"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home" (Twyla Tharp)

Nuts ...

Working in the Field ...

Well I must be ... crazy that is.   There is a point when you ask yourself why you're doing something and with the latest assignment this thought crossed my mind a couple of times.   Lots of time has been spent on location in the middle of winter studying and sketching plants in situ for the latest field studies assignment.  That would be enough to make it a significant project ... let alone the final artwork consisting of five different botanical studies.

Corymbia calophylla - Marri

One of my subjects is Corymbia calophylla - commonly known as the Marri.
It is distinctive for its very large buds and fruit, known as gum nuts or  "honky nuts" in Western Australia.

The humble 'honky nut'

From the Urban Dictionary :  "A term used in Western Australia as an alternative to "gumnut". Describes the woody nut or seed pod of the gum tree, specifically the gumnuts of the marri tree  Useful for throwing at enemies or friends and family."

The old nuts ready to drop 

They may look harmless enough, but these things are dangerous.  I have nearly 'come a cropper'  (slipped and fallen) many times while walking ...  they are all over the ground near where the trees are, as they drop off the branches and are often assisted by the black cockatoos nibbling away at the stems and nuts and dropping them from a lofty height ... 

I even used to give my children pocket money to collect them by the bucket load on our property ... to save me the grief of doing an injury while I was out in the garden.    A local physiotherapist once said a lot of their work comes as a result of honky nut injuries!  However as there were so few flowering plants on the track I had to make my peace with this quintessentially West Australian subject and accept them as an alternative botanical subject.

The first washes on the nuts ... 

In the end I really enjoyed painting them.    They are an easier choice because they don't move,  or open and close like a flower and there was an endless supply of subjects to study.  

My nuts.

So now I have a soft spot for them ... just as well, they are the local emblem here.  We even have bronze sculptures as water features in prominent areas of our district!  Often to be seen overflowing with bubbles after locals add soap to the water,  makes me smile every time I see them.


  1. Those nuts are pretty big! Can you eat it?
    Didn't know that it was your embleme..
    Hope you won't get nut with it!

  2. I really enjoyed this post Vicki. Those nuts look pretty naughty, but you have done them justice in your painting, they look great. Well done on getting all your sketches finished out in the cold. That fountain looks like fun though!

  3. I love these nuts and what a sculpture!!

  4. Fascinating read about the nuts - I love the sculpture at the end! I love big public art like that - wish we had more botanically inspired sculptures around the world. Well done on finishing another assignment Vicki - you are on the home straight now.

  5. Thank you Manon - yes i did go a bit nuts ..
    Thanks Jarnie - it was a fun assignment
    Thanks Claire, yes the sculpture is very appealing
    Thank you Jess - me too, nice to have our nuts bronzed :))) Not long now hey xx