Mixed media – abstract animals

Alternative Universe, mixed media, 46×61 cm (18×24”)

It could have been in storage; A mixed media canvas, propped on the workbench, waiting to be put away before I opened up for Noosa Open Studios. But two of my Marcus Artisan buddies called by and persuaded me to put it on display. Thanks to Julie and Kris, this work got a showing.

I was pleased as a surprising number of people during Open Studios found it intriguing and seemed drawn to it.

Though it is completely abstract, some viewers discovered animals in the forms. I see the heads of the animals on the Australian coat of arms – emus and kangaroos kissing.

Mixed media experiment

Sometimes I post pieces (like my fish) that will never be exhibited but are important because they are experimental, a way of forming up an idea that I may later use.

Mushroom with netting

This was an exercise in glazing that I lost interest in so I decided use it to experiment with plastic netting. (I’d been collecting the plastic netting bags that contain onions and fruit without having any clear idea of what I would do with them.)

This afternoon I just happened to have some leftover blue glazing paint that needed to be used up. Looking around for something to paint rather than washing it down the sink, I once again pulled out this board and whacked a glaze over the Raw Umber background.

It bought the piece up quite unexpectedly – a happy chance. Light and paint dance on the netting – the very quality that prompted me to start a  plastic stash.

Life is like linen

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Mixed media piece by Robyn Burns

I like my clothes better when they have a worn-in feel. It happens over time. When did my favourite t-shirt transform from bright and shapely, to a little baggy and faded?  The once crisp linen shirt softened as the fibres weaken, allowing it to sit more comfortably against my skin.

An old cotton or linen garment will have the signature scent of its wearer, which is why we instinctively hold the clothes of loved ones and babies close to our face and take a deep breath. Except for clothes made of polyester. The fibres, being plastic, never really wear out; just become shabby and stained. In old age, polyester clothes take on the smell of body odour from the sweat that they precipitate in the wearer, not the sophisticated scent that natural fibres do.

Many of us hold on to our decaying clothes with love, just like we hold the decaying bodies of our elderly loved ones, not wanting to face the inevitable. The quality of decay, essential to all life, is what I treasure in my clothes.  Once the collar becomes unwearably tattered, my shirt can be r.i.p.ped up for painting rags. (Not if it is polyester.)

Death, a part of life, to be embraced when the frayed ends no longer hold together.