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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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The Nature of Things

The Nature of Things

8 October – 7 November 2021

‘The Nature of Things’ brings together the work of 11 local and interstate artists across the mediums of painting and sculpture.

This exhibition explores our close connection with nature, and how it has offered reprieve from the sometimes chaotic world. The escape into and solace from nature is the central reflection for the artists in this exhibition; the degree of abstraction varies from artist to artist as they draw upon their experiences from their surrounding environments. Whether they are centring in on details, or summarising general impressions left upon them from a particular environment, each artist interprets this theme with consideration and reflection.

Artists: Jackie Anderson (NSW) Sally Browne (NSW) Jo Dyer (VIC) Ian Greig (NSW) Alexandra Hirst (SA) Tiffany Kingston (NSW) Cristina Metelli (SA) Rosetta Santucci (NSW) Tiel Sievl-Keevers (QLD) Claire Yerbury (NSW) Elizabeth Wojciak (SA).

“Words from Art Images Gallery”

Below is a selection of some of the works in the show. Please visit Art Images Gallery to view all of the works I have for this exhibition. Click on each image to see more information.

The selection of works for this show has arisen from three local areas I have been able to visit and explore since Covid 19 travel restrictions have been in place.

The first is Mt Coot-tha here in Brisbane. More like a bump than a mountain, but only a short distance from home where I can walk the many tracks and be surrounded by trees and wildlife. Here I sometimes sketch, but mostly photograph and collect flora from the paths. I often carry them in my hands, feel them, then leave them.

 

The second is my home. The simplicity of my garden, the eucalyptus trees and the river below. The magpies and kookaburras that come to visit us each day.

The third place is in Northern NSW along the beaches and creeks of Bundjalung country where the tides bring in a myriad of ocean flora, and each walk depending on the season brings new treasures.

Each place is a marvel to watch the transition of light and colour, new growth and the often the short existence of life.

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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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New Works at Boom Gallery

Tiel Seivl-Keevers

For those of you who have still got a a job, and have recently looked at your credit card statement and seen how much you have saved whilst being in lockdown because you haven’t been spending your money on random stuff you don’t need, or long lunches with friends….I have news for you.

Boom Gallery in Geelong, Vic have recently updated their online profile to support all the artists they represent. I recently send them some new works, all very affordable and at a size that will happily found its place in any home or home office, or a present for someone who is just having a terrible time.

 

Tiel Seivl-Keevers

Above: “Blue Trees 1” and “Blue Trees 2”

Tiel Seivl-Keevers

Above: “Old Man Gum”

 

Tiel Seivl-Keevers

Above: “Unchartered Landscape 1”

Tiel Seivl-Keevers

Above: “Water and Earth”

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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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January

2019 was a busy year on the home front. We gutted our kitchen, bathroom, courtyard and laundry…amongst fixing and replacing other areas around the house. I’m typing this post in February and we still have some issues to complete…I won’t mention the amount of stuff ups that occurred, but I will say that from May to December last year I probably had a handful of uninterrupted days in the studio. Not enough to produce the work I had hoped for.

I do have a rocking new kitchen and bathroom which I love.

December was spent away in Europe for what will probably be our last big family holiday. The kids will be 16 and 18 this year so will likely want to spend less time with us once they complete school. Parenting has had its challenges too and all in all I was glad to see the end of 2019.

My studio time started slowly towards the end of January. I was finally able to get my head around commissions and focus on some of the ideas I wanted to develop artistically. Until now I hadn’t really unfolded my trip to Central Australia from last September. This is my first priority. I have seen some amazing landscapes these last few months. So much diversity in colours, shapes, and atmosphere. From dust storms, drought, fires, smoke fill oceans, icy peaks in Southern Europe, rainy grey days in ancient cities to marvellous tropical storms that have brought much needed rain. Plenty of photos have been uploaded to Flickr if you wish to see them.

So I have lots to think about. Paint about. Make about.

To do this I am being diligent and writing most mornings my intentions and plans in a journal.  I have a tendency to float too much around concepts and not stay grounded long enough to feel satisfied with my outcomes.

More to come for February.