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Archive for April, 2007

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Cloud watching – Work in progress

Well, I’m happy to report that I am totally in love with oil paint.  I had over a week away from it – getting work finished for Canterbury, and was again a bit nervous about venturing back into it.  I did have 2 small paintings in progress in oil – ruined them both, and saved one.  Now the other has entered an experimental phase – always good for making me less precious about the art I’m creating.

I also started something big and exciting.  A 91cm square linen of clouds, which will have a small figure climbing a ladder at the bottom part – or perhaps not – we’ll see.  I did want to do a big cloud-only canvas, but it was looking bare in some way – no very distinct focus within it.  There is still a LOT of detail to do within the clouds – but I couldn’t work more white in without it getting tainted by the greys and blacks that were hiding amongst it – so I’m trying to be patient and wait until Friday to give a proper amount of drying time.

Lying in bed thinking about it – and how much fun I had with big brushes, LOTS of paint and clouds, I considered all the things that could be at the bottom, and a series grew in my head.  And now I have a problem.  A few series, and a few ideas for more that are all large bodies of works in themselves.  I need to persistently work through one before moving on to the next.  I wish I wasn’t so easily distracted and enthusiastic…… but I guess this is one of the things that is making me do this at all.  Grrrr to me.

Drop off at Canterbury went well.  I believe they are building the website for the exhibition, so I will post the address when it is available, and you can see what I’m a part of this coming weekend.  It’s going to be big and exciting.

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Still, quiet and Final

My still, quiet corner of the beach.

My still, quiet corner of the beach.

OK, here it is – the final reworked from scratch version of My still, quiet corner of the beach.  I’m so much happier with this one than the last one.  It was a really interesting process for me to reproduce something that had been done earlier.  I have never done that before, and hopefully won’t do it again.  The surface still has loads of texture, I improved on a few areas that were a bit too indistinct for me, and fixed an arm that was troubling me in the original.  It’s also a little brighter and fresher.

Drop off is tomorrow, so today I’m wiring the works that need to be wired, filling in my paperwork and preparing to leave my precious works in the hands of friendly strangers.

The drop-off is always a nerve-wracking process for me.  If there is not immediate cooing you wonder if they think – ‘ew – this stuff is horrible’.  If there is immediate cooing you think – ‘I bet they say that to everyone’.  Someone once said to me that your own worst enemy lies between your ears.  It’s true.

One day I’ll learn to relax….

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Preparing to dive

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I have the day all to myself today.  I’m about 1/2 way through a repainting of a picture for Canterbury.

Last week I did a painting of a girl on a beach.  I was happy with it – but for some strange reason there was a hard vertical line which only became apparent when it was fully dry.  It bothered me.  I tried to save it, but realise now it’s just not working, so here I am repainting that painting for Canterbury on hand-stratech linen, instead of the ready-made canvas that it was last week.

I’ve never done this before, and it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.  The background is complete and I’m just about to dive ito the figure.  It’s going to be difficult to re-create the figure as so much of what I do is completely spontanous, but here I go……  And I need to deliver on Sunday.  Thank God for acrylics this week is all I can say. 🙂

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The ascent

The ascent

The Ascent

I got completely lost cloud-watching yesterday.  It’s all very well learning to paint, but artists must learn to see first, and I’m seeing new stuff all the time.

Living in the city – I see plenty of clouds – from underneath.  From underneath they are beautiful but we experience them as fairly flat things – not the 3d wonders that they truly are.  I was struck yesterday by how much volume a cloud actually has.  They are awesomely BIG things often, and because they change constantly it can be hard to capture one with any real depth.  It’s a landscape in the sky, which is obvious I suppose, but one that we take for granted, and a beautiful cloud can have such a calming influence.

I have visions of stretching myself a huge canvas and painting some clouds – just to enjoy them myself.  Oils would be great. Am I up to the task.  Not sure, but it’s going to be fun trying.

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Self-Portrait Wednesday

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Self-Portrait after climbing Hanging Rock.

Today is Anzac Day in Australia.  The day we celebrate the soldiers who have fought on Australia’s behalf to protect our own shores and others.  It’s always a day full of internal conflict for me.

I am so grateful that we live in such a beautiful country which is blessed with peace and beauty, and that – with the exception of the brutality involved in its occupation by white man, and all the related difficulties for our Aboriginies for generations since, it has not suffered any great trauma as a country.  Our battles have been for the most part fought on the behalf of others, and it troubles me deeply that war is necessary at all.  I am the sort of person who believes with every fibre of my being that to carry a weapon is dangerous.  It is most likely to be turned on you, and to expand that, I worry that our efforts overseas may make us a target.  This is a conflict for me because I can see that at times it is completely necessary to stand up for those that can’t stand up for themselves.

On Anzac Day, our soldiers (old and young) march for remembrance, and we thank them for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf.  It must be hard for many of them to ever find peace after serving in dangerous times.

To try and make it more personal for myself, I make my family do something that is uniquely Australian.  Try to find the heart of the country or our culture and heritage.  I think I do this to try to remind myself what could be lost and why it is necessary to fight (this is my struggle).  We drove to Hanging Rock today, packed a picnic, frolicked by a Billabong (a kind of stagnant pool), where I told my son stories of Bunyips (mythical creatures that live in Billabongs), and then climbed the rock.

The picnic bit should have been a BBQ, but my Italian husband thought this was terribly uncivilised and unhygenic, and so it mutated into Antipasto, with sandwiches for the kids.  We traipsed around with our rug but couldn’t find an area of grass that wasn’t covered in kangaroo poo.  It wasn’t stinky or anything – it just seemed a bit nasty to think we were sitting on poo, plus Zara was fascinated by it and kept trying to pick it up.  We ended up at a table, with our antipasto, but at least it was by a Billabong.

The rock is so wonderful.  It is a volcanic formation, that is spectacular and has bushland all around.  I took loads of photos of my little family valiantly tripping up and around rocks and around twisty paths and realised on the way back down that I didn’thave one of me.  So that’s my photo of me – up the top, having a private moment thinking ‘Hmm – better just do it myself ‘ 🙂

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Sky and Road

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Country property – somewhere between Daylesford and Kyneton

I had to do a lot of driving yesterday.  There is a possibility I may have some works in a gallery at Daylesford, and I drove down to meet with the curator, show some works and discuss.   Long way to go – but a beautiful place to spend the weekend and te feeling of peace down there is so special.

On the way back I had my camera in my hand, pulling over to take snaps.  It was a bit frustrating being on the car on my own, because there were lots of things I saw, and couldn’t capture because of the driving thing.

I’m building a body of landscape photos to use for background reference at some point, but seem to have roads in most of them.  Not a bad thing I suppose.  I may do a whole series of roadside or country.  I may even give a pure landscape a go this week as I promised I would do one by the end of April- and it’s creeping up isn’t it!

I love the white gravel in this photo and the wall made of HUGE stones.  There must have been some strong farmers building that one!

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Inspiration in Melbourne

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Driving towards Melbourne City.

I went to Art Melbourne 07 last night.

It was an interesting experience to see so much work on display, but it is a tricky environment to sell in I think.  The mind tends to spin a bit – and one moves on to the next gallery (booth) trying to keep those works that had a voice in mind, but then something else calls…….. Though plenty of people were carrying works out – so things were obviously being bought!

Spotted Melinda Ransom (we exhibited together earlier in the year), who said she had sold well, which is great.  I know she was preparing hard for that show.

I totally fell in love with some very rounded stylised sculptures, found another little sculpture which was of a wide pregnant lady with little stick legs.  Completely fabulous and $1,000.  I would have bought it if I had the money in the bank – but as I’m trying to clear my credit card I bravely resisted.  My eyes sting thinking about it, and I wish I’d taken a card.

As an artist, it was an interesting experience to see how my own interests have changed.  I’m much more drawn to abstract and ‘brut’ these days – something that hit me at Art Fair last year, and was confirmed for me last night.  There is something in that way of working that seems like it has come straight from the soul to the canvas.  It’s pure and deep and primal.  Though my charming companion didn’t agree.  It was also interesting to see the size of canvas she was drawn to – much smaller than is natural for me – and infinitely more saleable I suppose.  I’d rather have one huge piece, she’d rather have several.  It’s all so subjective!

I found one gallery that someone had mentioned might be a good fit with my work – and I did feel completely at home there.  So that’s on my wish list to contact later in the next year.  So nice to see the beautiful work on show there, and dream about all the possible futures.

On the whole, it was an interesting and worthwhile experience. It was interesting to see Hazel Dooney’s ‘sex tourist’ installation, and great to be in front of some Anthony Lister works in real life.

Last year’s Art Fair was more interesting to me because it represented artists who were well into their careers and gave a real snapshot of current Australian Art at its best and most surprising.  It was thrilling and inspiring, and absolutely HUGE.  Art Melbourne 07  was smaller, and while there was some great work, there was also some that was purely decorative – which is not art to me (and I know that’s completely subjective too).

Go see!

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