Thursday, April 29, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“Ultimately, we’re all just walking each other home” 

 Ram Dass

I came across this quote in a book by Anne Lamott, and it grabbed me as one of the most perfect explanations of our roles and our purpose.

So often we strive for high achievement or ticking off boxes and getting somewhere and yet, what a turn around it is to think in this way.

I immediately see images of parents, children, lovers, partners, walking alongside each other.  Being alongside somebody speaks to me of care and companionship.  Of quiet time together, of chatting and laughing and reminiscing.

The sense of walking each other home suggests care and protection, for and of, another - the creation of safety for another, and the space and time to enjoy togetherness.

"Let us go forth and walk each other home" feels like a useful guide for how to go about things...

Illustrated Pooh and Piglet by E.H. Shepard

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Back by popular demand!

It was back to printing feminist posters again recently; they seem to have hit a mark with a few folk I know.

This is the wood type flipped for checking.

And a couple of letters that ended up needing to be replaced - a bit to worn and wrecked.  useful for another project no doubt, but not quite right here.

I must admit I am very fond of this one!  This is the first pull - not enough ink and not enough pressure.

Here it is working out better now - inking and pressure in synch.


And these two went for another run as well.

Feeling pretty feminist all over at the moment - we sure still need it.  For Australians who haven't yet seen it Brazen Hussies on ABC iView is a great look back at Australian feminists in the 70s and what they faced - brilliant, brazen women each and every one of them.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Today and yesterday...

Today in Australia is ANZAC Day - when we stop to remember and reflect on war and also peace. Last year was the year we remembered by ourselves; we couldn't gather or march or stand together, so instead we stood at the top of our driveway at 6am and listened to the last post.  This year we could gather again, but I didn't feel like participating publicly too much, so instead we attended the small gathering in the village at 6am which was personal and peaceful.

The rosemary entwined around a candlestick in the early dawn light.

ANZAC biscuits were baked and eaten with a cuppa after the small gathering.

As I walked to the studio things were different... 4 biplanes above me.

There was a kind of traffic jam - the Light Horse Brigade about to form and lead the march down Maple St.

I watched them pass by from down at the studio.

Where I fiddled with this remnant print.

And last night we attended the opening of Editions - the printmaking exhibition at the Old Ambo in Nambour. It was a great night and a beautiful exhibition has been gathered together by our friend Ken and his associate Sandy. Well worth a visit!

5 of my pieces together on a wall.

And returning home from the studio this afternoon - the prunus is flowering - before it has gone into hibernation for winter, so I hope the poor wee thing can hold it together until Spring, but it just seemed to say 'peace'...

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time".

Thomas Merton

I wonder if there are other things that enable us to lose ourselves and find ourselves at the same time? I think if the word 'art' here encapsulates 'the arts', then most definitely it covers so many things that can inform us of our deeper selves and simultaneously enable us to lose ourselves in whatever the subject is.

So observing or participating in any of the arts can do this I think - listening to music, reading great literature, staring at a discover things about yourself as you observe; and you can lose yourself deeply in the work.

But his quote holds truest for me with regard to actual making. It is when I am working on something, testing ideas, creating new things, resolving tricky moments, responding to the ah ha moments, trying to bring forth some satisfactory resolution of my concerns or ideas that I truly lose myself.

I go far far away; time alters and I come up for air and wonder where I have been.  

And in that oddest of ways, it is also in those moments that I truly find myself - begin to understand my motivations, my fears, my skills, my strengths, my weaknesses and my frustrations. Those moments when I go "who knew I was a person who would/could do x"?

Here's to making, and finding and losing ourselves.

The sky off the cove at Armadale in 2019... I could get lost in those clouds...

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Shadow Play

 We had so much rain, and so many overcast days that when the sun came out again I was dazzled by the beauty of the light; and of course along came the shadows as well.

Here are a few images of shadow play of late.

The late afternoon sun on one of our baskets was so strikingly beautiful.  The shadow on the wall; and the detail of the basket highlighted in all of its intricate beauty.

This piece from several years with my calligraphy cut/etched into a composite panel which hangs outside our grocer.  It describes the walkway that B designed and the thinking behind it all.  The cut outs of the lomandra which feature in the roof of the walkway were dappling shadow over the work as I walked by the other day - a true delight!

Whilst waiting in the car for drink bottle!

Glorious morning sun at the front of our house has brought some lovely moments too.

Through a sculpture onto a planter box.

The jagged edges of Ken's chair.

Our gorgeous little kite...

It is so, so good to have shadows again! The warmth of autumn days bring many gifts and these are some of them.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Colourful Capitals complete!

 I did find the time to finish off these fun capitals through the week and I am happy with how they came out. I feel quite scratchy with my calligraphy so its nice to have some time to spend on simple things to remember the how to s.

Once I was happy with the layout and design, I traced the letters.

Then I turned the paper over and rubbed my lead pencil along the lines.  Then I brought the tracing paper right way up again and drew over the original letter lines and transferred the image, right way up, onto the watercolour paper. The opposite to printmaking where thigns have to be back to front so that they print the right way.

The reveals...

I began colouring in the letters.

And then added water.

And in the case of the L; I let it dry and then drew over it with a black pen, then rubbed out the pencil marks.

And with the H I simply had to let it dry and then rub out the pencil marks.  I modified the colour placement in a few of the blocks as per my draft, and think it looks better than before.

And ta da, here they are together, ready to pack and pop in the post!

Truth be told, I had packed them up and sealed the envelope before I remembered that I hadn't actually photographed them finished. Typical. So the caption to this photo should probably read:

And ta da, here they are together, ready to pack again and pop in the post!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

"I walk into a poem and walk out someone else".

 Nayyirah Waheed

I love the simplicity of this thought - and how well it references the transformative nature of a poem (or a story, or a film, or an artwork...).

I really do think there are times when I have been changed by reading a poem.  When a new way of seeing or saying is presented and it touches something deep within, it opens something and lets a crack of light through.  There are so many bad descriptors I could use; but the bottom line is that sometimes the brevity and clarity of a poem can truly cut through and reach you in ways you weren't aware of.

As I hinted at, I think we can experience that sense of change, transformation, growth or insight in all forms of art (for some I imagine music moves them in a similar fashion; for others dance...). The ability of the arts to transform our thoughts and help us re-imagine ourselves and our world is one of its greatest strengths.

We need the arts. To uplift us, to enhance our understanding of ourselves and of others, and in order for us to thrive, not simply survive. 

Fiona Foley, Dispersed, 2008.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Playing with watercolour

 I have a small piece of work underway playing with a few initials. Here I am thinking  about how best to get the letter L into a square (kind of sort of).  I want to decorate the letter and give it a bit of 'zing'. Some attempts are better than others...

I went with the L on the right after consulting with B - he has an idea of who it is for - and so I transferred a version to watercolour paper to have a play with.

And the next letter to play with was H.  I wanted this to look different to the L, so began a bit of a grid and used a Charles Rennie Mackintosh style of lettering.

And then started to fill in around it - playing with blocks of anticipated colour.

Swatches begin to appear for the two letters.

One done and one coloured in.

Selecting the 7 colours?

Just add water they said.  The page begins to bubble with delight and vibrant colour.  I hand write notes to self before I start the final piece - like 'put green here'; and 'go hard on the pale pink'!

I had to leave it there for the moment; but hope to have it done by the weekend - finals shall be shared soon I hope.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Filing time and gazing...

Well I can never say that my art life isn't varied!  

This is some of the time consuming work I have been doing. I had planned that I might be able to use these aluminium plates to have prints in the Editions show which opens soon at Nambour; but to tell the truth I just didn't get far enough in the process and decided to pull back because I didn't think rushing was going to be a good thing.  I did manage to do the design; and to get it into the file type needed for the aluminium guy to be able to cut the plates for me. I did get the edges filed on one or two.

It takes quite a while just to sit there and file the edges so they don't rip or tear the paper. when they are pressed into it.

But you do get lovely piles of shiny stuff!

I also managed to do the designs; get them onto tracing paper to transfer them and then just stopped.  It was going to be tricky from that point on and I really need to take my time, so instead I decided to offer other things for the show and let these develop as they must. Slowly.

We have been wet for a few weeks and then on Thursday - brilliant sunshine!  We were able to sit on the deck as the sun set a couple of evenings and the bliss of it all was gorgeous.  It was so still. Not a breath of wind or breeze to shimmy the trees.

Lit by one of our wee concrete candle holders...

 And we sat until the first of the flying foxes (fruit bats) headed off in search of food.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Thursday Thoughts...

“What I’m experiencing in these moments is bleedover, collateral aggravation from the personal consumer choices of others. Living in metropolitan areas, we all experience bleedover. To drown it out, I’ll put on my own headphones, perhaps creating the same problem for others — and so on, in a domino effect of disturbed privacies. This minor incident, which we might pass over in silence as a mere inconvenience of modern life, in fact indicates a disturbing aspect of our culture. This is the ubiquity of private noise, the way we use sound to be alone.” 

From The Atlantic’s “The Sound of Solitude ” by Brian Patrick Eha.

This quote has been in my pile for a VERY long time.  It appears on page 28 of what has now become a 105 page document, so I scrolled way back this morning and was interested that I chose it (at last).

I chose it (I think) because we have moved from our block into town. We kind of jumped from a large solitary space to living more closely and alongside folk.  I would have to say my deepest fear was noise.  I live quietly, I adore silence, I am startled by loud noises, I despair at repetitive deep bass thrumming, and I just generally am no fan of noise.

For the record it has been a great move and I always say to people - it's so quiet!  Yay.  

I loved the phrasing here of "a domino effect of disturbed privacies". It was so evocative and accurate. I could imagine the additional hum and buzz that each set of headphones added as we try to be alone in our bubble of noise. Headphones signal to others that we are occupied and unavailable for disturbance or interaction.  So I wonder is it about the noise or is it about not having to engage with people?

The ubiquity of private noise? Or the need to be alone? 

I quite like a bit of background noise as I potter - podcasts are great for listening along to; and in some circumstances I may use that listening as companionship; whilst also as a warning to others in diffenret setting.  The same way I use the reading of a book in public to indicate I'm not up for conversation.  So many funny things to think about in this one quote and I daresay I have done none of them justice!

Detail of our final Pas de Deux collaborative book - Silence. Calligraphy by Fiona and Etching by Susan.