Monday, July 11, 2011

Morning Musings

Back at McDonald's, Ballarat, having a lovely chai latte. This of you who know me know I am a mega-chai fan. Here in Australia they make the chai latte, which is essentially frothy warm spiced milk, with a lot of fresh nutmeg and cinnamon grated on top. It is a delicious substitute for the real thing, and even Mickey D's makes a great one! I am hooked.

The first day of the workshop was yesterday. The 10 women in our class are from all over Australia, including some quite remote islands and interior towns. They are wonderfully talented and excited about learning encaustic. Two of them even have a a lot of experience and have taught their own encaustic classes here, but they are amazed at all D. has to teach them. We are laughing all day as they regale us with assorted Aussie expressions and witticisms. We hear phrases their grandparents used, such as "stone the crows!" for when you are hugely surprised by something. We are becoming adept in the use of "good on ya, mate" instead of "good job". The linguistic chewiness here is delicious, full of color and humor and reflecting a deep affiliation with the British Isles, skewed by the Australian humor. Delightful!

Thankfully I am warmer today. There was a period of 24 hours when I was not a happy camper. The heat went off and one night we completely froze in our room. Camping in winter was my only analogy. I was not amused.

There are about 60-70 women here, most of them on the distant side of 50 like us. About a dozen of them are sporting flaming crimson hair, either partial or complete. It seems to be a trend among older women artists, I'm guessing.

There is one aboriginal woman too, who last night did a smoking ceremony for us all. She had a bucket of coals and she had each of us add a fresh eucalyptus branch to the smoking bucket. She told us that the indigenous people use this smoking ceremony to mark every important occasion, births, deaths, whatever. The smoke smelled beautifully fragrant!

Alas I have no photos from yesterday. I hope to do better next time!

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