Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Thoughts...

“Art is a line around your thoughts.”

 Gustav Klimt

Hmm. I liked the notion of this without really thinking about it.  The more I think about it, the harder I find it to work out why I responded to it!

I guess for 2-D artists who use lines and strokes to express things, it is a great description. I like the idea that artists express their thoughts using lines, that the lines and marks on their work are expressions of their thoughts.

Lines that can tell a story.

But then I keep coming back to the line AROUND your thoughts - which makes me feel as if somehow the line joins up and encloses things which is slightly different to simply expressing your thoughts.

In the end, I think its the imagery it evoked for me that made me like it - I immediately saw scratchy pencil lines and marks in my mind...and was lucky to find a photo that sort of describes it.

Leon Ferrari
Untitled (Sermon of the Blood)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Another show and more peace...

I spent a bit of time on the weekend playing some more with my graphite pencils - the water soluble ones.

I wanted to see what a long line of writing might look like with lots of lovely graded grey letters.  I also made more colourful initials, but the thing I needed to know was could I put a bunch of letters together into words, and then a bunch of words into a sentence and have it look OK.

So I wrote some words  - Each day is a new chance for peace - and got out the pencils and the water and the brushes.

I had fun and liked what emerged...

I am always fond of a nice long thin piece.

Soem details of the letters.

After I looked at it for a bit, I thought maybe a red dot over the 'i' would work.

I think I've almost got the hang of how to apply the pencils and the water to get a softly graded look.

And in other news, my book "Silence helps no-one" which is about family violence, has been selected for the Manly Library Artists' Book Award 2015 show, so I shall be posting it off to Sydney soon! It is wonderful to be in such great company and I wish I could see the show - so many wonderful books.

Details of the show can be found on my "Works on show" page at the top of my blog.

What a monochromatic blog post this was!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wild weather and the things we do...

As many of you might know, we've experienced some pretty wild weather here for the past few days. A serious cyclone crossed the Queensland coast on Friday morning and managed to dump a lot of rain and heavy winds on us as it made its way down the coast. Nothing like the impact it had up north - just devastating.  For a few days before hand we also had massive rain and wind and so the place is saturated and we are all feeling a bit damp.  We had around 400mm of rain in 48 hours.

Here are the peace flags at the front of our house.  The wild weather took them from Peace to Pace - Italian for peace - so it feels as if peace might be battered, but not beaten.

And this is what the small creek that flows thru town looked like on Friday morning.
You can tell it normally only goes thru the bit on the left - the tree in the middle is usually growing on a creek-bank.

When we were in town, the creek still had a metre to rise before it backed up against the road - fortunately it didn't happen. Normally folk walk along the footpath under the bridge...

And the road near the dairy - pelting rain and flooded.

And so we found ourselves in that strange netherworld of not being able to do anything outside, combined with a little bit of worry and lots of concern for folk.  Hard to settle. It meant I didn't feel at all creative, but wanted to do stuff. So I fiddled and I faddled.

The funniest moment was on Friday afternoon amidst really, really heavy rain when I started to iron burnt tissue paper.

I looked at myself and thought "has it come to this?"  Who else would think ironing burnt tissue paper was on their to-do list?  Possibly a few of you!

I do love a stack of nicely ironed tissue paper.

And on Saturday, I managed to get some ink out and print onto it - a few experiments to see what they might look like.  I am not sure where its headed but the thought has been in my head for a while and now I've done it.

A good way to use a weird old day.

I really like the fragmented nature of this work.

It is whispering to me and I need to sit quietly so I can hear what it says.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday Thoughts...

“We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else’s mind.” 

Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

I have enjoyed reading and rereading this quote. First time around it seemed as if I got it, short and sweet. Second and third times around I really tried to get my head around it!

It is a habit of mine to read in bed.  Oftentimes I will just go to bed early so I can sit and read for ages.  It is a very rare or a very late night when I don't read. It is such a transition to sleeping for me; a habit ingrained over many years I guess and I really like the quiet, gentler time that it is. Somehow reading in bed leads me to sleep.

Which, when I think about it, is why I like the quote and the way it ties reading in bed into dreaming and therefore sleeping. That transition notion again as well as the sense for me, of dreaming as a halfway state.

But I think the quote is actually saying more about reading - that it is a halfway place where our minds are intertwined with another's; that our action of reading is linked inextricably to what was happening in somebody else's mind. That reading itself is a practice that is halfway between living and dreaming. Oh my.

The closer I look the trickier this quote gets, and I think I'd better leave it there before I find even more complications to ponder!

A recent sunset - a burning orange transition from day to night.  This marks month two of Jennifer and Julie's search for the rainbow (Roy G. Biv) and other colours too. Pop on over to their blogs if you'd like to see what orange others found; or to join in.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Works on show...

It has been a really busy start to the year and I have work popping up all over the countryside in some gorgeous looking shows.

To kick start the fun, we are showing in Cairns.

Rose Rigley has organised for 4 book artists from Far North Queensland to show alongside 4 book artists from South East Queensland in a show called 4x4.  We have each sent 3 books in  a sculptural form which means a delicious collection of 24 books. The works will be on show at the Cairns Regional Gallery from 2 March - 29 March 2015.  The exciting news is that we will also be showing these works in Brisbane in the middle of the year - stay tuned for details.

My three books: Learning My Lines; Library of Lost Words; and Rural Journal

My book Ways of Peace has landed safely in Perth in Western Australia and will be on show at in the exhibition Between the Sheets at Gallery Central from 7 March - 2 April 2015.

Robyn Foster has done an amazing job bringing together the second Personal Histories show - this time a whole new set of artists' books around the theme of personal history will be shown at Redland Art Gallery from 27 March to 10 May 2015.  I can't wait to see this show - the first one was gorgeous and this one will be stunning I am sure.

I am sending three mini-books which tell a bit of my story - A Life of Words.

In addition, the Gallery is also hosting artists books around the First World War. Susan, Barry, Helen and I are all contributing the books we sent to Ieper for Pieces for Peace, so my book The Nurses will be on display there.

I am also contributing two other books I have previously made to honour my great grandfather's service. He died near Ieper and has no known grave.


No Return.

As mentioned, Caloundra Regional Gallery also wanted to host these works, so we have each made a variant of the book we sent to Ieper to show there in the exhibition Of Peace and War.  This show runs from 25 March - 10 May 2015 - you can't really get more simultaneous than that!

The Nurses and The Nurses 2.

I'm tired just thinking about the logistics of it all.  What a great start to the new year and how wonderful to have so many opportunities to share books around the country. If only I could travel to see them all...

For full details of each of the shows - see my Works on show... page at the top of my blog. It would be great to see you at any of the local openings and if you happen to be visiting any one of the other locations, I am sure the shows are worth viewing.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Days of progress

The weekend has really been a time of consolidation. Of finishing some projects, of pushing others along and of making preparations for others.  It was a very satisfying time all round and I feel good about all the bits and pieces I achieved.

At the workshop last weekend, Helen I reminded me of some pen-holders that Carol Du Bosch makes and which were featured in Bound and Lettered.  They are simple to make and feel good in the hand. I was quite conscious of how much penholders cost as I recently bought some - but couldn't afford as many as I would have liked so this seemed like a great opportunity.  I went a little bit over board...

A pencil sharpener chamfered the ends nicely.

Ta - da! I have since transferred several orphan nibs into their new holders and it makes me happy to look at them.

I am selling my calligraphy pebbles down at Caloundra Regional Gallery and had a phone call that more were needed!  A rather nice problem to face, so I am head down ink out and writing both upper and lower case letters on pebbles, and will deliver a new batch this week I hope.

I made a slip case for a book I had swapped with Caren Florence. She mentioned she referenced my A Subversive Stitch often when she taught and would love a copy of her own - I found one in my studio and we swapped - her offering was Learning Absences a book based on a poem by Rosemary Dobson and made as part of Book Art Object.  I treasure this book and wanted it to be safe.  I made a light slip case for it and wrote in ultramarine watercolour on black - nice result!

I found time to finish my homework from the workshop - two wee books with covers using the techniques we learnt.

Barry's work is selling well at Maleny Additions, a beautiful homewares shop in town, and I had to do more labels for him. This is the second batch of 10 in two weeks so that's great news.

I am anticipating a small job coming up soon and have prepared pages and some covers just to be ready...

And I had a play with a nice long, thin strip of paper writing words about peace.  Still waiting to complete it, but am edging closer.

The biggest chunk of time on the weekend went towards finishing my burning book - part of my collaboration with Susan.  We have until the end of the month to complete it so I really had to push it along this weekend.  It is now nearly there; I think I have done the hardest of the yards and hope the next phase is simpler.  I sat down to write notes on everything I had done for it so far (for future reference) and was amazed at the many stages and details involved - made me tired just looking back over it! Lucky it has been spaced out over several months.  Soon it will be done.

It has been productive time in the studio and I have been really enjoying myself - life is good.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thursday Thoughts...

“Nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.” 

 Brene Brown

I first heard of Brene Brown when I listened to her TED talk on Vulnerability. She spoke beautifully and made a lot of sense.

This quote is one of those that goes right to the heart.  It lands somewhere deep inside and says pay attention, think about this, your life is precious and you have to live it.

I almost ache when I read the opening words, about how awful it feels to stand on the outside of your life. I get such a feeling of despair at the thought of not living the life you deserve to live.  Of course, sometimes all sorts of reasons (like earning money) and choices can keep us from living the dream-life, but I think these words are more about living an authentic life wherever life finds you at the moment.

I am so glad that I have moved to a point where I feel as if I am inside my life, living and doing the things that matter to me. We made some big decisions nine years ago - to leave well-paying jobs with status, to try to live a fuller life, a life where we could spend time on things that matter, where we could stop and enjoy the beauty of the world around us, where we could be present with people and not just rushing by on our way to a meeting, where we could go out and enjoy a coffee with friends rather than put them off for the fifth time because work got in the way...

It meant a significant drop in income, being more vulnerable around financial security, but I can honestly say it feels like we've shown up to our lives and can be seen, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Columbus Circle, New York City looking out from inside...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Purely Pencils Part II

Over the last day or two I have been able to think about the workshop a bit more and organise my brain and my photos a bit better as I unpacked my bags and finished off a few pieces.

We covered a lot of territory working with both white paper and black.

Here's my mark on watercolour paper with Graphitint pencils - a mixture of pigment and graphite.

Here's some more initials - this time I used the Caran D'Ache Neocolor II watercolour crayons. They were so creamy and I was impressed by how little you needed to create such vibrant colours. I was using a soft sable brush for the water and it just wasn't firm enough to pull the pigment out of the dimples in the cold-press paper, so I have learnt to now use an acrylic brush on this sort of paper - thanks Gem!

I did another initial this afternoon - again the pencil lines are still there because it was wet when I finished, but it was also from some more gravel 'mulch' as we call it - hence the M.

After doing a couple of these we then moved on to black paper - mmm.

Graphite pencil on black paper.

And a bit of detail (before rubbing out)

Then it was on to colours on the black - metallic pencils (be kind) and plain coloured pencils (be gorgeous). These two are book marks.

And some details

I like the combination of these three phrases - be brave, be kind, be gorgeous.

There were other exercises as well - we were busy in the nicest possible way.

Here are some of the other folks' work, I hope I got names right!

Helen's I's G and swatch - a work in progress.

Helen V's metallics on black - so vibrant.

Greg's blended colours inside a letter (sorry for the bit of blur) - wow.

Desma's graphite pencil on black, I love the extensions, just stunning.

 And I did rub out the lines of those two earlier pieces and they almost  look complete!

I've been back in the studio working on another piece and doing my homework - two small booklets.  It has been great to have the time to re-enforce my learnings and explore a few new things with my new-found knowledge.  Where to next I wonder?