July 21, 2016
April 25, 2013
From well before Elemental ended in Wangaratta on Monday (followed by the inevitable low on Tuesday) my mind has been charging up for the next push into the world around me.
These past many years, I’ve spent studio time developing work beyond initial sketches, pushing the imagery towards abstraction, untangling ideas from memory and curiosites, deepening the experience of making – for both myself and the potential viewer. And yet very often, the works that touch even the most developed art practitioners around me, are the drawings and paintings I make while physically immersed in the subject.
Maybe it’s a nourishing loop – subject to painter to object to viewer to subject…
However, most of the best known and loved artworks were done in a studio. Studio practice requires the honing of skills; continuous learning about materials and conceptual development, and drawing on every virtue I was taught in my catholic upbringing! It isn’t for the faint-hearted. It enriches ability, broadens visual vocabulary, and shakes up any complacency.
And as a bonus it’s given me a new ease when I venture out into the world to look and feel and draw and paint. I love it now more than ever. It’s a banquet out there! And if you see me in my trusty red van (The Red Limo), give us a toot!
February 22, 2013
February 10, 2013
At the end of next month I am fortunate to be exhibiting some drawings and small paintings at Wangaratta Art Gallery.
I have always loved the space, a converted chapel with movable walls and warm wooden ceiling.
Last night a show opened there that is surely a great treat for anyone who loves paint. My friend Jo Davenport’s work is hanging alongside Aida Tomescu, Ildiko Kovacs, Sally Gabori and Todd Hunter. A sumptuous room of colour and movement. Action/Abstraction it’s called, curated by Diane Mangan.
I was completely enthralled by Aida Tomescu as she spoke with clarity and conviction about the content, as distinct from the subject, in painting. No matter what the suject, and it may be indiscernible, as in abstraction, the content is what matters. She spoke about the unified nature of painting, about it’s own life, and we the nuturers of that life. It requires that paradoxical state (as does all creative work) of intelligent engagement and intuitive detachment.
Although these ideas are familiar to me, I was moved, and told her so as we spoke afterwards, and she said I need to read Flaubert.
July 23, 2011
The reason for my good fortune yesterday was the opening of an exhibition of paintings by 4 artists/friends who went to central Australia a while back for a workshop with Elisabeth Cummings. (At the time I didn’t want to hear their stories because I was so jealous.) This morning was the artist talk, and what fun it was. Generous and funny. The images seemed to glow off the walls. Not everything can be expressed in words.
It felt good to hear other painters talk of the ‘wonderful anguish’ that painting causes; discovering what the work is about along the way or right at the end of the making; emmersing oneself in the world and then returning to the studio to begin who knows what? We fumble and fidget and hope for a moment of flow, and when it happens we wonder where it came from.
Gathering drawings and paintings from a place is a way of understanding and later remembering some small truth about that place. Time and attention. I found a few drawings from my travels – in the Grampians after the fires, and up north on the crater rim around Mount Warning.
June 9, 2011
Last week I went down to a little town in Gippsland called Yinnar to hang a show with 3 other artists. This dot on the map is near another dot called Boolarra.
Seeing this small town in the Strzelecki Range after so many years, it appeared as the Gippsland of my dreams – the lush green that I miss, the damp air of evening, and small hills that conceal a surprise at each turn in the road. This is the land of my childhood, the dream that I carry with me.
November 8, 2010
I’ve been crumpling used envelopes. Crumpling and straightening out, crumpling and straightening out again. Some with a crackling window and some without, and my name and address in a neat or florid hand. I think of Mum and of my dear friend Olive long ago passed away, and of the many letters by many people, sent to me.
And through this filter of words on paper, the thought that stays is DISTANCE – the space between the writer and the recipient. I’ve always lived far away from people and places I love. And then there’s migration – a whole other level of distance, and again I think of my parents.
When I left Gippsland many years ago, I missed green.
So here’s my question to you – What do you miss when you’re far away? I would really like to know. It will grace one of my envelopes, and join over voices. A song of longings.