It is difficult to be a painter alone in your studio, no matter how much time you spend there. You have to show your work and engage with an audience, for it is social contact that energises and renews us.
Christopher Allen, Arts Writer, The Australian
Christopher Allen goes on to say that perhaps artists were luckier in earlier times when they were commissioned to paint significant subjects for public places such as churches. Their works had a shared meaning that people understood and that was relevant to the time and place. Artists therefore had a responsive wide audience.
Now, perhaps with the exception of graffiti, art is not so imbedded in the fabric of society. It has become rarified being ‘held’ by esteemed institutions. In contemporary western society at least, you can see fads in art and ‘trending’ artists. There is fierce competition to get a gig at a commercial gallery, or to be part of a prestigious gallery ‘stable.” We speak of ‘the art world’ as if it is quite seperate from the real world.
That leaves an outsider artist like myself, who hasn’t been to art school. but who is serious about her practice, wondering how they can find a way to escape from what Allen calls “the quicksands of solipsism”.
Being an artist is about creating works to be viewed.
Blogging is a partial answer to this question. Never before has it been easier to publish your creative work, be it literary or visual. But you still need to find your audience and that, to a degree, is what this journey in P2 is about.
In the next blog, I will discuss why blogging is only a partial answer for visual artists. I am sure that many people will beg to differ on this, so I’m looking forward to hearing other’s views.
Today I took some paintings of Bhutan out of storage. I would have been travelling right now, but instead I am preparing for Noosa Open Studios. If it wasn’t for Covid-19, I wouldn’t be opening my studio space up for people to visit. If wasn’t for the border closures between Queensland and the southern states, I probably wouldn’t be opening up the studio either. Our Covid world seems more uncertain and less predictable, even for the lucky ones like Queenslanders who are in an state with virtually no transmission and where contact tracing is swift and effective.
Every day the relentless statistics that are a shorthand way of describing death, grief and distress flash up on my screen. We all need uplifting diversions at the moment, so it was wonderful to remember those amazing wanderings in the verdent mountains. How lucky I have been. Every experience seems all the more precious. We can all travel visually, through art and photograghy.
I’m developing a new series of artworks using old family photos, collage and photomontage. (Pun intended.) While this work contains much that is personal and meaningful only to me and my family, it is also a commentary on the many roles of women, the changing images of women, the tensions and struggles that women navigate and much more.
The idea arose when I came across some old photos last year and started talking to photographer and friend Craig Holmes. We got together to select photos to reproduce. Craig brought a technical and creative eye to the process of selection. He made digital masters of the selected family photos, some of which were very small, with the oldest taken in the early 1930’s.
A high quality scanner in the hands of a skilled photographer yielded spectacular images. We were both surprised at the amount of detail contained in some of the images that had not been captured when the photos were developed manually.
It’s so long since I’ve worked with oils. For some reason I have the desire to do so again so I bought out an oil painting that had graced the bathroom wall for quite a few years.
That’s the one of the joys of being an artist. You always have work on hand to instantly create a new visual experience, or in this case, revisit an old one. I forgot how much I love the feel and endless subtleties of oil paint. I’m on a roll!