Forget the roses; take time to sniff the pine cones.
We have a lot of pine trees around where I live which, unsurprisingly, equates to a lot of pine cones lying about just asking to be collected.
Recognising my need for restraint, these days if I come across a particularly shapely pine cone, instead of adopting it, I give it a pat and then wedge my nose against it for a good ol’ sniff.
Some may call this an invasion of pine cone privacy, but I prefer to call it a trip down memory lane.
The house I grew up in, you see, was dwarfed by the tallest, most badass of pine trees. You could see this tree from a good distance away, and when you climbed up into its branches, you could see for miles across the rooftops of the Adelaide suburbs to the surrounding hills beyond.
It was - and still is - a magnificent tree.
The neighbours didn’t agree. Those pine needles that didn’t fall into their roof gutters left a carpet on the ground that made any prospect of a fruitful garden bed close to impossible.
We understood. Our property was in a similar situation. But there was no way that tree was coming down.
In hot weather, when the pine cones began to open up like little armadillos stretching out their scaly exteriors, our pine tree became the local tapas bar for sulphur-crested cockatoos.
Flocks of these birds would congregate for lengthy periods to pick the nuts out from between the scales of the pine cones before unceremoniously discarding the remains.
Their chatter, and the clatter of falling pine cones bouncing off the iron roof of our house, form part of my childhood soundtrack.
This is what comes to mind when I snort pine cone. And these are the memories I marinated in while I painted this latest piece and sweated over how to make sense of all those crazy shapes and shadows.
I love that the paintings I create cast me back to different times, people and places in my life. I hope they do the same for you.
Perhaps you have a different pine cone-related memory you recall? Share it in the comments - I’m up for a walk down someone else’s memory lane.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE POSTS LIKE THIS DIRECT TO YOUR IN-BOX? How about 10% OFF your first purchase from my online shop? Just add your email address below and I'll get right onto that for you.