Banksia Hunting – South West WA

As Banksias become a major feature in my painting, I realised a trip to South Western WA would be required. Of 122 species of Banksias and Dyandras, WA has all but 14. I looked at airfares to Perth a lot, but never went through with a purchase. Having never been to WA before, I had mythologised the landscape and the flora in my mind and getting the plane didn’t quite seem to cut it in my imagination. There was also the expense of accommodation to consider and the challenge of making artwork on the road.

In the end a 1996 Diesel VW tranporter was the answer, and with my trusty little terrier companion I set off into the outback. There was fear. There was caution being thrown to wind. There were a few hiccups at the start, but all up, the road journey to WA was as fabulous as I thought it would be. I loved the changing climate from the East coast the West. I loved driving via Wilcania and Broken Hill in NSW in spring through incredible light rain with wildflowers lining the sides of the highway. I loved getting in the ‘zone’ driving on the Nullabor, after a few hours of driving where it became quite mediative and dreamy. I loved the openness and the expanse. I loved the strong orange red soil colour contrasted with the green grey tones of saltbush. I loved the eucalypts of the Great Western Woodland, after passing the WA border. And I loved that thrill of each movement forward being into a relative unknown, travelling relatively slowly to a places I had never been before.

The Van and the Dog.

The road trip

Some amazing Banksias from Kings Park, Perth

And from the South West.

FOUR

An exhibition of four local artists at the M-arts Upstairs gallery in Murwillumbah.

Exhibiting alongside local artists Phil Barron, Belinda Smith and Scott McDougal

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M-Arts

From August 2018 to August 2019 I rented a funky container studio at the M-arts Precinct in Murwillumbah. It was great to part of such a vibrant arts community for a year.

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2018 Art Reflecting

1F663808-A5F7-42A3-AEB4-60570D0E91F1Some Art happenings I’ve been grateful for this year:

*So very grateful just to be able to make art.

*Starting my #Fridayflora instagram project, where I do a 20 x 20 flower painting every week for a year. I am currently up to painting number 34 and it has been a really great way to keep my art practice on track in a fairly transitory year. These are posted every Friday around Midday and also can be seen here on my website.

*Moving into a funky container studio at M-arts. (Murwillumbah) This has been a great base while I’ve been housesitting and travelling a bit this year. It’s such a blessing to have a space to work, and also to be around other inspiring fabulous creatives. This has allowed me to work on some bigger paintings as well as the 20 x 20s. It’s also part of quite a big step in being more confident with my art practice.

*Getting more confident with my art practice and putting it out there! (This deserves it own paragraph) Having more confidence – in life and in art and everything really – was what I really focused on this year and it has paid off, though I’ll probably always have to work at it. I didn’t truly realise this was a major issue for me until I went to a councillor about work burn out, so I am grateful to her for pointing this out. (And I did develop the confidence to leave my job!)

*Exhibition of 4 local artists upstairs at M-arts in October. Having my own room made it feel like a solo exhibition, and it was good for me to show what I’ve been up to so locally. I was really proud of this exhibition, and got lots of great feedback.

*Organising the Contemporary Botanical Art exhibition at The Botanical Bazaar festival, it was a lot of work, but I think it looked fabulous and was a lovely day out with other local nature inspired artists and friends.

*Group exhibition ‘Metamorphosis’ downstairs at M-arts (On at the moment over summer.)

*Getting some work into Gallery 7 in Byron Bay. Feel very honoured and lucky to have work alongside Andrew’s amazing paintings.

*Seeing some great Art exhibitions. Where would we be without art! No 1 was definitely the Patricia Piccinini retrospective at Goma. I also loved the Catriona Pollard exhibition at the Sturt Art and Craft centre in Mittagong – For beautiful, minimal nature based art and such an ideallic magical venue (complete with Autumn leaves everywhere in April) Locally my favourite was Public/private at the Tweed regional gallery by Phil Barron. Beautifully crafted heart warming interiors, etc. The Carolyn Delzoppo exhibition on at the moment is also brilliant. And I just remembered the Hobie Porter exhibition at Lismore regional gallery. Just stunning. I wish I had better words to describe these shows!

*Favourite Art books read this year. Decolonising Nature by TJ Demos for reminding me of some of my favourite eco art from the 60’s and an account of current art in this area. Agnes Martin. Her life and Art by Nancy Princenthal. Painting more Painting. An Acca publication/exhibition catalogue with some excellent essays about contemporary painting.

*Favourite Art Docos – Both on Iview. Revisiting the Field. I just loved this so much. Lovely intelligent eccentric older artists having there work celebrated. So sorry I missed the exhibition, but the doco was great. I was also tremendously inspired by the Fabulous creatures documentaries and the celebration of unbridled creativity, reimagining nature.

Have a fabulous, creative 2019!

Botanical Bazaar – Exhibition Sept. 16 2018

Botanical Bazaar Image collage.jpgThis September I will be putting together an exhibition of Contemporary Botanical Art for the Botanical Bazaar Event on the Gold Coast. You can read more about the exhibition and the Artists involved here.

Contemporary botanical art, for this exhibition, is defined as art that responds to the botanical and natural world or peoples interactions with it.

It may be inspired by and respond to traditional botanical art, but may also include more Contemporary artistic techniques and concepts.

It may or may not be interested in traditional concerns of botanical artists . A scientific representational approach may be taken, but other approaches may also be embraced. Contemporary art or conceptual approaches may be explored. Modern art may be admired and extended upon (especially the Still Life tradition). Ecological perpectives may underline some of the work. Nature may just be represented or it could be considered as co-artist.

Postcard Show – Case Mullumbimby

I was really happy with these small works I did for the Postcard Show in Mullum. I did these quite quickly after a week or so of painting more detailed Grevilleas. It was actually at the end of an 8 hour painting session, where I was was able to ‘let go’ entirely. Though I know I would not have had nearly the same result without having painted the Grevilleas more realistically beforehand.

Sow @ Mat 18

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For the Murwillumbah Art Trail this year, we put together a group show called SOW. Other local exhibiting artists were Jo Biles, Rebecca O’Connell, Tara Dyson-Holland and Robin Saunders.

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My section of the exhibition
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Work on wall by Robin Sanders. Weaving by Rebecca O’Connell

Installation in M-Arts Window

This fortnight (until the 19th of February) I have an installation in the window of the M-arts Precinct in Murwillumbah.

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The installation takes some of the works from my previous exhibition Nature Portraits and reconfigures them in a new place and new context. I was aiming to present the paintings in a way that would enhance the conceptual basis behind the work. My art practice is generally about exploring the intersections and relationships between humanity and nature.

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One of my favourite comments from the Nature Portraits exhibition was that in the beautiful white room with big old style windows it looked a bit like a Greenhouse. I was playing on that idea with this installation. The works are hung low and presented from the same vantage point we often view pot plants. The light is a fluro, but may have associations with a growing light. The fluro light, along with the industrial shelving, is also used to add something of the cultural and artificial to the space, and to contrast with the organic looking works.

The painting themselves are subdued but also busy and odd plantlike entities. They are a little bit like misfits trying to fit into their cultural environments. A little bit like how many of us might sometimes feel under the fluro at the office or in the supermarket.

The other reason to use the industrial shelf is that it is ‘cool’ and I like the way the yellowish metal sets of the blue grey paintings. Also the fluro light reminds me of every second installation I saw at art school in the early 2000’s. It’s a kind of symbol of a very formulative time in my art making history.

I hope people appreciate the installation in their own way. If you have any reflections or opinions about it do let me know!