Thursday, November 22, 2012

Culture in Outback Queensland; new bridge: woody pear

On Saturday morning Doug and I met four friends at the Mitchell on Maranoa Gallery and then spent a very pleasant hour looking at an exhibition of excellent photographs and stories created by local woman Jennie Bucknall.

With the theme 'Women of the Land', most of the photos include local rural women immersed in many and varied activities -- some pleasant, some not!  Recognising familiar faces and talking about the various incidents captured on camera made for a stimulating conversation, and later, coffee at Krystal's 'Lemon Pie' cafe rounded off the morning to perfection.

On my walk along the river with Major and two young friends Ben and Locky, I discovered evidence -- in the form of a dump of steel and heavy machinery -- that the new bridge over the Maranoa River is about to begin construction.  This bridge was damaged in the February 2012 floods and and is the only road bridge that crosses the Maranoa River on the Warrego Highway; a vital highway linking Brisbane and the east coast of Australia to Mount Isa and Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Unfortunately, we're going to lose the colourful murals painted on the pylons of the old bridge.  Also, the mulberry tree and some of the magnificent river red gums that grow along the bank.  A couple of bottle trees are also in the path of the new bridge, however, I hope these will be dug up and relocated.

On the way back from the bridge, Ben and Locky had fun on the Musical Stock Grid -- as shown in the photo.

This week's botanical art project is to paint a group of woody pear seed pods.  My challenge is to achieve the lovely rounded shape, and also to reproduce the varying shades of greys and browns.  Gradually I'm becoming more confident in using a brush and watercolour paints rather than watercolour pencils, and I believe the final product looks better too.  Add to that the fact that the process is more enjoyable.  So it's all good!

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