I am always ready to start before I can. Ideas overflow at this time of the year yet I have little time to focus and commit to them during school holidays.
When I can I reach for any chance to start something. Anything. Mark making is an integral part to any artist’s practice. I guess it’s a bit like warming up or stretching before a run. (Except I hate running) It can be done in many ways, not just with something that carries pigment but something that can scratch and take pigment or surface away. I still use some old dental tools I was given from my uni days when I majored in printmaking.
It’s been summer here. I spent this time with my family doing….well very little. And it’s been perfect. A little sewing, plenty of reading and catching up with family and friends. And sleeping, yes so nice to sleep.
No time for painting. Plenty of photos that need sorting. I always upload regularly on instagram and try always to upload many others on my Flickr account.
I’ve been listening to Dumbo Feather’s Podcast recently and one episode that stood out last week was an interview with Hugh Mackay.
Mackay is an Australian writer, socialist, and psychologist amongst many other things. The podcast resonated with some ideas that have been floating around in my head of late about the meaning of MY LIFE….not the meaning of life. I don’t want to sound too deep here….stay with me…and if you work as an artist, this might also relate to you. Or not. Whatevs…..its just a blog post.
Some days I just paint what I see and have at hand. It’s that simple. It’s mediative and I love the shift in thought process as I observe.
Although I enjoyed my time in the studio today painting magnolias from my garden, I don’t feel any sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. I’ll sand it back and paint over it probably at a later date.
Occasionally I paint a still life… and for that moment I’m OK with what I have made. However, they often end up in a folder or drawer.
Occasionally I paint for an exhibition and I’m OK with this. I love being apart of a like minded community. I enjoy talking to creative people and other artists.
Occasionally I sell a work and it makes someone really happy. I love those emails or conversations with people about why they like my work.
Occasionally I say no to opportunities because they are mostly unjust or unreasonable and the risks are too great.
The act of painting or making is compulsive and addictive. It is my drug. It is a tool to communicate ideas. I rarely have a day where I’m not painting or making if I have the free hours to do so. Normal right?
However, I’ve reached a point (again) where my work needs more substance and meaning to satisfy my purpose. As 2019 is just around the corner I feel I need to answer some big questions about my job as an artist. Because lately I have this strong sense that I need to be apart of something bigger where my art is apart of the process to a solution.
What is the purpose of my work?
What projects would I enjoy being part of over the next few years?
And by being apart of these projects, will my art be able to satisfy my sense of purpose?
How can I collaborate more?
Will I look back in 10 years and be proud of what I have achieved?
Will my children understand, really understand what I do? Will they grow into adults who will respect a creative career as much as a non creative one regardless of the pay?
Selling art is a factor of what I do and a necessity for me to keep being an artist. It brings happiness but it doesn’t bring meaning to what I do.
I feel like I am knocking on the door that says ‘what is your purpose for the next 5 years?’
My husband would write a business plan…. I need to write a purpose plan.
Some people might call it a mid life crisis. It’s certainly not a crisis but I am at that midway point of my ‘expected breathing years’ and feel like I need to achieve something of greater value and meaning.
Soon I’ll be getting one of those bowel cancer pamphlets in the mail and wonder, how the hell did I get to this age so quickly and what have I done to be really proud of in my career?
Here are a few recent works I have available on paper. Please note that selected works have a free shipping code PAPERSHIPFREE
Coming up soon I will be having a small group show at Side Gallery in Brisbane and also be participating in a Summer Series Show at Boom Gallery in Geelong.
With summer holidays approaching, I will be spending some time exploring northern NSW and I’ll be paying particular attention to the Birdlife.
Recently I became aware of a collaborative project about migratory Shoreline Birds, called Overwintering. Artist, Kate Gorringe-Smith has initiated this mapping project and around 150 artists from NZ and Australia are involved, producing prints on their observations of these birds. I’ve been wanting an excuse to get back into some printmaking so this will be the perfect trigger. When I first started painting years ago, birds were often the subject matter of my work and here where I live and work I constantly pay attention to the local avians coming and going.
A place I visit regularly now, but have done so a few times over the last ten years is the quiet coastal town in NSW, called Pottsville.
Here, the quietness of the town slows me down.
Located right on the coastline adjacent t0 beautiful wide beaches and open shores, it has a sense of pushing you back in time. At its heart is Mooball Creek which directly flows in from the ocean, and is a height of activity for locals and summer holiday makers who wish to float on its waters, fish or wade through.
Recently the creek has been blocked. At the mouth, there had been topographical changes to the retaining rock wall and with the way nature goes, eventually reduced the ocean waters to flow in and out with the tides. Causing risk of flooding to the urban areas down stream, but more importantly the risk of killing off the flora and fauna of the ecosystem. Reports even suggested that there had also been higher levels of bacteria in the creek and swimmers were advised not to swim in it.
So with this in the forefront of my mind of late, I have reworked ‘Winter Waters’ (2016) and now have ‘Cleansing the Winter Waters’. I’m OK with painting over older work, especially if it becomes a little stagnant and in need of some rejuvenation. Continuing the ideals of impermanence within the concepts of my work with nature.
I’ve been spending my spare time in Pottsville, New South Wales. My home away from home. Here I have been exploring Mooball Creek…. a constant source of inspiration. Recently the creek stopped flowing due to topographical changes at the mouth of the creek. Watching the waters has grabbed my attention and developed my sense of environmental issues within this area…..more to come over the years as I spend more time there.