Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Fragments of a whole plus talking!

Barry and I printed some posters for a conference a while backs and had a lot of fun continuing to print on all sorts of paper after the major print run was concluded.

In preparation for the Compassion exhibition in June, we decided to see if we could create an artists' book using these various papers, that would overlap and overlay the message.

Here are some images from within the book - such delightful layering!

A few more tweaks are needed - trim a bit here; trim a bit there, and then the book can be shown in all of its glory so to speak.

I promised to try and find a way to load the videos Barry took at the In Conversation session at the University of the Sunshine Coast on the weekend, and link to them.

After much faffing around I have come up with a link to Dropbox, where you can find a couple of short videos.

One talks about the book wall at our place; two talk about the work in the exhibition Learning My Lines and the other three about how my art responds to social issues.

He did an amazing job and, if you pop over, I hope you enjoy.

Please find them here...

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Preparations and the block

We have made it through a week constant grey. Of intermittent downpours, persistent rain, mist and drizzle.  It was a soaking time and everything everywhere felt saturated and damp. The sort of rain at times where you have to turn the volume of the tv up to maximum as you can't hear a thing above the rain on the roof.

So it was a delight to have the sun appear on Thursday for a bit, and stream at our front door.

Around the block wee toadstools and fungi abounded - all sorts and everywhere.  These tiny wee ones were on a post outside the studio. They are so fleeting - there in the morning and gone by afternoon.

The first time we saw the colours of sunset in ages - a pink haze above Mt Beerwah, whilst the clouds seemed to have had sunken into the valley.

The garden is however loving the moisture and things are glowing green and growing.  From the back deck you can see all the bridges and paths across the rock river now. And a few of the sculptures.

And despite having that enormous valley view; we are only responsible for up to the fenceline! The camellias are blooming and creating their petal carpet along the terraces.

However back in the studio I spent time on new works that are coming along, but also doing preparation for teaching in June In Toowoomba.

I am teaching two course; one of which is Black Beauty which I have taught before.  One of my favourite things about the sampler book we make is that it doesn't wast much paper - only a few trimmings here and there.  So my notes were all based around how to get the best out of a piece of Canson Mi-Teintes.  Which used to be 75cm x 55cm but is now made at 65cm x50cm!

So it was back to the drawing book on the instructions.

I also came across a slightly cheaper black paper and thought I'd try it as well - it being 63.5cm x 51cm so I did someone instructions for it as well.

I am not a fan of people putting stickers on their paper.  They can be hard to get off, and often leave a residue of gum. Luckily in this instance I could make the sticker part of the trimmings.

In preparation I also tested how the new paper would respond to various media.

And was able to use the scrap as a practice sheet for comparison.

I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the watercolour pigment with his paper - perhaps it sits on top more rather than soaks in.

And I added to one of my sample books.  I always include a notes page at the back cover - for keeping key info in the one spot.  However this time I was able to add in a new medium I had recently purchased, the Pilot Color Eno mechanical pencils (thanks to Gemma!)

And on Saturday I gave my talk at the University Gallery.  This is the before shot!  It was nice to have my piece close by and we spoke.  Barry took some great mini videos so if I can work out how to get them visible to the world somehow I shall share them soon.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

"If you want peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies". 

Desmond Tutu

Today in Australia is ANZAC Day, where we stop and remember war, and loss. Where we sometimes mythologies those young men who signed up, crossed the world to be a part of something, who died in foreign fields, and who left behind grieving families and friends for whom life never returned to normal.

It is always a tough day. How do we remember without glorifying? How do we pay respects and acknowledge the huge losses and damage, without appearing to promote war as something to celebrate?

This quote however goes to modern and contemporary times I think.  It suggests to us that we can't simply achieve peace if we only talk amongst ourselves. If we only ever converse and acknowledge those who think the same as us; how will we ever build empathy, understanding or bridges? If we only gather information to ourselves that reflects our own views, what hope compassion?

I think it asks us to consider the other. Consider attempting to understand the other, and to find some small corner of common ground from where we can begin.

And I think this is hard.  When the world turns so ugly at times we cannot bear to spend time with those who think so vastly differently to us. We turn off the television, we screen comments or commentators; we choose not to share difficult conversations with those we think will ridicule us or become aggressive.

And yet in small ways I think we must try. In safe settings or with escape plans we need to say some things, we need to let others know there is another way, another view, And of course, we need to listen and work out if there is something, anything in what is said by others.  It's hard, and I probably need to do it more, but I can't sit quietly working and hoping for peace by myself.

But I reckon I need to pick my battles well.

A peace dove in a concrete pathway at Walcha.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

In conversation...

I mentioned a little while ago that I had work on show in the University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery's Exhibition from the Collection - Women's Work.

We had a great opening night and this Saturday, I will be in conversation with the Gallery Manager Megan Williams and two other artists Johanna DeMaine and Kym Tabulo. We will be talking about our practice, our process and our inspiration.

Saturday 27 April
11am -12pm
University of the Sunshine Coast Art  Gallery

If you are interested in coming along, you can register here.

I am thrilled with how the book is displayed - quietly and serenely.

One of my goose bump moments was when I realised I was in an exhibition with Eubena Nampitjin, an Aboriginal artist of great renown. We have been fortunate enough to collect one piece of Eubena's work and I love it so very much.

This shot shows my book and a glimpse of Eubena's work Kinyu 2008 - glee!

And then a detail of her work on show.

And the piece that hangs in our dining room area.

I also did a wee interview with the local telly. Which you can watch and listen to here 

It always makes me laugh what they film and record and what they use.  I thought I did an excellent bite about how fabulous it is to see women's art taking pride of place in a gallery; that for too long women's art was considered a leisurely pastime or hobby and they weren't taken seriously, yet here we see such fabulous professional women artists' work on display.

Nonetheless it is great to get televised coverage of local artists and exhibitions so I was thrilled.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Grief cards and another

It has been a really wet weekend here so a good chance to head to the studio and hibernate.

One of the things I have as part of a rolling possibilities list  in the back of my mind is a series of grief cards.

Life. Death. Grief.

They aren't really With Sympathy type cards; I am hoping that somehow they reach deeper and speak to the layers of grief and the aching of grief.

I also feel as if they are cards you just continue to send - not only in the days after somebody dies; but a month or so later as a follow up - and again, and again, as folk work their way through the world with grief.

So a while back I was making these cards with two quotes.

They lived and laughed and loved and left (by James Joyce on the outside) and then on the inside - and life will never be the same again.

I letterpress the words, and then hand illustrate the card with a dandelion being blown.

Cards I do for myself to sell I simply de-boss (no ink on the words) whereas ones I send to a local shop to sell are inked (mush easier for customers to understand them that way, whereas most folk who buy from me get that I like quietness, words there and not there and de-bossing so it's good that way).

The second card I did was with an unable-to be-sourced quote May flowers grow in the saddest part of you.

Somehow these words seem to hold out a wee bit of hope that down in the dark depths, beautiful flowers may establish themselves and slowly grow to bring beauty back into life.

And over the weekend I wanted to do another that has been in my mind.  I attempted something for the illustration a month or so ago and got nowhere with it, but I wanted to try to print so off I went.

The words are Grief breaks us and re-makes us. I wrote the words after listening to a friend speak about how she hadn't realised that grief would change her as much as it did.

I was fiddling about and wasn't ready to ink up, so I just de-bossed the words to proof them.  Of course that's a really hard way to check things because white on white isn't easy to spot mistakes within.

So I grabbed a stick of graphite that I had and rubbed it in an attempt to have the words show up in the negative.  This way I could see any errors and decide on the final layout.

But then I looked again and thought, I wonder if I could simply use this idea as a finished card?

I sprayed fixative over the top of it, and popped deckled edge press on the back as well, and the third int the Grief Card series was done.

The first two sets of grief cards in the series are available over at deckled edge press. The cards sell for $8 each and postage is FREE to anywhere in the world.

These most recent cards will be available there soon I hope and in the meantime feel free to email me if you are interested.

And then to lighten the mood I went to town with the birds.

I made five cards, based on the gathering of wee birds with one of a different colour and letterpress de-bossed the word Outstanding!

Which I thought was bit of fun and could be sent to anybody who has done something, achieved something or just been brilliant.

These ones just make me smile.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice”. 

Robert Frank

Oftentimes with art appreciation it is hard to capture in words either what we actually experience in the presence of magnificent art; or what we as artists hope for when we show work.

I think that this is a lovely way of describing it - that sense of having your mind and spirit captivated by something, perhaps only fleetingly, but knowing that you want to revisit it immediately to further understand or embed it.

The second-read; the re-visit; the re-watching...these moments when  you can more fully absorb something; when the initial faint echo becomes more of a primary noise. When things go deeper. When you understand more.

When you can just roll the words around on your tongue because they are so exquisitely beautiful; when you repeat the line of poetry because it so perfectly describes a moment.

I think we have probably all experienced that kind of moment, and how wonderful to imagine folk having that moment when they look at your work...


Anne Noble - Dead Bee Portrait (part of A Museum for the bee) 
Seen at APT9

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

APT Part 2

The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art is the most amazing opportunity to view major works by established and emerging artists from our region.  It showcases works that aren't made in Europe; that don't have their genesis in the US or the continents of South America or Africa ;-they are made by our neighbours and people nearby, and they tell the story of our region and show how we respond to issues in our own places and our own ways.

Here is link to the APT website and all of the artists if you want to explore further...

So amongst my favourites are works by Indigenous Australian artists, Japanese artists, Laotian artists, Thai and Vietnamese artists; artists from Kiribati Islands, Myanmar, and New Guinea - all places you would rarely get to experience art from. What an exuberant joy it was.

Another favourite work was by a Vietnamese artist Ly Hoang Ly 0395A.DC concerning the effect of travel and immigration and feelings of dislocation.

boat home boat references the artists' book (see below) of the same name, with the stainless steel concertina taking the form of a home at one end and a boat at the other. Stories of ocean travel and migration appear on the pages.

the boat

The home.

The artists' book in a wooden container and pages spilling out.

 Apart from these two stunners, I was taken by some very brightly coloured pieces as well.

Details from Jakkai Siributr's 18/28: The Singhaseni Tapestries including this embroidered frock.

And these large hanging panels.

And details from Hassan Sharif's Cloth and Paper and Cutting and Tying

 It was a visit that filled me up and nourished me. So glad we made it!