the pointy end

After many years of drawing, one’s marks get very clever, swish, known, predictable. I want them to be raw, vital, primal, with the character of something coming into the world for the first time, as if they were innocent, exploratory, finding themselves. I want them to brim with vital life force.

So many contradictions in this aim. They are, of course, coming into the world for the first time. They are not reproductions. Also, surely, if you are striving for innocence, it can be nothing but contrived?
Well yes, but you can work in some new way, exceptionally slowly, or fast, or use an implement that, by its very nature, cannot produce a known result. That’s why I make silly brushes out of reeds and dogs’ hair, and feathers that are too oily to hold ink. Also why I love accidental mark, blind mark, and mark made with the whole body, the marks of a nervous system.

I began the 30 Days of drawing with no particular aim, but hoped that this concerted period of time drawing would help me define a direction of interest for my art, so it would be more focused and less diverse. I hoped I would find something (a theme or method) that I could focus on. A direction. That hasn’t worked. I want to do a different thing every day, every moment, even! But there are a lot more figurative works and less non representational abstracts in the mix than I expected. (More figurative not in this photo)

I have discovered that I hate drawing from a subject unless I find it interesting. It needs to be fun, loved, unusual or macabre.

Drawing is a good way to pass time and it calms anxiety. It is like a mindful retreat.

You learn a lot about a subject by drawing it. There is a sort of intimacy in the act. Also I respect the subject more afterwards. Drawing is like an act of worship.

…..

We are at the pointy end of this process. I need to have my work ready to submit at the end of the week, named and catalogued, artist statement etc. I seriously dislike business.

Fellow Journal Keepers

On Sunday we had a group of students from the Centre for Creative Photography for a studio visit. It’s always fun showing people your work and getting to carry on about it a little. And if you happen to inspire someone… that is the best feeling.

I met a fellow journaler. Much more tidy and controlled than mine. Mine are all over the show, ‘like stork shit in mid air’ as my cute husband would say. (He has the best turn of phrase.)

We were mutually excited because we both cut them up to use for further art. She has pages all over their hallway at home and they used it to create a spoken word party, participants drawing words and phrases (if they wanted) to create stuff from.

Reminds me of this:

a zine made from pages from a much larger book called The Phrase Book, though not cut out like the work in Etcetera.

We shared how it feels sacrilegious cutting them up. But is worth it for the engagement of other people.

I find that journaling helps me to order my thoughts. It allows me to get them out of my head where, otherwise, they sort of rattle around collecting dust. It helps me focus on what is important to me or to nurture things that are still embryonic. Or I use it for things I don’t want to forget like these two stories from my grandkids the other day:

and just to have fun!

There is so much written about journaling these days, from psychologists’ treatises through the self-help industry, to the average Joe (me) raving on. But really, it saves my life and enlivens me.

How about you? I’d love to hear from any other avid journal keepers out there.

And if you don’t keep them your self, why don’t you give it a go? You don’t even have to keep a book. Woody Allen has a drawer where he throws bits of paper with thoughts and ideas. Apparently it’s where he goes when he feels stuck.

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paintings and nature inspiration

A series of photos juxtaposing one of my abstract field painting, with shots of nature that inspired me. The photos are taken at Shell Hill near Walkers Flat, South Australia. We loved to camp there, but people used to dump rubbish and hoon around in their cross country vehicles and bikes, tearing up the fragile earth. So when the local conservation group put fences up preventing access, we lost our favourite camp site, but the earth gained a lot of peace. Looking forward to going back soon to check out the land’s recovery.

The painting is from a series dealing with texture and mark.

Here are some photos of my studio around that time.

I don’t even know where a lot of these paintings are. Probably covered with different paintings. I lost heart with the series. I can’t believe how much time in my life I have wasted (still waste) doubting myself and my art. I only exhibited maybe five of this series. I still have the maroon one and a few others. But the others did make beautiful grounds for other work.

Impressive fish tank too.

More of my art here and here