Christmas is done and dusted, the rush up to it leaves a vacuum behind it that always appears languid to me. A Pause before we rush into the New year.
The weather reinforces this perception as summer kicks in and the seasonal drought that goes with it changes the routine of my days.
What do you do in your breaks?
Are their Summer Schools that tempt, projects half finished, kids to amuse so art takes a back seat? Or is it, like me, an opportunity to play without an agenda, at least in part.
This week, I dragged some inks out of the cupboard, rummaged around in my plan draws and found the yupo paper that had been patiently waiting for this moment.
I learnt a few quick lessons. Ink can go everywhere: quickly. Ink bottles with droppers in the lids can leak if the dropper is perished; particularly when shaking. After cleaning up and carefully pouring out some inks into a little pallet, I discovered that they dry pretty quickly as well. My studio has no air conditioning.
After puddling around on a couple of sheets using both alcohol and water to diffuse the ink on the paper, I thought I would give a few compositions a shot.
So I went back to my almost default theme, sky through trees, and a vase of Lilly’s that I have in the kitchen.
What made this interesting is that I tried each picture both with my left hand and my right hand. I am strongly right handed.
The left handed paintings are a lot looser and less ordered, which is a lesson in itself. I was amused with myself when I actually caught myself grabbing the paintbrush out of my left hand in order to finish the painting at one point.
It’s an opportunity to free up mark making when we use our less dominant hand.
I’m hoping to get back to my painting soon when the weather cools down a bit. In the mean time when its cool I weave. Photos soon.
Enjoy your break everyone, try and find a moment to play.
Above is the left handed picture and below is the right handed version.
So many of my collections are organic, and one of them is shells.
I dont collect shells anymore, but I do have a collection of them.
These beautiful homes are so evocative of place and need. The collection I have is an amalgam of shells I have picked up and aquired and shells my father-in-law aquired. He sailed ships through the Pcific Island during the 1950's for years and they were the de rigour of souvenirs back then.
I usually display shells in bowls, cloches, or as an accent. I love the patterns rendered on them. Cone shells, the really toxic ones have wonderful abstract patterns on them. Cowrie shells are equally beautiful and look great en masse.
My beach combing efforts these days are much more humble than the flamboyance of the tropical ones. I love the broken ones, the tumbled glass, tumbled stones, bits of coral. They all inspire.
There is a beach on the Burrup Peninsula (Pilbara), called Hearsons Cove, that doesn't have sand, but tumbled and broken shells and coral. There are sheltered picnic tables there (its a popular and hot spot), and I love seeing piles of this marine detritus that people have sorted and grouped. We cant help ourselves, as we try to make order from chaos.
The shell has so many possible metaphors, or can just be an object to enjoy.
The picture above is the studio in the making in 2008: the little white spots are snow!
We've all done it- pushed paper, paints, fibre, yarn, fabric, whatever aside to plonk a bowl of cereal in front of a child while co-ordinating the morning rush out the door to catch the bus.
I have a photo somewhere of my eldest son doing his homework next to a still life arrangement while I painted. The kids had a steady diet of whisps of fibre in their food for years.
Truth is, a studio is just as much a state of mind as a space.
I've had kitchen tables, spare rooms, verandahs, a cottage (for a bit). They all worked if I could focus, and for that I had to pick my times.
The Bowerbird Studio came into being when we moved to O'Connell in 2008. A friend who is a builder and my lovely husband, transformed a 3 sided dirt floored shed into a cosy spacious studio and its a gift that just keeps giving.
We had a slab laid, and Muz and Pete ripped out the rickety internal walls and a mezzanine full of empty boxes and rat poo. They insulated, then lined and the plasterers finished it off. Then we painted using up the left over paint from repainting the house. Pete then nearly gassed himself painting the floor, and viola! My studio.
The Bowerbird Studio has evolved as my curiosity has evolved. Bookcases, plan drawers and tables have moved in. Junk that was dumped in the studio because it was convenient was moved out.
My collections have evolved as well, reflecting my interests. They get edited regularly either composted, or given away, to be renewed by new finds.
It's a fantastic space, and is open by appointment, as I love to share. Dont expect it to be tidy though;)