Some of you will know that I have been preparing for a while for a solo exhibition in the access space at Umbrella Studio gallery, next April. This will be my third solo exhibition, although the second one in 2014 was a relatively impromptu exhibition of small works, quite a few already made beforehand . For this one I have had time to think, probably too much 🙂 . The theme is our local bower bird, the Great Bower Bird. I (and more so my husband…) have spent many hours observing and photographing this bird, especially the males and their bowers, and occasionally the females as they approach the bower. I can honestly say that if I liked this bird before, now I love it! Their behaviour is incredibly interesting, long hours of effort invested to mate.
I have learned a lot, still many things to do to complete everything I need to do, and waiting after to show the complete images, but here is a little pick at process, a photo of the beautiful male displying its pink crown, and a previous image of a small etching I did some time ago. Hope you like it 🙂
It has been a long time…. I am finding that it is so much faster to post a photo of work in progress using facebook, and more recently instagram, that I tend to go that way rather than spend the time writing a post for the blog….. uhmmm I think that one of the benefits of blogging is that it makes me think about how to put in words things that are floating in my mind…. and that’s a good thing (to some degree)
I now find myself working full time, almost busier than when I held a paid job. I can’t complain, the more I make, the more I like it, which is a wonderful feeling, in spite of the failures that come along.
I am preparing work for a small solo exhibition on our local bowerbird, but in between moments when I need a break from ‘another bowerbird’ I am exploring other styles and techniques. More recently I have explored more the reduction print and the theme of refugees, making figurative work.
The last print is quite a departure for me, but somehow I feel is still strong, so I think I will explore this a bit more!
I think I am finding myself in a period of introspection because I want to make my art more meaningful and rich. Trying to clarify what it is that I want to do and also, importantly, how. I like many media and find myself continuously going from one to the others, so perhaps mixing them will be ultimately where I get.
However, in the meantime I also feel I need to be better technically at everything, but especially so at the printmaking media. So I jumped in at the opportunity and went to Melbourne to take two printmaking workshops at the Firestation Print Studio, one by Jazmina Cininas and one by Sarah Amos. Jazmina is a master in reduction linocut and Sarah is a master in collagraphs. They were both fantastic, very different techniques, very different approaches, very different teachers, which for me was perfect because I learned not only about the actual techniques, but also about variability in artistic process and approach. So, after worrying a lot about how much money I was investing on my practice, I feel it was very much worth it 🙂 fiu!
The artistic side was very stimulating but in addition I was extremely lucky to be offered accommodation with the loveliest couple you can imagine, Kathleen and Stuart, who so kindly offered me a place to stay in a beautiful part of town with very easy access to everything. It was truly wonderful and in spite of the short time, we became good friends and will always remember those days. They inspired me in many ways, healthy habits and attitudes to life. I have already made our own rich, healthy cereal and chocolate snack…….
I was keen to come back and try the techniques. Since it has only been a few days, I started with this linocut and I am pleased with the result. I learned a few things in the process (one of them that I would loooove to have one of the big, at least 30cm rollers!, not very likely for a good while!). I am sure each image presents different challenges, but hopefully I am learning to be less scared at having a go. This image is of a male sunbird, common in North Queensland. Size 32×25.5 cm. This work simply celebrates the beauty of our local nature and its beautiful birds. Sunbird are very small and although their yellow colour is quite strong and makes them easy to spot, sometimes you have to look carefully through the leaves to find them.
Things are now back to normal after a nice relaxing, not too busy holiday break. I hope all of you had a nice time and feel refreshed to put the energy in for an interesting and great year!
In November last year I had the very fortunate experience of being selected as one of the finalists for the Rick Amor print prize.
This prize is every four years since it is held every two years but it shares the prize with the Rick Amor Drawing prize, so each has a turn every two years. The event was held at Montsalvat in Melbourne, which is a beautiful gallery. The winning work was a lithograh by Jim Pavlidis. It was indee a beautiful work, you have to see it close up to appreciate the richness of the lithographic marks.
My work was on the topic of refugees. It is called ‘Missing the colours from home’ and it combines various relief techniques, including woodcut and lino. An edition of 9.
This work developed slowly since I made decisions as to the background as I progressed. This is typical of me which it is sometimes a problem if I wait too long to make those decisions and then the wood or lino is cut! In this case it worked well and I was very happy with the result. The experience left me on a high, but what I am learning is that every work I start becomes a challenge in its own right and the process doesn’t seem to get any easier. It is a lot about allowing oneself to just make art and accept with a positive view the many works that don’t quite make it but still have immense value in the subtle learning that goes on all the time.
I have been in the studio every day this week just drawing, printing, painting… the more I do the more I want to do. The last two days I have been making small collagraphs, a medium I am very interested but definitely not very practiced on it. I’ll keep working on it for a little while 🙂
I decided today to forget a little about some deadlines coming up and trying to produce work that can be displayed to a public and sometimes that helps so much in producing something one likes. It is however not easy to separate that feeling from the actual making of art. So today I worked with etching, and a little bit with trying to understand the aquatint process a bit more since I am really very very unfamiliar with it. I produced this small etching of a figure and I quite like it. There is really too many unpredictable things happening in the production of this image and I am sure a next one could be completely disastrous…! That I think is what attracts me to this process so I can’t be too tight about the way I work with this medium. In any case, at least today it worked 🙂
The continuing and increasing number of people having to leave their homelands and seek refuge somewhere else is very sad. It is in fact impossible to imagine how it feels to have to leave the home, the place, the friends, the life that you have known for a long time if not all of your life. It is hard to imagine how it feels to lack for food and water, to have to keep walking when you feel weak and sick….. oh, just imagining hurts.
Thinking about refugees has inspired some of my art. Last year I made an artist book (loose leafs enclosed in a folio) using etching as a technique. I wanted to show in some way the marks that having to become a refugee must leave and etching provided some very strong marks that did achieve what I wanted. I also made a concertina artist book using the monoprint technique
More recently I have been making small drawings. I am not sure yet what I want to do with them, usually I just want to draw and then find the inspiration in this topic and these people. When I start one of these drawings I use as a reference material from numerous sources, for example, the UNHCR, Medecins san frontiers, Amnesty International, and others. I find an image that inspires me and draw it. I don’t try to copy the image and make a portrait, both for copyright reasons but also because I want to see the image as a representation of so many more people. I just try to capture something and then let the drawing find its own way to a final result. Often the lines in the paper tell me what type of colour to use or mark to make.
The drawings are quite small. I think the size allows an intimacy that is difficult to get at a larger scale. Initially I didn’t have a plan for these drawings, but I am thinking that I will try to make another artist book with them. We will see. In the meantime below are some of these drawings.
For a short while now I have been enjoying the challenge of producing small works, in this case small etchings mostly of local animals. I seem to like to push etching to the more unpredictable area, allowing ‘open bite’ and unintended plate marks to develop. This of course means that sometimes I ruin the plate! It is quite surprising how sometimes an extra minute in the acid is too much. It is part of the journey of discovering a bit about myself as I learn how I like to make art.
Below are some photos of these etchings. I am allowing the possibility of large editions (up to 50) to make them more affordable and I am trying Etsy to see if it helps to put the work out there. I do not show my work much so I am exploring this venue, at least for the small work. Let’s see!
If you want to have a look, here is a link to my page.
Bowerbirds are fascinating. I only have to walk for 5 minutes to see at least two bowers in the park, often active with the males displaying. Here in North Queensland we have the Great Bowerbird (species name Ptilonorhynchus nuchalis), which in spite of the exquisite complex behaviour is so common that we can delight in it, or probably often simply ignore it. The males build a ‘bower’ to attract the female. Different species have different types of bowers, some tidier than others, but the Great Bowerbird has a very beautiful one. It is built with numerous sticks, quite dense, forming two arched walls. The bower is adorned with ‘treasure objects’ many man-made that the birds find atttractive and ‘steal’ to take back for their bower. They even steal from each other!
My latest linocut shows a male by its bower. This one in particular had lots of white and red ornaments with white round pieces of styrofoam and red tops, and silver/grey screws. It is quite fascinating but somehow also sad to see bowers so full of our waste objects. It makes me wonder what the changes have been in time of the objects birds put in their bowers and how will it be in many years down the track.
I have been working on one of two images for an upcoming exhibition ‘Post Post’ that will be shown at Umbrella Studio in April. It has been interesting and challenging and it has taken quite a bit of energy. Today is Sunday and I have spent some time simply drawing. I realise that drawing can be soooo relaxing! especially when it is done for the pure pleasure of it, to play with materials and marks. Since I haven’t posted for a while I thought I would post two of the little drawings I just made.
For the top drawing I decided to give it a background using a small roll of paper I recently bought in an antique shop…. I kind of like it.