Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world. I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist.
Focussing mainly on Western Australia and Australia, I am seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Sunday 28 May 2017

Writing writing writing......

Are you a writer? Do you dabble at writing but have trouble starting and sticking with it? Do you suffer from writer's block? 

I call myself a photographer-writer, but I think I am more a photographer than a writer. I have belonged to a writers group, the South Side Quills for several years. We published our anthology, The Runaway Quill, in 2016. And I write freelance for a couple of Australian travel magazines, but I don't know if I really am a writer. I don't think I have a "novel" in me. I am not driven to write like I believe a writer should be. For instance I don't write every day. I feel to improve I should be writing every day. 

 Last week I found a blog called The Writer's Journey - you can visit them here - Writer's Journey.  This link will also take you to some writer's tips. The first one of which is:

"carry a note book at all times, in your purse, your car, by your bed. Write in this notebook whenever you can, random thoughts, observations, descriptions..... If you feel too self conscious in public to use a notebook be a thoroughly modern Mr or Ms and make notes on your phone."

This is my first mistake. I don't carry a notebook, but I do carry my camera....perhaps there is a message to me in there. I do carry a notebook when we travel and I constantly make notes in it when we are away. I wouldn't be much of a travel writer if I didn't would I? 

But I know I should take notes.... so today I took their advice when I was out in the bush and I wrote some notes in my phone. Here is what I wrote. I know it's not much and it's not going to put me up there with the great writers in history, but it's a start.

There's a slight breeze rustling the leaves in the very top branches of the trees. It's a continual sound like a story being told to the undergrowth below. Unseen birds call to each other. The mist laying in the valley below slowly lifts as the sun reaches its tendrils down over the ridgeline and through the trees. Dew drops sparkle gold on leaves and turns delicate spider webs into chains of silver baubles. We sit on a log with our hot mug of soup warming our hands.  A flock of red tailed cockatoos fly squawking overhead. 

Their second tip was using writing prompts:
 "For a week start a piece of writing every morning with the words 'I remember...'. Especially good for memoir writers. Start writing your memoir as a list. Go back as far as you can and list all your memories as dot points....Choose one each day for a ten minute writing exercise."

The prompt for this month's homework for my writer's group was "the day it all ended" or if you like "began". For me this was a piece of memoir writing. And I have a picture to go with it, of course!

In the late afternoon on the day of my seventeenth birthday, 15th November 1972, at Belmont Senior High School, was the day it all ended. I put down my pencil, stacked my exam papers together and handed them into the Leaving Exam supervisor.

It was done. I knew I had not done well. After four years of studying shorthand it had all come down to this final exam. 

I was full of enthusiasm when I started studying Pitman’s Shorthand in 1969. That mysterious code of light and dark strokes, dots, dashes, curves and curls developed by Isaac Pitman in the early 1800s which he had spent half a century improving, was about to be unlocked for me and the other girls in my Commercial class. 

Ploughing on through second, third, fourth and fifth year high school. My results over those four years show the ups and downs of my study. At first diligent and fully committed to my studies, but slowly undermined by other distractions like the appearance of boys on my radar.  And anyway, I didn't really want to be an office worker, I didn't know what I wanted to do.

At some stage I must have believed in myself and my ability to excel. I even bought a book all written in shorthand – Half Hours with Popular Authors – for which I had paid the princely sum of 5 cents at a book sale.  Within these yellowed pages you can even read “An Evening Wind’ by Dickens. I never did read it or any of the other masterpieces hidden in those shorthand squiggles although even today I can’t bring myself to part with that book. 

That's me front row left

I passed my Leaving Certificate. I even received a distinction in Economics, somewhat due to my cramming on old exam papers the night before, to find to my delight, the same questions in my exam paper! Thank goodness for my memory that day! 

My Leaving Stenography exam was the last day I ever used shorthand. Perhaps it was just as well as my results later showed only 50%, I had barely passed. But I can still remember those first strokes – p, b, t, d, ch, j.  And for some reason the symbol for “between” which I still randomly use when writing quick notes. I guess on that day I was the girl between – between school girl and working girl.  I started my first job within weeks of leaving high school, thankfully I wasn’t required to take dictation. 

 I decided to look up Mr Dickens' "An Evening Wind" on the net. It's a passage from Chapter 2 of his book, Martin Chuzzlewit. 

You can read it by clicking here at - The Literature Network

Here is the beginning of the passage which was written in shorthand in "Half Hours with Popular Authors".

"The sun went down beneath the long dark lines of hill and cloud which piled up in the west an airy city, wall heaped on wall, and battlement on battlement; the light was all withdrawn; the shining church turned cold and dark; the stream forgot to smile; the birds were silent; and the gloom of winter dwelt on everything.

An evening wind uprose too, and the slighter branches cracked and rattled as they moved, in skeleton dances, to its moaning music. The withering leaves no longer quiet, hurried to and fro in search of shelter from its chill pursuit; the labourer unyoked his horses, and with head bent down, trudged briskly beside them; and from the cottage windows lights began to glance and wink upon the darkening fields."

Don't you just love the imagery! No wonder Dickens was such a revered author. I am ashamed to say I don't think I have ever read any of his books right through, even though I have several on my shelves. I think I will need to amend this. Perhaps I was not ready before to read him. 

I've written a few pocket memories for my writing group homework at various times.  I'm thinking I should put them into a book, with photos of course! And yes, I started writing my memoirs a few years ago. I must get back to them. I think the idea of dot-pointing your memories and going from there is a great idea.

Do you use writer's prompts? What do you do to get over writer's block? Perhaps you would like to tell us in your comments. 

This week in my garden, the grape leaves are turning red and gold, the oranges on my orange tree are ripening and we are starting to pick them to eat. And the last roses of autumn are dancing in the late afternoon light. 

This image of the rose I took last autumn. I was thrilled when my artist friend, Marguerite Aberle, used my rose photo recently as inspiration for one of her pieces for a joint exhibition of rose pictures. Done in pastel on black paper, framed in black, Marguerite called it "Sunlit Dancer". The exhibition was a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, and was held at the Bridgetown Pottery Restaurant. 

 And if you are wondering what that little book was at the top of the page, I went to a free mini workshop the other day run by Mairim Garret from Creative in Nature, where I hand made this little book just with papers and thread to sew it all together. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!


Mosaic Monday
Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens 

Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday
The Lovin' Life Team over at Lifestyle Fifty
Sky Watch Friday


Sunday 21 May 2017

Down in the woods today.... in the Western Australian bush

We took a drive up to the bush today inland from Harvey about an hour or so from home. I love walking in the bush as long as it is not too hot, which it wasn't today with winter starting to take its grip on Western Australia's south west.

This area is predominantly jarrah forest. There were no wildflowers out yet, I will have to wait for spring for that, but did I care? No not one bit. There is always something to photograph. And anyways just being in the bush, walking, absorbing the quietness, and then sitting with our cup of soup and bread for lunch, was just perfect for me. 

There are greens

 The Prickly Hakea - Hakea amplexicaulis - which flowers August to October. I love the way the prickly wavy leaves wrap themselves around the stem. The flowers sit on top of these leaves. 

This was taken last year - not quite open

The Leucopogon verticillatus, or Tassel flower, is the tallest epacrid in Western Australia. Its striking form and similarity to bamboo made it the first Western Australia export to Japan, where it is used in flower arrangement. The small flowers form tassels of pink or red. This is an understory plant which grows in heavy soils in Karri, Jarrah, Tingle and similar forests in the south-west.  Wikipedia.org/wiki/Leucopogon_verticillatus

There are browns on the forest floor, and in dying leaves - which are still beautiful

There is bark. I love the textures of bark. The one the left and right are burnt bark. Some of this bush land was devastated by the horrific bushfires which raged through Western Australia's south west in January 2015. I showed you some pictures in my blog post - Bushwalking at Hoffmans Mill
It is good to see the forest is slowly regenerating.  

In that particular blog post I showed you images of the bushfire devastated bushland and the historic Long Gully Bridge which was destroyed in those bushfires. The bridge had been an important river crossing for the Bibbulmun Track over the Murray River.  Sad to say the bridge has not yet been replaced and there is now a 30 kilometre diversion in place on the track. Please make sure if you intend walking on the Bibbulmun Track that you contact them or check their website for up-to-date information, track closures and diversion etc.  
 Here is their link - Bibbulmun Track and a link which shows images of the historic bridge and ways to donate - Bridge the Gap

My favourite "Snotty Gobble" top left hand corner below - which I shared with you last year - Enjoying the Australian bush - and at the top right hand corner I think is the Couch Honeypot - Dryandra lindleyana. I saw it flowering for the first time last year, and was fairly sure of its identity. It is a low ground plant. Below that are fresh and dried versions of fern.

And a photo of the Couch Honeypot which I took in late September last year. 

There are also other treasures to discover hiding in the undergrowth. The sun kissing the orange-red of a fallen leaf.


And how about playing around with some blur just for the fun of it. I hope this image doesn't make your head spin!

And the best thing? Being out in the fresh air away from the stresses of life, indulging my passion for photography, and it's free!

 Lastly..... today I was reading in The West Australian weekend newspaper about the creator of Canva, Western Australian Perth girl Melanie Perkins, in 2012. They now have over  100 team members from 12 countries in 3 offices, and have created over 100 million designs and have over 10 million users. So I thought I should have a look at Canva. At the moment I am using Picmonkey for my collages (it is super easy to use), but it looks like Canva have lots of cool features. Obviously it takes a little to find your way around (I can't figure out how to just get a basic 6 opening template yet.....), but here is a small start.  I'm not sure I like the way they just changed the colours of the leaves without me asking them to. What do you think?
I was wondering what program do you use for your collages?

Do you enjoy bushwalking? Perhaps you'd like to tell us about your favourite bushwalking track in the comments. 
In the meantime, thank you so much for dropping by. I hope you have enjoyed this little walk in the Western Australian bush in late autumn with me. I appreciate each and everyone of you who take the time to stop by, look, and comment. I will try in return to visit your blogs.  Have a wonderful week. 

I just found this site you might find of interest -
Wildflower Society of Western Australia

You might also enjoy -
Enjoying the Australian bush
Bushwalking at Hoffmans Mill, Harvey
It's time to be out on the Bibbulmun Track again 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!


Mosaic Monday 
Life Thru the Lens 

Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday
The Lovin' Life Team over at Lifestyle Fifty
The Weekly Postcard 
Sky Watch Friday

Saturday 6 May 2017

Dardanup Art Spectacular and Art Trail

I very much enjoyed being involved in the Dardanup Art Spectacular and Art Trail held from the 29 April to 7 May, located in and around Dardanup and the beautiful Ferguson Valley in Western Australia's south west.

The annual art spectacular exhibition, and competition, by local and other artists in the Dardanup Hall was the introduction to a nine day exploration of local galleries, wineries, and restaurants showcasing art, crafts and produce from the region, whilst travelling through the beautiful Ferguson Valley. As well as seeing artists at work, some venues also had free musical performances for visitors to enjoy as they sipped their coffee or wine. 

I was very happy to again be invited to set up my pop-up-shop at Lyndendale Gallery on Crooked Brook Road, on Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend of the trail, where I was able to sell some of my photography, photo cards, cushions, tote bags and eco-dyed scarves. A huge thank you to our gracious hostess, printmaker and mixed media artist Denise Gillies, for giving me the opportunity to display my work.  

I had a lovely weekend on the verandah with fellow artists - acrylic artist Christine Blowfield, ceramic artist Tracie Anderson, artist Terry Madgwick, and artist and printmaker Elizabeth Royce, along with the inside exhibitors, mixed media artist Jacky McFarlane, and printmaker and mixed media artist Lynne Mitchell. 

As well as enjoy our chats on the front verandah, I enjoyed seeing these artists creating their works.  

Accompanied by the music wafting from the back verandah from the Bel Canto Singers, Tim Posey, Ruby Blue, Bob Burgess and others! Doesn't this look like a delightful setting to sit back and enjoy.
Along with a lovely bowl of soup and a hot roll at lunch time.

Even the cows came over to take a look over the fence to see what was happening

 And a lovely drive home through the valley at the end of the day.

As I was at Lyndendale all weekend, and busy all week, we decided to take some time out on Monday afternoon to take a drive out through the Ferguson to see "Follies by the Ferguson" on the property of Kim and Simon Wesley at Peppermint Lane Lodge on Wellington Mill Road.

Follies by the Ferguson, now in its third year, is an art sculpture trail set amongst the peppermint trees of their property which always enthralls. Here are just a few of the creative art pieces on display this year.

How about a wine bottle chandelier? You might like to look again at the two on the right. 

Or how about a whimsical up-cycled lampshade created by the group Yarnin' Knitters, with proceeds going to Solaris Care helping those going through cancer.

I hope you have enjoyed this small look at the Dardanup Art Spectacular and Trail. You can find out more and see more of the artworks by visiting their Facebook page here - Dardanup Art Spectacular

Do you have an annual art trail in your area. Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!


Mosaic Monday 
Life Thru the Lens 

Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday
The Lovin' Life Team over at Lifestyle Fifty