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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I am thrilled that these two paintings are On-line Finalists in the Lethbridge Gallery Small Art Prize (Brisbane). Thank you Lethbridge for your commitment to show lesser known artists alongside more established ones.
On 17 February 2019, two days after Theresa May’s Government had been defeated for the second time on her Brexit deal with the EU, journalist Tom Peck wrote an article in The Independent on the British Prime Minister. Peck likened her to the rugged Nokia 5210, a shock proof, water-resistant mobile phone that was renowned for its indestructibility.
Fascinated by this I looked up the Nokia 5210 and started reading old reviews from 2002. Bizarre as it seemed, the journalist had hit on something that resonated: the words used to describe phone in the reviews somehow seemed to speak of Theresa May and the political situation.
I used some of these words in the digitally-designed postcards. Another element, the unusually shaped “on” “off” buttons of the Nokia phone, suggested people shouting; they represent the “yes” “no” protests seen daily in the press at that time.
After two more defeats, May proved not to be indestructible, resigning on May 24, 2019.
Meanwhile mobiles have come a long way since the fabulously retro orange Nokia 5210, Peck’s quote, no doubt forgotten by most, has been buried by the 24 hour new cycle, and postcards are fast becoming a nostalgic thing the past.