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Shalom means the same as peace, but it just sounds like such a beautiful word. This piece of word art I drew was inspired by Nadine Brandes, Out of Time Series. Shalom is a key word in the books. I just wanted to share a few bible verses about peace along with the pictures, because they are such good verses to be reminded of.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. ~John 16:33

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 
~Colossians 3:15-16

Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 
~1 Peter 3:10-12

Shalom, peace be with you.
Our family went for a walk up to a little copse of trees together on fathers day. The sun shone down bright and warm and a cool breeze bent the grass upon the rolling hills around the lake as we climbed through the paddock.

We looked down on dams that reflected the blue of the sky and small parts of the lake that stretched out into gullies off the main lake.

We reached a knoll and then traipsed down the other side into the stand of thick trunked gum trees.

 We sat down and snacked on a few biscuits in the peace and quiet of the grove. Well not actually, we were there, so it rapidly became rather loud with the crack of sticks on sticks and logs on an old tree stump that apparently did not deserve to stand in the ground any longer. My dad and some younger siblings decided it was absolutely necessary that they get the stump out, or at least snapped off at ground level. And to cut a long story of noise, and cracks, leavers, clubs and flying sticks short, they did actually succeed. 

Then we set off again to walk down a different ridge line and back through the paddock to the car.

 Do you like bushwalking?
What did you do for fathers day?

Austockphoto is live! After all the uploading of photos, keywording, editing, cross checking, searching for problems, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, it is finally launched and out in the world. 

I have mentioned Austockphoto a few times on my blog before but in case you have not been listening, I am a photographer for it, and also an editor/cross checker and website tester, (I got to have fun finding problems with the test site and trying to break things, just before more waiting and finally the launch). As I said we do have lift off and I am excited, actually everyone involved is. Now all the photos; which are all taken in Australia by Australian photographers, are up for sale. I know I said it before but the site is live for everyone, and is looking beautiful! So you should go look at it even if you don't need to buy photos for whatever reason. Of course if you know someone who does, well spread the word! 

And check out my 1000+ images I have on there. Oh and on that note you can also probably blame Austockphoto for the slackness of my blog posts too. I have been busy, and now I hope a lot of that will be paid off!

What do you think of the site?
Did you have a look at it... well you should, seriously, and see all those photos of mine that I never got around to posting about.
Last week I read Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildI am glad I borrowed this book from a friend and did not pay anything for it. I liked it, and rated it three stars on Goodreads. Mind you I also rated the first HP book 3 stars but it is way, way, way better, which rather tempts me to lower the stars on this one. I reviewed the whole Harry Potter series in this post a while ago.

This book came no where near the others. Not even close. Despite telling myself not to I expected to much. I spent the much of the time while reading it being annoyed at the whole plot of the story. It did not have that magicalness, or beauty of the actual books. I never really got into the story I think I can mostly blame that on the layout and style of the book, It is written in play format, so everything is dialogue or 

"Suddenly there is another rumble in the chimney and DRACO comes down hard, surrounded by cascading soot and dust.
Everyone looks at him surprised. He stands and brushed the soot off himself."

Every emotion and action is told. Which gets painful, as does the overuse of "suddenly". The reader if jolted around from scene to scene. It is easy to read but still confusing as to how we actually got to where we got to in such a short time. It is after all called a "Play by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany." There were no epic plot twists, and the whole plot felt rather cliché, it is just like so many other time travel stories. I liked the old time travel in the books by J.K. Rowling, that was quite unique and made a lot of sense, but the stuff in this book is as annoying and overused as almost every other time travel book. The story feels like fan fiction, which I guess it is as it is not really written by Rowling. I had not expected it to be as good as the other books but I had hoped it would be a bit better than it was.

Lets spin and travel through time and put everything that happened in the beloved HP series in peril of not ever happening.

I felt as though I was being forced to imagine the whole thing on a stage and as a play instead of it feeling real. So if you read this remember that it is not a book, it is a play. I would rather like to see it on a stage, but I just could not enjoy it as a book. It does not feel as if it was ever intended to be a book. After all Jack Thorne the playwright did write most of it. (I noticed that though J.K. Rowling gets her name big on the cover, he actually gets it twice, and it is Rowling’s name that sells the book, and they are her characters.)

Yes sometimes even I take slightly blurry photos... and let people see them.
But I had to have it exposed long enough to get the spin. Oh well...

But since when does Ron own the joke shop? And what happened to George and young Fred, they are never mentioned! (A rather depressing fact.) There were a few things like that which felt inconsistent and rather bothered me. Also who is the cursed child? And what is with the weird book cover? I still don't understand either? And seriously Voldemort had a child? <very slight spoiler

But there were some good bits, I really liked the friendship between the two main characters, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy. Scorpious was the bright spot in the book, he was the only character I really liked from the start and of course to the end. He was the one who drew me into the story and made me laugh. And it was nice to see a few of our old friends again, but it just did not do it for me.

I also liked one of the alternate realities where some characters who should be dead were still living in them, and I enjoyed that bit. So I guess you may enjoy it, but just don't expect that much.... not that I did, I guess I just couldn't help it, but I do kinda want to forget all that book and just read the original series again.. still the most annoying thing could have been how the time turning put all the original books at risk of not being true anymore.

And as to why I did not take any photos of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with the other books well there they are:

  • I could not be bothered to pull all the others out of my shelf and lug them around
  • The covers look terrible together.... they are just a nope nope nope
  • It is not worthy of sitting beside them
  • And did you notice the first photo? I was in the mood to rip up another book of plays that I bought over a year ago (for the purpose of ripping up for photos) and had not yet had the heart to destroy.

Have you read HP and the Cursed Child?
Do you like time travel in books?
Are you planning on reading this book?
I went photo hunting, exploring and on a walk down memory lane yesterday. I wore a woolly jumper and trousers but despite the nippy breeze which at the start almost made me wish I have worn one of my scarves and a jacket the warm sun soon made it a most beautiful winter morning.

I walked into a nearby paddock and on, going where I had never gone before. Mostly because I trespassed across the corner a paddock belonging to someone else. The main paddocks I walked through are land that is not really owned by anyone in particular (I think it is Crown Land owned and managed by State Government.) and so anyone can walk on it. But I found a place where a huge gum tree had fallen over the fence and squashed it. Obviously no one wanted to move it so they just built the fence again around it. It made a perfect stile to cross the fence with. So I did. Then I adventured across that paddock and two huge mobs of Kangaroos bounded away before me. 

Then I came to another fence, It had much tighter wires and all the strands were of barbed wire, but in one place a creek must sometimes flow so I ducked under there and entered another world. From a vast open almost treeless paddock the land changed to a forest of whispering casuarina trees. The morning sunlight shone of the needles and the wind blew through the trees setting them swaying all around me and making the calming whispering sound that the trees do in a breeze. 

I followed A little creek into the trees for some distance, lichen covered rocks poked out from under scattered pine needles.  All around grass grew greener until I could no longer tell where the creek really went. In fact, everywhere began to look the same, green springy grass among the lichen covered trees, only one large tree behind me marked my path. So I turned back. 

I walked along at the edge of the whispering wood. Until I came back to the first paddock, it is large so stretched the length of the other easily. I also found a small spiky native wattle bush. 

I had met a heard of black cows with calves on my way there and got quite close to many of them. On the way back I came across a different heard of colourful cows with sharp horns, they bolted when I came near, thankfully away from me.

 Before I made my way home, I went searching for a house that a friend and I and one of my sisters built many years ago. It is still standing, and as you can see quite impressive! We built a lot of cubby houses over the years but that was our last and greatest achievement, all the others eventually fell apart or were knocked down. 

 We called the house "The Two Chairs" because we had found a set of chairs dumped in a valley the paddock and managed to dig out two that were not in such bad condition and carry them into the house. They are still there, kinda, just tipped over outside and far more rusted and worn than last time. But it was quite nice to see that our 'house' is still standing. It was hard work of many days to drag all the logs there and prop them up.

We had  a name for this interesting tree too, but I no longer remember it. We used to walk in the paddocks quite regularly, but now no longer do anywhere near as much. It brought back so many memories of fun times with friends and all the crazy things we did together.

Can you see the kangaroos? 
Did you ever build cubbies outside?

I realized that one of my current favourite book series had no fan art to go with it, other than one sketch of the most horrible character in the whole book. (the character is horrible not the sketch) And so I set out to remedy the fact, that these amazing books lack fan art. This one is from a scene in book two A Time To Speak, by Nadine Brandes. And yes you should read the books.

If you are interested in seeing some before images than just keep on looking. I did actually remember to take a snapshot of the Photoshop document after I had done the base colours. So you can see what I started with. I also kinda cheated with some colours and used a colour picker to seal them from the book covers, so they were at least colours from there.

This scene came to my mind instantly when I was trying to think of one to draw, I think it is one my my favourites. As for the quotes they don't follow on from one another in the book but are spread over two pages, where this scene is happening.  Hopefully I have managed to make it look cold enough.

And by the way the third and final book is coming out later this year, in 65 days! I am so excited I pre-ordered the book yesterday.

Have you ever drawn fan art?
Does the picture look cold?
Have you read any of Nadine Brandes books?

Why do you read? I stumbled across this question and thought about it, and proceeded to write a long list that answered the question before reading on. I think it is a good question to know your answers to. I would be interested to know why you all read;

  • just to get good grades
  • to escape from life
  • to become a well read person
  • to become a cultured member of society
  • to increase your vocabulary
  • for fun
  • for the thrill of it
Okay I agree with that some of those play a part, but by themselves they seem kinda silly and pathetic or annoyingly high and mighty. But why do you read? 

These are my reasons for why I read:

  • I read to go places I otherwise could not
  • I read to see the world from someone else's shoes
  • I read that I may better understand others ideas
  • I read because it brings me joy
  • I read so that I can write better
  • I read so that I am inspired to think on different topics than I normally would 
  • I read to see visions
  • I read because the books call out to me to be heard
  • I read to discover characters, worlds and other people within the reading community
  • I read to find new words and their meanings
  • I read to find out more about how the real world works through fantasy realms
  • I read to learn from others mistakes, and achievements
  • I read to be inspired by others lives
  • I read to see history from another point of view
  • I read to make the words and little black squiggles come alive
  • I read to go on an adventure from my lounge room
  • I read to have many, many lives

Agree? Why do you read?
Lately I have been very busy, mostly with photos. I have mentioned Austockphoto before, but in case you don't know, it is a stock photography site that is set to launch August the 1st, I am a contributor (photographer) to it. So I have been taking photos, editing them, and adding keywords to them. And I did such a good job of the keywording part that I now have a job with Austockphoto editing the keywords, categories, titles and such of the other photographers. It just happen quite out of the blue but it is just amazing to be part of that, everyone else on the team is so friendly and it is just pretty cool. 

I thought I'd give you a glimpse of some of the hundreds of photo I have been taking recently. Because they are all just so pretty, if I do say so myself. These are just a few of the beautiful plants and flowers I have come across recently. 

Do you have a favourite?
Have you had any nice surprises recently?