Thursday, 27 September 2018

Our time in Menindee for 2018 has come and gone

The Darling River (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2018)

Outback New South Wales has had no decent rain for two years, and the country is suffering. There are few species out, and we were unable to find any of the 39 plants still left on our list. So, no paintings of new plants.

At Lake Pamamaroo (Photo Copyright: Anne Lawson, 2018)
We have been asked by the Herbarium to recollect species. They are interested in having a comprehensive collection of plants from the same location, collected at the same time, but in different conditions. We found some to recollect.

The Darling Pea is out along the Darling River banks flowering and growing to about 1m, although not as high as our first year in 2010. The black blue bushes are all grey …. except for the odd one being an intense almost viridian green blue, plenty of young fruits are their usual bright lime green. The Bracyscome multifida and the little pink Convolvulos are happily flowering, the Centipeda is en-masse at the receding lake. And the senna bushes are everywhere.
The Centipeda did need some rehydration in the sink before it could be pressed for the Herbarium!

While there was not the usual hum of collecting and painting in Menindee's Civic Hall during the week, we did keep busy,  recollecting what we could find, working on unfinished paintings and creating a field guide for the plants left to be found. 

Our important reference book, with labels of the plants we are still to find
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2018)
The plants here have evolved in this harsh environment, and have developed strategies that help them survive in the long term. When the rains finally come many of our little treasures will emerge.
Seeds waiting for the rain. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2018)

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Panel discussion of Beckler's Botanical Bounty at the Australian Garden, Cranbourne

Beckler's Botanical Bounty
Sunday 4 March 2018

Australian Garden Auditorium, Cranbourne Gardens

Click here for directions
Members $15
Non-members $20
Students $5
Bookings are essential; ring 5990 2200 for more information

Invitation for you and your friends to a special afternoon of adventure, history, botany, art that also includes afternoon refreshments!

Presenters will include:Dr Linden Gillbank, Honorary Researcher, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, who contributed the essay on von Mueller and Hermann Beckler in Burke & Wills, The Scientific Legacy of the Victorian ExpeditionDr Roslyn Glow OAM and Jan Rosenberg,  participating artists will illustrate some of the excitement of plant discovery and portrayal; Mali Moir, leader and coordinator of the project will outline some of the botanical and artistic challenges and what may be seen at the Ballarat Gallery. 

The fate of Burke and Wills on the Victorian Exploring Expedition in 1860 is familiar to most Australians. What is less acknowledged is the considerable scientific legacy left by the scientists who joined the Expedition – surveyor, astronomer, meteorologist, geologist, mineralogist, zoologist and botanist. This last role was fulfilled part-time by medical officer and botanical collector, Dr Hermann Beckler.

Beckler was to resign when the Expedition reached Menindee on the Darling River. He remained there awaiting a replacement doctor for the Expedition, and was at last able to make considerable progress with his botanical findings. He sent 120 plant specimens to Ferdinand Mueller at the Melbourne Herbarium, where they are housed. Only one plant specimen was painted in the field, and this task was never completed.

As part of the 150th recognition of the Expedition, a group of Melbourne botanical artists decided to celebrate Dr Hermann Beckler's contribution by revisiting his plant collections made in Menindee. Every year since 2010 a group, led by botanical artist Mali Moir and with generous help from botanist Andrew Denham, has spent time searching for, collecting and pressing specimens for lodgement in the Melbourne and Sydney herbariums, and painting them.
This exciting and challenging project has culminated with the Beckler's Botanical Bounty Exhibition at the Ballarat Gallery, opened on 27 February by Professor Tim Entwisle, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. 
The Cranbourne Friends botanical illustrators group will be travelling to Ballarat to see the exhibition on Wednesday 14 March. All welcome. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat

Preparations are well underway for our exhibition.
Beckler's Botanical Bounty Exhibition
25th February to 27th May 2018
at the Art Gallery of Ballarat
40 paintings, by 24 artists,  have been selected. These paintings are stunning representations of the plants of the Menindee area. All have been painted with scientific accuracy and many have microscopic dissections of seeds and reproductive parts of the plant.
With us in Menindee have been other artists, including a film artist, and their work will be on display too.
​So a total of 27 artists!

You can watch a slide show of photos which explains and documents the project. We also hope that it will give you a glimpse into our favourite arid inland area, and understand what it is that draws us back each year.

There are cabinets of objects that will allow you to dive deeper into our four themes ~ Art, Country, History and Science. For example you will be able to see the actual painting tools used to create one of the art works. Alongside these are the sketchbooks, colour charts and working drawings, showing the preliminary work before paint gets put onto the good paper. Personally I love little peeks 'behind the scenes', to see how art works are created.

And there will be a catalogue for you to buy, to take away and read at your leisure.

So lots to see. The Gallery is a short walk from the Ballarat station and the town has plenty of other things to offer. Gather some friends and have a  perfect day's outing!