Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The medium is the message

It's a great name for an exhibition and this one opens tonight at LUMA - La Trobe University Museum of Art in Bundoora and runs until 27 June.  It brings together the work of six contemporary artists - Amanda Marburg, Chris Bond, Eolo Paul Bottaro, Juan Ford, Sam Leach and Victoria Reichelt and has been curated by Michael Brennan - and reflects on the state and relevance of painting today through depictions of the medium itself via the individual artists' painting practices.  Who said painting was dead?
Chris Bond image via Darren Knight Gallery
I guess I'll always be more old school than new school when it comes to art and many other things - for me, nothing will ever replace the pleasure you get from looking at a a real life painting on the wall but hey, that's me.

I've once again been a bit snowed under with work and other things goings on in my life since coming back from my holiday but I have to say it was really great to have a break and just be for a little while - there's a lot to be said for stillness, reflection and contemplation when you have the chance to take some time out from your normal routine.  And even better still if you practise something like yoga or meditation and can incorporate this into your daily life.

I'll be back soon.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pining for the peninsula

I am back from a week down at the Mornington Peninsula and as much as I also love the Bellarine Peninsula and beyond - when you live in the north-east, it is now an amazingly fast drive to the Mornington Peninsula via Eastlink and the Peninsula link.  Mr Rosanna and I are scheming on how to save enough money to buy ourselves a beach house somewhere down there and if you own or are able to access a beach house anywhere from Mornington to Portsea then you are indeed a lucky person.  Mr R and I are still lamenting the fact that his grandparents sold their place in Dromana all those years ago...
Under the Dromana Pier
Anyway, we move on and I am lucky to be able to use a beach house on my family's side from time to time.  It's always a different holiday with kids rather than as a couple - the Mornington Peninsula will always be dear to me as it's where Mr Rosanna popped the question all those years ago and we have spent a number of our wedding anniversaries there.  Prior to having kids, it was also a great place to go and look at antiques with the Tyabb Packing House (which is still there) and the Mornington Antiques Centre (which sadly isn't).
Inside the Rosebud Vintage Bazaar
Image via
It was relatively cold and grey most of this week but we still loved it.  Given the rain, we did spend one day checking out some of the smaller antiques stores including The Factory Antiques Market which I found via The Junk Map and the fabulous Rosebud Vintage Bazaar, which is housed in an old Art Deco theatre with a cafe in the former theatre foyer.  Mr Rosanna and I could have spent hours there if the kids had let us!  And I got another Art Deco fix by having lunch at The Rosebud Hotel which has been really nicely renovated even if it feels a bit generic inside.  If you like the Old England Hotel in Heidelberg, then it's pretty similar.  We also stopped in at the Rose GPO Hotel for a coffee in the afternoon and it's got a cool vibe - I liked the music and the pressed metal ceilings at the back dining area.
Cape Schanck Boardwalk          
Cape Schanck volcanic rock
We also did a fair amount of driving around so the boys could go walking at Cape Schank and Gunnamatta surf beach but really, they were pretty happy to just play on the beach in the sand and paddle in the water at various locations in Tootgarook, Rye and Dromana.

Given we're on a budget, we didn't do a lot of dining out but we did drop into an old favourite after driving up to Arthur's Seat - the Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove - where there is an outdoor piazza cafe as well as the more upmarket restaurant where we've previously celebrated special occasions.  The kids loved running around the outdoor sculpture garden and there were some cool pieces on display - the kids loved the eagle (below)!  If you are in the area on a nicer day, the Enchanted Maze, Seawinds Gardens and Red Hill village are all worth visiting.
Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove

We also had wood-fire oven pizza and seafood at the excellent McCrae General Pizzeria (next to The Pavilion) - great food and great service which was really appreciated after the disappointment of driving to Dromana and finding the Drive-In closed!  My cousin Di has also said that the Thai restaurant at the McCrae Lighthouse is the best she's ever had, which is a huge statement given she has a long background in hospitality.  We did make it to the Dromana Drive-In on our last night and it has been a long time since I've been to a Drive-In theatre.  I still remember the one next to Rob's Restaurant (now Tao's Restaurant) from when I was a child growing up in Bulleen although I've more recently been to the Coburg Drive-In as an adult.  The kids had a hoot in their dressing gowns and pyjamas and had it been warmer, we would have all snuggled in the back of our car with the door up.  Mr Rosanna also loved the old 50's style diner where he grabbed a cup of coffee before the movie started.  The Dromana Drive-In is one of the last independent outdoor movie theatres of its kind and has been there since the 1950s.
Dromana Drive-In and the original screen? (There are now 3 screens)
Star Wars action on top
The lights were on but no-one was home
We're now sadly back in Rosanna and I am gearing myself up for another busy school term as we move from Autumn into Winter.
At Dromana beach - Mr Rosanna reckons this would make a good album cover...
Although I think this one is better!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Go with the slow

When I was young, I was in such a rush to be a grown up and live what I thought was a glamorous and sophisticated life in the fast lane and for a while I did do that in my twenties - a decade which felt at the time like it would never end.  Now that I'm older, I've started to appreciate just living in the moment and with kids, I've been forced to do that anyway as they have very immediate needs!  There's a lot to be said for the power of slowing down when we lead crazy busy lives, always connected and never hitting the off button.  I've been really happy to slow down and live a lot more simply, closer to nature and following my own path in life wherever it happens to takes me.  I'm definitely a lot more happy and it's the simple things in life that I've come to realise are the best.
Image via
I'm a fan of Slow Melbourne, slow food and slow fashion (sustainable and vintage fashion) these days so have been watching with amusement the big crowds for the newly opened H&M and Emporium Melbourne retail stores.  I am obviously not their demographic and I feel for one of my past employers Daimaru - the first Japanese department store which came to Melbourne in the early 1990s - I think they were ahead of their time.  The state of retailing here has become increasing global and the internet continues to revolutionise a number of different industries including my own.  Branding, as a marketer has always been a big thing, but personal branding in this 'selfie' age seems to be the in thing at the moment.

With that in mind, I did want to mention the next Red Shoes women's networking event taking place next Wednesday 23 April on Personal and Professional Image.  There will be a styling presentation by Suzanne Dekyvere - an image consultant as well as one on personal branding by Lisa Cutler - an experienced coach, speaker and trainer.  I am having a little break next week so won't be attending but did want to mention that it will be me presenting at the next event on Social Media and Branding in June!  I will let you know more about that closer to the time.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter - I'll be back after the Anzac Day weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The big reveal

I'm happy to say I can finally talk about the work I've done for Crisalida - the multidisciplinary therapy clinic on the corner of High and Raleigh Streets in Thornbury as it's on the front page of this week's Northcote Leader!  It's a new wall mural titled 'The Wanderers' by street artist Tom Civil and was partially funded by Darebin Council's innovative new Street Art subsidy program.  Crisalida means 'cocoon' in Spanish and the team there selected Tom as much of his art is nature-based.  He's previously painted butterflies on a similar wall in Carlton.
Image via
Painted in aerosol, the mural features the Australian Wanderer (or Monarch) butterfly amongst native trees, and celebrates the shared themes of new life, development, growth and transformation at Crisalida.  It also picks up on the colours of the crepe myrtle tree, at the front of the building, as well as features the signature stick people for which Civil is renowned.
Image via
You can see more of Tom's work at his solo exhibition 'Stick Folk' at Backwoods Gallery, 25 Easey Street, Collingwood opening Friday 2 May and running until Sunday 11 May.  The gallery is open Thursday - Friday from 3 - 6 pm and Saturday - Sunday from 12 - 6 pm.
Civil is also a friend of the Juddy Roller Studios and cafe based in Fitzroy and if you're into street art, then you should also catch the last days of the Urban & Iconic exhibition at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre which closes on 27 April.  Curated by Juddy Roller Studios, this exhibition showcases street art styles from local and internationally renowned artists currently practising in Melbourne.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Snuggling up

Well the mornings are crisp but the days are warm and I am loving Autumn.  The leaves have started to fall off the trees in my garden and it's been six years since we made the move from Brunswick to here in Rosanna.  It's been 10 years since Mr Rosanna and I got married next month and I don't know where the time has gone!  I suspect it went in raising two little boys and all of a sudden they're at school and I have had the most time I've ever had to myself in over 8 years.

As we start to spend more time indoors, I just wanted to post about some of the homewares that have caught my eye.  While I will always love the pop of colour and bold design you get with homewares from Missoni, Orla Kiely and even Australian designer Florence Broadhurst, there's a lot to be said for classic neutrals and my love of all things Middle Eastern has overtaken these for the home.
Image via Kulchi blog
On my wish list, is a Beni Ourain rug - the traditional cream coloured hand made Berber tribal rugs which usually have a diamond pattern all over them.  I also would love some Moroccan pom pom blankets for the bed as well as the sequinned wedding blankets known as Handira which add a touch of glam/luxe to any room.  You can buy these online from Australian retailer Kulchi.
Pom Pom blanket via Kulchi
There's also an upmarket Australian textiles company called Bedouin Societe who sell the most beautiful linen bed linen and have branched into bath towels.  I've actually just ordered a hand loomed hand towel from Temple & Webster as it's a little touch of every day luxury if you can't afford the whole thing!
Bedouin Societe turkish towel image via Temple & Webster blog
And while I'd like to get my wedding band remodelled as an anniversary present, these gorgeous Ellinor Mazza fine hammered rings from Arbor Brunswick have also caught my eye.  Whether you're partnered or not, I think they make a beautiful statement piece (or pieces!).
Image via Arbor Brunswick

Monday, April 14, 2014

Funky beats part 2

I've talked about Mr Rosanna's cousin Tamsen before who is into African drumming and dancing.  I'm pleased to say she's launching Mumma Afro African dance classes for mums (who are welcome to bring babies up to 12 months to classes) in the north east from 29 April Tuesdays at Thornbury from 10 - 11 am at The Dance Hall on St Georges Rd and Fridays at Fairfield Community Room on Station Street from 11.30 am - 12.30pm.  It can be isolating to be at home with a baby so if you're interested in connecting with other mums in a fun and relaxed setting, then you should go along to a class.  I've always loved dancing, and like writing, it can be a real release and form of expression plus you get to burn calories at the same time!  The class is a fusion of traditional West African dance and tribal rhythms for beginners and casual attendance is welcome.  Email Tamsen: or call 0412 429 024.
Image via
I've been listening to some other funky beats on the stereo as well including Isabella Manfredi from The Preatures and I reckon the Janelle Monae/Kimbra show at The Plenary in Melbourne next month would also be pretty awesome to go and see.  Both name Prince as one of their all time inspirations and I don't think you can get much cooler than that.
Image via Record Store Day Australia Facebook page
Speaking of music, it's Record Store Day this Easter Saturday 19 April and if you're partial to vinyl, please go along and support your local record store.  Mr Rosanna and I are friends with Marsden Williams at Muscle Shoals Records from our old stomping ground in East Brunswick and it was fantastic to see Basement Discs in the city celebrate its 20 year anniversary the other week.

The weather's starting to cool and I'll be back tomorrow with some homewares inspiration for winter.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tales of the unexpected

I'm not sure how you've found this week but I have to say it's been an unusual one for me with a number of unexpected things taking place.  One of these was someone knocking on our front door the other day - it was a location scout wondering if we'd be interested in registering our house with their agency for TV commercials, etc (and no, we don't live in a mansion!).  Given we're local, Mr Rosanna and I gave the scout a few other addresses to check out in the area which have caught our eye over the years (as well as giving him a tip to grab coffee at Miss Marie) including the Assisi Aged Care Centre (housed in the magnificent former Sisters of Mercy convent) in Rosanna as well as Banyule Homestead at 60 - 74 Buckingham Drive in Heidelberg.
Banyule Homestead image via Jellis Craig
It turns out that the Banyule Homestead has actually gone onto the market this very week and is now up for sale with Jellis Craig.  It's been the subject of much controversy over the years going from being a state-owned asset (and formerly used briefly as a gallery) to then being sold in the Kennett era and going into private hands where it has been ever since.  The current owners were at one stage looking to sub-divide some of the land and sell to developers looking to build townhouses thus obscuring the views down to the Banyule Flats and that has also  been the subject of much community dissent.  The homestead was also used as a location in a previous season of ABC series Jack Irish.
Internal image via
It is a shame that such an historic and iconic building as this is no longer in the hands of the community but I don't blame the current owners for doing what they feel has been necessary - that is their prerogative.  While I have always hoped there might be some way of including it as a venue (artist in residence, studio) forming part of the proposed Impressionist Lab at nearby Yarra Flats (and again this location is also controversial), I'm not sure this is possible given it sits in the middle of a residential area.  It is a beautiful drive up Beverley Road from Jika Street through the boulevard of trees and then up Buckingham Drive and if you are in the area, go and have a look from the street - it is definitely worth seeing and, as with The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham, I hope that someone who has the resources, a love of heritage buildings and great vision may buy the property.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Branching out

I found myself out at Montsalvat today, despite the rain and the mud, as son number one still has a peacock fetish.  They've lost their beautiful feathers at the moment but he still enjoyed chasing them around the extensive grounds as well as looking at the gaggle of geese who also live there.  There are always things happening at Montsalvat, besides the in-house restaurant (now managed by the team from The Boulevard Restaurant in Kew) and Made at Montsalvat shop, there was also a film crew there today (Montsalvat has been used as a location for Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and MasterChef on TV) and you can catch live music and attend book launches such as Kate Ceberano's book launch with the Eltham Bookshop tomorrow night of her book 'I'm Talking.'
Branching out image via Montsalvat website
There is an exhibition on in the Long Gallery which opened on 3 April and runs until 11 May called Branching Out - The Tree Show celebrating trees as its theme by a Nillumbik based arts group called Thou Art Mum.  This exhibition highlights the diversity, symbolism and aesthetic charm of the often overlooked tree and includes both two and three dimensional artworks with styles ranging from traditional to contemporary.

There's also an exciting exhibition starting today called 'Soundings' by the Montsalvat Artists in Studios, which explores the depth (and diversity) of creativity at Montsalvat.  Almost 20 participating artists are involved including jeweller Jeanette Dyke who I've previously featured on my blog.  It will be the first time this group of artists have exhibited together and the opening is being held tonight from 6.30pm in the Barn Gallery.  Please RSVP to 9439 7712.  Please also note that Montsalvat is a not for profit art centre and charges entry fees (children under 5 are free).
Sponsored Leaves image via
While I'm talking about trees, I also wanted to mention The Tree Project - a copper and steel gumtree being forged with leaves made from blacksmiths who've volunteered their time from Victoria and around the world in response to the Black Saturday bush fires of 2009.  There are people I know who lost family in the fires and I think it's a beautiful tribute to the fragility of life and the inherent humanity that exists in the world.  Once complete, the finished tree will be erected in Strathewen as a permanent memorial.
Major branch of the tree image via

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A blank canvas

Well I did mention there's been a fair bit of action taking place behind the scenes in both my personal and professional life, which definitely makes life interesting - I think the only constant thing in life is change and as I've got older, I've learned to roll with the punches and I think change can be a good thing as it allows you to reinvent yourself and start over.
One of the things I can share with you today is that sadly, my client The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham will be closing in August unless a buyer can be found.  You can read more about it on page 3 of this week's Diamond Valley Leader if you click here.  Founder and Director Margot Tasca is wanting to move on with her life and would love to pass the reins over to another passionate art lover who is happy to continue to run the space as an art gallery and teahouse.
For those of you who've not actually visited the gallery, please do so over the next few months to see the space for yourselves and support art in the Diamond Valley region.  The gallery is housed in one of Alistair Knox's few commercial buildings and while it's not a mud brick building, it did actually operate in the 1970s as a light factory with the family living behind in what is now the teahouse.  It is a beautiful space with amazing high clerestory windows which fill it with natural light even in the depths of winter.  Needless to say, I always feel a little bit inspired and at peace when I visit and have over the past three years, bought a number of pieces by different artists from the gallery.
I did attend the opening of the Yugen and Traveling light exhibitions on Sunday at which Montsalvat Arts Manager Jeannette Davison spoke and it was fantastic to see the work of both Jessie Pittard and Nerina Lascelles.  I fell in love with one of Nerina's paintings Royal Cranes (above) and if I had the money, this one would be hanging on my wall - the colours are actually lighter than they appear in my photo.

I hope to share more about some of the other interesting things I've been up to over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Holiday laughs

So it's now school holiday time and there are a few cultural activities worth checking out for kids.  The ones that have caught my eye include activities coordinated by Heide Museum of Modern Art, Darebin Arts & Entertainment Centre, Box Hill Community Arts Centre and The Abbotsford Convent.  Heide is including the whole family with a Grandparents Day on 16 April and a Family Day on 20 April.
Image via
The Comedy Festival is also on at the moment and the kids have not been forgotten with a couple of different shows you can see at the Spiegeltent including the Comedy Club for Kids and The Luck Child.
Image via
If you feel like a drive, Healesville Sanctuary also has a huge selection of events on throughout the holidays and Autumn with Celebrate Corroboree - kids are free during school holidays, public holidays and on weekends.
Image via
While you're out in the Yarra Valley, you might want to stop in at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery and stock up on goodies for Easter.  The Yarra Valley Dairy is also worth a visit for trying and buying yummy hand made cheeses or having coffee, tea and other refreshments in their Cheese Shop.   Speaking of Easter, closer to home, you can also buy chocolates and do chocolate making courses at Xocolatl Artisan Chocolates & Cafe in East Kew.  I'm starting to get hungry...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hello darkness my old friend

I am a little slow off the mark today but hoping some of you see this before the coming weekend!  I'll be back next week with some school holiday ideas for the kids which centre more around arts and culture.  I had the pleasure of catching up with the extremely entertaining and very gorgeous Rina Chia from Take 2 Markets today at The Dish cafe in Eaglemont Village which is a sleepy little shopping strip - I always feel like I've stepped back into a different era when I visit.  There's a newer cafe called Eagle Nest cafe which is more modern and run by local Rebecca Martin also in the village  so I will have to give it a try next time I'm there.  There's an interesting looking store next door to it which sells Star Wars merchandise and other toys for boys and it was packed to the rafters.  The butcher Eaglemont Meats is also a good place to buy high quality meat - my brother and sister-in-law shop there as it's closer than Jonathons in Collingwood.
Eagle Hawk cafe image via
My dad is a musician amongst other things and despite the fact that he's Chinese, he's very much into early 60s pop and 70s folk music so I grew up listening to the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, Neil Diamond and John Denver just to name a few.  I love the fact that there's a 5-piece band who've called themselves The Sounds of Silent as a play on words - they'll be performing music to accompany a a special 100 year anniversary screening of Charlie Chaplin's first ever silent movie 'The Circus' at The Thornbury Theatre tomorrow night.
Image via The Thornbury Theatre
It's beautiful outdoors at the moment and there is a Nature Play afternoon for the kids at the Andrew Yandell Reserve in Greensborough on Sunday from 1 - 4 pm.  The reserve is also a breeding ground for the Eltham Copper Butterfly.  Children can learn how to tie knots, make bush shelters, weave with natural materials or play in the mud - sounds like fun! It is a free event but bookings are essential.

Speaking of plants, Banyule Council actually has an indigenous Native Plant Offer where residents are entitled to a 'buy one get one free' offer for up to 10 indigenous plants with one voucher per household per year.  Contact the council's Biodiversity Education Officer for more on 9490 4222 or email:

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Travelling light

Yet again, I've had a somewhat manic end to the school term - funny how things happen all at once.  I've had quite a bit going on in the background and will be sharing with you as news arises and things happen.
Image by Nerina Lascelles, Yugen exhibition
My client The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham has two new exhibitions opening from tomorrow and running until 11 May - Yugen by Nerina Lascelles and Traveling light by Jessie Pittard - both artists are from Nillumbik and both come from creative families.  Nerina is an accomplished artist who has been exhibiting in Australia and internationally for over 20 years.  Her paintings are part of private collections in Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, America and Japan.  She recently completed an artist's residency at Dunmoochin in Cottlesbridge and has been invited to become a Director of The Dunmoochin Foundation, a residency program for emerging artists and researchers.  I love her Asian and nature-inspired work - her mixed media paintings consider space and stillness, articulated through the use of gold and silver leaf, screen-printed patterns and encaustic wax.  Delicate phrases and Japanese Haiku poetry accompany her works encouraging the viewer to acknowledge the simplicity and beauty inherent in all things.
Image by Jessie Pittard, Traveling light exhibition
Meanwhile emerging artist Jessie Pittard aims to highlight the delicate balance between abundance and excess with her quirky works looking at the incidental moments in our lives and how we choose to approach them.  Jessie has been immersed in art from a young age, growing up surrounded by artists and after completing high school moving into Fine Arts, studying Printmaking at RMIT TAFE and later RMIT University.  She has participated in print exchanges and regularly exhibited in groups shows since 2006.  In 2013, she won the Ceramics Victoria Acquisitive Decal Award and currently works in her Eltham North Studio continuing to explore the relationship between 2D and 3D printed form.
The Lego Movie Avant Card postcard
Lots of changes ahead for the gallery and I'll let you know about that when I can.  I was thinking yesterday when meeting with my other ongoing client Pat Mackle at Avant Card how lucky I am to be able to write about some of the things I do on their behalf - interesting events, art and cultural institutions, cool cafes and the latest things happening in Melbourne and other cities around Australia.  My boys can't wait to see The Lego Movie and I just wanted to include a pic of the very cute spinning wheel card that Avant Card has done for the movie currently being distributed around the country throughout their exclusive venue network.  More tomorrow!

Nb. The Lego Movie postcard was Avant Card's 2014 Postcard of the Year.