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

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Living in a gallery

March 8, 2013

Most days until Easter I’ll be working at Albury Art Gallery with a few other artists. We’re in a beautiful room upstairs that began life as Council Chambers more than a hundred years ago.

As we go along I’ll keep you posted.

ResidencyDiary1

ResidencyDiary2

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

Poetry on the train

February 22, 2013

Reading poetry on the train, I’m always inspired to write a poem too.
Here’s a recent one, still in the rough, to help celebrate my friend Anna’s return to blogging. TrainDoorArchivist will be a great read.

Copy of poemTrain

The power of great shoes

February 22, 2013

Feet can be very difficult when it comes to shoes. Especially if they are naturally fairly narrow but have a pretty bulbous bunion just down from each big toe. Now, some of my best friends have bunions, and we could probably form a friendly society for frustrating feet, whose anthem would be the lament of the coveted shoe. My sports shoes are always from the men’s range – nice and wide, a bit bulky, and no colour choices (why that is I don’t know).

Searching for some sensible flats, I spotted a gorgeous shoe of the kind that I dream, on the specials table, noted the generous width, slipped it on, and it was obviously for me.

newshoes

I’m not a big retail therapy kind of girl but this saved me an eventual trip to a shrink for the madness bunions can cause.

Carneval Strings

February 27, 2012

A great night of music at Arts Space Wodonga, care of Arts Wodonga and Shows To Go. Many thanks to the very groovy mostly Hungarian musicians who kept us awake and laughing and loving their virtuosity. Everything from Vivaldi to the one hit wonder My Sherona.

Drawing in the nearly dark has its challenges if you need to see what you’re drawing, but otherwise it’s fun, and you end up with something like this.

Train travel

November 4, 2011

A car is a room where one or two or several people are caught within each other’s space for a short or a long time. The most intimate conversations can be had, and the most deafening silences felt.

Public transport offers something different. The same intimate conversations can occur, but with an audience. The same silences can be felt, but from strangers, who hide in a book or feign sleep or are trapped in shyness or glare if attempted contact misfires.

I spent many hours on public transport over the last couple of days, and thoroughly enjoyed most of it. A chance to remember my place in collective human-kind.
Copy of southern_cross_station
A warm shawl around me while I drew this fabulous roof, “Are you OK there? It’s a bit cold. Ah yes you still have 14 minutes.” said a friendly conductor (not the fat controller).

Copy of train travellers
This young man thanked me for drawing him. And so did the woman. But her friend glowered at me for my intrusion so I didn’t risk any further eye contact and was happy to not draw her. Most people, though a little self-conscious, are taken over by curiosity and want to see the drawing. I love these gentle meetings with strangers.

Yesterday soon after Margaret Olley left this world a baby girl named Beatrix was born to friends of mine. I heard Margaret talk about the wheel of life, about giving and receiving and giving, and now I’m thinking about the wheel of life and death and life.

Her house was one big still life, the inspiration for her many paintings. Every now and then I paint a still life. It makes me still. Once I heard Donald Friend say that the best thing about a still life is that you can eat the subject when you’ve finished!
still life with caserole
This morning I watched a doco about James Castle, an American artist who drew every day of his life from 6 years of age. He drew with soot, spit and a stick onto found papers and card. An amazing collection of hundreds of drawings and objects made by a man who couldn’t hear and so was not distracted by the miriad noises that fill the world. His will is what made him great. His choice to make art, without the clutter of doubt. (He also had a family who supported him, but don’t let that stop the rest of us!)

Perhaps Margaret had that clarity too. Just make the work. A ribbon around 60 years worth of artworks and a new babe in the world.

aiden july 10

Snow shoes

July 14, 2011

Tomorrow I’ll see some snow for the first time this winter. When I shut my eyes lately it feels like snow might be all around me. Had to sleep with an extra blanket on last night.

The only time I have attempted cross-country skiing it ended in tears. When I got home and spoke to a couple of girlfriends, they told me I was not alone in that. One friend said it took her the whole first season to feel confident.

Although my desire to ski is minimal, the challenge it poses and the delights it offers make it a tempting goal. Some days.

After the trauma of that initiation had worn off a bit I was inspired to prepare my body for a possible second attempt. The thing that noone had told me of beforehand was the inescapable and treacherous side-slide. I thought skis went forward and backward. Who could know they go sideways as well? In opposite directions.

In the small world that is my brain I came up with a rollerskate that does the same.
exercise device for ski training

88 years

July 31, 2010

Last Wednesday, Mum turned 88. She was happy. Said she feels well enough to live another 10. Good genes, moderation, yoga, learning, letting go, self-protection (what I’ve worked out so far). We giggled over the silliest things, had a simple dinner, ate full cream milky porridge for breakfast next morning and went out for coffee. She told stories again of her courtship with Dad 70 years ago. I never tire of hearing them.

I’m halfway through a full size portrait of her. Each morning as I enter my studio I say, hi mum, and proceed to bring a little more of her into the room. It’s a mix of her physical self and my perceptions and projections. She lives far away so I work from drawings and photos and memory.

Sensory input

April 4, 2010

My father was a musician. My earliest memory is of lying against his chest feeling comforted by the vibration of his voice – warm baritone hum. I also remember his voice when it filled the house and either thrilled or scared me. And the long hours I spent immersed in the smells and sounds of his wood-work shed.

My mother worked long each day to run the household. I remember the fabric of her coats, her apron, the doilies we crocheted together, the vegemite toast she brought me when I was home from school with my annual cold, and the smell of pea and ham soup. And I can see her reading and writing, pulled between the English of her second life and the Dutch of her first.

And many many other things come back as I write.

coats in diary