Friday, February 11, 2011

Married 44 years today and still in love

To mark the occasion of our 44th wedding anniversary, Doug and I drove over the bridge and east into Gippsland to an art gallery at Fish Creek.

In 1974, renowned botanical artist Celia Rosser embarked on a project to record all of Australia's known banksia species -- around 76 -- using watercolour painting of extraordinary detail and accuracy. Twenty-five years later she'd created 3 volumes, but she kept going.

A collection of Celia's original paintings and limited edition prints now hang at Fish Creek in a Gallery and Banksia Cafe built by her son Andrew, who has also crafted banksia timber (sourced from fallen trees) into stylish furniture and picture frames.

To mark the occasion of our anniversary, we chose a framed limited addition print of a banksia named in honour of Celia: Banksia rosserae. This banksia was discovered in 2002, in remote country in north-west Australia. The opportunity to talk with Celia added to this special treat. We heard wonderful stories of the people she met and the country she explored while sketching and painting banksias throughout Australia.

Now in her 80s, Celia is bright-eyed, passionate about banksias and still paints exquisite watercolours of extraordinary detail. Each painting takes at least three months, from start to finish. Celia describes her work as taking a lot of patience. "It becomes a form of meditation concentration," she told me, quietly, and after the limited experience I've had with drawing native plants, I agreed wholeheartedly.

Doug and I are fortunate to be each other's best friend and also be in love after 44 years of marriage. We are also fortunate to share many common interests, most of which centre around animals, the environment and art. Meeting Celia Rosser today was an inspiration.

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