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.
I hope you all had a refreshing holiday. Ours has been hot…. pretty hot! one would think that as time goes by we get used to the climate where we live, but it does not feel that way. The fans are on 3 at night or reluctantly we have been putting the air conditioning on (it is nice to think that we ‘adapt’ but too many bad nights of sleep is a recipe for grumpiness!). However, it is still beautiful, the birds are active, the plants are green from the recent rain and I have been plugging along in the studio, full of plans in my head but also needing to give time to some projects that must be completed soon.
I received a beautiful small print from a dear friend, a linocut from the artist Anne Curtis, who is based in Port Douglas. She makes linocuts and uses the reduction method. The work is very impressive, even more up close than when you see it in photos. The colours are very bright and there are lots of details. Here is a close up detail of the work I now own.
I like the idea of the reduction method, it seems that registration should be easier and one uses less blocks. So I decided to have a try by making a small woodcut, 15 by 10 cm.
I missed the first two steps in the photos, where I used a light pink/flesh colour and a slightly darker one for the darker value in the face. I can see what went well and what didn’t. It was interesting to add a white final layer over the black background. The white does not really become white, which was the goal, and I think the bandana looks better without the dark surrounding… perhaps more natural?
Still lots to learn. Registration was easier but not perfect (I am just not very good at precise work!) and the order in which to apply colours needs careful thought. But definitely will keep trying!
Hola! Feliz Año 2015 with lots of health and happiness! Hoping deeply for a wonderful year for all, to find more peace in the world and more contentment.
I have a new website and I am still in the process of moving things over. I am not very good with computers so this turned out to be a bit (I really mean ‘much’) more difficult than I predicted. I hope the change is for the better! still have lots to learn. You will see that the previous blog posts are in fact from the previous website, I had to ‘copy and paste’ them so to correct the dates I included them in the title. I also need to learn properly about inserting images. You can see that many of my images have this weird black frame around them… not intended. Some don’t but I don’t really do much differently… hopefully this will soon be solved. So in the meantime please excuse the no completely professional look.
I hope this year I will share more of my process and inspiration. Now that I don’t have ‘another’ job I am supposed to have more time… it hasn’t happen yet 🙂 but I don’t complain, it is so great to be busy doing something one really likes. I love what I get from other artists on the web, so I hope to give a little back.
This is a small etching I created during the Christmas break. It represents the Humbug damselfish. My husband worked with this fish for many years and I always wanted to create an artwork that had a special meaning for him. Next are pitcher plants and ant plants!
The exhibition only has one more week to go and it has been a truly great experience. There is nothing like the pressure to meet a deadline to help one push the boundaries of what we know and be braver at expanding. This is what this exhibition did for me, push me to combine techniques, push me to explore more about colour (really difficult for me!) and remind me of how nice it is to work with the theme of nature. I will be forever grateful to the Perc Tucker Gallery for their belief in me and support to see this come through. I have put all the works available in the ‘ printmaking’ Portfolio.
I have since created one more work. We had a nest of a pair of brown backed honeyeaters in our garden and two little babies were successfully reared :). On this day it was time to practice flying and both little ones had a go. It was fascinating to see, the little ones have still very undeveloped tails so they fly very clumsily. I hope to produce some work of some of those stages, but this one just shows them safe back in the next wanting to be fed.
Today is a big day…. I am going a bit later to the Perc Tucker Gallery to help mount my exhibition on ‘Birds and Other Creatures’, to be displayed in the showcase. It has been a very intense month, working hard to produce some new works, but very satisfying because I have learned a lot. The exhibition was a last minute opportunity so I only had a month to get ready. There is nothing like pressure to push you to places that may be one wouldn’t go in the tranquility of every day. I feel I have learned much more about working small, using colours and combining woodcut and linocut to complete an image. It is quite interesting to understand better the differences between lino and wood as a relief medium and understand better what it is that attracts me so much to wood. I know I like the work but of course, as with everything, with more time would do a few things differently. I hope people like it! there is also a scary feeling when one is exposed like this to the audience…. hard to avoid that feeling.
I have been quiet for quite some time. All is good but this is now what I will call “an adjustment period’. After many years of work I have taken the decision to quit my ‘other’ job. In terms of piece of mind it feels like a great decision, time will tell whether it was also a good decision in other aspects. For now, I am trying to answer those questions that I imagine many artists have: what do I want to do as an artist? why am I making art? where do I want to take my art to? Do I want to be commercially viable or do I want to do the art that truly comes from my heart no matter if it is likely to be sold or not? I imagine the answers will come slowly so I must be patient and let them form and in the meantime keep working on my art.
This saturday is the opening of our Pressnorth Printmakers group exhibition resulting from the 4 workshops we took with Peter Lancanster, G.W.Bot, Trent Walter and Judy Watson. It is a great display of the many different techniques we learned. The second smaller print in the invitation is the lithography I made during Peter Lancaster’s workshop. Great experience, learned lots.
Last weekend I attended a 3 days workshop with Trent Walter. Trent is a master printmaker and artist based in Melbourne, with a rich history of experience working with other artists and on his own. This workshop is part of a series of 4 workshops with well known artists (Peter Lancaster, G.W.Bot, Trent Walter and Judy Watson) that are coming to Townsville for an artist residency and as part of this they give a workshop. The program has been organised by Pressnorth Printmakers, a North Queensland Printmaking Collective of which I am very proudly part of! and funded by Artslink Queensland, and done in collaboration with Umbrella Studio and Perc Tucker Gallery.
Trent’s workshop was very interesting and inspiring. I am only just learning to produce images that have more than one or two layers, and usually I have worked mostly in black and white so the workshop was just what I needed. This workshop was about using many different techniques to create an image, including image transfer, monoprint, stencil, watercolour, and more if wanted! Such a variety of techniques usually leads to the production of one unique image, that’s why the name monotype or monoprint. At the end we produced two books that will be exhibited as part of the exhibition Dexterity, which will showcase selected prints from these workshops. This small exhibition will run at the same time as two other much larger exhibitions by two printmaker friends I admire, Jo Lankester (Cornerstone) and Donna Foley (Limina: the threshold of experience).
The image below was my best and the one that appears in one of the books. It has image transfer, monoprint and several stencils. Very happy!
I am participating in a very inspiring project where many artists are joining forces together to raise their voice against the proposed plans to build a coal mine that will destroy at least half of the Bimblebox nature Refuge. This place is unique in that it has a very high diversity of birds, which undoubtedly be severely affected if the mine goes ahead, in addition to all the other negative environmental consequences. There is a variety of activities, the one I am involved in is making a print of one of the birds that live in the refuge, in my case it is the ‘Black faced cuckoo shrike’. There will be 153 artists making an image of one of the 153 birds found in Bimblebox! You can read more about this project here. They also have a facebook page where you can follow the project. At the end there will be an exhibition with all the artwork, poetry and music… it should be beautiful!
It is a great privilege to be part of this!
Update: Find out more about the Bimblebox Nature Refuge project here , and about the 153 Bird Project here