We Are All the Flocking Same

 

 

Killalea Headland sketch

My sketch Killalea headland

 

 

 

Killalea pan

 

The Farm was a familiar term growing up with a surfer brother. When we arrived at our painting site today there were two guys, greying, with boards on their racks checking out the surf. They never lose their love of surfing -any conditions, any age. Today was the first time I saw The Farm up close. I hadn’t realised that Killalea State Park held this sacred surf spot on the coast.

I love that trot that surfers break into – board clenched under their arm, leg-rope dangling, hair dripping, their sleek wet-suit uniform dense against the green. They canter, the cold from their wrinkled wet feet protection against the gravel.

We cooked sausages and onions on a wood bbq at lunch time- it felt like summer today. There were so many different flocks and types of birds -black cockatoos against the blue blue blue sky. I painted with gouache on paper with memories of my brother Michael. I wondered if any of those greying surfers were Little Mick, or Tightarse, or Brooksy – all those older surfers who I use to lust after as a teenager, who called me Grub.

As a final note when we left later a parade of older vintage cars rolled along the road where the surfer had run back to his car earlier. The vintage Jag and MG had no roof racks for boards, no dusty wagons for paints and easels but glistening rims and chromish mirrors.

We’re all different flocks

This was a re-post of an earlier blog, after a recent sketch trip back to The Farm.

Advertisements

Waterless Lithography under the Mountain

Inking up

Inking up

IMG_3990IMG_3977IMG_4022

IMG_3982

The profile of Mount Kembla features regularly in some of my landscape drawings. Last weekend I saw it from a different perspective, up close and reversed. Liz Jeneid’s eclectic studio where we had a hands-on workshop on waterless lithography, is nestled comfortably into the mountain.

IMG_3979Julie Krone, whose work I had seen in an exhibition at Wollongong Gallery some years ago had stuck with me and when I saw she was running the class, I thought it would be interesting to see how she works and the technique. She was fresh from an Argentinian Ace Residency and keen to pass on the intricacies learned from her investigations and experience with other artists.

IMG_3981Unlike stone based lithography, this method uses everything from silicon, acetone, brake fluid, photo-sensitive plates to print press.  Julie was generous with sharing her knowledge and excited by new marks made in different ways. It was learning experience for us all.

After completing our drawings and eventually a range of prints, it was obvious that although it was a technical process, individual sensitivities came through from the particpants.

Julie rocking the image in developer

Julie rocking the image in developer

For myself, I had made two plates, one more successful than the other, but it was the investigation of mark-making through both drawing and printing on transparent papers that has led me to go back to Rauschenberg for some more inspiration. Starting on a large drawing on Monday, I’m keen to scratch, transfer and rub, a little like Liz’s chooks and horses roaming the hillside. A fabulous shared lunch debating the value of arts education, topped off a wonderfully indulgent weekend.

 

Taking off the silicon

Taking off the silicon

The siliconed plate ready for ink

The siliconed plate ready for ink

IMG_4020IMG_4001 IMG_4027 (1)IMG_4025 IMG_4004IMG_3983 IMG_4028

Juggling Jellyblubbers

P1050472

One painting leads to another, and another, and another. Velasquez started it, John Olsen changed it, and I melded it into a slippery oozy painterly mess.  Somehow the egg and the jellyfish became a transluscent clue into my painting re-birth.  Jellyfish have emerged in my drawings of the past, they are at the end of the jetty, gliding just below the surface – transparent water, transparent flesh, ungrabbable.

An old sketch- they were there in the past.

An old sketch- they were there in the past.

P1050475

P1050473

 

Velasquez and I Cook Eggs

IMG_3214Inspiration comes in packages of all shapes, sizes and compositions.  Recently I was gobsmacked by Velasquez Old Woman Cooking Eggs. There was a dynamism in the figures and objects and how they related to each other both in colour and shape.  As a result a new series of small works in gouache provided impetus for bigger and better things.  The serendipity of reading John Olsen’s biography whilst working on the series, also laid another level.

The egg, a symbol of hope and regeneration that he saw in Velasquez, carried into his work and as a result into mine. I could see a jelly-fish-like symbol in the slithery par-cooked egg whites that could transfer into compositions for my boatshed works.

 

Velasquez: Old Woman Cooking Eggs.

Velasquez: Old Woman Cooking Eggs.

IMG_3201IMG_3213 IMG_3210

Paint and Smoke

Capstan Reds

Capstan Reds

I tend to think of myself as a landscape painter, I don’t know why. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit. I love the stuff in the landscape as much as the setting itself, even when it’s dirty fag packets.  The last post was about Motherwell’s fabulous prints based on smoke packets.  So after a dig in the past I’ve unearthed a few more images thanks to Double Whirler’s interest.  These were done some time ago and after a while they all blur together. I take close up photos sometimes when I think certain crops of paintings will work on a larger scale.

I often do not title my works and when I stumbled across this work in my photo storage “system”(a very loose term),  I had called it “Capstan Reds” so I guess it was one too, but can’t even remember painting this now and really had thought it was based on something completely different. I painted direct from John’s scrapbook collection and photographed them before returning them so I could source them later on.

Unknown

Unknown

Part of John's marvellous collection

Part of John’s marvellous collection

Alpine? Woodbine? Peter Stuyvestant??

Alpine? Woodbine? Peter Stuyvestant??

Plein-air & Plain Good

Tom Carment

Tom Carment

Tom Carment has taken out this years Parliament House Plein Air Painting Prize.  About time, I say.  He is just simply a good painter.  His work gets wall space in my studio and that is my measure of paint-worthiness.

 

 

 

Here is my blog from four years ago.

“A Random Sparkle”

Each time I visit the SH Ervin gallery, I seem to be drawn to the work of Tom Carment -I bought I wonderful book CH2.  Carla promptly told me I had bought her the same one. I had also bought a card of his work that was pinned on the wall in the Thirroul Studio. This afternoon I opened Artist Profile art mag for a well deserved read time only to find Tom Carment once again. Is it his plein-air-i-ness? The essence of subject? Maybe it’s what he describes as “the random sparkle.”

carment

Slow Art Day at the National Museum of Australia

Martumili Artists: Martumili Ngurra 3.2m x 5m

Martumili Artists: Martumili Ngurra 3.2m x 5m

Taking the time to paint can be a struggle, a lingering tortuous event but unfolding a painting is never as difficult. The more you look, the more you get. The longer you look, the more it reveals.  National Slow Art Day is coming to a close, slowly creeping up on me.  The National Museum of Australia holds a beautiful work by Martumili Artists. The museum invited people unable to get to the painting to take a digital look at a selection of works.  I decided to concentrate on this fabulous indigenous work.  In the flesh the size of the work encompasses you so looking at it from a distance today, on-line, gives a whole different perspective.  The longer I look, the more intense it becomes and the lines seem to shimmer. Tiny turquoise pockets pressed between the rows feel like they are under pressure, they feel as though they want to ooze past the strands over the gentle patterning ready to seep to the edges.

 

I found slowing down I started to move my mouse over the work, rhythmic. Something you can’t do with a painting in a gallery. Working from a touch pad sort of felt connective and mesmerising. Patterns on the screen unfolded into patterns of movement.

 

I love being able to spend time with one work in a slow art day way. Today, Saturday, was overcast, drizzly and a bit cold.  Martumili Ngurra was like a warm pumpkin soup. Delicious and oozily orange. I felt I touched it and moved with it the longer I looked.

Give yourself time today, slow it down, connect.

Serra-ndippity

Richard Serra Vico,2002

Richard Serra Drawings

Blackness is a property, not a quality”  Richard Serra.

Recently Richard Serra has been on my art hit list.  Looking at public art, it has hard to see past him, his work is solid, demanding and ‘complexingly’ simple. I have a loan of a  beautiful book to read from my pal Jane Richard Serra Drawings.

Serra & Pollock, it's all about action

Serra & Pollock, it’s all about action

I suppose coming from a blacksmith’s daughter, steel was a material sheet-rolled into my psyche.  I watched my dad melt lead and instead of flinging against a wall like Serra, he poured it into molds for sinkers.  He curved steel in the shed to form horse shoes, like Serra curving lines within a room. Most of the time I was forbidden to go into the work shed, but I would don the Ned Kelly welding helmet, smelly and sweaty. I would wave my stig wand and pretend to make steel glow.

Serra, Vico 2002.

Serra, Vico 2002.

 

Unfortunately Dad never got around to see my (very inept) welding skills and I think he would have loved Serra as much as me, he could have explained the properties and the logistics. I recently looked at making a sculpture on the scale of a Serra and was excited to see a drawing materialise, if only in Photoshop as a huge monolith, emerging from my lake.

 

 

 

Paintlater, Graphite, oil pastel  2014.

Paintlater, Graphite, oil pastel 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Paintlater, 'Down' 2014

Paintlater, ‘Down’ 2014

Paintlater, Maquette fro 'Down' 2014

Paintlater, Maquette for ‘Down’ 2014

Inside Outside Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread’s Studio Photo by Helene Binet

Rachel Whiteread’s Studio Photo by Helene Binet


The Port Kembla Stack
fell to the ground in an unearthly groan and a crumpled heap of cement and dust yesterday.  Just an icon of my disintegrating past.  I was there with the throngs of people waiting and watching, as we talked to each other, I noticed they all had returned from somewhere else. They had connected their home to the stack. It made me think of Rachel Whiteread and the cast of the space inside her home before demolition.

Rachel Whiteread Embankment, 2005

Rachel Whiteread
Embankment, 2005

Recently I discovered the works of Rachel Whiteread, a British sculptor/artist whose connection to home and a simple cardboard box had produced a monumental work for the Tate Gallery.

Whiteread described  Embankment as “working with a broader brush”, the installation was exhibited at the Tate Modern Gallery in London United Kingdom .  The work took place in the Turbine Hall, an area of 152 meters long and 35 meters high.  It was a commissioned work as part of the Unilever Series installed from 11 October 2005 to 1 May 2006. More recently in 2011 Ai Wei Wei’s installation of sunflower seeds occupied the same area also part of the Unilever Series.

Whiteread’s work comprises 14,000 translucent polyethylene casts of 10 selected cardboard boxes.  Upon clearing out her deceased mother’s home, she came upon a box that had undergone different uses for family objects and this became the impetus for this larger work.

The work evokes a feeling of monumentality, partly because of the scale and the space it occupies.  The white translucency of the boxes feels snow-like and gives the impression of being able to wander snow-capped slopes.  The cold is a stark contrast to the emotional warmth apparent when Whiteread first came across the box.  The box, like so many other everyday objects, conveys a sense of familiarity from re-use and storage from nostalgic objects.  The notion of the box storing Christmas decorations evokes happier childhood memories. Perhaps Whiteread’s Christmas in the northern hemisphere was snow-capped and the feelings of cold are part of that environment.

My Photo of Peter Robinson Sydney Biennale 2012

My Photo of Peter Robinson Sydney Biennale 2012

A work by Peter Robinson, Gravitas Lite 2012, in the Sydney Biennale 2012 had a similar effect being exhibited in the Turbine Hall at Cockatoo Island. In both artist’s works the shapes, in Robinson’s chains and Whiteread’s boxes, have relevance to the industrial space they inhabit but the starkness and fragility of the material also create interest in the sense they do not belong.  The strong shadows cast on the light of the white boxes and the forms in the way they are stacked, appear to replicate landscape features, such as mountains or crevices, feeling more organic within the factory backdrop and further fuelling the contrast of material and space.

Hany Armanious Untitled Snake Oil

Hany Armanious Untitled Snake Oil

Embankment is also reminiscent of work by Australian contemporary artist Hany Armanious whose casts of everyday objects take on a transformative appearance.  Untitled (snake oil) by Armanious impinges on the investigation of each glass’ empty shape as a negative space in the same way Whiteread initially explored the space of the box.  Armanious has cast the shapes of inside glasses and then used the base as a plinth with the cast sitting on top to produce an interesting object.

In the same way, Whiteread’s work is beautiful in its simplicity.

Thank You Yvonne Boyd

Painting of Yvonne by Arthur Boyd

Painting of Yvonne by Arthur Boyd

I only saw this gentle woman once.  She was standing to the side of the doorway, once her home, to let me pass.  It was in that moment that I realised exactly what a selfless person she must be.  The occaision was the 10th anniversary of handing over Bundanon, her home, to the public.  People were rambling en-masse through her home, helicopters landing on her peaceful paddocks and the whole time she was gracious and kind. Not only had she relinquished such a special place, she had lived and loved Arthur Boyd and tended to his art affairs.  She was an accomplished artist and although I did not know her personally, I feel I owe her a lot.  My time at Bundanon allowed me to paint unimpeded by the outside world, to immerse myself in the landscape she and Arthur shared.  Sadly Yvonne passed away today. Thank You Yvonne Boyd.

Bundanon