Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” 

Louisa May Alcott

Oh my goodness this made me laugh! I had never come across it until today and how lucky was I that Thursday Thoughts was pondering books?

If I am to be charged with anything; I would be happy to be charged with being too fond of books and having had my brain turned.

Nevertheless, they remain a lifeline, a world of wonder and intrigue, places to get lost in, lands of discovery and places to turn to for solace and recovery.  My head has been turned often by a book and my world has been made clearer; my compassion levels raised, and my heart and mood lifted.

Guilty as charged.

My tattered version of Little Women. Who didn't love Jo when she cut off her hair?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Beauty on the block and bits of art

Sometimes the art you do is not your art. The other week I spent a full day with Barry as he installed a fabulous piece of public art sculpture he had designed. It is a beautiful piece and looks stunning. Installation day was a big day so it was all hands on deck including mine.

I stayed out of the way of the heavy lifting but was called on to help place the river stones in the cement around the sculpture.

I was lucky to find a couple of heart stones which I had to include in the work.

This one needed a bit of a clean up after it was splashed with concrete. But oh so lovely.

Some of the stones I positioned.


And Barry hard at work tidying things.

Back on the block it was a week to discover beauty.  Mid-winter, some of the first buds of Spring...

Peace doves seen so clearly against the blue sky with no leaves to cover them.

And one that had fallen, Barry placed in this block...

 Coming back to the house from the studio - a gentle sunset with a bird in flight...

Life is good.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Finally printing....

I mentioned earlier in the week that I had moved from planning to preparing, and now I've done some printing.

And it feels good.

Barry very kindly spent the afternoon with me yesterday helping me get the letterpress part of the prints right. Partly because I have a shocking head cold and am struggling a bit; partly because he just loves letterpress; and partly because I love having help with the basics that I sometimes forget!

Together we blind-proofed the type and worked out where to register the paper. Then we built a high-tech registration board from a few bit of cardboard and some tape.

We popped the etched page into the registration boards.

Inked up the type.

Barry pulled the wheel around on the Lightning Jobber.

I love all the inkiness on the rollers...

And we printed 12 pages which was pretty darn good!  It was a tricky bit of registration - just setting the type accurately around the blank square and etching properly on the etching press, and then getting it all to come together  with the letterpress - I was chuffed!  I am aiming for an edition of 5 for each of the works (3 more to go) so having done 12 will give me plenty to chose from.

I have also set aside 3 to work on with calligraphy - altho the style has changed enormously from my earlier trials.  I do so love the process of an evolving artwork...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“The greatest gift that you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention". 

Anthony J. D’Angelo

In its own small way it is a fascinating taksk each week to go looking for a quote to use around art, books or life. Many of the quotes have sat there for ages, sometimes years, before they go "my turn".  This is one of those patient quotes whose time has come.

At different points in time I am better, or worse at doing the small things that care for, nurture or support me.  Sometimes I carve out time to do the things I want to do; at others every spare moment seems subsumed by activities other than things that could in any way be defined as "me-time".

The lesson keeps needing to be learnt; to take some small bits of time for yourself; to not just give it all away. In doing so you can empty that well pretty darn fast, and it can take a long time to re-fill.

Be kind to yourself, look after yourself, and do a little thing, or two, that makes you smile.

Thursday had become sewing day, the three hours I nabbed for myself to just enjoy and do something for myself. For lots of reasons including travel, illness, deaths and memorials I haven't been able to go for quite a few weeks; and won't be able to for the next wee while either, and my how I miss it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Printing and progressing

I have managed to print the first run of the first print for Sydney. This required dampening the paper, inking up the small etching plate and printing 15 sheets. I am also using the etching plate in the book, so there are a few more smaller pages to be inked and printed yet.

Here they are stacked and drying in an old telephone book.

Once they are all dry and good to go, I will print the second run, the letterpress blocks.  Then when that has dried, I will add the red highlights. And then do it all gain three more times so there is a series of four!

With Barry's much appreciated help, I managed to get the covers ready for the Apex Life Member book.
This time around we chose a different binding, one where we could replace pages if needed, without having to re-do the whole book like we did last year (in a strange process the National body like to see the final book to approve it - but oftentimes say something isn't quite right and needs to be changed...tricky).

The front cover underway.

Drilling holes through the great board and the book cloth and the inside lining paper is made smooch easier by using my Japanese screw drill or drill screw, can' quite think what is the best way to describe it. Its a hand tool for punching holes.

You can see that the shaft has swirls cut into it like a drill bit, and this shaft sort of spins/.rotates and disappears up into the handle when you push on it, forcing the cutting apparatus at the front to bore a hole.

That would have to be the most non-technical description of a tool ever.

Primed ready to push down.

And funnily enough I didn't take a shot of what happened! Laugh, but you can see it up in the first hole in the second photo.

And on the way back to the house I came across this perfect droplet...I love how you can see the bare branches of the frangipani in winter reflected in it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

From planning to preparing

My artwork progresses in small steady stages, and I have come to understand that many things take time. The things that take the most time seem to be the things where I am most invested in the final result - the things where I know I am going to be on show in public and want everything to be as good as it can possibly be; or things where I have been specially commissioned to produce a piece of work for somebody.  Also things with  deadlines, because if I don't plan properly and forget a major step, then I am up the creek without a paddle as we say.

When I get to play in the studio and follow my own whimsy or fancy; or let the work lead me, things do tend to go a whole lot quicker.

On a couple of projects I have moved from planning (research, notes, trials, re-dos) to actually preparing.

For the first of the letterpress prints I am making for Sydney, I have sat and worked out the size of the paper that will fit in the Lightning Jobber press and the amount of paper I want to show around the print  once framed (if I wanted more to show I might need larger paper).

And so I collected my draft frames and mats.

Here is the 3cm frame with the larger aperture - more space around the work.

The 3cm frame with the smaller aperture - tighter around the work.

The 2cm frame with the larger aperture.

The 2cm frame with smaller aperture.

Decisions decisions.

Finalising some text in preparation for printing.

Proofing without ink.

Stacking up sheets of the beautiful Gmund 300 paper ready for printing.

Starting the laborious and labour-intensive process of cutting lots of 20cm x 20cm sheets from the 70cm x 50cm sheets.

Almost ready for the first print run!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

“Once, Picasso was asked what his paintings meant. He said, “Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don’t. But you listen to them anyway.” So, sometimes with art, it is important just to look.” 

Marina Abramovińá

Once again the pondering turns to art, and the notion of whether or not we really need to know or understand art in order to enjoy it.

Oftentimes we don't need to understand or know in order to appreciate and enjoy art I think - it is enough that we respond, whether positively or negatively. The artist has done their job by conveying a message which we have received.

Sometimes understanding the background to a piece of work definitely adds to the appreciation of the work - to know why somebody did something; to know the conditions they made it under; or the inspiration for it, can really add to your response; perhaps take it to another level.

Perhaps it takes looking from response/appreciation to understanding...

An Australian song bird, sitting on it's bottom, not in an old gum tree...

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Lichen our block..

The title is a terrible pun - but nonetheless it's true; I like our block!

I was waiting to be picked up one day, standing at the top of our drive where we have an installation of some timber posts and a tall sandstone pillar and I got distracted by the growth of this fine lichen...

Looking down at the house from the top of the driveway, with one of the posts in the frame.

Lichen detail...

Looking across the driveway...

Most of the lichen is growing on the southern side of the posts; the direction from which we get most weather; and also slightly more shaded from the sunshine.

Some of the designs on the timber posts...

A feather caught amongst the lichen on the sandstone pillar...

I rarely get to stop at the top of the drive - I am either driving or collecting the mail generally, so to be hanging about up there for a wee while gave me change to stop and look and appreciate small beauties.

We are back from Jakarta and racing headlong into a week of much work, but also slowly re-turning our minds to our art.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thursday Thoughts...

"There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person." 
 Anais Nin

I like how this quote brings together the nature of our lives; and the notion of a unique book for each person's life.

I love the idea of an individual plot for my life; and it is so true isn't it that each and every one of our lives is a unique and individual story? A tale told only by us; and never repeated. That's a lot of books!

Perhaps lives can be written - as we actively make stories of our days, our plans and our futures; but perhaps we never know the ending until we get to it, and turn that last page.

I think I'd like my book to be a purple and part of a rainbow stack like one of these!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Going back in time...

We are away at the moment, so I have gone back in time to another trip earlier in the year.

We visited the National Arboretum in Canberra for the first time in April and it was stunning.

Not only are the mass plantings inspired; but the discovery of art and sculpture in between and around the corner and on top of hills was a real delight.

As you enter the building, these great walls of rock are interrupted with lovey etched corten steel panels.

Atop a hill you find Nest III by Richard Moffatt.

On the hand rails at the lookout are all these beautifully etched plant images.

My real favourite - wide brown land by Marcus Tatton, Chris Viney and Futago.

Each word amazingly wrought in a single line of twisted steel.

A calligraphic ribbon...