Thursday, June 22, 2017

Van Gogh’s Seasons

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A wheatfield, with cypresses (1889  Saint-Remy)

On Monday this week, I finally got around to visiting the National Gallery of Victoria Winter Masterpieces Exhibition, which this year featured Vincent van Gogh, the tragic Dutch artist.

The exhibition was divided into the four seasons.

After a brief introduction to Van Gogh’s early work you moved into a section reflecting Van Gogh’s early influences such as lithography. It included a feature room of Japanese art, claimed to be the major influence and inspiration for his work. Van Gogh collected numerous lithographs and had a large collection of Japanese prints.

Photography was permitted, so I snapped quite few photos – they ended up being of better quality than the postcards in the NGV store.

The first season you pass through is Autumn , where a series of dark and gloomy paintings were displayed.

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Autumn landscape at dusk - October–November 1885 Nuenen

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Pine trees at sunset - December 1889 Saint‑Rémy

This particular area covered Van Gogh’s incarceration in the Saint-Remy Asylum, where he painted several scenes of the garden.

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Asylum Garden

From Autumn we moved on to Winter

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Landscape with a church - December 1883 Nuenen

Then on to Spring and some lovely flower still lifes.

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Roses and peonies - June 1886 Paris

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Blossoming chestnut trees - 22–23 May 1890 Auvers‑sur‑Oise

Summer was the final section and the paintings were of sunny subjects, wheatfields and such.

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It was not an extensive exhibition and truth to tell I was disappointed with what was displayed. Very few iconic paintings were part of the exhibition and there appeared to be a lot of padding out of material that was relevant, but not all that eye catching.

The crowds were out in force and we were obliged to queue for at least twenty minutes before gaining admission to the exhibition.

The final painting was appropriately a self portrait…

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Self-portrait - autumn 1887 Paris

Despite being underwhelmed by the offerings, the exhibition was none the less enlightening and eye pleasing and I’m glad I took the effort to see it.

After all it was awe inspiring to see Van Gogh’s paintings up close.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fret ‘n’ Fright ‘n’ Worried with a Happy Ending

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Look at that face! You’d think butter wouldn’t melt, but you would be deceived.

We’re just recovering from a terribly fretful day, when Bingo went missing for 26 hours – a night and a day.

On Sunday night around 7.30pm Bingo vanished and stayed vanished for the aforementioned length of time.

We searched and called for hours to no avail on Sunday night, and the next morning panicked and desolated with his non appearance, proceeded to take further steps in the effort to find him.

I created a Lost Cat flyer and printed out 40 copies to be letterboxed in the area. I registered Bingo at Lost Pet Finders and also joined a Facebook Group, Lost Cats Melbourne.

Oracles were consulted with mixed results, though I was pleased to get Preponderance of Great at my last I Ching reading which promised supreme good fortune.

Last night we extended the boundaries of our search and walked all the streets within the area where we reside which has  a creek on one corner and two main roads at the other end.

I must admit I had resigned myself to never seeing young Bingo again, my mind in turmoil at his loss, where every contingency had been covered without success.

We had both retired to bed to read when our perturbation turned to relief and joy at around 9.20pm, hearing Bingo chirping as he came up the hall from the back of the house.

None the worse for his adventure, other than very hungry, he was jumpy and nervous at first, though as pleased to see us as we were to see him.

This morning he was quite subdued, for him, but as the day progressed he was back to his rascally self and even enboldened by whatever he had undergone.

Whether it was the letterboxing, or the long walk and calling around the neighbourhood, that brought him home, we’ll never know. Nor do we have a clue as to his whereabouts during those trying 26 hours.

One forgets that there always comes a time in a young cat’s life where they go missing overnight and you think the worst has befallen them. It is always with immeasurable relief that they find their way home, and -more to the point - know where home is.

As we have not as yet put a collar and tag on him, we hope to address this shortly. I was pleased to discover that you can buy a tracking tag, which you can attach to the collar and trace through radio waves via a handheld device – a sort of  geiger counter for cats, so I’ve ordered one from Tab Cat. It should arrive in a week or so. I’ll report on its effectiveness when it is activated.

With the Bingo trauma now over, we had to go to a funeral today for our long time next door neighbour who died of lung cancer on 5 June. He was a gentle soul and a very good neighbour, who loved our cats. He’ll be missed by all who knew him.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Bingo Progress Report 6 –After the Snip

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Bingo on the antique dresser – fortunately free of ornaments  -  removed elsewhere for safety

Bingo is now six months old and  grown quite a bit since my last report, and has been desexed into the bargain.

He was back to his mischievous ways  the day after his op, and as he has grown so has his scope for wickedness.

The state of affairs between Bingo and Talya is pretty much the same – he teases her and she retaliates, though with claws sheathed.

Sometimes it seems that she is playing chasing games with him until he gets too close and sparks fly again. They both get tetchy when they’re hungry, so when I’m doling food into their separate bowls there’s growling on Talya’s part as Bingo takes advantage of her distraction and tries to goose her, by tapping her back leg and darting away.

As is the case with most kittens, when they see birds in a tree they think they are easy pickings, Bingo has been sighted up one or other of the trees in the backyard going after birds.  The birds are wise to this and mock his efforts to reach them, perching temptingly close on a twig, whilst he chatters at them and vainly tries to find an easy way to bridge the gap. We’ve seen a blackbird teasing him, and a bunch of lorikeets as well, shrieking their amusement at his predicament.

Bingo is terribly interested in everything that happens and follows us around in a dog like fashion. Recently I washed the floor and guess who trailed me from room to room, but Bingo, fascinated by the mop and of course running over the newly washed floors.

He’s irrepressible and bad as bad can be when he’s in a lively mood. No sooner do you open a cupboard, than he’s in, ditto with drawers. He climbs into the toilet and jumps on the seat when you’re about to sit down. His table manners are non existant and you often find a kitten sitting on your shoulder as you munch a piece of toast, a hopeful paw reaching for the plate. He disconnects electrical cords and claws screens, not to mention running across the keyboard and opening multiple browser windows.

Despite all this he is very endearing and exceptionally pretty.

Considering that we got him to fill the gap left by Willy’s  death, Bingo has filled it to bursting.