Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Friday, March 30, 2012

Off the Wall

'I'm being eaten alive'
The last words spoken by Veronica before be aborted a picnic in the bush.
However the mossies weren't the only ones who made marks that day. Upon return to the studio the day's adventure was given an everlasting life as I took to cardboard, a long table and a wheely chair. Cutting up old boxes and setting up an assembly line on the table, I used the pens, ink and scraps laying about to pump out a recollection of the day. Using speed as my only rule, I started on one line only to let my immediate after thought dictate the next move. Through a process of cause and effect I put all trust in my memory and wandering hand to guide the work. Rolling up and down the table on my chair I scribbled here and dabbed there. It was wonderfully fresh and unrestrained so much so that I thought I must be onto something.

I recalled a place that I had been longing to visit and had braved the bush and mossies earlier that day. A unique mid land, between a storybook Forrest and the pastures of farmland on the Bundanon property. Here, the bark of the trees peeled off to reveal a glimmering red beneath. There were seed pods too, banksias, brush and bracken - coarse textures that are hard to love but get you in the end. Eucalyptus hung low and damp in the air - tempting you into the Forrest with its sweetness and uncertainty. Clusters of sap bejewelled the trees and made for a soft contrast to the rocky sand underfoot. It was a peculiar place.

The process of recalling this day happened so impulsively, so instantaneously, so honestly. Once completed it was reminiscent of a film strip, a narrative structure tied the loose ends, the brazen marks, the thickets of pencil. It became neither distinctly abstract or bereft of figuration. The culmination of gestures and images somehow hovered between the two disciplines, playfully alluding to a story or place far off in your imagination.

Not sure what to do with the card board pieces, which were at this stage strips approximately 50cm long by 10cm wide, I started scoring them with a knife. Unable to cut all the way through I unintentionally created folds so that the pieces could stand three dimensionally. Putting them up on the wall they wove their way on and off the wall, inviting one's eye into a space and around. Displayed in the same film strip sequence they invited you on a journey - along, inside, around and beyond the wall and its marks.

This is an exciting piece for it poses new possibilities. Its structure suggests solutions so as to create more dynamic visual environments. The close interaction that it welcomes and sequence of observation encourages me to work within some sort of narrative structure. I am interested in How I can weave my stories with those of others through the shared experience of an artwork.

Off the wall will be coming to a blog post soon !

Monday, March 19, 2012

Looking through the White gums

Work in Process at Bundanon Trust

Friday, March 16, 2012

Walking with Boyd

‘Namaste’, Veronica and I bow down in gratitude for the day that is going to be at Bundanon.

Returning to the veranda the mist has lifted leaving a damp dew on the paddocks and an added sweetness to the breakfast of the bulls. Hot coffee, substance, strength, we enter our respective studios for a morning of work.

Purple, no grey, cadmium red or alizarin ? What did I have in mind for this canvas? Better still, I’ll just erect my easel in front of the window. With a view of the bush I look and put, scratch at the surface with charcoal and smear it with paint. This is much better I think, as I work responsively. A damp rag doubles as a painting tool and a cooling neck bandana as the sun continues to rise.

By Lunchtime I have worked up a sweat and three new paintings sit propped up against the wall, humble in their size but not of the place in which they come from.
‘I have to show something’ Veronica is at my door, eyes wide, toes wiggling in excitement. I follow her into her studio; new paper works lay draped on the floor as extensions of space, with fresh marks locating them in the energy of the day.

We convene in the kitchen and compose a picnic basket, time to reward our efforts.

Sticks in hand we march across the fields, Veronica leads the way, through warrens of wombat holes and thickets of decaying thistles. A welcome breeze picks up the pollen and carries my gaze across the cobalt sky and onto the blades of grass, iridescent in the sunlight. Leaving spiked mountains behind we pursue the river as respite from the afternoon heat.

Our picnic rug paints a pink square on the green paddock. We sit together and fork a rainbow of salad into our mouths, marvelling at the red and green peppers and polka dots of olives.

Now fed, it is time to be watered. Having slipped into the river I Hover on the surface, arms outstretched, I admire the transformation of my skin, glistening under an amber film. With eyes at water level I am one with the landscape, watching as ripples disappear into the distance to meet with the sweeping current. I let it take me to a beach downstream that is sheltered by the shadow of pulpit rock, fierce and majestic. Welcomed by a chorus of insects, I Rise from the water and join the lone footprints of the birds. Beads of water trickle down my arm and evaporate in the steam of midday; I take to the bush for shade, wildly seduced.

Licking Sweet Kiwi juice of our fingertips we finish lunch. Enormous blue clouds are building behind us and are inching toward the sun. It promises a storm, a reprieve for the heat of the day. We pack our goods and set back across the fields.

Unable to paint in my studio that is blanketed in heat from the setting sun, I recline in the cool of my bedroom, reading about Karel Appel’s fantastic animals, eyes soaking up the rich images. Tired from the adventure of the day my eye lids start to flicker and fall, soon I am no longer reading, but dreaming.

A crackling of the clouds gives seconds of warning before an enormous thunder clap splinters the sky overhead, sending vibrations into my bed. I sit upright to a view of a transformed sky, grey and turbulent that is engulfing pulpit rock at a distance. Within minutes Sheets of rainfall, engulf the studio in a fierce storm, Battening down the hatches, Veronica and I wind in our windows and slide close the doors – taking refuge in the centre of the house we are safe from the water that seems to be thundering on every surface.

Just as inspiration strikes in a powerful instant, the storm has passed through in a moment, leaving the landscape and course of the day utterly exulted: cool, calm and collected. Pulpit rock is no longer the eye of the storm but sits knowingly on the horizon, sharing the reminiscence of a day with a young writer in her studio at Bundanon.