Sunday, December 8, 2019

Mixed bag of a weekend

©2019 Barry Smith - Annealed leaf forms in the cooling basin that I used earlier to clean a paint brush I inked the Christmas tree with - lovely colour!!!
Art or rather creativity took a few different forms over the weekend. Most of Saturday was spent doing repair and maintenance painting in the house; another rehabilitated Christmas tree was delivered; our bronze sculpture was cleaned and waxed; another rusty sculpture repaired; and I almost got ten leaf forms completed for the commission I'm working on.

First that tree - gorgeous colour don't you think?

©2019 Barry Smith - Gorgeous plum ink coloured tree
And there was heaps of badly flaking rust to be removed from the sculpture.

©2019 Barry Smith - There was so much flaking rust that I managed to harvest a couple of small bags so that Fiona and a friend can use the rust in dyeing
The leaf forms went through a pretty typical cycle - I'm up to the stage of forming the stems and then grinding and polishing.

©2019 Barry Smith - Folded silver-plated brass blanks 
©2019 Barry Smith - I decided to make the stem cuts with a saw to get a more accurate finish
©2019 Barry Smith - Marked up ready for cutting
©2019 Barry Smith - I used the guillotine to cut the leaf shapes including chipping around the corner near the stem
©2019 Barry Smith - Hammered and ready for opening
©2019 Barry Smith - Opened - now to form the stems
I'm hoping to install the leaves Tuesday of next week.

Friday, December 6, 2019

More timber on the block

©2019 Barry Smith - Cube  stack - 9 pieces of rough 150mm square timber from the wood pile.
Fiona and I are doing more work installing bench seats and other timber bits on the native tree terraces below and to the right of the house. I have quite a stash of large hardwood posts that I had cut from salvaged trees - often salvaged after storms. The quality of the timber can be quite variable - some prone to cracking and other piece with knots that want to fall out or rotted centres. These timbers are usually turned into bits for our block. The good stuff is kept for art purposes.

I have cut up four large posts - two were 230mm square. The cut ends of the pieces were sealed with timber wax - this stops them from splitting any more as it seals the remains moisture in.

©2019 Barry Smith - Chainsaw work - you can see the split in the cube to the right pdf the photo =the split ran the whole length of the post
©2019 Barry Smith - Timber cut and waxed
We then hauled the pieces down the back and started the process of creating some installations that can catch the eye as one wanders the terraces.

©2019 Barry Smith - Few more 200mm cubes nestled among the trees
©2019 Barry Smith - Posts on the edge of one of the terraces - 230mm square timber - both these posts were badly split
The heavy bench seats provide a quite spot to sit and observe the birds and enjoy the dappled light.

©2019 Barry Smith - Bench seat made from 200mm square posts - best sides on show
There is still another bench seat to be hauled down; and there are 5 230mm cubes yet to find a home. I love how simple shapes and material can be sculptural forms in our landscape.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Between - fragments from the backyard and Treehaven Way

©2019 Barry Smith - This single little conifer leaf was suspended on a single spider web thread. It took me 5 shots to get a focus as it swung in a soft breeze.
This week has involved walking our backyard and Treehaven Way to see how the trees are handling the dry conditions. The suspended conifer leaf was seen at the start of my morning walk as I cut through neighbour's yards to reach Treehaven Way.

The day started with s slightly smoky morning.

©2019 Barry Smith
Then early sunlight lifted some of the blossoms.

©2019 Barry Smith 
©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith - A tiny weed!!!! What a delight
The backyard is dry - but most of the native trees and shrubs are surviving.

©2019 Barry Smith - Almost looks like and insect!!!
©2019 Barry Smith 
©2019 Barry Smith - Tiny clusters
©2019 Barry Smith - Green banksia flower
©2019 Barry Smith - Detail of the banksia flower
©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith
We have had about 15mm of rain in the last couple of weeks but the heat and drying wind has taken that and more. We are really hanging out for a good solid shower of rain.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Sculpture on the block and progressing leaf in aperture

©2019 Barry Smith - Wooden cubes cast on the grey traveled sculpture terraces.
Fiona and I walked the native tree section of the terraces in the early cool of this morning. We wanted to plan where we could place some wooden benches, posts, rusty stuff, wooden cubes and wooden posts - points of interest and places to rest and enjoy the trees and birds. We have a plan. So to give ourselves a sense that we had started we decided to "install" 9 wooden cubes on the new sculpture terrace. The cubes are 200mm and 250mm. We wanted them to look as though they had been cast casually into place. As you can see from the photo below the lack of rain has hampered the growth of the agapanthus around the border of the terraces.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Different angle of the cast cubes
Most of my time on Friday and Saturday was given over to painting ceilings - not a favourite thing - hard on neck and shoulders. Still I experimented with how I would drill the wooden apertures and install the silver-plated leaves I spoke of in my Friday blog.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Seed like aperture in timber
A few process photos. The difficulty is drilling a neat hole that needs to have a straight front and an angled back to enable the leaf stem to be slid into the hole on an angle. I have pretty much achieved that but still need to deal with the space around the based of the stem of the leaf form. I might need to use some coloured matched wood filler. I tested the drilling etc process on a good mock up of the timber and aperture.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Adjusting the length of the leaf form to fit the aperture.
©2019 Barry Smith  - Angled hole
©2019 Barry Smith  - Leaf form held in place whilst the glue dries - note the top of the leaf form clears the top of the aperture by about 1.5mm.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Experimenting with form and metal

©2019 Barry Smith - Two leaves made from silver-plated brass placemat with a strong design stamped on it; and with stems that have to seam at the back
I have a commission which requires me to make leaves that can stand upright in a seed shaped aperture in a piece of timber. The leaf needs to be able to have its own stem which can be glued into a hole in the bottom of the aperture. I set about experimenting with metal and how I would incorporate a stem into the design. The metal and stem of choice are incorporated into the leaves above.

Following are a few photos of the process.

©2019 Barry Smith - An adjustment to my usual leaf forms - stems sections added to the leaf.
©2019 Barry Smith - Hammered and ready for opening
©2019 Barry Smith - In the rough - stem section opened with the leaf
Stems with metal curved to the front which required brass rod to be included; and stems with the metal curved to the back which do not require brass rods.

©2019 Barry Smith - Two silver-plated brass leaf forms with the stem seam at the back; one copper leaf with join at the front and brass rod; and one silver-plated brass leaf with seam at the front and brass rod insert.
Final five leaf forms with three different metal and two different stem designs.

©2019 Barry Smith - The experiment enable a choice to be made about metal quality and stem design. The bottom leaf form is the look I'm going for.
Now all I need to do is make about 12 leaves so I can choose the best 9.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Tough times for plants and trees


©2019 Barry Smith - Beautiful Black Pantha agapanthus - first year we have had to water them
We are still in a very dry spell with no real sign of rain. The trees and plants on the block are showing signs of stress - dropping leaves and immature fruit. The veggie garden needs to be watched and watered. This is all very unusual for where we live.

The same situation was evident on my walk this morning - leaves down and blossoms looking worse for wear; and even the bees are looking thin and tired.

©2019 Barry Smith - Leaf litter everywhere 
©2019 Barry Smith - Unusual total blanket of pine needles
©2019 Barry Smith - This bee just appeared to be clinging on 
Still some blossoms-plants were surviving - a bit more dry tolerant?

©2019 Barry Smith - Gorgeous detail of a baby stag horn fern leaf
©2019 Barry Smith - Gradually unfurling - anticipating rain?
©2019 Barry Smith - Isolated blooming plant on the roadside
©2019 Barry Smith
©2019 Barry Smith - I think it is a passionfruit blossom - very strange
And the Satin Bowerbird is still working on mating.

©2019 Barry Smith - An enticing pathway? 
©2019 Barry Smith - Again unusual - I have never seen agapanthus blossoms in a bower before
It is hard not to conclude that something is seriously wrong with the climate given the dry, the heat and the fires. As you can see from the photo below we still have smoke in the valley below - thinner yes but still there.

©2019 Barry Smith - Smoke haze in the valley