CAMBODIA

 

After a great workshop in Vietnam, Dianne and I flew over to Siem Reap in Cambodia to see the Angkor temples and waterside villages on  Tonle Sap lake. The Cambodian people are happy and friendly. The country is 97% Buddhist and many of the children, from poorer families, go into the monasteries to take pressure off the families. 

We met Pau, who entered a monastery at eight years of age and is now in his early twenties. He enjoys the discipline of the monastery. He speaks good English and is studying education. His goal is to open a village school to improve the chances for young people to work and study.

© John Lovett 2017
Monastery accommodation is austere and simple.

© John Lovett 2017
Pau, happy with his life as a Monk.

© John Lovett 2017
Detail of intricate stone carving from Angkor Wat

© John Lovett 2017

Angkor Wat Temple

© John Lovett 2017

Stone gable carving Angkor Wat

© John Lovett 2017

Ta Phrom Temple – slowly being eaten by the jungle.

© John Lovett 2017

 

Thom Bayon Temple features large carved stone heads of Buddha and beautiful, intricate relief carvings of daily life back in the 11th and 12th centuries.

© John Lovett 2017

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Temple monkey overcome with boredom

© John Lovett 2017

Temple monkey overcome with confusion

© John Lovett 2017

Temple monkey overcome with enlightenment.

 

© John Lovett 2017

Siem Reap petrol tanker – powered by a mechanical plough.

© John Lovett 2017

Fire pot vendor powered by a small motor scooter

© John Lovett 2017

Mattress vendor- powered by a small motorbike

 

© John Lovett 2017

With the luxury of a small truck, there is nothing you can’t carry.

 

From Siem Reap we travelled by tuk tuk down to Kampong Phluk – a village of stilt houses, some colorful, some old and thatched, built in the Tonle Sap Lake. It’s a fascinating village – life is lived entirely on the water. Kids grow up in boats and soon become skilled fishermen.

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ALBERTA SNOW

Right now in Canada trees should be turning brilliant colors, temperatures should be starting to fall and preparations for winter should be just around the corner. We arrived in brilliant sunshine, enjoyed that for a couple of days then woke up to a huge dump of out of season September snow. Overnight temperatures dropped to minus 10 degrees, roads were closed, power supplies were interrupted and tree limbs littered the streets – inconvenient for the local residents but an amazing site for us.

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Twisted foothills of the Rocky Mountains

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These guys are the double decker bus version of a domestic cow

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Wyeth like.

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Warm fire on a cold night at Lyla and John’s

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Small lake in the mountains above Banff

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Mountain Goats learning to eat rocks

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Driving through the snow covered prairies north of Calgary was a fantastic sight – soft, bleak and grey.

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Badlands

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Winter wood

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Kila

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MALDON AND THE MOUNTAINS

With 5 days up our sleeve before the Maldon Workshop started we decided to slowly plod our way down to Victoria via backroads and out of the way places rather than race down the highway.

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We camped behind the pub in the little town of Goolma, where the publican spun us a great tale about his favourite dog staring down a possum – neither would give in and they both died without ever moving.

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This is the possum

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…and this is the dog

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Foggy morning behind the pub

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We wound our way down onto the Murray River before heading across to Maldon. Great to see the river with so much water and the country in such good condition.

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Julienne, the workshop coordinator in Maldon, arranged for us to stay in this fantastic little farm house – complete with chooks and a veggie garden.

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Maldon is a beautiful little town protected by a heritage listing to preserve the unchanged character of the place.

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The 5 day workshop was a lot of fun. We met some fantastic people and really enjoyed the quiet little country town.

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Melbourne was in the middle of the Spanish Festival in Brunswick and the Polish Festival in the City, so there was a lot happening.

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After a few days in Melbourne we took off towards the Snowy Mountains via the Sale Wetlands…

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…a spectacular series of swamps, creeks and billabongs just out of town – made even more dramatic by the approaching storm clouds.

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From Sale we drove up towards the Snowy River and took the long windy track down to McKillop Bridge.

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The mountains were magnificent and the road signs basic.

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MacKillop Bridge across the Snowy River. First built in 1935 and washed away a few days before it was due to open.

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Mmmm – Jindabyne Steak, 4 minutes each side, Yum.

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Above Charlotte Pass there were still patches of snow on the ground.

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Snow Gums

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Thredbo River

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Platypus in one of the small creeks.

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Stormy night up near Kiandra

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Creek on the Long Plain Road

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Home via Washpool NP.

CHATEAU DE LA FLEUNIE

After our stay in Aix en Provence we boarded a coach and made our way through the French country side to Chateau de la Fluenie. The Chateau was built in the 1300’s and extended in the 1600’s. It is a beautiful old building set on manicured, spacious grounds just outside the small village of  Condat in the Dordogne

The main dining room

After a hard days painting it was nice to relax and enjoy drinks on the terrace as the sun went down.

We were fortunate to have access to a large conference room,should the weather turn bad. Fortunately we had only one foggy morning where staying indoors made painting a lot more comfortable.

The Chateau had its own heard of deer and a collection of very small goats.

Further down the paddock were a pair of friendly pigs

The small village of Condat, just down the road from La Fleunie, was a great place to paint. There was a bar, coffee shop and restaurant in the village, so we were well looked after.

Lunch in Condat

Butterfly disguised as dandelion.

Hand hewn timber in the roof of an ancient Condat farm building.

Trees in the region were getting ready to loose their leaves – some were bare, some where still green and some had fantastic colors.

We visited the medieval town of Sarlat – beautiful old buildings, markets, shops and restaurants, plus a wealth of painting subjects. A great place to spend the day.

Behind the Cathedral we found a quiet spot with a great view of one of  the towns Medieval houses.

La Roque-Gageac was another medieval town tucked under a cliff on the bend of the Dordogne River. It seemed a strange location for a town, but looked spectacular reflected in the water. We spent most of the day painting there, then went to visit the Lascaux Caves. No photos due to copyright restrictions according to our guide?!

After the workshop we traveled to Bordeaux airport where everyone headed off in different directions.

Dianne and I stayed a couple of days in Bordeaux and after the luxurious accommodation we were used to, the view from our room came as a bit of a shock.

Bordeaux has some beautiful buildings, but not far from where we stayed was the building below. It must be the ugliest building in France, built from checker plate metal, freeway crash barriers and funny little windows.

Bordeaux fruit stand

SNAPPY GUMS

Eucalyptus leucophloia

All across the Pilbra grows a small twisted eucalypt known as Snappy Gum.  So called because the dead branches snap cleanly across the grain when cracked across a rock or log. This makes them ideal for fire wood. The young trees are smooth and graceful, but as they age, develop into fantastic, knotted,twisted shapes. They are great fun to photograph, particularly with a 10mm lens. Here are some of my favorites.



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