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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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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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Studio time

2019 has been full of interruptions for me due to house renovations….which have been in full swing since May and sadly will still be weeks away. My studio is at home so there for my usual peace has been constantly disrupted with questions, planning, ordering, supervising, jack hammering, and a tribe of blokes who wander in and out of the house from the early hours of the morning.

Even though I would love to have my kitchen finished, (or would just love to have a clear and honest hand over date instead of the bullshit that we keep getting), I am starting to have more hours of concentrated studio time.

 

I’m painting, playing with ceramics and also textiles with better intentions to work towards a more cohesive body of work for 2020.

The only welcome disrupters are of the dachshund kind.

Here are a few snippets of my workspace.

 

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Studio happenings

Over the last month I have been spending every spare moment in the studio.

I have the sense that this year is going to flyby. Family commitments have been locked in already: trips;  weddings and school demands.  In May I have two exhibitions. One in Brisbane and the other in Adelaide. (what was I thinking) I will have all the details first via my Instagram page and also here on my website.

So in this post I just wanted to share a small amount of the works that are in progress. It looks very much like a dog’s breakfast at the moment, and I feel like I have no room to move at times. Landscapes, particularly trees and even more the eucalyptus trees in my own backyard are the source of my investigations.

This summer has been relentlessly hot and dry. The heat has caused so much stress to the trees, that they have shed their bark so dramatically this year, revealing the most amazing colours and textures. I’m looking forward to cooler days so I can get out and walk more within the landscape.

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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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My Studio

I am a Brisbane based artist located in Kenmore. I work from my home studio overlooking the Brisbane River and am surrounded by Eucalyptus, Poinciana and Jacaranda trees. From my window I watch the seasons shift, wild storms roll in from the south west and birds of all species visit my garden. And the occasional snake. I have two studio dachshunds who mostly lie under my desk or in the sun!

I also work from Pottsville, in Northern New South Wales throughout the year when I need the ocean to inspire my work and senses.

If you would like to visit in Kenmore, please email to arrange a time. It’s never this clean!

Photos: The above photos were taken by Mindi Cooke.