Sunday, December 20, 2015

The kind of loneliness you can only feel on a Summer day

I made a postcard/drawing today based on an old diary entry and an ink sketch that I had made around that time. They weren't made to be shown to people; the writing existed in a word document on my computer amongst an infinite number of unorganised files and the drawing was shuffled between piles of other drawings until it was eventually put in a suitcase and stacked away.

I wanted to create a study of these past written and drawn moments and process them into an unsent card of image and text. I copied out the text in small capital letters and spent today drawing the image in fineliner pen using a shading technique that I used a lot a few years ago. This work will be sent over to America to be displayed at a friend's house show early next year.

I felt unsettled trying to recreate the original ink drawing; a reaction I was not expecting. I thought that re-creating this past work would be a peaceful and meditative process. I don't feel like I have been drawing enough lately so I thought that it would be opportunity to quietly work on something small and detailed. I didn't think I would feel emotionally involved as these are moments from the past. Instead, I have had waves of loneliness, regret, yearning, nostalgia, a sense of loss...No wonder I have been trying to avoid this work all day! I was aware that the drawing was causing me to feel this way (and the heatwave to some extent) but I couldn't help travelling through these emotions throughout the process. I am curious to take this emotional awareness with me into new works. Can you be in control of your emotions in artmaking? Should you only create things that make you feel good? Does re-creating a past work have the same meaning as it may have had when it was originally made? I wonder if in this instance I was picking up on feelings that I had when I made the original work or if I was reflecting on the time between that work and the present?

Studied, posted.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A small section of sky

Yesterday I went to Rosslynd Piggott's exhibition at Sutton, Last light / in vapour. I walked around the installation and quietly took in details of cut-out fabrics and paintings that softly transition in tone, intervened by small square shifts of shade. I left the gallery and started walking up Brunswick street with my friend, choosing to interrupt our shared silence by asking, "Did you like it? Thoughts?" She replied, "I liked it. No thoughts....Yourself?" I liked it too and I didn't feel like there was anything I had to say. My friend wisely replied "That's what makes it good..."

Seeing a show like this reminds me that words aren't necessary in the experience of visual art. I liked the text that Rosslynd had written to accompany the exhibition; text can enhance but it shouldn't have to explain. Within myself I felt re-affirmed that I need to keep working in ways and worlds that most speak to me; I need to trust my interests and instincts. Lying on my bed for just a little too much this week, I've realised that doubt is one of my worst enemies, "Hello Doubt, my old friend, I've come to lie with you again..."

It feels nice to be riding my bike again though. I'm looking forward to hiking and camping over the Christmas/New Year period. Feeling a connection with nature is really important to my mental health and thus how I work and operate in life. I've been enjoying working in the garden more over the last few months and was excited yesterday to see some of the love-in-the-mist seeds I sprinkled over a back section of the garden bed begin to spring up. I planted a few seedlings around yesterday evening including amaranthus, zinnias and dahlias (at least I think they are dahlias - they are possibly gomphrenas - the labels on my seed trays all washed off and I couldn't be certain which seeds had sprung up and which hadn't).

Days pass very quickly.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Next Door

Of a folder. The search is over.
Find it at home two minutes later.
Infinite Hangover.
A printed 1cm grid on the outer.

Entering the world of colour...
There's lipstick on the milk carton
In the midnight hour
At Cataract Gorge, Launceston.

Distance Education Dance
Youths doing BBC drama marathons.
Art as penance.
Cat Among the Pigeons
Fair weather supporter since 1990.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Some thoughts on the experience of art

I like this time of year; it's nice to have the free headspace to read novels again.
I've been thinking lately that I find books more accessible than art at times. I can read a book in the comfort of my own home (so often I end up missing exhibitions because it becomes 'too hard' to get to the gallery space).

I'm trying to be creative in my studio practice at the moment and not just focus on one thing. It's a bit of a shift from the periods of extreme focus that I have worked in for much of this year. Personally, I find that I have the best ideas when I don't have deadlines. I strive to be self-disciplined amongst my 'free-time' and I am quite good at this; I am happiest when I am my own boss. It feels like there are lots of possibilities on the horizon and I am happy to be quietly working away and building myself some grounding before I embark on the next series of hurdles.

I always feel like I should be doing more though.
Whatever I do is never enough.
I suppose that is good in that it makes me feel like I need to keep working and aim higher. But then I wonder how does one ever really judge their own creation?
Something that concerns me about going back to art school is the intense discussion of my work and other people's work. I have never felt confident at these sorts of verbal discussions; words become slippery and I don't know what I am meant to say or what I want to say.
I usually base my 'judgement' of a work on my personal experience of it. Does it make me feel something? Can I see/appreciate the work that has gone into it (physically or conceptually)? Does it have a sense of honesty to it? These are the most important elements of art to me and I find it hard to discuss work that doesn't respond to these questions.
I've quite often gone to an exhibition and thought "I feel nothing".
It is the worst response you can have to art.
I feel guilty that I have missed what the artist is trying to convey. I feel dumb that I have missed an obvious point. I wonder if I missed that week's lecture at art school...I constantly blame my feelings of 'nothing' on myself. And I reflect that if I, someone who has studied art at tertiary level and labels themself an artist, feels this way, then how do other people outside of the art world feel?
I want to make work that is honest to myself, a form for my ideas, created in my own language. I hope that it will speak to a range of people on different levels, not just a select few.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

While Suzanne Holds The Mirror

(As photographed before I dropped it...I have a habit of keeping drawings in pristine condition for weeks while I work on them and then I somehow lose control at the last minute and drop them and dint them. A few years ago I cried when I dropped a drawing. Today I chose not to hate myself because it's only a little crease; it doesn't change the drawing. I need to become less precious with work and know that I will make much more in the future...)

The board

Thursday, November 5, 2015

It couldn't happen here


                 You told me
                                         how you had been
                                                                in a similar situation.

      I took that piece of information away with me
                        and considered
                                             the who, when, where...

I feel strange watching those two actors lying in bed together
           I don't believe they have ever kissed,
He is so much older,
        She is young and a word like naive,
                                                    yet not naive,
                                               figuring things out as fast as she can.

     I wonder if she loves him.

I remember that middle of the night when I couldn't sleep so I turned to my side
and switched on the lamp to pick up my worn old second favourite copy of Rebecca
to read from where I had last left off.
                 I managed a few silent pages before you became aware of the light and
                                    put your arm around me under the dark patterned quilt.
Everything felt dark, soft and peaceful in that room,
                                                     the little bedside lamp the only point of focus.

I've turned to Rebecca in times of need,
                                           it is one of the only books I have re-read.
         I wonder if it is slipping away from me though,
                                                              as I grow older.
I don't feel the same as I did then.
              I have changed in some infinitesimal way...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to cook porridge.

I never liked eating breakfast when I was a child.

It was something I was meant to do between waking up and going to school and as I didn't like either of those things, I saw breakfast as a reason to stay in bed and carry on dreaming.

                                            I dreaded
                                                                                        of scratchy vegemite on toast.


         I remember occasions of my Mother making me a bowl of porridge with a little drizzle of honey.

I can't remember now if it was quick oats or rolled oats;
                                 I wouldn't have known the difference at the time.

           I think it would have been made with water,

                                                      possibly on the stove,

                                                                                     but probably in the microwave. 

When I was young, I found it confusing to see ingredients go into the microwave and come out as something else.


I have few recollections of eating porridge during my later childhood and early teens.


But when I was 18, after a brief romance with scrambled eggs, I started making porridge of a morning.

Every morning.

I practised with different ingredients and techniques.

I had to practise before it could become a ritual.


For years I made my porridge with rice milk and dates.

                                                                                        Or some variation on the theme.                                                                                                     Quick oats on the stove.

I eventually shifted to rolled oats with cow's milk. Or half water/half milk. Some mornings I would add as many ingredients as I could; dried paw paw, shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds, honey...

                     It made me feel like I was travelling somewhere exotic each morning
                                                                                        Even when I hardly left the house.


I curtailed my porridge routine after I went travelling and stayed with friends who partook in a more traditional porridge experience. I would get out of bed and find my friend slowly stirring the porridge in a big red cast iron pot while my other friend brewed three cups of sweet black tea. Together we built a ritual of sitting at the table over late Summer mornings quietly eating our bowls of porridge dusted with cinnamon and drizzled with honey.


When I came back home with a large jar of leatherwood honey I stuck with the half water/half milk slowly stirring method for some time.

There was a period where I tried stirring with my left hand instead of my right
                                                                                                   to see how that would feel.  


I'm still in a bit of a 'traditional' porridge routine. I like the cinnamon, the honey....

I'm such a natural,

                       some mornings
                                             I get up,

   just tip some oats in a pot
                                                          and cover it with water.

I've been thinking of measuring lately.


There are days where I don't stir the pot enough or I leave the room and it overboils,

But porridge is a ritual to me.

I have practised and experimented.


I continue to learn

how to cook porridge.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jerry's favourite colour

There's been a number of nights over the last few months where I've discovered Jerry sleeping alone on my housemate's bed. She says he likes her candle collection and Scandinavian inspired style. I instantly feel some sort of jealousy and insist that no, he likes my dark wooden furniture and vast selection of literature. As I collect him up to come and sleep at the end of my bed, I wonder if cats have aesthetic preferences. I think about the settings that I might photograph Jerry, building up my own visual world for him. But what does he like?

Monday, September 28, 2015


I'm in a group show called Mutt opening at The Food Court (427 Docklands Drive, Docklands) this Thursday night from 6pm. The show runs from 1st October - 20th October. 

I'll be showing a large new drawing which I am quite excited about. I've been thinking a lot about the process of drawing lately, and that is what this show is about; the risks, decisions and mistakes we make in the process of creating...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I can see clearly now

You can run free inside a box...

I feel like I am on a continual quest for the 'right' studio and I'm always coming up with different theories of what works. 

Today's theory: I work alone but I benefit from having at least one other like-minded person around, also working; someone who I can riff ideas with or get them to take photos for me (and vice versa). It can take a while for me to focus, but once I am honed in on something I like my silence and space to create my own little world within the studio. It's important for me to feel a little tucked away with my materials around me and books, suitcases and passing objects scattered around my peripheral. 
I felt hemmed in earlier today but I've moved some boards and set up a few metres squared where I can bounce back and forth. It's working...for now. I find that the working space I require is constantly shifting. I like to come to somewhere familiar but I also have a need to travel and refresh my mind.

How do your surroundings influence what you do? Does the space dictate the work?

I want to go inside and read now. I couldn't possibly open a book out here...

Saturday, September 19, 2015

What is...

...the difference between handwritten and typed?
What is the difference between hand drawn and computer generated?

I misplaced my journal

And found I've never empathized with a character more...

Friday, September 11, 2015

From the bridge


I never got a photo of me standing up on the deck of King's Bridge Cottage. I watched so many people driving, cycling, walking over the bridge but I don't know what it was like to look up and observe someone in the cottage. Although it is in such a prominent position, I always felt tucked away when I was up there. I didn't feel like anyone could see me, except for the occasional little cruise ship passing by. It was nice to feel so close to people and the city yet positioned in this amazing natural landscape. Summer afternoons of swimming, textas and Cascade Pale Ale...

Thursday, September 10, 2015


I awoke this morning to see Jerry sitting on my desk looking out the window, his backside sticking out underneath the yellowed floral curtains. His tail curled around like a monkey as he watched birds flying into the yard and people walking, riding and driving past (he probably sees a lot more than I imagine). I watched him as he sat on the desk looking out the window (obviously no one else had got up yet or he would have meowed at them to let him out so he could roam over to the neighbours' or lounge in the grass). After a prolonged period of looking out the window he ducked back under the curtain into the room and began to look around and ponder his next move. He quietly and carefully maneuvered around the books on the desk and I could see his mind tick over with what he should do to pass the time until someone got up to let him out. I kept staring at him as he sniffed a candle positioned towards me on the corner of the desk and then he looked down and gave his belly a lick. He looked up and around the room and then turned back around and met my gaze. He looked startled for a moment and meowed at me. I was pleased with myself and laughed that I had been able to fool him into thinking I had been asleep for a few more minutes than I really was. I liked watching his thought process and actions as he was unaware of my conscious presence.

It made me think how special it is to observe someone close to you without them knowing.

Or to quietly view someone in public.

I've always struggled to say hello to people I recognise in public. It's a shyness I have always had where I get startled or feel like it isn't the right time to approach someone. It frustrates me and I hope to grow out of it one day. On the positive, I sometimes enjoy those moments where I recognise someone in a public space without them seeing me. I like to watch the way someone boards a tram or walks down the street. I quite often see people who look like people I know and I feel compelled to (subtly) glance at them at every opportunity I get so that I can figure out if it is the person I know or not. Once I have determined that it isn't the person, something makes me keep watching them. I suppose I have begun to enjoy the way they move within the world.

In the background.

Friday, September 4, 2015