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Tasmania : Lutruwita

When ever I travel I take note of all the elements of the landscape. Texture, line, shape etc. However it is colour that I like to recall the most. Because colour dictates the feel of the landscape, the climate, the season, the wild untouched hills to the farmed pastures.

When I get the chance I like to look back through all the photos I have taken and collate a photo montage of the colours that really resonate with the land so that in time I can use this palette to make decisions when painting. From walking across plains high up in the western parts of Tasmania,(Tarkine region) to Robbins Island then to the east to Binalong Bay or as the local Indigenous people call this land, Larapuna.

ABOVE: WATER

ABOVE: WATER and SKY

ABOVE: EARTH, FOLIAGE, ROCK

ABOVE: WATER, MUD, EARTH, BURNT FLORA

ABOVE: GRASSLANDS, PASTURES

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Ceramic news

Over the last few years, I have dabbled with ceramics. Finally I am committing some time to experiment more with the medium.

At the end of 2020, I was commissioned to produce works for a new apartment here in Brisbane. TheTreehouse by Aria now houses several bespoke pieces including 24 individual hand cut wooden paintings.

above:on the studio wall before installation || below: installed at The Treehouse Apartments, Brisbane.

 

These shaped pieces were an extension of some works I did a few years back on paper that I stitched onto a backing and from here I started to roll out earthenware to develop the process further. A gallery owner once told me that orange shaped 2D art doesn’t sell. I chose not to show my work with her anymore.

So, each week I attend a local ceramic class with Helen Davey who’s knowledge and skills make for a somewhat addictive addition to my art processes.

My intention at this stage is to focus on the surface more so than the form. Like many painters who work in this media, ceramics is just another surface to work on. As with painting, my work can appear differently on paper than canvas. The limitations of media and tools dictate the outcomes and styles of my work. That said, beyond making wall pieces from earthenware, I have been hand building, and the three dimensionality of a form is also grabbing my intention. I’m quite intrigued that marks on a  vessel can be rotated to tell a story. So watch this space… this year is really about learning. If I sell a few pieces to cover my tuition and expenses, then I am happy.

I am limiting the amount of ceramics for sale each month for now. So if you would like to be added to the ceramic mailing list please do so here. I will email a day before announcing the work is available to the public. In addition to this,  I will not be selling these works via an agent or retailer. You will only be able to purchase these via my website or in an exhibition. I want to keep this small and enjoyable rather than  the main focus of my art practice.

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TRAVEL WITHIN MY HOME – shifting my creative compass

If there was ever a time to finish that book, to clean out your drawers, wardrobe, cook something new, learn how to sew or draw, then perhaps it is now.

Personally, no pandemic will ever get me excited about cleaning out drawers.

Being at home, working at home is not a new concept for me. However, my mindset and ability to concentrate has been altered. Coronavirus (C19) has definitely entered my thinking space. I’ve turned the radio off, I try not to look at my news feed on the phone or computer…at least I reduce this to a minimal time of the day. I am constantly thinking about friends and family who are about to lose income…..the thoughts of worry just escalate.I am not putting my head in the sand, yet trying to just remain balanced and calm is important. People think they have anxiety now…well it’s going to rain down on our society. So how do I over come this? I have a husband who employs 50 people and they all seem to be at my kitchen right now….virtually that is. Good luck with sharing office space and bandwidth at the moment people….

OK, so my thoughts have gone to Alain Button’s book The Art of Travel. Travel will forever be changed, especially international travel. And whilst we may be stuck indoors for now and restricted to where and what we can do, it doesn’t mean that we should never think about travelling again. Especially why we travel. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything within our confines no matter how small they maybe. For me it is relatively easy to shift my creative compass.  I am fortunate enough to have space, a garden that is large enough to explore and spend time in. Time to think about what is in front of me.

So here is my project and I’d love for you to join in if you are feeling uncertain as to how you can spend some of your lockdown time constructively. Or just keep watching crap TV.

Each day I am going to take a journal and sketch every plant in my garden. Every tree and shrub and flower. I am going on a holiday within my own space. I will only spend 5-10 minutes per day recording this information. I know most of my plants….but there are a few I don’t know the names of, so it will be a journey of learning and discovery. I don’t know how long this will last for or what will come from this, but it gives me that break I need from the creative work I have scheduled for commissions at the moment. I cannot paint successfully if my mind is elsewhere.

You may not have a garden, but perhaps you could sketch, photograph or write a poem about other items in your home. Concentrate on your kitchen, what you eat each day, how you travel each room…. Or go back and look at all the holiday destinations you had and make a journal about it.

I just don’t want to waste this time feeling consciously anxious and depressed about how fucked up this world is at the moment. I need a project. This will be a good start. Tell me if you are going to do something similar, I would love to see hear about it.

 

Day one and two

Bay leaf tree and Yucca plant

Please read from the Financial Times: Alain de Botton: how to travel from your sofa : Coronavirus may confine us — but we can learn to explore in very different ways

 

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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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A town like Alice

In early September I took myself on an Accompanied Adventure, a new travel group initiated by artist Ingrid Bowen. I have never been to Alice Springs before and was eager to see the centre. We spent time at the Araluen Arts Centre for the Desert Mob 2019 exhibition and market day and a  night viewing Desert Song. Highlights on the trip (beyond the landscape which honestly was so empowering and rich), were meeting some of the locals who shared their Arts including the Hermannsburg Potters, and the Tjanpi Desert Weavers. There is so much I need to analyse from this trip so this post will be just a minuscule of what I took in.

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and a new year begins

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.

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explorations

Apart of my artistic practice is to explore places.

To walk amongst nature and discover what is beneath the surface.

Beneath the bark, beneath the creek’s surface, beneath the ground I walk on.

I look within. I wish to collect and unfold the transience of nature.

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aesthetic reasoning

Often when I am painting a commission for someone over time, and I have reached that half way point, I am less willing to just grab the paintbrush and paint. That’s the downside of doing commissions for me…it can be restrictive at times. So before I continue, I work on other pieces. Loosen up my marks, think about the composition, just be happy making mistakes.

So I continued to work on a smaller painting on canvas. An older piece. I kind of got lost in it. Painting small marks, details of memories, textures. I carved and scratched and painted over these. Then I added some green, saying all the time to myself, ‘do not use green today’. So I added some raw umber over that. Then wiped it all back, erasing my lack of confidence and direction. But not entirely. What do I want this painting to be?

Then I had to stop

Often at this stage, I am left feeling like I have only half completed something I should have finished…like only putting on one shoe before leaving the house.

So I take a photo of it and then later in the evening I sit with it on my computer and make marks on my screen. The whole impermanancy of it is liberating. It’s how I work out what I haven’t been able to do in my studio.

I can’t paint at night. So this process is what get’s my aesthetic problem solving out of my system until the next day. I don’t want this painting to be green. I want it to be brown with layers of ochre, grey and white. NO, mostly grey with just hints of colour. Like how the tides change with the reflection of the sun, each layer changes. When there’s too much detail, I’m not settled, so it’s about balancing it out with negative spaces. Spaces that become the memories of walking through the waterways and along the shores.

But the final piece…Well I have no doubt that it will be very different.