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Manna Gum and Bogong Moths

Well, here we are in April, my last post was in February and although I had great intentions of posting here in March, it never was to be.

March saw me getting away to a few destinations both old and new. A time to catch up with friends and colleagues after two years of being locked down in my hometown due to the pandemic.

One of the destinations I flew to be was an artist’s retreat in Perisher, NSW. Organised by Sydney artist, Leonie Barton, a group of us spent four days exploring the Kosciusko National Park area with our paint and sketchpads. I dragged along a dear non artist friend of mine who needed some time away and although it was short lived, it was a real treat. I met some new artists face to face which is always so nicer than connecting just in the digital world. I am not a skier, so to go to the Alpine region and see it unveiled from its white winter coat, is much more my thing. To walk down the valley to the trickling stream of the legendary Snowy River on a clear Autumn day was well worth the hill climb back with all my art stuff.

My last big trip away to a new landscape was in 2019 when I travelled to the Northern Territory which inspired me for a good 18 months. Although my local surroundings give me much inspiration there’s nothing quite like exploring a different environment, soaking in the different flora and fauna, colours and textures. Researching its history, mapping out its past.

For now, I’ll leave my written response to this landscape for a later date. There was so much to take in and see and so much to learn about how climate change has impacted within the area, from the death of the Manna Gum to demise of the Bogong Moth. Here I have posted a selection of many photos which I took of the eucalyptus trees that have died on mass. They look like a graveyard of branches scattered across the ranges. As much as this saddens me, it also enables a visual response to thrive in my work and it was a joy to walk amongst them on the Porcupine Trail on a freezing cold, wet day.


It seems that with the recent floods in northern NSW and Southeast QLD and seeing the state of the landscape in Southern NSW has given me so much to think about.

And for the majority of the last 4 weeks, that’s what I’ve been doing instead of studio work as I managed to get Covid whilst away. In addition to this I have some other respiratory nasty that I cannot shake. So, things have been a little slow, my brain has been a little fuzzy.

April has seen me turn another year older, celebrate 21 years of marriage, and my baby turn 18! I feel like this month has just been a blur to be honest.

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dogs, trust and rain

I spoke to a friend who lives interstate today. Someone I have only met once in real life but we have continued to correspond via social media, private messaging and phone calls. Our lives are similar.

It’s one of those conversations where you try and squeeze 6 months of your life into an hour on the phone. Kids, art, dogs books, the guilt of not working, the joy of working,. And of course, current affairs. She kindly shared the writings of Australian author Maggie Mackellar with me. I am yet to read more entries about her day to day life in Tasmania. Birds, laundry, visiting children home from university, creativity. The simplicity of a life. The noticing of small backyard bird life.

It makes me want to read more. It makes me want to continue with my promise to blog more, albeit I don’t see myself as a profound writer.

As I type I have one dog asleep and one dog crying at me to be fed. Right on time, 4.30pm. The sleeper has had a big week with his health. Late last week I noticed that he wasn’t himself, tired and listless for most of the day and night. But it was hot. Its a very humid summer here in Brisbane so who doesn’t want to lay down and sleep. By Sunday I was starting to think it was more and on inspection of his mouth, my daughter commented on how pale his gums and tongue were. A visit to the vet on Monday and within 4 hours he was having surgery to remove his spleen. He has been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called hemolytic anemia. Long story short, because I still have Sesame crying for her dinner at my side, he is home and resting. Doing well and we will see over the next month or so if he is able to start producing red blood cells.

Sizzles is well loved from far and wide. thank you to all who left their wishes and comments on my instagram feed. Muchly appreciated.

Dogs have always been apart of my life and they are my everyday now.

 

 

Tonight my sister is visiting him, so I am making her dinner. Earlier today I marinated some beef belly slices and am slowly cooking them. I’ll start on the green beans, and eggplant soon. It’s just been N and I for a few days. A has been back studying at uni for 2 weeks now and M has gone to Pottsville with her friends for a few days. This in itself was a one of those letting go moments. When your very responsible daughter asks if she can drive the jetski to NSW all by herself and take it out on the river with the girls….well its a very immediate ‘hell no’ moment.

It’s not that I don’t trust her I just don’t have the same confidence or courage that she does, nor the water skills. And she’s my baby. What if something goes wrong?

Bu there comes a time where you have to say yes. It’s one of the hardest things to do as a parent. Let them go.

I hope that she’ll come back safely,  and that no one will be injured. I hope mostly that she will have pride in herself. To hitch it on the ute, drag it down the highway, manually push it in the garage, and then back it in the river without the help of her dad or brother is something big in my books.

Trust and letting go….there’s plenty to write on this.

But alas, I don’t have much time to harp on.

In summary I’m working on two commissions in a newly painted studio. I chose an olive green for my new door colour. I need to continue to cull as I place things back in there.

All apart of my gap year to slow down and get through my list.

 

I’ve resumed ceramic classes with a 1000 ideas that I need to harness. I’ve been loving the rain, the summer storms make the heat bearable. I often sit and watch the light change. The gum trees catch the afternoon glow just before the black clouds roll in and it pours with rain.

The bottom paddock finally got mowed for the first time since May last year. The grass was close to a meter high in places and the ‘let’s get some goats’ conversation arose again.

Only one carpet snake and one rat spotted fleeing the scene. The Maggies who live here were very happy to catch the rat. It’s been several years since the garden has looked this lush.

But now I need to shower and remove the paint from my hands, and prep dinner for my sister. She better not forget the red wine.

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Chasing Water

Jet ski or Kayak? I’d prefer the latter speed in life, but I’m married to someone who loves fast cars and jet skis. So with some compromise I convinced him to spend a few hours on the Brisbane River exploring.

WATER: “It has no shape but can take any shape… You can touch it, but you cannot hold it… It can slip through your fingers, like it’s nothing at all. But life would be unthinkable without it.” By Hiroshi Osada

TAKEOUTS: How magnificent bridges are | A palette of colours ready to explore | reflection and light | how much I love raw umber to paint water

READING: ‘Water is a Portal to Transendence’ https://www.themarginalian.org/2021/08/10/ellen-meloy-turquoise-water/

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So far in January…

I’ve been weaving

I can’t sit for long and not do something with my hands. So I’ve been weaving and stitching. As I have been cleaning out drawers within the studio and house, I have been thinking about what to do with old works on paper. It’s been quite cathartic slicing and remaking small sculptural objects from old work and threads. And with the first image on the left, even collecting palm leaves whilst in the garden has always been a great source of materials to play with.

I’ve also been sketching. – Every year I say, ‘DRAW MORE’. I have multiple journals lying around, rarely filled. This year I really hope to change my habits and just start to sketch. The importance of observing and recording, and improving my hand eye coordination. Muscle memory. Not only to experiment with mark making, but to develop better observational skills.

If I don’t have pencil and journal at hand, I always have access to my iPad. It’s quite liberating to just grab it and start without having to go and find my journal and decide on which pencil/pen to use.

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A New Year

On this 13th day of the new year I feel like January should be over by now
Covid sickness within the family…{like so many others}
Ageing parents in need of care and time
And the passing of a remarkable friend

Last year I made a decision that I would slow things down now that I have no more children at school
I have decided to have a gap year of sorts
Looking forward to working less and making more with meaning

I plan to
read,
research,
experiment,
explore,
garden,
observe,
clean and cull

I am still painting, but I hope to paint more with grit rather than by agenda
There are plenty of people claiming to be artists saturating the art market, slapping paint on canvases to dress walls
And good on them if it makes them happy, it’s just not for me

The only plans I have for certain are to say no more than yes, or to just say yes on my terms
I think with everything going on in the world this is timely

So before the year flies by, I plan to start here in this space
An extension of my instagram page with the occasional ramble or words in order to try and make sense of my thoughts

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paper | assemblage | /əˈsɛmblɪdʒ/

My first love for media has always been with paper.

I have drawers full of paper.

New. handmade. Painted. Torn. Thick. Thin. And Coloured coded as best I can.

The bottom blue image with the word FOCUS is a mono print that I made in 1998. It has been amongst the piles of papers since then. I have held it many a time but today it seemed to connect with me somehow. Maybe the words, the cobalt blue, the memory of making it in Toowoomba in a workshop run by an artist whose name I cannot recall. This itself frustrates me.

Yet today, with some time to focus I was able to play. An integral part of my process. Time to make marks, make compositional decisions, assemble and alter different papers so that they unite as one artwork.

It is quite different to painting on a canvas, or sketching a flower or something I have found on my walk. And as I do this I feel so grounded with the process of making rather than making for a purely commercial sense.

Lately I am struggling with where I want my work to sit in the world…well just a small section of the world. I am proudly not ambitious and don’t  like thrusting my art on  platforms like instagram. Albeit I probably do more than others. We just do what works at the time and there is no judgement as to what is right or wrong.

I have noticed many other artists of late feeling the same about Instagram and needing some time out. Don’t get me wrong, I love many things about instagram, it has its place. But it seems to be quite a consuming and competitive space. I need to work out a balance of sorts. For sometime I have planned for 2022 to be a year where I take my time to filter and connect my ideas. A year to slow down and create with real interrelation. Perhaps this process of assemblage is a start to this connective process.

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Studio Snippets

I have been super busy, happy busy….co running the gallery; finishing works for the show in Adelaide, ‘The Nature of Things’; working on several commissions; working one day a week working on my ceramics, and the usual life business. It hasn’t left me with much time to keep my studio in order. In fact adding ceramics to an already small studio whilst trying to paint some large scale paintings isn’t ideal!

Come these summer holidays I plan on giving it a a good hose down, a thorough cull and sort of contents and a new slick of paint..including a change of colour on the door!

I hope that I can start to have some more open studio times for visitors.

In the meantime I have had some help to get the garden area looking a little less ‘jungle’ like. And finally after 10 years I have a kitchen garden. this is to the right of the path that leads down to the studio it self.

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Where to buy my work?

It’s been a busy year, two years. The pandemic has been great for business.

I thought I would make a list of where you can purchase my work as I don’t always have everything in my online shop.

ONLINE SHOP – where you’ll find a selection of work available directly from my Brisbane studio and links of some works to various galleries and agents. See below

Boom Gallery – Based in Geelong, Victoria

Art Images Gallery – Based in Adelaide, South Australia

Gallery Raye – Based in Brisbane, Queensland… see previous post

The Gallerist – Based in Sydney, NSW.

Below is a selection of works via The Gallerist. See their website for more images.

 

 

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Finte Art Space Update

I cannot believe there are only weeks to go until we close the doors. It has been such a great gallery space and opportunity to be apart of. So many Brisbane and nearby artists struggle to find affordable space to exhibit their work, so to provide, albeit a short term space, has been incredibly rewarding on a community and business level.
And it has been so lovely to meet so many followers and admirers in person.

However, our last Day will be December 18th.

So make sure you pop in before then, we have some amazing artists still to exhibit, and our side of the gallery, (Melanie Kilby, Tracy Murray and myself) has plenty of original artwork, ceramics and beautiful quality prints available. Perfect for Christmas.

You’ll find us at 37 Latrobe Terrace Paddington Queensland. And bring a furry friend…like Sizzles.