Cloud 999

This is quite a bit higher than Cloud 9 and I spent some time up there a few weeks back when I had the chance to re-meet an artist whose work is so extraordinary to me it quite often makes me hold my breath, or hum out loud in a weird dreamy way.

So, for his privacy, I have no photos and I won’t share his name here and I preposterously suggest you cue an image of your own hero/superstar/genius/icon (yes these words are ridiculous, and he would think them so, but how else to emphasise the specialness of it all?). Cue some tea too, this blog goes on and on!

Over the last 10 years there are two letters I wanted to write and didn’t. They were ‘thank you’ letters. One was to Paul Keating (it’s not too late) the other was to Dr Andrew Jenkins (it’s too late) though I did thank the latter many times in person. Perhaps I’m reaching the perfect age for crashing into my own nostalgia. This year of losing music icons has flooded our heads and screens with memory via musical connections that resonated way back when.

042_us-iconAbout 18 months ago I was preparing to go to the US to work in the desert for a few months, meet new people, meet artists I already knew. I was so excited and energised about ‘tomorrow’ and drawing deep on nostalgia. I thought about the artist I’d met 15 years prior whose words, vision, work, tutelage, and humour—unknowingly to both of us at the time—helped set my direction.

And I’d always wanted to thank him.
“Simple” said a friend in the States,
“Make contact”. So I did.

Okay, I may have pondered it for a year.

And the artist accepted what must have been the oddest call, from someone he would not be able to remember, about something 999,000+ experiences ago, who was then asking something of him (gulps, hoping it was with grace). Which was to meet.

Through 2017 I’ll be working on a drawing/installation/soundscape project about the penguin colonies of Macquarie Island. This too has involved making calls wildly outside of my comfort zone. Subantarctic biologists, super-skilled sound designer and composer. Penguin sound clips arrive in my inbox, and conversations begin. A superbrained friend (he warrants made up words) refers to ‘icon species‘ when we start yarning about wildlife science in his shady backyard. I query the label. “Big fuzzy eyes” he says. So it’s that simple.

I’ve always been focussed on the landscapes that resonate with me (me, me me), and I’ve been hiking and camping in most Australian habitats and watched friends adore rainforest where I couldn’t wait to ‘get out’ and other friends look mildly daunted after days in the desert while I twirled around like I was in a red earth version of The Sound of Music. The diversity of connecting experiences, of small or large obsessions, the repetitive exploring of whatever it is we’re mad for, whatever it is that’s our own ‘icon species’: this is what makes being an artist so normal. And to look into what resonates for someone else is such a great way to see my own connection more clearly, and it’s what excites me about evoking responses to the big fuzzy eyed penguins via my drawing and someone else’s soundscape.

And so after a few exchanges including sending the artist some samples of my work (yes, I may have spent 999 hours choosing just the right ones) we arranged a catch up. I attempt to make that sound casual, just an everyday thing, but there was a happy-dance going on.

It was a glorious day, the journey to the studio, cups of tea shared, viewing his extraordinary works in progress for an exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia (yes, he is an icon species, and no this was not an everyday thing). Then we sat and talked about my penguin show, and he questioned my approach, and I questioned his questioning. And it felt like two artists talking about stuff, when really he was giving knowledge and I was taking. Even though I’d manufactured the visit, it was still a real and relaxed time of soaking up a great artists company and his working space.

It was so meaningful and I feel so grateful.
You’ll be glad to know I did not twirl around or hum out loud.


Image above:
Cue the Icon, Monument Valley Arizona USA 2015

‘There’s lichen everywhere today’ 2003
Watercolour, graphite, charcoal on Arches paper

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Playing the piano in pigtails aka the Christmas epiphany

This blog post is about two things

  1. Playing the piano
  2. Pigtails

Here we go then.

I had a little epiphany about me and the piano recently. This is it:

I’ve become a very lazy pianist.

Simple. Perhaps I might have realised this earlier but I was too busy being lazy, never practising, never playing for fun or for myself or even really enjoying the piano. Never mind the fact that I’ve stuck a whopping great grand piano in half my lounge room. It has been gathering dust, unopened for at least a year.

Sure I can still sight read my way through accompaniments. But I had stopped actually “thinking” about the music while I was playing. Autopilot was most definitely on. Something was askew. I’ll come back to this and hopefully make a point shortly.

The pigtails.

I’ve been wrestling with my hair recently. Not literally I’m sure you’ll understand because you’re very clever and obviously realise that “wrestling with hair” is not a thing. (Unless you google it and find that it is some weird niche thing that happens out in the world. I don’t need to know). It’s just at that “difficult” length (lots of scare quotes today….). Too long to leave down for summer coolness, not quite long enough to pull back into a tidy ponytail without all the sides falling out.

I needed a solution and I needed one fast. Pigtails. When did they stop being part of my hairstyling repertoire? Was it grade 4 perhaps? Well I’m bringing pigtails back. As of yesterday. I announced it on Instagram and everything. Took a selfie. So you know that’s for reals. Pigtails allow all hair to be off my neck. They are also the most practical for lying down and napping as well as lying on my back at the gym and doing the crunchy exercises because there is NO PONYTAIL DIGGING IN THE BACK OF YOUR SKULL.

So where are we then? We have a lazy pianist wearing pigtails who needs to get her act together. And we are at the time of the year….what I like to think of the “cocoon, hide away from the world and just recharge awesome time between Christmas and New Year”. So this afternoon I set myself a little challenge. I will play the piano everyday and post a little video of me doing that to the Facebook. I will do it wearing my hair pigtails because I can and I want to.

So that’s actually two epiphanies. I’ve become a lazy pianist and pigtails are the best way to wear my hair in summer.

Merry Christmas.

Cross Roads

by Jenny Gilbertson, our guest blogger.

It was dark. Not too late, but well into the night. Driving home along a country road, thoughts wandering, alert for kangaroos crossing, or lurking in the verges. It’s not uncommon to come across roadkill; far too common in fact. Stopping to remove a dead animal from the road is a regular occurrence if you live in the country, or at least, it is for me.

For as long as I can remember, well, ever since I first got my drivers licence, I’ve almost always stopped; even when that means turning around further along the road and going back. Especially for macropods.

Barn Owl profile
Barn Owl  |  Photograph used with permission, copyright Kim Wormald  |  lirralirra.com

First up, check if it is a female and check the pouch for surviving young. Same holds true for echidnas. Well, really, first up is to try to help the animal, if it is still alive. They rarely are. Most often just a partially mangled heap. And some hit with such force, smashed up so badly, their bodies, or parts of them, are spread right across the road. But I digress. Picking up the pieces of another death and gently placing them away from the road – out of the way of further destruction by oblivious drivers and enabling scavengers a safer meal – is, as I said, an all too regular occurrence.

For the past few years I have contributed to an international community arts project Not With Us Anymore, initiated by Monika Thomas and Tea Makipaa, documenting, ‘witnessing’ they would say, the devastating numbers of road deaths that go unrecorded. The literally millions of animals and birds who lose their lives on our roads each year. Perhaps each week. So, for a few years now, I have stopped to remove the animal, but also to photograph it. If there are no other vehicles and the road has good visibility, I take a shot exactly where it lies. If the spot is too dangerous, I take it off the road first and photograph it there. Sometimes while driving I ponder the roadside crosses, erected by family or friends for lost loved ones, and envisage a forest of crosses for all who lose their lives on the roads. Because it really would be a forest. So many deaths. Mammals, birds and reptiles, but mostly kangaroos. It’s always a sad job, but one I do regardless – surely someone has to do it?

Anyway, this night, last night, was much the same. But a little different. I spotted the small crumpled heap as I approached and slowed down, turning around a few hundred metres up the road. Pulling up with the headlights shining on the little body I muttered to myself, oh, it’s a bird. Yes, a bird. A beautiful speckled barn owl, still warm, but beyond help. I gently cradled it in my hands, unsure of what to do. I should photograph it. But I couldn’t. I just wandered back and forth in indecision, cradling this small bundle of oh-so-soft feathers.

Eventually I decided I would not take a photograph. It just felt too inappropriate. Enough trauma had already been suffered, with the shock of impact, a badly broken leg, my headlights shining into those (now dead) eyes, adapted for darkness … a ‘snapshot’ seemed like a final indignity. So there was no record of this death. Laid gently into a hollow beside the road.

But I wept. I wondered, for the umpteenth time, why people can’t even be bothered to stop and take these creatures off the road, let alone see if they can help the individual they have hit. They don’t of course. That job is left to others. So I continued my journey home, completed my evening and headed off to bed. With that owl firmly lodged in my thoughts. All night. No record. No photograph to bear witness to its’ passing. Nothing. Until now.

With thanks again to Kim Wormald from lirralirra.com for use of her beautiful image.
Guest blogging is new, and random, like our own blogs.

 

Nature vs inertia

I’m at an art hideaway – housesitting, pet minding, chicken whispering, plant watering, painting and refuelling.

I’ve brought some pieces to finish for delivery to the gallery in Brisbane late next week and naturally, because there’s a sense of ‘deadline’, I’m goofing off! I’m spending the days moving between the pillowed chairs on the spectacular verandah, the pool lounges, the meandering mown tracks in the paddocks, and the glass palette and paints on the table out back.

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Eggsistential angst: local critic passes between me and the easel.

Yesterday I spent 6 hours at the easel, today 4. A decline towards the weekend? Definitely.

Some of what I’m painting right now is a bit of a mystery. It is challenging, and rewarding: using some elements/marks/motifs that have been developing throughout this year and using them in ways that I’m not sure are working. And trying to make them work, when they’re not working. And then going and sitting in a comfy chair when they stop working, and wondering ‘WTF’?

Author of beautiful fiction and National Treasure, Tim Winton, has just released a new book—a memoir called ‘The Boy Behind the Curtain‘—which I’m yet to read. As always, there are some stated gems in this nearly hour-long interview on ABC radio. Australian friends, have a listen.

He refers to his first childhood trip to a major art gallery with his family, barefoot, as “an introduction to what people were capable of, beyond the world that I lived in“. What a beautiful way to describe something new and mysterious.

He weaves a link between his beloved surfing and being a writer – long hours of contemplation, waiting for that wave to come over the horizon and carry you in. In commenting that the point of surfing is that “well, there is no point” he also says:
“Art doesn’t need a point. It is. There’s something liberating in it’s lack of utility. It doesn’t have to do a job, and even if it’s there to celebrate beauty and to provoke and promote contemplation and introspection – that’s use enough in my view.”

And while I’m hearing what I want to hear in this interview, and grappling with abstracted elements alongside representation, I’m listening harder to his comments about writing non-fiction and fiction:
(With non-fiction) I feel like I have to get it right. In short story and novel writing I only have to get it right in itself, i have to get it organically right and i have to make it true to itself and coherent. It doesn’t have any other responsibility.”
Surely this is similar when a visual artist steps away from realism?
So, yes the artwork needs to be true to itself, to have reached some point of resolution.  But it probably only needs to be coherent to me – to be coherent to others is a bonus.
Mystery. It is.

Sitting in a room outside

030_mtp_storms-along-the-sierra-vista-trail-nm_w

Storms along the Sierra Vista Trail, NM
2016 | 100cm x 20cm | Ink, gouache, graphite rubbing, woodblock print on Arches paper

Last night I was overwhelmed to receive an award at the 41st Rio Tinto Martin Hanson Memorial Art Awards for this piece – started in New Mexico last year and finished in Mt Perry last month. Sitting in a room, knowing your name is going to be called out (because you got the call encouraging you to come to the opening), is a dreamy kind of experience.

Detail: ink, woodcut print, white gouache and graphite rock rubbing040_detail-of-storms-along-svt

And last year sitting in the deserts outside Las Cruces was a dreamy kind of experience. (Thanks to DS for the image: sitting with my back to the Dona Anas, New Mexico 2015)

039_ds_2015-box-cyn-paintout-adrienne-distant-dona-anas-e

And meeting the sponsors of the John Anderson Memorial Acquisitive from a 60+ year old Gladstone business was a delight. Hopefully the family got the sense of my thrilled and grateful state. What a great thing it is they do.

And now I’m going to draw some eyes on paper and blutac them onto my eyelids and head off to work. With a little skip and a hop for the last day at Indo Pop!

Rock rubbing in the out of doors, on 300gsm arches leperello. New Mexico 2015:

038_2015_lc-week1_sierravista

lookout | outlook

In early August I posted a photo of the view from the MtP lookout on Faffbook. It was a hopeless (old) iPhone photo with ridiculous light and yet a lovely Australian FB friend living in England—who is a real-deal photographer—commented “I hope you painted that“.

Well of course not! I mean, it’s a place I go all the time. Sunrises and sunsets and changing light. I sit with hound, with Nearest, with refreshing beverages to toast whichever direction the sun is going (best to clarify, it’s tea at sunrise). And it’s a big vista. I don’t paint big vistas.

Then a couple of weeks after that I came in from the studio and could smell smoke. Standing in my kitchen I could HEAR the crackling of fire. There was absolutely no wind, thank goodness, and it was 1km away and the local Rural Fire Service was onto it. But, a long ridge-top across from us was burning. This was the closest I’d seen fire to my home. I stood on the verandah in the dark, for some hours, watching.

034_detail-old-rain
Detail from ‘Old Fire and New Rain Near Town’

Thanks to a planted idea from across the miles and years, I took a sketch book to the lookout with me on my next visit. And some tea. I was struck by the strong scar in landscape from that very small fire near town. How jarring it was.

I’m also struck by the first scribble I made and actually wrote ‘town‘ on it. Really? Did I need reminding that’s where my town was? Perhaps not enough tea has been consumed.

036_town-lookout-sketch

And then a more constrained and designed scribble followed which I think really set the tone for what came next.

037_old-town-careful-sketch

035_oldfire-in-studio

And this has flowed into the recent oil paintings and their lines and dashes alongside a touch of wild abandon and possibly some fiery colourings.

aw16_mtp_magenta-zone-hot-harvest_e
‘Magenta Zone Hot Harvest’ 2016  Oil on Canvas  91.5cm x 71cm | 36in x 28in

And the loveliest part of this tale is that ‘Old Fire and New Rain Near Town‘ has gone to a new home. The surprise and joy of a piece moving on never goes away. Well, it doesn’t seem to for me. And so I imagine that someone has had the same astonishing pull that I’ve had myself and that Wendy describes in her recent blog. And this all happened at a wonderful regional event – Woodgate Arts in Spring – over the long weekend as we celebrated the birthday of our Queen. Well, we had a long weekend.

And from an iView interview (alas, for the Oz viewers only) with our late, great Queen of paint, Margaret Olley, when describing those inevitable pauses in the creating of artworks: ‘It may sound trite, but it’s like gardening. You can’t keep on using the same soil to have the same plants. It takes all the nutrition. You’ve got to lie fallow’.

So, thank you NB for the SocMed prompt.
It took me to somewhere known with a new outlook.

Red light specials

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I’d spent the morning with the calculator, thinking about my household budget, savings, the need for savings, groceries, electricity, insurance, car registration and all that other kind of boring detail that seems to be part of living  as a single lady in a medium-sized regional town in a pretty small house. I drew up (yet another) plan for distributing my salary into various bank accounts. Oh yes Queen Bey and I have tonnes in common.

So I had a plan. Spend as a little money as possible. Be prudent.

I’d first seen the red gladiolis a few weeks ago in a Facebook post from the artist otherwise known as Jenny McDuff. I kept thinking about them. I’d click on the image. I’d look more closely. It was red. And gold. And shadowy. And rich. And gorgeous.

Then I saw the red gladiolis on Friday night in real life. I kept looking at them from across a crowded room. I sometimes lost my place while I was supposed to be concentrating on playing the violin. Was anyone buying the gladiolis? Why weren’t they? Didn’t anyone else want the gladiolis as much as I did? What was wrong with everyone? I looked at the exhibition catalogue.

It’s “sensible money saving time” Wendy.

You don’t “need” the red gladiolis.

But I “want” them.

I talked with Jenny about the gladiolis. Quite possibly I bored other people in the room by talking about them. “That one is my favourite”. They nodded politely and made the appropriate, agreeable noises of people who had their eyes on other things.

More than once I said it. Then I went home. Sans gladiolis. Economically virtuous.

Art doesn’t work like that though. It doesn’t care about my economic virtue. In fact it laughs in its face as it calls my name and pulls at my heart strings. It defies plans and instead brings joy into our life in the form of red gladiolis.

Those gladiolis were calling my name in all their redness.

I returned today. I looked at them again. I stood up close. I stood far away. I pretended to be interested in other things. I wandered about. I made admiring noises about lots of other pieces. They were nice.

But they weren’t the gladiolis.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it any more.

(There are no pockets in coffins my Nana used to say. Wise wise woman*).

WHAT IF SOMEONE ELSE GOT THE GLADDIES? I shouted to myself quietly. In my head. Not out loud. That would have been weird and totally illogical and probably some of the nice Woodgate residents may have ushered me into a quiet corner and offered me a glass of water.

The gladiolis are now at home. With me. On the wall near the piano. Radiating gloriousness throughout the house. Economic virtue and plans be damned.

I’m not even in the same room as I type this and I can feel their warmth.

I know they’ll be there when I’m asleep, when I’m at work.

With me.  Where they are supposed to be.

*It’s worth noting that my Nana also had a huge shoe collection. She also loved a red light special – two values she passed on to me. Who doesn’t love lots of shoes? Also, bring back the red light specials large chain stores. They were lots of fun…for a 7 year old girls and her Nana).

 

A little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n roll [tour]

adriennewilliams_qraa_nightfallingonmagentaislands
Night Falling on Magenta Islands  2016  |  Oil on Canvas  |  91cm x 91cm/36in x 36in

Friday afternoon I got a call ‘Hi Adrienne, it’s (DelightfulPerson) from Flying Arts Inc‘.

Hi Delightful Person’, says I, in the reverie of Friday afternoon* when everyone should be, could be happy and delightful.

Adrienne, I’m phoning with good news.

Oh, I think, that’s nice – still dreaming of being home soon (thanks Crowded House) to Friday afternoon celebratory beverages and, let’s face it, at this point I’m somewhat gormless.

‘Yes, Adrienne, your piece ‘Night Falling on Magenta Islands’ (she really did say the whole name) will be included in the 2017 Queensland tour’.

Okay, so at this point The Coin Fell!

A friend from Europe once said this to me and I realised it was their interpretation of the idiom ‘The Penny Dropped‘. Gorgeous hey? I digress… imagine… moi digress?

Naturally I rallied and replied with sensible, mature responses such as ‘oh my gosh, oh, oh my, oh I’m so thrilled, oh my gosh, thank you‘. Actually, instead of being appalled, Delightful Person laughed and enjoyed my happy time. I asked if she’d had a great day making the phone calls, and she had and we laughed some more and I stopped short of say she was Awesome (I know, who says that?) and that I loved her (I really did stop short of that!).

I met a delightful soul and an extraordinary artist recently – just the meeting reminded me that I am isolated at times. He probably has no idea the impact of the short conversations we had: his openness about his practice, his openness about his aspirations for his practice. If I’m totally honest, being in this touring show has been an aspiration on gentle simmer for about 5 years.

It reminds me that it’s okay to have a strong desire to do something. It also reminds me that I still haven’t finished Karen’s copy of ‘Stravinsky’s Lunch’. Really? Has it taken me 17 years to get to this exploration of women in art practices? I see a time later next month when this book will get my full attention – in-between sourcing episodes of Gilmore Girls (seriously, read Wendy’s blog from today), and watching Justin Trudeau’s political speeches in au Francais as a counterpoint to the US fracas, and lying on the grass outside the studio with the canine assistant just looking at the birds in the trees.

And on trees, these wooden words were submitted with my entry, hug at your will…


Night Falls on Magenta Islands’ is a continued exploration of a patch of grass trees and dry rainforest 100km west of my home. For the last few years my palette has referenced the colours from the biodiversity maps and ecosystem maps of my region.

The maps describe divided land use areas through colour coding. Magenta, orange, purple, green, and white create divided tensions between wild places and the altered landscapes that surround and contain them.

Magenta is the colour of ‘rare and endangered’, often appearing as little islands dotted across the terrain. Ironically, these grass trees thrive outside the magenta zoning, and regular grazing has created a safer environment from bushfire. This is an unlikely and long term symbiosis and a hopeful display of nature’s adaptation to change. Colour and landscape are essential to my practice and my regional backyard is a library of subjects


 

*Be assured Friday afternoon reverie does not go away – even when you’re not in a formal work structure.

 

#teamjess

I think Rory should end up with Jess.

That’s me. Team Jess. Team brooding, ultra-intelligent, writing bad boy makes good.

I’ve been spending the last few weeks watching Gilmore Girls in preparation for the Netflix release in November of  FOUR MORE EPISODES. That’s correcto. Unless you’ve

a. been living under a rock

Or

b. never heard of Gilmore Girls (I refuse to accept this possibility)

Or

c. dislike Gilmore Girls with every fibre of your being (I accept this possibility but find it near impossible to believe)

then you will be aware that the much, should I say, universally adored, noughties series about a girl, her mum and her mum and dad, and her mum’s best friend and her husband, and the guy in the baseball cap who runs the local diner with the best coffee, and the first girl’s best friend Paris, and the first girl’s three boyfriends – guy who went on to be in Supernatural, the afore-mentioned bad boy, and the other annoying rich Yale trust fund boy – as well as all the other inhabitants of fairytale town Stars Hollow will be returning. Except for those who are played by actors who have sadly died since the series finished of course.

There are lots of things to love and hate about Gilmore Girls. I choose to embrace its sweetness and light; it’s first world problems (“oh I don’t enough money to go to an Ivy League college but if just ask my grandparents they’ll loan me the money if I commit to seeing them for dinner once a week where we are served a three course a la carte dinner by their house staff. You know the usual kind of thing teenage girls go through. Or here’s another one. I want to open my own inn. I don’t have a job but luckily my father put together a trust fund for me when I was born and it happened to mature right when I needed to put the inn plan into action. And then when I ran out of money, I cried on a bench next the man in the baseball cap who runs the diner and he loaned me a bucketload of money because we’re meant to be together even though neither of us realise it at that point.

Okay. I hear you. Gilmore Girls does sound a bit stupid when you just write the plot out. (And believe me there’s much more where that came from). As in – Hey! We’re Lorelai and Rory! We eat junk food and takeaway for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week and we still look like supermodels.

Don’t get me started.

But here’s what to love. Gilmore Girls is Anne of Green Gables for television. (And if you don’t like Anne of Green Gables then you’re a sad, grumpy grinch and you should probably stop reading. I’m judgemental. Maybe you’ve already stopped. I don’t know. Totally up to you obviously. Blog posts aren’t compulsory reading)

Everything is brighter. Everything is more comforting. Food looks more delicious. Autumn looks more autumnal. Small town Stars Hollow is the friendliest little community in Connecticut. The elder Gilmores have a totally lush house, with floral arrangements to rival any US soap opera you’d like to name. Korean teen character and Rory’s best friend, Lane Kim has THE BEST taste in music. Pop culture refences are liberally spattered through the script and most of them still hold up over 15 years since it began. (Yes Hillary Clinton is running for president at last Gilmore Girls. You knew she would. Yes Rory hitched her wagon to a winner when in the last series she went off to work for a young, up and coming whippersnapper called Barack Obama. I wonder how that turned out?) The dialogue and fast and smart and often funny. It’s not roll on the floor laughing funny. It’s amusing and cute. There’s nothing wrong with that.

So I know that it’s already probably filmed and in editing but here’s what I’d like to see.

Rory ends up with Jess.

Rory catches up with drunk naked guy from college, Marty and he’s doing really well and she regrets giving him the flick instead awful Logan.

Rory finds Dean and realises that he was a bit of a needy wimp and not the boy of her dreams after all.

Lorelai and Luke get together finally and permanently.

Luke’s daughter April returns and is less precociously annoying than she was in the original series.

Emily is just the same.

Tristan returns! Because really what’s Chad Michael Murray up to these days anyway.

Paris and Doyle are living happily ever after but Paris still has her crafts table.

Rory’s stepsister Gigi is all growed up and Rory gives her lots of great life advice.

Taylor is still in charge of the town, Miss Patty is still teaching yoga and dancing and Babette is still living next door with her cats. Those things should not change.

Al’s Pancake World finally serves a pancake.

Most of all like all GG fans I’m desperately hoping that they don’t stuff up these sequels. Please make it a Life on the Road kind of sequel situation, rather than an Absolutely Fabulous kind of sequel. One was amazeballs. One was not.

#teamjess

#whereyouleadIwillfollow

#singit

 

 

Multi-media moments of momentum

They come in bursts and this seems to be ‘a moment’.

Discovering I had an art prize closing date wrong (by four weeks), committing some pieces to deliver to Brisbane at the end of October, and joining a fun community arts event in my nearby ‘big town’ has spun up the cogs. 4.30am alarms ‘pling pling’ at me (I know! But I work better with the birds than late at night), the assistant gets a walk, and by 7am I’m standing up there in the studio with caffeine and the sunshine. Usually. This is not a foolproof system when fools are in the mix.

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I’ve been working on one of the leperellos I made in New Mexico last year, adding some plant life to the huge storms I saw on the big desert plains near Las Cruces.

Meshing pieces of the meticulous and areas of abstraction with gluey fingers. It never feels easy but occasionally it works.

030_mtp_storms-along-the-sierra-vista-trail-nm_wStorms along the Sierra Vista Trail, NM
2016 | 100cm x 20cm | Ink, gouache, graphite rubbing, woodblock print on Arches paper

And then there’s the making of little carefree pieces for a Wheelbarrow Market coming up in Bundaberg. I have literally divided the studio into zones and while the Wheelbarrow work zone gets the tiniest of real estate on a bench off to the side, it’s delivering the easiest fun. More to come on that as we approach the night of October 12. But these two little ones—at 20cm x 20cm—are again singing a song to those saguaro in Tucson and the deserts of Las Cruces. It’s a song that could go on for some time.

029_wheelbarrow-oil     028_wheelbarrow-oil

032_meerkatsformequalityAnd in an exercise in the ridiculous and singing songs of joy and peace I painted some cool kats. Not actual canvas kats, now that would be ridiculous, but op shop finds for a fun 2nd Chance Store pop-up shop recently run by a friend. Some remaining kats will find their way into the wheelbarrow.

Meerkats Standing up for Peace (and this pair for marriage equality) could be a short run ‘series’, or could be a cheap art therapy exercise – it was bizarrely rewarding. Is that because it’s not hard? There’s just no internal voice of pressure because who gives a ‘rat’s’ if the kats don’t work out? Perhaps they are a mere reset of that voice, hah, a handy new tool.

Peace be with you. 😀