Perhaps my printmaking past has always encouraged my interest in the Artist Book. I just love working on paper. Whether it be pulling a print, painting directly onto the surface or drilling into the fibres, the feel of cotton printing papers will always drive me to make art.
So I created some concertina books, and then I decided (for some crazy reason, perhaps to hang them freely) that I’d work both sides of the paper. A front and a back.
Now I want to frame them…and that will be a task. That will have to wait until later in the year. For now they will just sit as they are. Here is one of my Unravelled Terrains…
Here is a selection of paper vessels that I have created and they amongst other works will be exhibited at BCM Partnership in October at the Crucible Gallery
Each one is unique and made from Rice Paper. Some are stitched, some painted. They range in price from $45 to $65. Email for details.
Read previous post about my show and my focus on the Japanese philosophy of Mottainai.
Left to Right: Wabi Sabi Bowl; Painted Leaf Bowl; Small Stitched Bowl; Small Dotted Bowl; Brown Leaf Dish; Blue Green Bowl.
With an opportunity to exhibit my work in October, I have spent the last few months battling ideas and having fun pushing some boundaries. The space, The Crucible is located at Brisbane advertising agency, BCM. Although a private exhibition only open to the staff and clients of the company, I wanted to take this on as a chance to totally experiment and allow myself to not hold back on concepts that have been rattling around in my head for sometime.
Lately I have felt that my work was possibly slipping into the ‘paint something for an interior designer’ concept. Have yellow couch, need yellow painting kind of thing. This is all well and good…it brings in the money after all, but for me I want my work to be far more than just slapping paint onto canvas and selling it.
I often have this battle of too many ideas and not being able to harness them. It’s like I need the time to slow down, remove myself from motherly duties and research intensely and learn again. But where to start?
One thing at a time I guess whilst dealing with teenage angst and demands.
So this restraint, has brought me to think more about what I have already created and why. I began looking through my studio and discovered that I have drawers of artwork on paper. Heaps of unfinished paintings or sketches for illustration work. They’ve been there for quite sometime waiting for me. This with my interest in Japanese culture lead me on the path to the concept of what Japanese people call Mottanai. Simply it is a philosophy of avoiding waste. There is a great article here about Mottanai.
So I have produced some new works for this upcoming show that has stemmed from older works. I’ve taken these scraps of paper, and combined them with digital work that I have printed and then painted, even stitched, (there’s that concept of mending and fixing again that keeps coming back) and created something new. One of these is this wallhanging below, called ‘Rediscovered’, measuring 22cm wide by 152cm long. Details on the right.
Available for sale…just email me.
I seem once again to be crossing many different ideas and media with my work. Lately I have been struggling to finish my paintings. I sometimes take forever to decide if I am happy with the image that appears on the canvas or paper. As I look around my studio now, I see so many paintings in that 3/4 mode. I have a couple of shows coming up and a few commissions, plus a few shops wanting new pieces to sell. So I have a lot going on, but it feels a bit like a bric and brac shop in my space right now. And I feel a little like I could fall into that ‘paint and repeat’ mode because of demand. Demand is a nice place to be, don’t get me wrong, it makes you accountable and we live in a world where being accountable to others is important. But I don’t want to have a cookie cutter scenario going on here.
People often say to me how prolific I am. Honestly, I am always amazed to think they think that. I might appear to have plenty going on in what I post on Instagram and Flickr but the reality is I feel like a turtle… I’ve always been a plodder, happy to go at my own pace. Perhaps prolific in experimentation, but not so much on the business end.
I choose to paint for the love of exploration and interpretation not to make a quick dollar nor to grab some kind of social media success. There are many opportunities for me to keep painting works and passing them onto retailers and galleries, but sometimes I feel that it all becomes a little too forced and that leaves me with thinking, ‘what is the value of my artwork?’ Not the monetary value, the deeper meaning value? Why am I doing this? What does it mean to be an artist?
At the end of my career I want to be able to look back and say, “I chose to be an artist to express and explore ideas using a range of materials. Not only to make something appealing, but to make others think about how an artwork can emotionally connect with them.’
I feel challenged by what I do right now and this has lead me to a great deal of experimentation. The idea of translating my marks in other ways has been keeping me busy. I’ve been machine and hand sewing, painting onto a range of fabrics, I’ve been smashing and manipulating metal, creating with polymer clay, drilling and engraving into paper and wood, weaving threads and found objects from my garden, making artist’s books and much more. None of it has come to a point where I feel like I’ve reached an end or resolved what is in my mind. My journey as an artist will continue on in this way forever I hope.
I do think that by making a decision to not pump out similar works all the time, I will be far happier in the long run. Filmmaker, Woody Allen, said ‘I am always disappointed – there is always a big difference in what one sets out to make and what one ends up with. What you set out to make is in your mind… in fantasy, it is what exists on paper.”
Below are a few photos of some of my experimentations:
I’ve certainly been on a path of self analysis of late. It’s March and I honestly don’t feel like I have achieved that much. Re my work anyway. I’m on that rollercoaster of being an artist and was completely at a standstill the other week, but now I feel like I am on the move again. Having those back to back days of studio time really makes a difference to my energy levels staying even keeled.
I’ve been in need of some inspiration. Perhaps not so much on a visual level, that I have enough of (see previous post). More so in need of some mental inspiration to help me, (40 something female artist) try to make this gig work! So I’ve been podcasting. I throw my headphones on and listen to a range of podcasts whilst I paint, draw, clean and cook. My current obsession is a site that has been created by Monica Lee called Smart Creative Women . Today I listened to her podcast with Grace Bonney, the person behind Design Sponge and the brains of a recent book, which I would really love to get my hands on, In the Company of Women. So good and exactly what I need to hear right now. So many valid points and head shaking going on.
Any others you know about? And also…for those who have commented on previous posts, many thanks. I have been replying to them via here and wondering are you receiving the replies in your inbox?
In my previous post I mentioned that I wanted to draw, paint, sew, build, and find a more consistent approach to my work. I love that I can move across different media but I really struggle at times to find direction.
I would like to be more diligent at filtering my ideas and sticking to them. And that goes with how I make art. Right now I can’t seem to shake the idea of incorporating more stitching into my work….it’s been on my mind on and off for about 7 years…and it is back with a vengeance. However, it has never come to fruition. Not as I see it in my head.
Whilst cleaning out my ARTWORK folder on my computer…because I was looking for an image that I wanted to print….I came across the top image of some vessels I painted in 2011. This was obviously painted when I was in a calm mood, where there were no interruptions of disturbances in my day. I allowed myself to set up a still life and paint with slowness and precision. It was quite a methodical approach that brought me peace. That’s not to say that I treat my other work in a less considered way…it’s just different. It reminded me that when I get to be in this situation, I am happiest. I honestly believe that my non art life in which I can’t seem to separate from for a long period of time, impacts not only my approach to what I paint, but how I paint. The marks I make.
So perhaps the reason I haven’t yet made the stitching concepts truly happen is because I have to box away my other ideas and push out those interruptions with more force. I admire artists that can do this. Abstract art gives me the freedom to produce at a rate that works with all that other day to day stuff. And the finer details in my work, the smaller scratchings and illustrative layering, happen when I have full, uninterrupted time. It is very meditative and rewarding to let this happen. My visual diaries show evidence of this too. Pages of random mark making, colour studies, the fast and the furious of smashing out ideas. Then flip a page or two and I’ll see a softer, more detailed drawing of a flower or leaf created with a more illustrative or graphical approach.
Some artists have a set aesthetic. You look at a Jeffery Smart or Egon Schiele painting and you know it is their work instantly. Maybe one day all of this madness and frustration will align and I will stand back and see that I too have a recognisable aesthetic. Perhaps I am just too close, and can’t see the overall picture. All of my play and interruptions will develop into a more resolved body of work. A work that has only come about because of all the other factors. In the meantime I am happy to explore and need to remind myself that the journey is as important as the destination.
It may have been January, I don’t recall and it does’t really matter, when I discovered how big my pile of visual diaries had become on my bookshelf.
I’ve always loved buying cotton paper journals beautifully bound in leather or fabric with the intention of filling everyone of them. But a third of the way is as far as I get.
When I was a teacher I would tell the students all the time to fill their journals with drawings, clippings, words, anything that would help to show their process of art practice. In fact it was apart of the curriculum and they were assessed on this task. There were those who failed to hand one in; those who filled in a few pages; those who obviously did it the night before in front of the TV and a small handful who actually completed the requirements and showed evidence of their ideas and concepts. Filling a diary isn’t just about communicating to your teacher but a way of communicating to yourself.
I’m in a place in my art journey where I feel like I have a smorgasbord of ideas in front of me. Some I haven’t been able to shake for years, ones that have never been fully resolved. I want to sew, emboss, paint, draw more, engrave, build, develop more consistency (more on this later) and so on and so on. This idea of harnessing my thoughts is proving to me to be very difficult at times. Of course there is the fact that I have other shit happening in my life. Constant interruptions that aren’t work related. So one minute I’m researching art theory and techniques and the next I’m sorting underwear, trying to understand the financial details of equity loans and taking dogs to the vet. And this is normal for most women in my demographic. I get that….I just can’t seem to get over it.
So back to the visual diary. I need to collectively put all my ideas as they come to me in one place. I have drawers full of half finished paintings, bad ones, good ones. I have magazine articles, weaved items from my garden, embroidered linen draped across chairs and plenty more tucked away in no apparent order. I’m even cutting and pasting large paintings. Sacrifice the old to generate the new!
Hence why I am being diligent about filling my visual diaries. I’m not going to commit to an every day, must do task. I know I will fail. So I’ve decided to set myself a due date. The first one will be by the end of Easter holidays. Maybe returning to regular blog posts is also apart of this process.
Are you an artist who keeps a diary? What are your methods? How long have you been doing this for? How valuable are the older ones to you?