I’m thrilled to be having this exhibition with wildlife painter Brooke Walker at HUGO WINES. I’d love it if you could make it to our opening. Our exhibition runs until mid February.
What does it mean to live a creactive life? This is a question I’m always thinking about. Many things can hold us back from living creatively. Sometimes we feel bored with the routine of our lives, but are too afraid to make a change. Sometimes we have a strong internal voice against our creative acts and the battle feels overwhelming. Some of us just don’t identify with our imagination and marginalise it. And sometimes we put our creativity off for a future time, limiting ourselves in the moment. Although I refer to all of us here, I know that this is also me. I’ve been in all these places, just like you have.
Trees have their own microclimates. Last spring I walked over a small hill by the roadside and descended into the atmosphere of this large sprawling gum. Gumtrees spread out in their gangly wild way, filling space. I admire how they are just themselves, filling space and breathing. They have presence. This tree felt cool and luscious, inviting me to pause before the shimmering grasses beyond. I wondered if I could paint the atmosphere of this tree? Was that too crazy?
Returning to winter in Adelaide feels a long way from the dreams of painting in an Italian summer and looking at art. While a little disorienting at first, my quiet return has been necessary to sift through the experiences of Italy and launch my exhibition at the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery. I’m in a transition phase where one body of work is ending and a new potential wants to grow.
Lately I’ve been considering the role of my memory in my painting practice. We usually think of memory as a recalling of detailed description based in an event we have observed. Sometimes all we remember is our emotional response. Other times remembering is such an intense emotional experience and we try to block it out. It seems to me that we need a little detachment and to feel at the same time in order to access the range of experiences contained in a memory. With a little curiosity surprising aspects of ourselves turn up. Self observation skills require attention and development. I’ve challenged myself to observe something that has caught my attention while painting, as well as my response to it, remember the experience and give voice to it.
I’m busy preparing for my exhibition in September. This exhibition is significant for me as I will present the watercolour paintings I completed as research material for my M.A. in Process Work (or Process Oriented Psychology), along with very recent oil paintings that have continued to grow from this project. Writing a thesis allowed me to give voice to my particular self-reflective practice as an artist. I discovered that the seeds of this practice were present in me as a dreaming child and have shaped my life.
I’ve been given the opportunity by a friend to ‘paint the atmosphere at Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island’. What a brief! Kangaroo Island is off the south coast of South Australia. South of here is Antarctica. I write this at Vivonne bay, after a great morning of painting the sunrise, eggs for breakfast and coffee for thinking. There is very patchy phone coverage and no internet – bliss. Little wallabies come into the garden in the evening, possums at night, seals in the ocean, and a couple of goannas on the headland. I have a week to observe the colours and rhythms of nature. For reading I have my trusty copy of Carlsons Guide to Landscape Painting, by John F. Carlson. It’s a classic and a good one to immerse myself in my subject. Read More