I was enormously impressed by the Australian nature during my last year visit there. I’ve spent only two weeks there, and seen very little. But my friends, Manman and Wenjie took me to the Blue Mountains, 100 km north of Sidney, for a day trip, and near Melbourne another friend, Marzena, took me to the piedmont of Dandenong Mountains. Both are enchanting places.
The trees were the first thing that struck me. These are eucalypti, huge, tall and majestic with a very photogenic umbrella-type of canopy. Their bark, or skin peels-off of the trunk hanging in several feet long strips. This is very messy, and also very wild!! This gives them a very weird aspect, like being naked.
There are other strange things about the trees there, with a boa constrictor-type of creepers tightly wrapping around entire tree trunks, or fern trees.
Other thing that fascinated me there were birds. They are everywhere, by which I mean, strange and exotic birds were everywhere in the city. Parrots of all sizes and colors, or cockatoos jumping around your bench in a park, or Ibises of the size of a well-fed hen, walking quietly on the lawn.
In addition, the Australian birds are unusually loud, the loudest of them being a magpie. It’s call is like that of twelve elephants, and can really scare you, if you do not expect hearing it.
Australians love and take pride in their birds. They coexist with them, easing their harsh existence when there is drought, like my friend Marzena.
And the birds reciprocate, just by coming as close to people as their wild dignity allows, including this Cormorant, sitting a yard away from a busy walkway on the beach.
Several of these guys ended up in my cut-out. A few more are made-up creatures, inspired by this strange Australian world.
This cut-out is an experiment. It is completely black on white background, like the most traditional Jewish and Swiss cut-outs. Will see how it works out.