Friday, April 27, 2012

Richard Dunlop; Ghost Net basketry.

I took a stroll into the valley the other day to see the latest exhibition  at the Jan Murphy gallery. Richard Dunlop has his new works up and they are wonderful...full rich luscious colours against  dark black voids. The works are large and exciting and his glazing technique employed throughout the exhibition recalls the old masters. The subject matter is varied..from violins to fish to flowers, but there is a sense of the old vanitas theme running thoughout ...this is especially evident with the smaller works of the hanging birds..the birds are cropped out of the picture frame for a contemporary take on the subject, but death and finality are overwhelming. Some of the other works such as Reef Arrangement recall early natural history investigations...collection, selection, display. It also raises the environmental question of how soon will the 'mundane' flora/fauna of our times be objects for modern Wunderkammer, the ornate display cabinets housing curios of scientific and natural history enquiry.
Richard Dunlop

Richard Dunlop
Further along Brunswick street, I dropped into Artisan to have a look at the exhibition "The Long Tide"...Ghost net basketry made by 22 indigenous communities in the north of Australia.
Aly de Groot, Basket grouping, 2011.(from Artisan website)

Last year we were at the Laura indigenous dance festival, and many of the local peoples there were also utilizing marine fishing debris to make a wonderful mural as a backdrop to one of their stands.
Ghost nets are huge floating nets which have been abandoned by the original users; these nets become entangled with each other, and carry on their task of "fishing" with horrendous results on marine fauna.

On a final note closer to home, I tried to reduce the fussiness of my latest painting..not a great photo with flash bouncing off the wet paint.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Painting, gifts and handmade cards.

So far, this year has been defined by "family".. with celebrations and commiserations, connections and partings...endearing but sometimes depleting. I  need a lot of "me" time..the quiet, the let the waters settle. I have two ways of finding the balance in my life..I walk by my creek, and I paint. Today and yesterday I painted in between the usual interruptions of life.
Two unfinished and rather sad looking attempts in my ongoing "Ponderings" series were  laying around my studio floor, and it was one of these that I took my brush to. Just enjoying the tactility of the paint without much cerebral interchange with the medium, was so enjoyable.
I love gestural markmaking and despite looking at so many expressionist images, I still find my brushstrokes tight and exact. I  haven't been able to let loose and paint with the shoulder nearly  often enough..but today I did make some larger marks than usual which was good...always so far to go!
Oil on stretched canvas 120 x 90cm
We all love little surprises and the other day I came home and there was a sweet little gift with a handmade card sitting on the table on my front veranda.  I can't wait to wear my tree! Will keep the bunny swing ticket and recycle for someone elses gift.

Yesterday another friend brought over a beautiful bunch of bush flowers, with yet another handmade card. The cards are not only lovely to read, but very special to know that people have actually put thought and time into them. In this day and age of fast consumerism, the gift of time is very special.
The flowers are beautiful and I will dry them when they are past their prime.
Handmade card in front of flowers.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Colours and chairs

Just a little note to show you my results of yesterday's efforts.
My daughter and I painted some old chairs and a table which live downstairs in the garden area..they were rather tired looking, and the white had become dark and drab. It was so exciting splashing these bright colours on and seeing the transformation.
In the background is my old painting table and easel..I paint here on fine days otherwise I am in my studio. Animals having their breakfast.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The March of time

When I began this blog I had the very good intention of posting once a week..but somehow I have found that I am hard pushed to post once a month. Where did March go?
Most of that month was taken up with the community mural over at the N4C hq in Greenslopes, an environmental group dedicated to the preservation of the Norman Creek catchment area. The mural is just about finished now and I think its looking fabulous...thanks to the team of talented artists who have donated their time for this cause..Regina Dolan, Sophie Munns and Michelle Goodchild. I have a bit of a photo story in my other blog, Mud and Silt and you may like to check it out here.

Another smaller event which took place one Saturday in March was a basket weaving workshop. This was a charity event and participants of the workshop were shown the rudiments of how to make a coil sewn basket using found twigs and grasses, remnant wools and cottons, and anything else that takes ones fancy. So easy to do that we even had a couple of clever children making beautiful artifacts.
Beginning the base of the basket by coiling the twigs around in a
 spiral and sewing them together.

Diagram of above method

                       Christine and daughter Molly creating..I apologise for the blurred photo but  I it
with my phone (no excuse nowadays)
Molly completed a wonderful piece of basketry that could be placed either on a table
or hung as a 3d artwork, whilst Christine took up the challenge of weaving a palm seed already had the unmistakable qualities of a vessel but it needed love and attention
to bring forth a piece of art. Can't wait to see it finished.
Min and son Anshu making a beautiful basket with a shell bottom..this will be taken to "show and tell" at kindy!

Yesterday, whilst browsing the net I came across a French artist whose work, studio interior and exterior location merges into one..truly an artist who immerses heself in her subject matter. She is Claire Basler.  I was particularly taken with the delicacy of her florals..reminiscant of oriental works with the negative spaces and calligraphic lines, yet still decidedly within the oeuvre of traditional European oil painting.