Still life with recycling

I was, as the internet puts it, ‘today years old’ when I discovered that the little triangular recycling symbol on a plastic package does not necessarily mean it is recyclable. For those already familiar with Resin Identification Codes this is not news; for those who are not, Google it and prepare to have the top of your head blown off.

We have several colour-coded bins and, to my delight, are about to get a purple one. I cannot wait to paint it. When they are lined up in bin morning, this rank of bins has a stately grace, a sort of waste disposal Stonehenge.

A cloud

I do not know which I am more grateful for: a beautiful cloud, or the oil paints people have carefully crafted so I can paint the cloud.

Saw this lovely bit of water vapour down by the Yarra.

Oil on wooden lid

Economy drives produce beautiful things. Australia’s first impressionist painting show was the 9×5 exhibition, as all of the paintings were that size. Not because this was some sort of golden ratio, but because that was the size of the cigar box lids the pictures were painted on.

Arthur Streeton graduated to painting the secondhand hardwood panels around which bolts of cloth had been wrapped. His wide, narrow strip landscapes were made that way because weaving mill owners made the panels that shape.

This still life of a coffee pot and cup is painted on the lid some cheese came in. Better than throwing it out, yes?

Darebin parklands at sunset

The weather in Melbourne usually comes from the West. I was watching this truly gigantic cloud drift towards the Dandenongs. But the wind near the ground must have been blowing in the opposite direction, suddenly pushing the base of the cloud back where it came from, and over time contorting the whole thing. Then the sun set on this drama and I never saw how it ended.

Another reamer

I was not surprised that the Juicy Salif citrus reamer was inspired by the shape of a squid. It does indeed look like a squid. The only big difference is that a squid would be more effective at juicing an orange. I do, however, like it very much.

The light falling on a painting when you photograph it can fundamentally change its appearance. Here is the same painting photographed in strong, direct light. A much sharper image. Not sure which I prefer.

Found a way to use the reamer

I have quite the reputation for buying decorative but inefficient kitchen products. Perhaps achieved a personal best with the gold plated juicer that had a small warning label on it: “do not use with citrus fruit.”

So I had low expectations when I bought this fruit reamer. It has, however, proven very useful: I have made many pictures of it, like this one. Of course, I would never use it on a pear or a plum … or any citrus fruit.

A plum, a pear, a tin, a reamer.

Still life: Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly from an AL7 pressure suit

The upper side of a space shuttle is surprisingly lumpy. I had expected it to be smooth and slick, but instead it is swaddled in thick white insulating blankets. By the time they have been up and back to space a few times they, unsurprisingly, look a little … used.

Buzz Aldrin’s spacesuit also surprised me by being so … organic. Up close the overwhelming impression is of cloth, and how vulnerable it all looks. It was manufactured by ILC Dover, at the time a division of Playtex – yes, Playtex.

The courage to step into space dressed in this outfit takes my breath away.

This is a still life of the solar visor that Aldrin wore on his head whilst walking on the moon. It sat over a plexiglass goldfish bowl that protected him from the vacuum of space. It is incidentally beautiful industrial design, but it also looks like a minatory cyclopean eye glaring from outer space.

Half-time orange, mortar and pestle

An experiment in how to darken and lighten cadmium orange without making it chalky or muddy. Cadmium yellow works well to lighten it and keep it crisp and bright; cadmium red darkens it whilst retaining warmth; and viridian green … well, by some mystical process I cannot understand it turns orange dark whilst retaining its orangeyness.

Viridian: a good mixer, who does not work so well alone.

Overhead still life

A white wall is rarely white. Like a good listener, a white wall reacts to its environment and reflects it back in subtle ways. It is sometimes yellow, sometimes blue and often a very light lilac.

This is a painting of the corner of my ceiling. All three intersecting planes are white. But almost all day they are each a slightly different colour from their neighbours.

And here is my picture from last week re-posted. I photographed it in better light this time.