a beautiful Mirka Mora x Gorman silk top, which has just hit the shops and sold out in many of the stores although you can order it online and my farewell presents from her included special pieces from both Gorman and T2 - she's a woman after my own heart!

I also managed to catch up with another ex-client of mine Margot Tasca from The Light Factory Gallery who is having her book launch at Readings Carlton in the Spring - she's written a biography on indigenous artist Percy Leason and I can't wait to get a signed copy!
Image: Beth Harland, Work in progress (detail), 2016 Mixed media | Dimensions variable | Courtesy of the artist
Speaking of art, Impermanent Durations starts at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre on 29 July with this exhibition being a cross-cultural exchange between artists based in Melbourne, London and Singapore.  Meanwhile, Impressions - Print Making Exhibition opens at Hatch Contemporary Art Space on 28 July celebrating the 50th year of the Print Making Council of Australia.
Image via
Finally, if you've started to do your Christmas or other shopping, the Finders Keepers Market is on from this Friday at the Royal Exhibition building in Carlton while closer to home Tubby the Tuba children's concert by the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra is on this Sunday at Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Local Profile - Julie Walker

I met Julie at my recent writing skills workshop for artists at Hatch Contemporary Art Space in Ivanhoe as she was one of the smiling faces in the crowd who I managed to have a chat with before and after my talk.  I love that her work is both a bit vintage-inspired and sustainable.  She's also a student at NCAT, which I've previously mentioned on my blog as well as a committee member of female artist group Thou Art Mum.  It's been fascinating to find out more about the local artists who live or work in Banyule.  Read on for more about Julie or Fickle Nellie as she is also known...
Name: Julie Walker
Occupation: Artist (also trading as Fickle Nellie)
Lives/works:  Greensborough
How long have you lived/worked here?  Lived – 10 years, self-employed – 5 yrs
Describe yourself/what you do:
Whilst predominantly working as a mosaic artist, I also enjoy creating one of a kind pieces of jewellery and mixed media art.
As I am a great believer in sustainability the use of vintage china and rare vintage materials provides an opportunity to up-cycle materials in my work, combining the old with the new and giving these objects a new lease of life.

I find inspiration from vibrant colours, unique patterns and tactile materials, especially those contained in vintage and retro objects.  Therefore, texture, shape and pattern are commonly incorporated in my designs.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east:
I enjoy the open spaces and fresh air while also living within close proximity to both the city and country.  The north-east offers a variety of inviting, intimate cafes and an active, inspiring  arts culture.

For more information:

Friday, July 15, 2016

Hello weekend

Ah yes...the's always Happy Friday when you know the weekend is on its way.  Especially since we are in what the indigenous Aboriginal people used to call 'Deep Winter' - the year for them was broken up into seven seasons here in Melbourne, not four!  I've been trying to stay warm by eating, and exercising.  I was at Cinch Training in Macleod this morning for a workout with Mr Rosanna and we passed by new cafe Espresso 54 which is a great addition to that long strip, particularly cafe-wise.
Image via Preston Fresh Hood
While my mind is still on food, it was actually Bastille Day yesterday and I've been reading about Lune Croissanterie in Fitzroy for a while now - apparently the queues in the morning are a bit out of control but I am partial to a nice almond croissant, so I've dropped a hint to one of my new work colleagues who lives nearby that it would be a lovely morning tea treat in the office!
Image via Lovehate Facebook page
Speaking of food, Fresh Hood at Preston Market (food, drink, music and art) opens tomorrow and it's fantastic to see Darebin council rejuvenating the market in new and innovative ways.  Mr R and I have actually been invited to dinner at Bar Nonno on High Street in Northcote this weekend and very much looking forward to it.  Lovehate jewellery and accessories also have a pop up shop called Hello Northcote that's on from now until August 7 if you are in the area.
Image via Gertrude Street Projection Festival
I'm hoping to swing by the Gertrude Street Projection Festival over the weekend too given I'll be nearby.  Finally, Motives and Motifs starts on 16 July at the Islamic Museum of Australia in Thornbury while Simon Finn's exhibition Behind the Fustrum at LUMA in Bundoora opens on 20 July.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Running up that hill

My two best friends are Greek and Italian and I've been wanting to visit the Hellenic Museum in William Street for a while now, especially since finding out photographer Bill Henson had been commissioned by the museum to take photographs of their Benaki collection.
Bill Henson photograph - Oneroi at the Hellenic Museum
I finally made it there on Sunday.  The museum is actually the former Royal Mint building complete with safe and well worth a visit just for the building itself.  My girlfriends and I really enjoyed it - particularly the jewellery and costumes downstairs along with Henson's permanent 'Oneroi' photographic installation housed upstairs in a darkly lit room.  It was also interesting reading about the Greek diaspora since Victorian/gold rush era times as much as there were bigger waves in the 1950s and '60s migrating here.  We're intending on going back in the summer when the pop up cafe and Greek outdoor movies are held in the courtyard behind the museum.
Roof detail - Hellenic Museum
Speaking of diaspora, while I'm not reading much besides the newspapers and work-related documents at the moment, the Eltham Bookstore has had book launches for Ruins (written by Melbourne-based Sri Lankan author Rajith Savanadasa) and this week, A Chinese Affair by Isabelle Li, which would be great to go to if you have a Chinese background like me or are interested in Chinese Australian writers.

A number of random things to mention today.  While I was out on the road, I noticed another new cafe called Hoppa & Joe about to open in Fairfield on a corner block on Heidelberg Road, which will be a good thing for the area.  Open House Melbourne bookings also start this week for Willsmere in Kew if you've ever had a fascination about the buildings, which have not previously been open for the annual Open House Melbourne event.

Elk Accessories in Preston is holding its big garage sale this week if you're wanting to splurge while prices are low - I always think sale time is a great time to start stocking up on Christmas and other presents!  The Ivanhoe Makers Market is on this Saturday and I particularly love the little succulent pots that my friend ceramic artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen has made.  I think they'd be a lovely thing to have on your desk or kitchen bench.
Finally, it's Wuthering Heights Day this Saturday in Melbourne where not hundreds, but thousands, of Kate Bush fans and lookalikes will emulate her eponymous dance to this song.  I've shown my boys some of her early film clips like Babushka and I've liked a lot of her later songs as well, and the beautiful duet 'Don't Give Up' she did a number of years ago with Peter Gabriel.