Monday, March 29, 2010

"Stacks on".....goblins!

This past week has been a strange one. There were some definite high points (the completion of the "Dragon-snail" piece and its almost immediate sale being one and a thoroughly enjoyable visit and picnic with a treasured friend being another), but it was also a week of emotional lows which have left me feeling flat and mentally exhausted. In a previous life this kind of week would have seen me diving under the doona, emerging only for Cheetos and a family block of Cadbury chocolate but, I've discovered something....I can still work. Actually, it goes even further than that. If I commit myself to working even when things are going badly, not only is the work often good, I find myself going off on unexpected tangents which may (or may not) result in some satisfying artwork down the track.
Drawing in particular is cathartic for me and somehow allows me to see things more clearly and in a much less catastrophic way. Although I wasn't conscious of it at the time, the drawing that I did on Saturday (top photo) is a pretty accurate depiction of my feelings at the time.....I just thought I was drawing goblins.....
So, although I'm not terribly happy with certain events in my life at this time (and before you lovely folk start sending concerned e-mails, please let me clarify that there is no illness, death or divorce involved, mostly just disappointment and mostly with myself) I am cheered by the knowledge that I am no longer reduced to being a non-productive basket-case just because I'm feeling down. It's very odd when you think about it...I can think of no other profession that lets people off the hook (of working) so easily. Sometimes it feels as though any excuse is a good excuse to not energy, no space, no money, no time, no motivation, no inspiration.
On the subject of 'inspiration' I'd like to make mention of one of my very favorite artists (and writers), Ursula Vernon. Here is a wonderfully entertaining (and in my opinion, spot-on) article written by Ursula for EMG-Zine on just that subject. (If you enjoy the article you may like to check out Ursula's bizarre and brilliant world at Red Wombat Studio)
The up-shot of all of this is that I am carrying on regardless. I've built a small(ish) goblin and have started painting him.....yes, he does have a blue nose and he will also have blue-tipped fingers and toes. I've also been completely re-designing my website.....after three years it's well past due for an over-haul and I'm completely 'over' the black pages. The new site will be lighter and brighter and I'm thinking of moving my shop page to ETSY.....haven't made a final decision on that one, so would definitely welcome any thoughts and opinions.
I've also posted a shot of Sunday nights magnificent sunset and one of the full moon several hours later.
Here's to a better week.
Till next time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In the wild.....

As soon as I'd finished making this piece I just knew that I would have to take it out and photograph it in a natural setting. There are some lovely little "faerie spots" near my home, so early this morning, while the light was soft and there was no wind, I set out for one of my favorites. This old Peppercorn tree is such a perfect faerie's down some secret stone steps and sits right on the banks of the little Angus River.
(One day I'm going to make a faerie boat (with faerie crew) and photograph it amongst the reeds and duckweed.)
It was important for me to establish a strong relationship between these, trust, comfort and acceptance....all the things we hope to feel within the family unit. And of course, the fact that they are 'travelling' symbolizes our voyage through life and the fact that we are always on a path heading somewhere, however ponderous it may seem at times.

So, now I have that lovely feeling of having completed one piece and ready to start the earthy little goblin I think, with teeth, big feet and an oversized cap on his head. That's the plan.....for now anyway.
Till next time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Slow going on the 'snail' piece....seems appropriate.

The "Dragon-snail Travellers" piece is progressing well, but slowly. All of the painting is finished now but the costuming is proving to be a little more problematic than expected due to the position of the characters....this afternoon I had a total 'brain fuzz' and almost dismantled four days work(!).....luckily, I stepped away for a much needed coffee and when I returned I realized that I was on the right track after all. It's times like that I really envy people who work in teams with other creative souls (truthfully, this envy is short-lived....if I know anything at all about myself it's that I do not play well with others)....
So, I've posted a few semi-cryptic photos and will hopefully complete the piece over the next few days.
Oh, and today I ate a big salad for lunch and everything in it came from our garden....
Till next time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Adelaide Festival & life in our garden

The Adelaide Festival and accompanying Fringe Festival is officially over. In one way I feel as if I should have made the effort to see more, but on the other (much more grounded in reality) hand, much of the stuff I did see was disappointing to say the least. I think I've spoken before about 'concept art' and my increasing intolerance for it and I'm the first to admit that I understand little of what is happening in the world of contemporary 'Art' with a capital 'A'.
What I can say, and this is only personal opinion, is that a fair amount of the visual art I went to see was derivative, dull, (in some cases) poorly constructed or it was so bewildering that it failed to engage the viewer in any way. I have to ask the question, 'who are these artists making this work for?' I just can't bring myself to stand in front of a pile of string, scratching my chin and nodding in that insufferable way that suggests I actually see a deep and profound message in a tangle of knotty fibers (this is a totally fabricated example....I'm not referring to anyone's work in particular, but I think you get my drift).
However, there were some highlights for me. The Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition had some fabulous work by Klaus Gutowski, Joshua Searson and the extraordinary charcoal drawings of Kim Buck. The Samstag housed an amazing, huge sculpture made entirely from styrofoam cups and hot glue and the Biennale at the AGSA was home to my personal favorite; papier mache and inked sculptures by James Morrison.
The absolute winner for me, on every level, was Amococo, a construction by The Architects of Air and designed by Alan Parkinson. I visited this incredible structure twice (took my kids the second time and they LOVED it). The three photos at the top are shots that I took from inside....the color was so intense in some areas it was almost painful to look at it....we were immersed in color. A wonderful experience and one that I highly recommend, if you get the chance.
Other than Festival shenannigans and sculpting, most of my joy at present is coming from our garden. The no-dig beds that my husband built several weeks ago are flourishing. We have beetroot, peas, beans, assorted lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, carrots, radishes and marigolds (because they're beautiful AND they confuse pests) practically leaping out of the earth. Our herb garden is now threatening to cover the path into the backyard and the smell of sage, thyme, rosemary and mint permeates the air. This past week has also seen our three chickens begin laying and our beautiful walk-in aviary (another of Guy's wonderful constructions) is a hive of activity with our quails hatching eight tiny chicks and many other birds nesting.
So that's pretty much it for the moment. I've started painting the 'dragon-snail' piece but am being slightly thwarted by a burst of hot weather (the paint dries too fast on the polymer clay)....I'm afraid the air-conditioning in our house doesn't quite cut the mustard, but we press on regardless.
Lots of projects on the go and some exciting things in the pipeline. Hope to fill you all in soon.
Till next time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New piece in progress....

I started work on this piece last week and thought I'd post some pictures before I begin the painting and costuming. Ever since seeing Patrick Woodroffe's 'elephant snails' many, many years ago, I've loved the idea of different kinds of creatures emerging from snail shells. That, and the fact that we are currently at war with the little blighters in our newly established vegetable garden, made me think about the kind of pest I'd welcome amongst the spinach leaves......a benign 'dragon snail' and an old faery taking his grand-faery for a leisurely crawl, perhaps bagging a few cherry tomatoes and pea-pods along the way.
It was important for me to establish the relationship between the three characters here - the love of the small faery for her grand-faery, the protectiveness of the grand-faery and the acceptance of the snail in bearing them along. I remember very clearly the wonderful feeling of falling asleep in the car on long drives home when I was a small child. This is the faery equivalent. It's uncomplicated emotion, but hopefully one that we can all relate to in some way.
Till next time.