Friday, June 29, 2012

Local profile - Renee Cosgrave

I've talked about the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre and public art this week so it seems fitting that today's local profile is artist Renee Cosgrave who also incidentally works at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.  I love a bit of colour in the winter time and her beautiful works have lifted my spirits and added some joy no doubt to viewers and passers by in the streets and walls where her wonderful artwork is located.

Name: Renee Cosgrave
Occupation: Artist, Gallery Assistant
Lives/works: Live - Fitzroy, Work – Bundoora, Briar Hill, Caulfield, Melbourne
How long have you lived/worked here? I have lived and worked in Melbourne since the early 2000s. 
Renee Cosgrave, Circular Colour Wall Painting, 2012, Windsor Place, Melbourne
Describe yourself/what you do:
I work within the art industry and practise as an artist. I studied a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) at Monash University.  Ever since finishing art school I have been determined to continue to practise and remain active as an artist.  Last year I travelled to Berlin and spent most of my time making small drawings, paintings and collages.
Renee Cosgrave, Red Flower Wall Painting, Acrylic on wall, 2010, The Narrows, Melbourne
I am interested in abstract painting and focus on the use of form, colour, shape, space and repetition within my work.  I have made a number of wall paintings and my most recent work is a public wall mural in the Melbourne CBD. 

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
I love the Preston market the beautiful parks and trees.  There are some real gems on this side of the city.  Westgarth cinemas, bike tracks Fairfield Boat House.  I grew up around this area and have fond memories with family and friends.

For more information:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The life aquatic

Image via The Centre Ivanhoe website
I met with the Banyule Public Art committee last night at the beautiful Art Deco council offices in Ivanhoe next to The Centre Ivanhoe to view presentations from the final four shortlisted artists.  The committee have narrowed it down to two artists and Banyule Council will make the final selection so stay tuned for news on the winning public art project chosen for the Greensborough Watermarc aquatic and leisure centre very soon...
Image via Book Lover Book Reviews website
It's been a busy few days and I also met with author and publisher Jonette George at The Light Factory Gallery Tea House yesterday afternoon for lunch.  After accepting her IPPY award for Flavours of Melbourne in New York, she has flown home to Melbourne where she is putting the finishing touches on two regional food and wine books on the Yarra Valley and Daylesford.  She's also got another two books in the pipeline so she is a very busy woman!
Image by Shaun Tan
I also got a chance to see The Art of the Picture Book exhibition at the gallery which was a lot of fun.  Leigh Hobbs' Old Tom illustrations made me laugh while much of Shaun Tan's work has already sold.  Alison Lester and Anna Walker's work is more whimsical and would look lovely in a child's bedroom.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory's freelance PR consultant.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Old and new again

Mr Rosanna and I braved the chill and took the boys to the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre on Saturday to see the Melrose Art Pottery exhibition.  It's a little unexpected, up on top of a hill surrounded by faux Federation residential housing (complete with dragon gargoyles!).  The building is beautiful - a former Queen Anne/Federation homestead now turned into art gallery.  The access gallery is on the left as you enter the building through the glass doors via the car park while the main gallery is a series of original rooms upstairs.  The glass ceiling is amazing as is the balustrade for the original staircase.
Bundoora Homestead Art Centre image via Your Restaurants website
The boys of course, much preferred having devonshire tea downstairs in the cafe which was a very reasonable $8 (which gets you a tea or coffee and two scones with jam and cream).  Just remember to take cash with you as there are no eftpos facilities at the cafe.  Entry to the homestead is free (or via gold coin donation if you wish) and has been a Darebin City Council venture assisted by La Trobe University and the Commonwealth Government - it is on the National Heritage register and certified by the National Trust.  I wish that something similar could be done with Banyule Homestead here in Heidelberg.
Regal Ballroom image via Regal Ballroom website
Speaking of old buildings being transformed, the Regal Ballroom (or Northcote Theatre) is holding a number of music gigs as a concert venue throughout this month as well as screening selected movies.  Check out their Facebook page for more details.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Salute to the sun

While we shivered through the winter solstice yesterday, over 14,000 people practised their yoga poses in Times Square, New York to celebrate the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere at the annual Mind over Madness event now in it's 10th year.
Image via Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images
Talk about inspiring!  Yoga is practised by millions of people all over the world and it's interesting to know that in western societies, women make up 80% of the participants.  I did make it to a screening of Yogawoman last year at Lululemon Athletica in Camberwell with my friends Jules and Nik who are also long-time yoga practitioners.  Lululemon Athletica have another store at Westfield Doncaster - they are a Canadian company.  If you're after Australian yoga apparel - check out the Abi & Joseph website who also have an organic range.

Just a reminder too that the Monty Farmers Market is on tomorrow - have a great weekend!  And namaste to all my fellow yogis out there.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


It's the shortest day (or longest night) today - midwinter or winter Solstice day as it's more commonly known.  If, like me, you're in need of a bit of cheering up in the cold, The Light in Winter (now in its sixth year) is currently on at Fed Square in the city.  This year's program has actually been inspired by this year as the National Year of Reading and celebrates the enlightenment that reading sheds on our lives.  Lights and literature to warm us all up!
Image via
Local and international artists, designers, architects, filmmakers and multicultural groups are all featured in this free, month-long program of light sculptures, talks, events, workshops, performances and a family-friendly event - the Solstice Celebration being held this Saturday night from 5 - 8 pm.  The celebration marks the longest night of the year and the beginning of the journey towards Spring which is all right with me!  It also sounds like a great excuse to head into town for some hot chocolate and other warming  beverages of your choice.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hangin' at the local

Miss Marie cafe has once again been mentioned in The Age - this time in yesterday's Epicure article 'Cool things brewing in the 'hood'.  And how right they are.  While I'm not there every day, it's been great to know there is somewhere local to go to that does great coffee and good food.  I was spoilt for choice when I lived in Brunswick and having a decent local cafe has been a saviour since moving to suburbia.  Yay!  We just need a good bar now...
Image via
And while we're talking north and east, Pomona Cafe on Murray Road in Preston was also given a mention in the same article.  Might be a good pit stop if you're heading to the Preston Market or elsewhere on that side of town.  If you're interested in buying a machine for home, a number of friends with serious coffee credentials have all recently bought Lelit Espresso machines and coffee grinders.  Similar to the Rancilio Sylvia (which you can buy locally from Mocopan in Preston or Grinders Coffee in Fairfield), they are also traditional Italian made machines.  Something to add to the wish list...
Image via

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Friends with benefits

One of the things I've been meaning to do once the kids are a bit older is take out a membership at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen.  If you sign up this month, you may be one of 10 lucky people to win a package for you and a friend to see Sunday's Garden: Growing Heide as well as enjoy coffee and a macaron together at Cafe Vue.  Nice!
Image via Arts Hub website
The other thing I wanted to mention is that Mirka Mora will be making an appearance at Heide this Saturday 23 June to sign copies of the book Sunday's Garden: Growing Heide (for which Mirka wrote the foreward).  The book that brings the stories of Heide's gardens to life will also be available to purchase for $45 on the day.  I'm not sure if you caught Mirka on ABC's Agony Aunts - for a lady in her eighties, she's still pretty naughty!  She also has a range of limited edition vases and mugs with her designs for sale in the Heide store which I have bought as gifts.
Image via Heide store

Monday, June 18, 2012

Most Excellent

Well Miss Rosanna ventured south of the Yarra for my best friend Jules' hen's dinner on Saturday night at The Smith in Prahran.  Seriously.  Amazing.  We had an absolute ball with 20 or so of her closest friends and family.  The place rocks and I can see why it's one of Melbourne's top bars/restaurants from the moment you enter downstairs.  Our $70 per head 8 shared plate dinner was upstairs away from the noise but it was still buzzing - great music, lots of beautiful people and fantastic food - the place is pure style and the service, excellent.  Wow!  Jules ended her night downing their award winning drink - the Toorak Princess...before I chauffeured her home.
Me and Jules, upstairs at The Smith
The countdown is now on until the big day in just under a fortnight.  I thought I'd post another dress which would have also been a contender if it wasn't already sold out.  It's this Halston Heritage kimono cocktail dress in orange crushed velvet - again I love, love, love both the colour and design. 
Image via Asos website
Finally, did you see the write up on Miss Marie cafe in yesterday's Age M magazine?  Lots of goodness here in sleepy Rosanna : )

Friday, June 15, 2012


Well all roads lead to Ivanhoe this weekend.  Three  leading artists from the Banyule Contemporary Art Fair - Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen, Irianna Kanellopoulou and Amy Kennedy - are holding a free demonstration this Sunday from 2 - 4 pm at the Banyule Arts Space at 14 Ivanhoe Parade, Ivanhoe.
Image via Banyule City Council website
Participating Art Fair artist Rona Green meanwhile is holding a linocut printmaking art class at her studio in the Abbotsford Convent tomorrow  Cost is $195 and there are still places available.  If you're interested, you can email Rona directly at
Image by Rona Green
Baby Bailey Durden
2011, linocut, ink and watercolour, 76 x 56 cm, edition 23
Finally, a reminder that the Ivanhoe Makers Market is also on tomorrow at The Livingston Centre in Ivanhoe.  It's about this time every year that I start wanting to buy some of textile artist Teresa Bennett's beautiful, distinctive handmade knits...

Thursday, June 14, 2012


The winner of this year's Nillumbik Prize - one of the oldest community art shows in Victoria -  will be announced at the exhibition opening tonight from 7 pm in the Barn Gallery at Montsalvat in Eltham.  Sixty four works have been selected for exhibition which runs until 12 August.  Entry is free.  If you're interested in attending, please RSVP on 9439 7712.
Aurora image by Alison Lester
On Sunday, The Light Factory Gallery also located in Eltham will officially open The Art of the Picture Book exhibition - participating artists Alison Lester, Leigh Hobbs and Anna Walker will all be in attendance (along with some of their books) from 2 - 4 pm.  Entry is also free.
Old Tom on the lookout image by Leigh Hobbs
Nb.  Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hey you

OK.  This is one for all you creative types out there.  The Thornbury Theatre is holding its first event for creative people in the Darebin municipality tomorrow night.  You're invited to attend these events each month in the Velvet Room hosted by different people in the local arts community and meet like-minded people in the creative arts.  Tomorrow night's event will be hosted by Vanessa Pigrum from Darebin Council's Arts, Culture & Venues department who will talk about the Darebin Music Feast and other opportunities for the arts in the community.    Email: or to RSVP.

Image via Darebin Council website
And for crafty ladies, there is a  Make Craft Your Business workshop being held by the Thornbury Women's Neighbourhood House on Saturday 14 July from 10 am - 2 pm at 90 Leinster Grove, Thornbury.  Guest speaker, Kylie from Change Agent Coaching will focus on coaching for building your handmade business, market preparation, social media and staying motivated.  Cost is $25 and includes light lunch.  Email: to book.
Image via The Market Roll website

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wining and dining

What a beautiful day it's been so far - I can deal with winter when the skies are blue and the sun is shining...hope you had a wonderful long weekend.

Image via NTA website
My exercise regime seems to have lapsed somewhat these past few weeks however truth must be told in that my body seems to be craving chocolate, carbs and even more since the cold set in.  If you're a drinker, there's a great event happening this coming weekend in Hurstbridge - the third annual Winter Winefest.  Six boutique Nillumbik wineries located just 10 minutes apart will be offering progressive tasting and eating this Saturday and Sunday from 11 am - 5 pm.  Food prices start at $10 - $15 per serve.  For more information call 1300 660 072.
Image via Masterworks website
The Masterworks People's Choice Exhibition featuring the work of Christine Wrest-Smith and local wood worker Andrew Potocnik (whose pieces are also sold at Tarrawarra Museum of Art) opens this Friday 15 June at Swipers Gully Vineyard and Restaurant in Kangaroo Ground.  Bon appetit!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

All aboard!

One of our favourite things to do around here is having a ride on the Diamond Valley Miniature Railway in Eltham.  Their annual Steam Gala is on this Queen's Birthday long weekend on Sunday from 11 am - 5 pm and Monday from 1 - 4 pm.  Tickets are only $3 which is fantastic value - my boys absolutely love the trains!
Speaking of the Queen - did you watch the Diamond Jubilee concert the other night?  I did stay up until the very end to watch my idol Stevie Wonder perform - I thought Robbie Williams' opening song was fantastic but my fave performance of the night was the amazing Miss Grace Jones in her red and black outfit, hula hooping to her club classic 'Slave to the Rhythm'.  If we could all do that at 64...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A thousand words

Mr Badger image by Leigh Hobbs
The Art of the Picture Book opens at The Light Factory Gallery next Wednesday and I can't wait for this one!  Four of Australia's best known children's illustrators including Shaun Tan, Alison Lester, Leigh Hobbs and Anna Walker will all have their work on display from June 10 - Sunday 8 July.  Entry is free and if you are thinking of taking the kids along, they do great scones in the tea house behind the gallery and there's also an outdoor sculpture garden where they can run around.  The exhibition will still be on during the first week of the Victorian school holidays.
Penguin mum and baby image by Alison Lester
Lost Thing feeding image by Shaun Tan
I also wanted to mention there are spaces left at the Ethical Shopping Workshop at Bell St Mall eatery Sujaac tomorrow night from 6.30 - 9 pm for the very reasonable price of $5 which includes a delicious Somali feast! Email: or call Yuki on 0414 498 814 to book.  This event is part of Transition 3081's Autumn event series.  For more information visit
A secret place for me image by Anna Walker
Nb. Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Eat, drink and be merry

Well winter seems to have hit with a vengeance and I've been taking refuge in front of the fire at Chez Rosanna the past few days with sick kids to contend with...ahhh - the joys of having children!  Sharing the germs as well as the love...

Image via Barrio Restaurant
I did go out last Friday night to Barrio restaurant located in the heritage-listed Ivanhoe fire station - a place I've been wanting to go to for a while.  Had a great night out with some local lasses celebrating a special birthday.  The food is good, (I had the roast pork belly and apple crumble) - it has a lovely warm ambiance (dark wood floors) and the heating was up high.  The dining area is a little unusual - there's a main dining space alongside the front counter/bar area, then a small enclosed area to the right (which you can see in the front window) that has a couple of booths in it plus another larger separate dining area (where we were) with open fireplace.  Barrio is Spanish for 'neighbourhood' and there are a couple of Spanish-influenced dishes like tapas on the menu.

Speaking of food, you can now indulge in afternoon tea at Heide's Cafe Vue on Saturdays and Sundays for $55.  It includes a glass of sparkling to start, shared petite sandwiches, mini desserts plus scones with jam and cream followed by tea.  Reservations are essential on 9691 3888.  Sounds like a great way to warm up over the weekend!
Mr & Miss Rosanna at The Lui Bar
Finally, the Age Epicure has revealed Melbourne's best bars in today's issue.  Of them all, I've been to The Lui Bar (Best restaurant bar) at Vue de Monde and am heading to The Smith (Drink of the year) in the next few weeks.  I'm pleased to say there are a number located in the inner north including Bar of the year: The Everleigh (located in what I think is Melbourne's hippest street - Gertrude St) and Black Pearl (Best bartenders) in Fitzroy, Best live music bar: The Tote in Collingwood and The Age Good Bar Guide Hall of Fame: Gerald's Bar in Carlton North.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Local profile - Meredith Plain

It's World Environment Day tomorrow and I can't think of a more fitting person than Meredith to feature today.  Nursery owner, gallery director and ceramic sculptor (and one half of an artistic couple) - she's a woman of many talents!  Bulleen Art & Garden is also one of my favourite places to visit in the north east - it's well worth stopping in if you're travelling through Bulleen or live near the area as it's full of inspiration and surprises whether you have green thumbs or not.
Name: Meredith Plain
Occupation: Gallery Director and ceramic sculptor
Lives/works: Live and have a studio in Eltham, work in Bulleen
How long have you lived/worked here? 27 years
Describe yourself/what you do:
I first discovered the fascination of creating creatures from clay in 1989 after a career as a medical research scientist and have been working in my studio amid the treetops and down the road from Montsalvat since then.  I am drawn to figurative, often humorous works.  My frogs, dragons, people and other creatures seem to develop a life and energy of their own.  I am partly self taught but have worked with other ceramic sculptors, studied some art & ceramics.  I have taken part in many exhibitions; undertaken commissions including the Bulleen Art & Garden 3D mural.

Given my interest in garden sculpture and that Bulleen Art & Garden was our family business, a gallery in a garden centre seemed to be a logical direction to go.  So in 1995 we started the Bolin Bolin Gallery with regular exhibitions.  It gives Bulleen Art & Garden visitors something to see, and introduces a wide range of people to art and hand crafted items who wouldn't think of going to a gallery, as well as providing a much needed outlet for local artists and craftspeople.  It can also be a lot of fun, with murals, sculptures and gallery exhibitions  surprising and entertaining people when they drop in to pick up their seedlings.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
This area is often referred to as the Valley of the Arts and I'm sure it has sparked my interest in creative areas.  I have been incredibly lucky to live near Montsalvat and work over the road from Heide. There is a thriving artistic community here and it is  a privilege to be a part of this – both as an artist and organising exhibitions and sales of work for other artists.

And the Yarra River runs through it. The area along the Yarra is a beautiful bit of bush in the middle of suburbia.  I love riding to work along the trails beside the river between Eltham and Bulleen.  And, I can combine gardens and art – both at home with my studio and food garden in a bush setting, and at Bulleen Art & Garden which focuses on art and environment, as well as gardening.

For more information:
Bulleen Art & Garden website
Meredith Plain website
Facebook page
Phone: Bulleen Art & Garden 8850 3030