Although Open Studios is primarily about inviting people into your space to view your art and to see how you work, it’s always exciting when you sell a work.
It’s been really wonderful to have feedback on my art, to have conversations with art lovers and fellow artists, and to collaborate with the three local artists in my area to create the Marcus Mini Trail as part of Noosa Open Studios, 2021
A tree with the most extreme and precise trim to accommodate a power line that I have ever seen, caused me to pull over to take a photo.
It was part of an avenue along the Great Alpine Road in the Ovens Valley leading into the pretty town of Harrietville, a starting point for alpine hikes and the gateway to the ski fields of the Alpine National Park in North East Victoria.
Talented Peregian Beach photographer Julie Hemsley did a publicity shoot at Marcus Creek of me when we exhibited at The Butter Factory Arts Centre in 2018. Apart from being successful in promoting our show, I knew that the photos had something that I wanted represent using paint – reflection in water.
The result? One subject, two abstract paintings using two different techniques to convey a sense of the red dress and yellow painting reflected on the surface of water.
Red Dress, Yellow Painting #1 evolved from an abstract work that that I had “retired” because I was unsatisfied with the result. On revisiting the canvas when mulling over ideas about reflection, it occurred to me that the shapes could be the basis for a work inspired by Julie’s photographic images.
The painting began to take on a new life; linear brushstrokes conveying the sense of distorted reflected shapes and disturbed water; thick opaque paint with no medium; textures from the underpainting adding subtle patterning and interest.
The process of painting the work evolved over five years. First, it was a purely abstract painting with no subject, then an abstract painting with a subject. Finally, in order to fully resolve this work, I had let go of the idea of a subject, and went back to seeing it as purely abstract. Full circle, quite a challenging process.
In Reflection – Red Dress Yellow Painting #2, I used the technique of glazing – building up the surface with successive layers of paint made translucent with medium so that the colours below show through, thereby alluding to something deeper than the surface.
I wanted to suggest a flat surface – water – at the same time as conveying movement on that surface, and the distortion that moving water gives to reflected shapes.
It was a technique I had used for the series of paintings exhibited at The Butter Factory, inspired by the sunlight shining through the tannin water of Marcus Creek, which, in the early morning light, has amazing reflective qualities.
I find that art is all the the richer when you discover something about the genesis of an artwork, the techniques that the artist used and the painting process. Perhaps that is because I paint myself. I’m curious to know whether others feel the same way or is viewing without knowing a rich enough experience.
Do either of these paintings resonate with you? If so, which one do you prefer and why?
My latest art acquisition, a print of a work by Susan Neuvonen, fellow Noosa Open Studios artist. Susan, along with Desley Roach, Trish Menzies and I, all Marcus Beach residents, joined together to form the Marcus Mini Art Trail. I visited Susan’s studio yesterday for a preview, and felt drawn to this image. The work is poignant. Like all good art, it comes from the heart. Out of grief and mourning emerges something very beautiful.
started tearing pages out of my handwritten journals,
lit a match,
and unceremoniously fed the pages into the fire.
I didn’t read any of them, just let them go up in flames.
Looking back, I can see that the burning of the journals was the beginning of some important realisations that play out in my art practice.
Whenever I am creating, I am totally absorbed and present in moment – or try to be. If my concentration is poor, or my mind wanders, inevitably my painting session does not go so well.
The way that I paint is a process of embracing change. When a painting isn’t coming together, I will retire it for a while, months or sometimes years, by which time it is part of the past, so I can see it with the fresh eyes of the present. Often I will start a painting with something in mind, but the finished work bears little resemblance to original concept.
This Covid Capsule painting is an example of how the process works. It started with a painting that hadn’t gone to plan but was one that I knew it still had some potential, so I retired it.
A few months later I bought it back to the present, creating a strange bleak landscape. Then I noticed some brushstrokes that slightly resembled a face appeared on the canvas. And so idea for a covid capsule evolved.
A Map for Navigating Life
The Universe is in constant flux and the only thing that doesn’t change is that nothing stays the the same.
The past is gone and the future is yet to come.
Human life is therefore a continual process of beginnings and endings, embracing and letting go.
This requires acceptance of what is, and some insight to successfully navigate a way.
The present is where to direct our energy and attention.
Life culminates death, the process of simultaneously letting go and embracing the unknown.
You might find this line of thought fatalistic or bleak, but for me it is a guiding path that cuts through a lot overthinking, unnecessary worry and regret. As a result I am more productive and proactive rather than being passive, angry, frustrated or disappointed.