I’ve been working on a few different projects over the last couple of weeks and been very slack about blogging! Not sure why , perhaps I’ve just been enjoying doing and not wanting to be distracted by writing. Anyway I’m making amends by posting a few photos of some of those little projects….
I collected up all the twigs dropped by the possums from our silver birch and spent a happy hour turning them into Christmas wreaths. The cat had a ball pouncing on the twigs as I twisted them around and then the string I used to tie them together.
Next I sewed up some cotton cushion covers and drew botanic designs on them all. They’re all nicely packaged up for the Etsy Made Local Christmas market now. I love the minimalist approach with these.. balck and white line drawings.
Then I picked up a Christmas snowflake punch at the local recycling centre for $5 and made a few little Christmas tags. I love that the hole makes a design and then I can use the punch out for another!
I also started teaching a pastel class and did a few video demonstrations for them as well as the classes.
I also picked up some white china mugs at the recycling centre and tried out some homemade alcohol inks on them- it’s very satisfying seeing random patterns appear and not being in control of the final outcome.
….and there’s more!
So please forgive me for my lack of writing – I’ve just been too busy doing!
I’m finally winding down after the exhibition. It went really well, I sold lots, met some lovely people and enjoyed it all BUT was I exhausted after it!! I spend a few days just tidying up the studio, storing the unsold paintings and then got straight into a couple of commissions so it’s been pretty full on until today.
I did promise a client to start her painting today but as it’s small and not too detailed I felt justified in just sketching it up and giving myself a play day. I just finished a very detailed house portrait yesterday and really felt like loosening up artistically speaking. I started with some acrylic blown flowers ( yep – I know one of them looks like a dropped a fried egg in the middle!)
….and then moved onto a bit of marbling with some nail varnish. These little tealight holders look pretty spiffy with their new marbled coat.
I did do a bit of cutting and sewing of cushion covers in between but you don’t want to see pics of piles of white fabric.
Ah well – it was a good day but it’s back to the commissions tomorrow. That’s a good thing though as I just ordered a complete set of handmade pastels online and I’ll need a few clients to pay for them!!
Day 8 at the exhibition was a busy day. I made another small handmade watercolour book, did a little pastel painting and tried out a daisy design on a white lamp shade. & more days to go so a few more art projects to go!
The paintings are all up, the opening night went well and the red dots are starting to appear. I’m enjoying meeting people and chatting about the paintings, my travels and beautiful Tasmania. There’s a bit of quiet time so I’m trying to do a painting of some sort each day. I’ve done a few little art books, a couple of pastels and started a small canvas today. Have to admit it’s pretty tiring sitting 2 weeks straight every day so maybe I need to stock up on a stash of chocolate…..
It’s difficult to put into words how and why some art moves me so. I’ve often seen reproductions of pre historic cave paintings and found them interesting. Interesting is such a bland kind of word and accurately describes my reactions to these reproductions. I admired the semi accuracy of the bison and horses, I idly wondered what pigments they used and assumed they painted what they saw in their daily life.
It wasn’t till I visited my first cave with pre historic paintings that I experienced a visceral reaction to the dimly lit animal outlines painted as they were reverently introduced and illuminated by the guide. It surprised me and excited me. It caused me to speculate on the how and why of these ancient works of art. It sparked my imagination in a way I hadn’t expected.
This first cave I visited was Pech Merle and the visit was so memorable because of the art but also because the guide was the grandson of one of the two boys who rediscovered the cave in 1922 . It was obvious by his reverence for the paintings and his patient attention to seeing that every visitor got a good view of each that he felt a special connection to the place and the artwork
Since then I’ve visited several caves and each time I find myself inexplicably moved by the simple renditions of animals. I wonder what drove ancient man or woman to make torches , grind and mix pigments and then walk deep into a dark cave, using valuable time and resources to carefully create an outline of an animal. To seek out and use rocky contours to suggest the flank or shoulder. To re emerge from the darkness and leave their artistic expressions without an audience.
Cave art in Europe was not done as decoration for living quarters. They didn’t just think ” that wall could do with something to brighten it up” and mix up some water and ochre pigment from the floor and get the kids to do a bit of finger painting. There has been no evidence of occupancy of these caves. So was it for some kind of ritual, part of their spiritual life? Some cave art depicts animals not found in that region at the time the painting was done. This prompts the thought that art knowledge must have been passed down from one artist to another – to accurately depict an animal never seen would be a very difficult task. Was the artist an important member of the clan? Was the art part of initiation ceremonies? My list of questions goes on and on.
I paint for many reasons. In response to a particular light effect, because I want to capture a feeling, to express gratitude for this wonderful earth, to calm my racing mind, to create someting of meaning, to bring joy to self and others. My most burning question is what motivated the pre historic artist. Do we share the same artistic DNA? As I visit each new cave I find it easier to believe that the people who created these paintings were artists foremost , no matter what the role of the art in the social, ritual and spiritual life of their clan. The paintings reflect a delicacy, thoughtfulness and immediacy that I associate with art rather than design.
I imagine one artist teaching another to draw with sticks in the sand, to mix pigments and to make their first treck into a cave . They must have practised many times before their first cave painting as there is an economy of stroke that is only accomplished through repeated practice. Was the artist born or chosen? Was it the role of women or men or was it open to both?
I know the stories of Van Gogh, Da Vinci, of Rembrant and Vemeer and it adds context to their paintings. I long to know the stories of these pre historic artists and in their absence I make my own stories. One day maybe I’ll flesh out my stories and fill a book……
Only 16 days to go and I’ll be hanging these paintings for my exhibition. Time is really flying now! I’ve been working 8 plus hour days in the studio and this last week boats have featured on the easel. I’ll be posting a catalogue page on Monday for those who can’t get to the exhibition.
With only 3.5 weeks to go until my exhibition time is flying and I’m madly painting. This is today’s acrylic on canvas which I’m pretty happy with. Just loved the light the day I took the reference photos and feel I’ve managed to capture the morning magic.
I’ve been suffering with the flu and bronchitis over the last 2 weeks. The worst of it is the coughing which is persistent, wracking and brought on by talking, moving, sitting, lying down, also ,thinking about talking, sitting, moving,lying down and everything in between. At last it’s easing up a bit and I have whole hours in the morning when the cough is silent only to release itself with a vengeance when I sit down on the couch at the end of the day to quietly watch a bit of TV.
During the worst of it I really couldn’t do more than curl up on the couch with a book and my laptop. I tried to catch up on some research and had good intentions of posting a blog but I was just too tired to be bothered. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so weak and pathetic and although I tried to focus on being grateful for how healthy I usually am, I mostly dozed and coughed.
I did get round to putting in an application for gallery space at the local arts precinct. They take applications for next year round about now and it usually takes a couple of application rounds before you get a space on the program. I was very surprised to get an email saying they’d had a cancellation and would I like 2 weeks at the end of September, THIS YEAR!
It’s a wonderful gallery in an old colonial wharehouse building. It’s right in the heart of a major tourist area and just upstairs from the iconic Salamanca Market . There are thick wooden beams overhead and beautiful wooden floorboards underfoot. A quality space that I’ve exhibited in once before and really enjoyed.
So , of course I said yes. I didn’t let a little thing like needing to have 40 paintings ready in just over 5 weeks stand in my way! I did a quick count of paintings I had ready to go and I probably have another 20 to finish in the lead up to the exhibition.
Surprisingly, standing at the easel and concentrating on brushstokes, colours and shapes must have some effect on the cough centre of the brain. I found that my coughing eased while I was painting (even though it came back with a vengeance when I put down the brush.) What a bonus!
Now I’m in full blown painting mode. Into the studio every morning and working straight through to lunch, a quick soup or sandwich, then back for another session till dinner time. I’ve started with small canvases and am working my way up to some bigger sizes. The studio is beginning to fill up and I’m loving the process. I finish a canvas and then use the left over paint on the palette to prime the next canvas- it’s a great way to get a sense of continuity between the canvases.
I’ve settled on “Water’s Edge” as the title and am enjoying working on a series of waterscapes large and small. It’s a subject I’m passionate about and I’m hoping this comes across in the finished works.
Will keep you updated as I go. Back to the studio now!
I had a request from a client for a large impressionist portrait of a cow with horns last week. He wanted a bit of collage as well and for it to be colourful and loose. This is not the sort of subject I usually do but I was up for the challenge!
I couldn’t find any patterned paper that I felt was right for the piece so I created my own by printing out info about cows ears and then ageing the paper with a mix of sienna and yellow ochre inks. I used the paper inside the ears as well as on the flanks.
I knifed on the paint after mixing it with some modelling paste to give it extra thickness and texture but the background I left smooth for contrast. Then I mixed up some pinks and reds for the nose and mouth and added a splash of green at the side for a bit of zing.
and here it is all come together….
Waiting now to see what the client thinks – there may be a bit of revision to come!