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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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February Goals… REFLECTIONS

Reflection on my time in Central Australia. See my previous post.

From my time painting the landscape en plein air I came home with a few smaller pieces that I then extended into some works on paper. Mostly ink and water colour on cotton rag, There is so much to take in when you are in this environment.

The shapes and size of the rocks and their shadows. Violet, Sienna, ochre.

The textures and tones of the bark on the limbs of the eucalyptus and mulga trees. The closer you are to them, the more alive they appear.

The feeling of sand under your feet and long grass against your legs. It is a daunting landscape, one that will polarise your emotions.

The morning’s clarity and silence. The heat and noise of the burning day. The calmness and sometimes formidable atmosphere as the night turns black.

 

I feel the need to break it down into a simplistic image that has space in order to highlight the individual elements.

This last image above is only about 1/3 of the painting.

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Questions for an Artist

Questions for an artist…
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.

Questions:

  • 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?
unfinished portrait of Milena
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?