We are hitting the road for ten days on a spur of the moment road trip north. It’s my birthday tomorrow, and George came over early this morning with his Dad and little brother to wish us a good trip.
George had been busy on a birthday card drawing for me.
It’s a sophisticated piece for a five-year-old. My name is phonetically spelt on the top left, with Jimmy the poodle next to it. That’s me on the right. I’m six metres high and Jimmy is four metres long.
On the bottom left is a table with lots of birthday cards and a cake of course. Then there are kisses and hearts. George said he folded the corners of his ‘card’ so they wouldn’t be pointy.
This beautiful work did make me feel six metres tall. It’s occupying pride of place on the fridge gallery.
There is something special about being gifted a collection of art books – or a collection of anything.
Rosemary’s mother was an academic, who, when she retired, took up painting. Amongst her bookshelf-lined walls were three rows of art books. Would I like them, Rosemary asked? My bookshelves are full to brimming, but how could I resist more art books? I will take them over time I said, and go through them at my leisure. So I piled about a third of the collection into the car boot.
Before I leave, Rosemary shows me a selection of her mother’s work, stacked in a wardrobe that is now devoid of clothing. It is an eclectic collection, the work of a hobby painter: still life studies; busy people populating the outdoors; landscapes; and stylised figures.
Collections speak of the person who created them. This collection tells me that Rosemary’s mother had a wide and varied interest in art. She must have read voraciously. There are books on Australian painters such as Robert Bunny and Tom Roberts. Scholarly works like Australian Surrealist painter James Gleeson’s book Australian Painters sit alongside art books for the general reader.
Books on: Brueghel, Cezanne, Munch, Kandinsky, The Impressionists, Goya, La Belle Epoque, Life and Times of Durer, Graphic Works of the American 30’s, couple of weighty tomes on how to paint and much more.
At home, after making space in my bookshelves I begin to unpack the treasures, finding unexpected snippets of information.
In a book by Alistair Duncan entitled Fin de Siecle: Masterpieces from the Silverman Collection, there is a tiny clue to Rosemary’s mother’s creative process. A small piece of paper with the handwritten question “possible?” bookmarks a page of beautifully photographed Tiffany Lava Favrile vases. They are stunning vases, and I recognise the shape as similar to some of the vessels in the still life paintings.
Did Rosemary’s mother draw her creative inspiration and ideas directly from her collection of art books? Perhaps the figures from the detail of Bruegel’s The Corn Harvest inspired her outdoor scenes with busy figures.
Then a piece of scrap paper with a pencil sketch on the back drapes out of a book.. What inspired drawing and what do the figures represent – Matisse’s dancers, a piece of painted pottery or is it a narrative of some sort?
I am left with questions that will never be answered, and further thoughts about collections: of art, of memorabilia, in galleries, in museums, in libraries, grand and small collections, serious or quirky, public and private.
What makes a collection? Why do we humans seem to have a propensity to collect? As a child I collected stamps for a while because my Dad collected stamps. I still have my little collection – in a blue stamp book. Every stamp has one thing in common; it speaks of my love of horses.
A mini gallery springs to life. These pretty flowers are in a jardiniere from my mother’s collection – a memory from my childhood. The encircling cards, miniatures of a painting series are, in my mind, fallen petals. Visitors to Noosa Open Studios like the space I’ve created too, which makes me happy.
Right now I’m thinking about how I can convert this room back into a work space that is less cluttered and more streamlined than its previous state; an organised work area to supersede what my neighbour’s children call the “Messy Room”.
It was the best room in the house for Hide and Seek. Still, under the iron bed comes a close second as a hiding spot, so if the “Messy Room” stays tidy, the boys will still have some good Hide and Seek places.
I’ve converted my messy art room into a mini gallery that opens for business from tomorrow for the next two weekends (Friday to Sunday) and next Tuesday (Oct 5) Hours: 10.00 am to 4.00pm.
After seeing the workspace in the garage, visitors will be able to see what the paintings look like on the wall, and gain some insight into how they evolved.
I’m not prolific but I work with passion and give art my all. The hard work of getting everything ready behind me, I can now relax and enjoy the next couple fo weeks of art making and meeting other art lovers/artists who enjoy a having glimpse into the world of artists at work.
Being in Brisbane this week for appointments and meetings, we went down on Sunday afternoon to take in the Sunday night after hours viewing of the European Masters exhibition of sixty-five paintings from The Met, New York at QAGOMA.
After the first two sections, pictured above, the is an “intermission” – an engaging, fun space where you can draw costumed models or still-life compositions.
Watch as the paintings from the exhibition come to life. Listen as the musicians strum their instruments within their paintings, their fingers animated on digitised screens while keeping the image intact. (An interesting side benefit for me was noticing that although these musicians came from unrelated works, painted in different periods in divergent styles, they seemed to have something in common; their expressions of wrapt concentration, which is so much part of being engrossed in music making.)
From here, move though to a theatre space with a video about The Met, the genesis of the exhibition, and commentary on some of the works.
The intermission works well, as the final section of the exhibition Revolution and Art for the People, begins with Turner ushering in the modern era. In this space, the gallery design has a more contemporary feel.
I actually didn’t intend to do a post on the design of this exhibition. However after visiting several times and taking these photos on Sunday night, I came to appreciate just how much thought and work has gone into it – definitely worthy of acknowledgment. So the actual works will just have to be the subject of another post.
I’ve flown the coop to hang out with headless pirates at Scallyways, a cafe that oozes creativity, using repurposed objects eclectically so there’s heaps for the eye to explore while you tuck into a hearty spud meal or indulge in a sweet treat. The playlist is pretty good too.
Coffee stop at the Whitney Museum of American Art – a reminder of our wonderful time in New York pre-covid with Sally and Mike.
Right now I’m enjoying applying the skills I learnt last Saturday at the Espresso Fundamentals Course, guided by coffee connoisseur Nathan a trainer, barista and blender at the Coffee Training Co in Noosaville. First, a run-through some fascinating facts about how coffee is grown and processed, then the nitty gritty of how to care for your coffee machine. I’ve had an espresso machine for quite a few years and have had a few tips from a friend who gifted me this course after doing it himself. So now that I’ve got even more tips on texturing milk and pouring. The verdict from my nearest and dearest: smoother and creamier coffees. It’s all in the way you texture the milk and the pour. I’m still on L-Plates, but eventually I’m sure I’ll be doing coffee art.
This month I’m drawing a line in the sand. It’s down to work completing artworks for Noosa Open Studios. The garage (my workspace) and art room will be open for two long-weekends on October 1-3 and 8-10.
This breathtaking view along the boardwalk from Nelly Bay to Arcadia (above) transfixed my artist’s eye. What a joy, walking in the National Park observing the different habitats, from mangroves to literal rainforests. With 76% percent of the rocky island being National Park, there are 10 distinct regional ecosystems here. Nine have a biodiversity status “of concern” and one is “endangered”.
Look up when walking in the Eucalypt forests and you will almost certainly find a Koala. There are Rock Wallabies by the ocean at Bright Point in Nellie Bay. The Beach Stone Curlew, one of 17 rare or endangered birds, fossicks in bush nearby the shores.