Today my youngest son Tom is 25 years old.

Although he lives away, I think of him out there in the world, living his brave and colourful life.

This week my exhibition, Elemental, opens at Wangaratta Art Gallery. My sons will be there, and it’s a marvel how happy that makes me feel. A strange business, being a happy parent. Taming this too enthusiastic joy down to a less embarrassing version of delight when they’re around.

Happy birthday my dear Tom.

Copy of Tom2009

Advertisements

Living in a gallery #2

March 26, 2013

The gallery hums quietly, light is soft, voices and footsteps loud. Visitors are welcome and sometimes draw or get drawn.

We have a kind of rhythm now, each of us working in our own way, stopping for a chat or a cup of tea. Three weeks feels short. So many ideas. Lots of great conversation and even music sometimes – what a treat.

Colleen@residency

ResidencyVAD4

February anniversaries

February 28, 2013

It’s the end of February. The month of four birthdays and two deathdays.

Today is fabulous Harry’s birthday, and tonight in the split second between today and tomorrow is Martin’s. A very small leap into his next year. This is the first drawing I made of him. I wasn’t looking at the drawing.

Copy of martin flathead

And this one is Dad, who’s anniversary it was last week. He died a long time ago, but recently when I made this drawing I felt the need to mend him. I used to enjoy darning socks like this, on a wooden mushroom.

MendingDad

Jordi the private dog

April 23, 2012

Jordi and I have some things in common. We’re both quiet in the morning and rev up towards evening. The middle of the day is the best time to paint him, after he’s had a nap in each of his secret sleeping spots around the garden, and before his eagerness for a walk makes him too excitable.

But he doesn’t like to be watched or drawn or painted. So I have to be sneaky about it, pretend to be looking at something else, or doing other jobs in between. Eventually his suspicions get the better of him. He gives me the eye, gets up slowly, and finds a more private place.

These little sketches are done quickly, acrylic on paper, from inconspicuous moments of observation, and then trying to remember in between.

Babies versus the art life

February 8, 2012

There is the pull towards the making, drawing, creating something out of the stuff that gets absorbed via curiosity and by just being open. The need to process and give it out again.

And then there’s the wanting children. Fortunately for me, I have three.

Wanting the two things – to make a great family and to make great art – sets up a pull between them. They each want full attention. It seems almost impossible to do both things well, at once.

Recently I found a stack of drawings that I made in the early days of raising a family. Modest drawings made in small moments. (Lots of sleeping babies.) And it looks to me now that, although I spent less time on the art side of things, in those moments I was so alive, and so glad to keep hold of that thread.

Making these drawings I was remembering who I am, in amongst the crowded days that belonged to my family. And now they are such a delight – a record of my children being who they are, apart from me, way back then. I felt it was imperative to make those moments, not only for myself.

The solo show

July 2, 2011

On an artist’s CV you’ll see 2 lists of exhibitions – Group and Solo. The Solo show can be a daunting undertaking. Scarier than a group show and way more work.

Recently I was in a conversation about the difficulties of being a lone musician – too hard we all agreed. So then I made the connection to visual art (as I do with all things muse-related) saying yeah same with solo shows. But to my surprise a veherment response from one person of “Oh no – artists must have solo shows! To walk into a gallery and the whole room is full of Mary-Roseness. (or whoever) In a group show you can’t get the true feel of what the artist is on about – it gets watered down.”

Copy of self on card for ben 2011
I guess it’s like playing only one track off a concept album.

In the past month I’ve been fortunate to be around 2 friends who have offered their work to the world, solo. And both shows were amazing. The second one opened just today and the Lynne Gasperovness, like the Vicki Lukeness, was like a miniature world.

This week I’ll be in Kate James’ world and Linda Fish’s world, two exquisite shows in Melbourne.

My sincere thanks to all of you.

Sammy and no-one else

June 12, 2011

Today I phoned my son’s house and my grandson answered. Sam is 3. I heard his mum’s voice somewhere behind him. Who are you? he asked. Oh Rosi-Pip can you come with us on the train?

I needed to speak with his mum but he said no only he wanted to talk with me. And next thing he said Bye Rosi-Pip and hung up.

I called again. He answered again. We had a similar coversation except that I attempted to cleverly persuade him to give the phone to one of his parents. Bye. And click goes the receiver.

A third call and once again he answers. Not wanting him to hang up again I was careful to keep the conversation going. As we talked of eating all the corn in the vegie garden and being a watermelon or a pineapple I found that what I needed to talk about with his parents didn’t seem as important as it had. We both had a laugh and remembered how we like each other so much and then said goodbye.

I must call him more often.
Copy of sam mothers day 09

Happy Birthday Benjamin

April 23, 2011

It’s late on Easter Saturday night and I’ve just painted some boiled eggs just as my mum used to do, ready for Sunday breakfast.

At breakfast time 25 years ago my body flicked the automatic switch that heralded the delivery into the outside world of my second beautiful son. Now he is 6′ 7″ and I wonder how this feat was possible.

That babe, so new and filled with his own kind of wonder, is still in the man.

There’s so much to wonder about in all of this, and I’m grateful for it all.

Ben

Sit for me.

January 14, 2011

It’s January. A year before me. And what shall I do with it? Paint people that I like and who will sit for me. It’s time.

As every artist knows, the best model is the Self – doesn’t have to be anywhere else. And looking back at the many Selfs, it’s a story line, a diary. Some are very scary, some odd, some sad, most very serious. (Try smiling endlessly at yourself.)

I like stories. Not just my own. So I’ve begun. My first sitter has gone on holidays. Her image waits on the canvas, half alive, small and thin. Ready for another layer to be painted on, another veil removed.

Who will be next?

Last year I trialled a couple of methods, restricting my choices. To take the pressure off when there’s a sitter, waiting to be painted.

self blue 2010