Art of Woman

Christmas

I went to church on Christmas Day and saw a delightful video clip. Our church, Mosaic Baptist, Belconnen, often puts on dramas, interesting clips and info gathered from Christians from around the world. I attend a vibrant, active church that engages with modern technology.

The clip is an entertaining interpretation of the Christmas story from the angels’ point of view acted by some very cute children. There were some poignant comments that illuminate both the fragility of the Christ child and the enormity of the salvation message. I was amused by the gun-ho attitude of the boys who wanted to bring Christ to earth with an almighty army to conquer the world. The girls came up with some practical questions of where He will live and who will be welcoming Him. God shocked both the boys and girls by choosing a peasant girl to give birth in a stable! One angel showed impeccable logic and asks “What if they don’t notice?”. God’s answer is worth listening to carefully. All the angels were horrified that Christ was being born with animals! and hay! and POO! The look of disgust when they said “Poo!” was classic.

Christ was born physically in the same way that we all are, as a helpless baby born through the vagina of a woman, then suckling at her breasts. We can take joy in the physicality of our bodies whatever shape we are in - God certainly affirms the importance of our bodies. We are all fragile lumps of vulnerable flesh in a harsh, difficult and even hostile world. Christ’s humble natal family show us that we can all be agents of God regardless of our status in society. Christ’s example shows us that we all have the capacity to have an intimate relationship with God creator. Being rich and privileged does not give any advantage with God. Christ became one of us with a vulnerable physical body. He needed to eat, drink, have warm clothes and shelter, just like all of us.

And he died - just like all of us will.

The production was made by St Pauls in Auckland, New Zealand.
View on youtube: “An Unexpected Christmas

The Little Shell

The Little Shell_bookcover

The Little Shell is a delightful book written by Leonie Pye, a Belconnen resident. It is a collaborative work from skilled local people including illustrations by artists from from Open Art Group at Belconnen Community Centre, Lida Emami, Timothy Burke, Jenelle Outhwaite and Cameron Michael, graphic design by Susan Hey and photography by Margaret Kalms, also Belconnen residents.

The little shell finds herself washed up and broken, exposed on the beach. She is frightened and vulnerable and believes that she is not worth anything because she is broken. Will she ever fell safe again? The story is a metaphor for life. It demonstrates the joy of appreciating beauty in us all including our differences and imperfections.

It is written in easy language so that a young child could read it on their own. Yet the story has layers of meaning and different teaching aspects that a parent or teacher could bring out over many occasions of reading. The discussion points could engage older children and even adults.

This will make a great present for a small person in your life.

Leonie Pye is legally blind and gets around with her faithful guide dog, Franklin. She very generously is donating 20% of sale price to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

You can hear Leonie Pye in an interview recorded by ArtSound FM 92.7 (or 90.3 Tuggeranong) on Saturday 21 December 2013 on Artcetera. She spoke very well, articulating her story in a lucid and candid way. It was moving to listen to. Leonie has overcome many difficulties to publish this book and it is inspiring to understand how she has achieved this success. Franklin, her guide dog, rattled his lead to make sure he was included in the discussion!

The Little Shell by Leonie Pye - ArtSound FM interview 19MB

See ArtSound FM 92.7 programmes at; http://artsound.fm/programs/

Leonie Pye with "The Little Shell" 22 Dec 2013

Buy The Little Shell now at $A16.95 from Dymocks Belconnen and Paperchain Manuka.

Or direct from Leonie
- $A15.00 with $A2.50 postage within Australia.

email: nonibear62@gmail.com Mobile: +61 (0)428 330 073
Guide Dog website banner

Endometriosis Study

Do You Have Endometriosis?

A researcher I know, Maryam Moradi is doing a PhD studying how endometriosis affects women. She is inviting women with endometriosis to complete this newly developed questionnaire to measure the long term impact of this condition. The questions in the Endometriosis Impact Questionnaire (EIQ) have been developed based on 10 focus group discussions with 35 women with endometriosis. This study is being conducted by researchers through the Australian National University (ANU) and Canberra Endometriosis Centre.

Please invite anyone you know who has endometriosis to participate. You may place the attached Information sheet on your websites, Facebook and anywhere else you think is appropriate. Data collection for the project will close on 28 March 2014.

I encourage women with endometriosis to support this study, https://apollo.anu.edu.au/default.asp?pid=7700. Contact Maryam Moradi 0403 679 650 or email her at: maryam.moradi.fu@gmail.com

See information page and flyer,
Endometriosis Study Moradi ANU

More Photography Tutorials

Photography Concentrate is having a sale until 13 December 2013.

There is so much information on the internet, it is hard to know which information is right for you. I have been looking at various downloadable photography tutorials and have selected ones that develop specialist styles of photography. The advantage of downloadable tutorials is that they are not time limited. Once you have them downloaded onto your computer, you can work through the exercises whenever you have some spare time. You can also go practice techniques over and over until you have really gained the skill. My experience is that often what I learnt in class is forgotten a few days later unless I repeat the exercises. With downloadable tutorials, you can repeat them as often as you want. They become a reference material.

Hone your skills with a relevant tutorial from my “Photography Tips and Tutorials” page.

Tutorials include:
Posing Secrets Vol 1 and Vol 2, Landscape photography, Phone photography, Photo editing, Tricks and Special Effects photography, X-factor photography and PhotoShop for Photographers.
If you enjoy these tutorials, please recommend them to your friends.

If you buy one of these tutorials, I will receive a small commission which I will use to fund this website and to continue my “art of woman” photography.


I am presenting a photography workshop as a fund-raiser for Belconnen Artists Network. It is called, "Photography - The Art of Seeing". The workshop is aimed at a general audience and does not assume a sophisticated camera. It will be presented in three parts; 
1. background info such as elements and principles of design, planning photography, overview of camera controls,
2. a practical exercise taking photos and exploring new ways to see ordinary things and,
3. review of participants photos and discussion and evaluation.

The workshop will be held at Strathnairn Arts Centre in the Village Hall.
Photography-The Art of Seeing-Poster-web

Women Under-represented in the Arts

Guest writer Jennifer Amos writes about the participation and recognition of women in art. Many of the points Ms Amos raises applies to other fields. An Australian example is a recent study that found that women are under-represented in Architecture in Australia. According to the University of Melbourne, there are approximately equal male / female student numbers in Architecture faculties around Australia, yet, only 20.6% of the women registered for practice after graduation. There may be many reasons for this. Dr Niomi Stead has built a website forum to encourage debate about this issue. The site is called Parlour. Is there a similar site for artists?
Yes, women still have work to do to claim equality.

Margaret Kalms


No Going Back – There’s Still a Long Way to Go
Since 1960 I have been concerned with the creation of formal imagery that is specifically female, a new language that fuses mind and body into erotic objects that are namable and at the same time quite abstract. Its content has always related to my own body and feelings, reflecting pleasure as well as pain, the ambiguity and complexity of emotions." From Hannah Wilke, A Retrospective, University of Missouri Press, 1989
Two recent art exhibitions have brought forward this question of a specifically female “formal imagery”, but perhaps most importantly, have sought to re-examine the history of art through the work of female artists. These are
 WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution and  Elles: SAM - Singular Works by Seminal Women Artists. Read More...

My new website ecospiritlife.com.au

For several years I have been on the email list of Matt Branding at Global Eye Images. Over this time he has given me many tips on how to improve my photography and recommended ebooks or .pdf books to read on various photography topics. He shares a lot of information about his experiences with photography and how the digital age has impacted on the photography industry. He runs a successful stock photography business.

Recently, Matt Branding introduced me to new website package designed especially for photographers that his team has put together. I was somewhat skeptical about the idea at first as the site is built using WordPress and I had no experience in WordPress (Artofwoman.com.au is built using RapidWeaver). But I was curious about a site that was built with photographers’ needs in mind.

Well, I took the plunge and bought the package and, with the aid of the comprehensive tutorials and manuals, I built my new site. When I made mistakes, the support was prompt and friendly. It would have cost an absolute fortune to pay a technician to build ecospititlife.com.au without this package.

It is with great pleasure I present:
http://ecospiritlife.com.au
Exploring ecology and spirituality with photography and commentary.

If you would like to build your own site click on the banner below
Instant Profitable Photography Websites Read More...

Photography and PhotoShop tutorials

A lot of photography success is a result of knowledge and technique. There is a lot of information on the internet, but much of it is a poor standard and it takes time to filter through to the good stuff.

Today, I created a new page titled “Photography tips and tutorials”.

I have gathered together some reputable tutorials and information about photography that I have found helpful and interesting. Although I have been trained in photography in a technical college, there is always more to learn. Of course, the equipment is constantly changing, but I am not focusing on equipment. The information by manufacturers is comprehensive if you want to find out about equipment. I have selected information and tutorials that will develop creativity and ideas. If you work through these tutorials and tips, you will become an excellent photographer and be able to develop your own style.

There is a cost to some of these tutorials, but they are excellent quality and represent good value at reasonable prices. If you enjoy the links and take up the offers, I may receive a small commission, which will be used to continue my art photography practice.

Realistic Female Body in Nude Scene Shocker

It is a privilege to introduce guest writer Jennifer Amos who has written this post. She has insights into how women’s bodies are portrayed in nude scenes in popular TV shows. I agree that the way women are portrayed in the media can have a huge impact on women’s body image and self esteem.


Realistic female body in nude scene shocker

Fans of British drama Downton Abbey may have either been upset or unmoved by the death of Lady Sybil in the third series that finished its Australian run last month. Readers of this site however may applaud her refusal to slim down for nude scenes when shooting the film Albatross recently.

Jessica Brown Findlay as the actress is known in real life has said that she has since regretted doing the nude scenes at all because she wasn’t aware she could refuse. She has admitted to a certain amount of naivety but she surely deserves admiration for refusing to conform to the supposedly ideal body image of ultra thinness.

Most films and television programmes do unfortunately still portray this ideal image that for most women is unattainable. Contemporary creative art and photography can play a role in promoting positive body images for women by avoiding the airbrushed super slim images so common across the popular media.

Young Australian women plagued by body image issues

It is crucial that young women and girls are exposed to as many positive representations of female bodies as possible given the worrying trend in eating disorders and body image issues. According to recent reports 
eating disorders affect as many as one in 10 Australian women. The research suggests that body image issues are presenting in younger children, especially girls, and around half of all 10 and 11 year old girls are unhappy with their body.

It’s a shame most young women and girls are more likely to see skinny models in magazines and painfully thin actresses on the big screen than read about how Jessica Brown Findlay admitted to eating burgers and drinking pints the night before shooting nude scenes. This is not always the headline news. The actress said she would never succumb to Hollywood pressure to be a size 0 and that she thinks it is terrible that women are criticised so much because of their bodies.

Brown Findlay admires strong women and recently enjoyed playing a strong female role in the television adaption of Kate Mosse’s best-selling novel Labyrinth. There certainly aren’t that many roles out there portraying strong women that go beyond the objectification and sexualisation of 
female body image but a few serve as interesting examples. Rather than eating burgers and not worrying about the consequences, Angelina Jolie trained for months and months and lived on a high protein diet to bulk up her muscles and strength before she filmed Tomb Raider. This was a role that was never going to have an idealised or realistic body image - instead Jolie went for powerful and worked very hard at attaining it through diet and exercise. Hilary Swank reportedly relied on protein supplements and shakes all day in addition to hard core training to be super fit and strong for her role in Million Dollar Baby. Strong, even powerful female role models on the big screen can only have a positive effect on young women but it would be great to have more realistic characters with equally realistic bodies that normal women can relate to. Young women should be able to recognise normal bodies up on screen or in photographs that aren’t the result of extreme fad dieting or hard core physical training.

Reality check for mainstream culture please

Cinema and television can sometimes be a great art form, but it does not work hard enough to help promote a healthy and positive female body image and sometimes it is guilty of doing just the opposite. Women and young girls are constantly bombarded with unrealistic and unattainable female bodies and images that rely on objectification and mythical ideals.

Art and photography can and should be used on a wider scale to reach more mainstream audiences with a positive message for women. Going beyond art galleries and niche exhibitions, art needs to be out there in the public arena portraying women as they really are.

Cultural and advertising imagery should not be relying on the safe Hollywood ideal of women that is ultimately so damaging to the self-esteem and body image of thousands of young women and girls. Only by changing the way women are portrayed in all cultural and artistic mediums can we hope to let young women and girls know that it is ok to normal.

Jennifer Amos

Australia's Governor General visited TIME art exhibition

On Tuesday 19 March 2013, the Governor General Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO attended “Your Community Our Community Seniors Expo” a celebration of Seniors’ Week in Belconnen Community Centre. She included viewing TIME art exhibition as part of this Expo.

TIME art exhibition is Belconnen Artists’ Network contribution to Canberra’s 100th birthday. We all count our birthdays from a babyhood to maturity, but time is a lot more than counting. Several artists have articulated how time affects our lives including the ageing process and death. Time does not stop with our death and the generations grow and continue and life evolves into new forms. Artists have a role in articulating abstract or difficult concepts. Many aspects of time are explored in this exhibition, revealing nuances beyond our normal everyday experience.

One notable artist is our oldest member, Rena McCawley, who is a skilled photographer and regularly exhibits with our group. She is nearly 97 and is a great example of active older age fully engaging with the community.

Ms Quentin Bryce met Rena McCawley. They spoke together for several minutes about a range of topics related to art, photography and becoming a senior. It was clear that Ms Bryce enjoyed seeing such an active and lucid senior artist.

Rena’s work, “Generations of Time” is an exploration of four generations. She has captured the joy and cheekiness of the child, the grace and joy of motherhood, the relaxed pace of grand parenting and the sense of triumph in ageing well. A family likeness flows through the composition like mirrors reflecting successively into the distance.

Other artists that met Ms Quentin Bryce were Diana Davidson, Pauline Mager and me, Margaret Kalms.

TIME art exhibition is being held at the Belconnen Community Centre Gallery until 28 March and will be opened by Dr Eva Papp from the Australian National University, Research School of Earth Sciences at 6:00pm on Wednesday 20 March 2013.

Ms Quetin Bryce talking with Rena McCawley talking about her photograph Generations of Time
Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Rena McCawley visit TIME art exhibition

Ms Quetin Bryce talking with Margaret Kalms talking about her photograph Once in a Blue Moon
Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Margaret Kalms visit TIME art exhibition crop

Ms Quetin Bryce talking with Rena McCawley and Margaret Kalms
Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Rena McCawley, Margaret Kalms visit TIME art exhibition crop

TIME

Time-Once in a Blue Moon-Margaret Kalms ©
Once in a Blue Moon

Belconnen Artists’ Network is excited to announce—TIME—an exhibition at the Belconnen Community Centre Gallery from 18-28 March 2013 (26 Chandler St, Belconnen).

TIME exhibition will be opened by Dr Eva Papp from the Australian National University, Research School of Earth Sciences at 6:00pm on Wednesday 20 March 2013.

The Belconnen Community Centre Gallery is open from 9–5 on week days from 18-28 March 2013.

This exhibition’s theme of time is most appropriate as Belconnen Artists’ Network’s contribution to the centenary of Canberra.

The artists have explored multiple facets of time in extraordinary ways through physical changes, analogy, symbology and philosophy; using a wide range of media such as photography, sculpture, painting, digital media and textiles. The meanings and impacts of time are expressed in personal ways reflecting how each artist responds to and interacts with time.

Some of the ways the artists describe their work are:
• Natural peaceful contemplation
• Direction
• Lost time
• A moment
• DNA
• Aging process
• Life is finite
• Extinction/creation
• Geological earth time

Artists represented in this exhibition have a wide range of experiences and have exhibited in Canberra, interstate and internationally.

TIME builds on their successful exhibition in the Belconnen Arts Centre last year and positions Belconnen Artists’ Network as a significant artist’s group in Canberra.

The opening speaker, Dr Eva Papp has experience interpreting visual imagery with remote sensing, multispectral imagery and mapping. Her deep knowledge of geological time gives her experiences of time on an expansive scale. It is a great honour to welcome Dr Eva Papp to the Belconnen Community Gallery to open the Time exhibition.

TIME - review by Margaret Kalms

Download an invitation for the exhibition and opening on 20 March at 6:00pm.

Map showing the location of Belconnen Community Centre Gallery. Note: it is near the library and ACT government shopfront.

Map of Belconnen Community Centre Gallery

First Ladies - Significant Australian Women 1913 - 2013

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia. There is a wonderful exhibition of women who have achieved firsts during their lives. The exhibition is open until 16 March.

It is alway humbling seeing great people and this exhibition is no exception. These women have achieved so much, overcoming significant opposition and even antagonism. Although a small exhibition, there are only 26 portraits, it is very memorable in the variety of fields that are represented. I thoroughly recommend a visit. You will be inspired.

I have written a short review focusing on several women whose interests and achievements compliment this blog.

Download the review:
First Ladies - Significant Australian Women 1913 - 2013: A review by Margaret Kalms

Australia Day

Australia is a fantastic place to live in. There are many opportunities here. We have a stable government, even if they argue a lot, and we have good infrastructure and good health and education systems.

Today Australia celebrated its national day. There were a lot of public festivities and private barbecues simply appreciating Australia with joy and gratitude. It is a good thing to celebrate Australians who have contributed greatly to society with the Australia Day honours awards.

In all the Australia Day celebrations that I saw, live and shown on TV, there was a lot of discussion about what it means to be an Australian person, but I saw no mention of what it means to be an Australian animal or plant. Yet our unique wildlife and bush is a significant part of our Australian identity.

What would the Australian identity be without the Koala? Yet recently the Koala has suffered such severe declines in population, it was placed on the threatened species list.

Australia is a megadiverse country. Our geographic isolation has created a suite of literally thousands of species that are endemic to Australia, that is, they are found in no other country in the world. Unfortunately, many of these species are suffering from the impacts of feral species (that is, species from other countries that have gone wild in our bushland and desert). Many feral species disrupt our fragile ecosystems. They reduce forage, occupy scarce nest sites and eat our native wildlife.

The possibility that Australia could loose any of its unique species is totally unacceptable.

I enjoyed the Australia Day Live celebrations outside parliament house, see photo below. When I look at this child I see Australia’s future. I hope that Australia will still have its unique wildlife by the time he has children of his own. Will his children be able to see any living Bridle Nail-tailed Wallabies, Numbats, Barred Bandicoots, Bettongs and Bilbies? These native Australians are extremely beautiful and are critically endangered. And most people do not even know they exist.

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy has increased the populations of Bridle Nail-tailed Wallabies, Numbats, Barred Bandicoots, Bettongs and Bilbies and many other animals. They measure their success using science based evidence such as population studies and fire control experiments. I fully support the Australian Wildlife conservancy and ask that you support them too.

Be a caring Aussie and help maintain our endemic wildlife. You can donate here.

To see the animals mentioned in this article, see their summer magazine, “Wildlife Matters”.

Australia Day baby 2013