Two New Collections of Original Paintings
Earlier this year I completed a second CVP, a 3-month online course. I'll be writing a blog post about my experience so keep a look out for that. Last year after CVP my work ground to a halt. The Samford and Surrounds Open Studios and Trails event ran in June which coincided with CVP concluding.In the past, I have found itdifficult to keep working when the Trails are on. The studio is clean and painted and the push to finish a body of work to show has often depleted me. This year I kept working throughout the Trails. I am pleased I did as I have been able to build on my CVP work and produce two new collections, " Sticks and Stones" and "Shelter".
Both collections are based on observational drawings I made in my garden. From late Summer to mid-Autumn, I drew my garden for a hundred days as part of an Instagram project. I love limitations ( more on that in another blog) so I only drew with ink on brown paper, with a bamboo stick and kept to a small area of the garden. The drawings have proved to be very fruitful. My CVP series, " Round and Round", " Sticks and Stones" and "Shelter" are based on the drawings.
" Sticks and Stones"
The collection of natural, modest and overlooked objects has become a ritualistic practice in my life. It began with the collection of leaves and seeds from the grey streets of Manchester, where I attended uni, and has since evolved into something I do everywhere I go. Through composition development and arrangement, I honour these profoundly beautiful objects, within and out of their original environment. The act of discovery has become a meditative practice and recurring theme in my work.
I revisit this theme almost as often as I discover more objects.
My immediate environment, the garden, is littered with the unseen; it has been nurtured for 12 years and will be for many more. It was planted from scratch and has grown into a lush and abundant environment for plants to grow. I was drawing a beautiful flowering eucalyptus one day and looked down rather than up. The leaf litter, mulch, gum nuts and stones spoke to me of my earlier series. This time the objects were left as found, as random garden litter, informing the finished paintings.
"Shelter" is a on going series of paintings extending my CVP series. I haven't finished with this series but have reached a pause.
We moved our house onto a rugged cow paddock in Cedar Creek northwest of Brisbane in 2010.I had wanted a large garden for years and finally had almost 10 acres to work with,it has been a labour of love .At first, our house felt perched on the land,it felt separate, stuck in the middle of a hilly lot with a rough driveway as access. We started by mulching around the house and planting and planting. Over time we slowly pushed back the garden boundaries, beating back the long grass and weeds. I mourned the plants lost to sun, rain, clay soil and busht urkeys, and celebrated those that flourished. Our shrubs and trees grew exponentially with the La Nina rains of the past two years and now cocoon our house in cool abundant green. The garden provides shelter for our home. Keeping it shaded and private hidden from the road. It also provides shelter for birds and wildlife.
While making the 100 drawings I more often than not had to shelter on the verandas to make drawings as it was a very wet summer. I had to find new compositions everyday as I sheltered from yet another heavy downpour.