Winter school, Chine-collé, Kidlet’s drawings

I got the chance to do a short course in Melbourne recently, I did the hard and soft ground etching short course at the Australian Print Gallery with Simon White. I didn’t do a soft ground plate as it looked precarious and I was really just interested in hard ground. I’ve dabbled in etching before but this set up is unlike any I have ever seen – it is amazing! The attention to detail, this place is the dream. I did get a little frustrated because I am deeply ambitious, I don’t know how to be a learner and did get upset that I wasn’t a master printmaker by the end of the three days. ( Hilarios, I know – but this is how I work, so.. that’s the truth )

Julien’s Garden in sepia.
This was my first plate – I did re work it three times, I don’t feel it was successful but that’s OK as learning. I think that the right side of the plate works better than the left side. I could re work it some more.

Brunch at Lake Wendouree Chine-collé in sepia. Much happier with this print, it was reworked twice.

This is defo something I want to explore more – it is really a matter of access to the equipment though. It’s not easy thing to do. But the process is really calming. I think I could make some really good work.

Family Portrait, including Kitty.

Kidlet has been getting really creative over these holidays. I wake up to the sounds of her drawing, furiously. It fills my heart. I’ve gotten her some paint pens and though not cheap – they really are being made good use of.
She’s drawn many a pony, all of her classmates, many portraits of herself and one of Grandma knitting – including wool, needles and numbers of stitches and of course – her Beanie Boos.


Though she’s just yelled at me “YOU HATE MY BEANIE BOOS, DON’T YOU!?” So I think school going back may be good .. 😛

surgery

Is boring.
I mean, doing the surgery is probably very interesting. I imagine they have to train for many years and decide what they want to specialize in and then there’d be many fascinating cases and the human body is so interesting. But then, even then, I’d imagine that that would become a little humm drumm too.
But here I am, in bed, bored AF but healing nicely. Today is the first day I have woken up and not been aching or stinging. I know I got to take it slow and easy, but it’s time to get the hell out of bed and start moving. Thank goodness..

The day after, when I was like oh hey I feel fine and thought I could just keep going and I was very wrong..

Kidlet held my hand, cuddled me, made me fruit salad and drew me this game to keep me entertained.

I felt pretty messed up and some friends took Kiddo for a bush walk and I like slept ALL DAY.. ( thank you dear, dear friends for everything .. )

She did some observational drawing – I love, love, love these little mushrooms.


And so, it is done. I did a bunch of preparation work before this so now I can slowly start getting back to it. It is hard to put things down when I am inspired, and it is hard to surrender to the body and it’s needing to heal. But I did, it is done. Thank you family and friends for being so loving and kind and helping me.

“You draw even when you’re upset”

Is something G said to me a few weeks back and it has been stuck in my mind. Especially over these last few weeks since being back, when so much life things have been happening and I have had to get very creative about getting myself time and space to draw. A lot of the time I worry that I can’t get and never get anything done.

I’ve been scratching away at this drawing for the last almost two weeks – in between looking after a very unwell child ( poor pickle ) and supervising the Kitty and The Chooks..
It’s about A5 in size, so it is very small for me. I’m not too happy about my last drawing – I mean it just feels like it is missing some magic. So I’m busy doing the ground work – the work before the work – right now.

Little one has been ill, and I drew this of her while she was napping.. Only half way through it her temperature spiked and I rushed her to see a doctor. What happened next was only stuff that I never even dreamed of – being a parent is so glamourous – but she came good and that is what really matters.

She drew and cut out mermaids – there are like twenty of them and I am meaning to work out a way to put them altogether to keep them safe. It can be maddening how much stuff gets everywhere with little people – but finding her drawings really, really is something special.

So, the chooks. We got these girls about a fortnight ago now, I can’t believe how lucky we are.. They are 4 and 5 years old and are not seen apart. I am home a lot so they get freerange of the yard. They even put themselves to bed – why can’t children be more like chickens!? I kid, I kid..
I’ve had a burst of new ideas for an artwork, but because of Life things I can’t get to it right away, so today I thought I’d draw the girls their portraits.

Meet Sooty & Maude

That’s all from me for now — it is time to shut down and get offline while I experiment and play with ideas.

Near Harris Reward, Tasmania – New Drawing

Well, that was hard!

Near Harris Reward
By Lily Mae Martin
112 x 75cm
Ink on Paper
2017

I did another whole different drawing while trying to do this one, this one was so so so hard. It’s the largest and most dense drawing I have done ( to date )..

THE FERNS!

I really want to get back to West Coast of Tasmania, I don’t feel like I explored as much as I could have.. I didn’t get to do as much as I could. I’m trying to move things about to make it happen – but money and time do not come when you want it…if only! The Secret failed me 😛

Still I am untangling the experience and still I am scratching a little lostly ( that is probably not a word, oh well ) at paper. Behind my eyes I am back there and going for those walks through shrubs and trees with things growing off of things and I don’t know what anything is called.

Little clueless speck.

These last weeks have been on and off – Kidlet with a tempreture of almost 40, we got chickens! Gardening and cooking and baking with my lovely cousin. Life life is good though winter is not my favourite time – it is just weather and here in Oz, the cold is quite mild.

I must get back to the scratching and the f**king ferns.

To Grow Things

It’s a cold morning and the rejection comes in on my phone – I had a feeling this was the answer.
I’m at the back of a friend’s house, sitting on their back porch waiting for help; I’ve put too many pellets in the chicken feeder and the thing has fallen apart. My hands are covered in chicken shit and I cannot work out how to put the few pieces together – the green bit, the white bit, a wing nut, a screw and a spring. It’s the last day of looking after these chickens, the last day of the long weekend that was in no way relaxing but a hell of a lot of fun. Especially the chickens. Oh, and the little boy who looked at my elephant ears plant and said “Wow, you are really good at growing plants.” ( I’m not, but I’ll take that complement little guy! )

I’ve spilt pellets everywhere and I am truly questioning if I should be commiting myself to chicken care and then I look up at the chooks and the sparrows fluttering about and help comes and my doubt is distracted.
It’s so bloody easy to fix, I should feel embarressed, but I don’t. He’s better at this stuff than I, and that’s OK. I say I didn’t get in ( to the prize ) and he hugs me and says that he is sorry and I shrug and say that I’ll do better next time. If I were to say I am upset, it would be a lie, this time. Sure, it’d be nice to be in it and I so want to be in these things. But I also think that it isn’t my time just yet. Just yet. But soon. Like, really soon.

I cast it out of my mind and clean what I can. Feel proud that I got the chickens through the weekend and even managed some yummy food scraps for them. I’ve been reading about types of chickens and plants and growing things and feel I am past most of that crippling doubt that usually sends me to bed when I am starting something new. I am so not good at new things, but you know I just got to get better at it – we are forever learning.

Sometimes I look back on my earlier days and feel sad I didn’t allow myself to get into gardening earlier in my life. I used renting as an excuse – but I could’ve joined a community garden. I know that they were a huge thing in Berlin. I think I just didn’t want things to get in the way of my sads. Because that is what gardening has done for me – taken me out of me. There is something about putting your hands into the earth and caring for tiny seeds, sprouts, harvesting, digging and turning and starting it all over again. Accidently killing things and learning from that. Seeing what actually is a hardy plant, what can take on full sun, transplanting other plants when the small parsely bunch grew into a big bush ( har har ) and I can’t eat enough of the stuff to keep it under control!

Part of me hates winter a lot, but now that I am growing things it’s really given me the chance to learn more and plan more for what I want to do for the garden. I mean, cold is still not my favourite thing but hell I’d rather be contrucitve with my time than complain all the time. I hope I get better at this, and can grow my own vegetables and fruits – or at least more than I do now. It’s humbling, it’s yummier, it’s a little good I can do for the world and teach my little one as I go. Hopefully set her up with skills to learn how to feed herself!

Working From Home

Perspective is a great thing – when I came back I was sitting in my studio with my Kidlet laughing and drawing a poo and Kitty getting beneath the drawing board, clawing at me and I felt really, really happy. It’s a tad distracting, sure – but I’d rather this distraction. Maybe I can’t have true solitude to make work, ever. And I just got to suck it up and work ’round it, like I have done for years. I do crave travel and exploration, and maybe that’s a craving I just have to sit with. I am working on things to try and make things happen though, however I think it is wise to make things work the way they are rather than hang all my hopes on the nebulous. It is a great thing to be ambitious, but it is also a great thing to be practical.
I’ve also got to make some pretty solid decisions about my life – I feel a strong draw to go both ways with my career but I can’t do that. I can’t do all the things I want to do, this life is so flippin’ short.
Anyway, enough about my thoughts – it is Friday and I get a few hours to myself to tackle the rather large rainforest drawing that I almost abandoned due to heart ache. It’s nearly there, but boy is it challenging my technique.

Understory

Understory – Tasmania
By Lily Mae Martin
56 x 76cm
Ink on paper
2017

This isn’t the first drawing I have started that was inspired by my recent stay in Western Tasmania, but it is the first to be finished. It was very hard to finish. I’m trying to let the lines speak more – keep the mark making looser. Trying not to go over and over them – render, render, render..

There are parts I feel that I have achieved this more than others, and I am very happy with the results. This is such a depareture from the starkness – the nakedness – of the nudes. There’s so much going on and yet my eyes are lulled into the movement of light and dark. Having the same calming effect on me as listening to white noise. It feels, it is, a different world. And I keep dreaming about it too – behind my eyelids I am back there looking at everything growing out, on, of everything. A branch falls and the tip stabs itself back into the soft earth, and then things grow from it. Evidence that there was movement long ago but this place just readjusted, took it back into itself. A process that took many, many years but time is different there. Everything is different there. I am different there.

Now I am in my studio but part of me still feels like it is there. I must go back to Tasmania, but in what shape that’ll take will have to be seen. It’s just time to make the work now.

Artworks for sale

Hello there – I have a number of artworks that are framed and avalible for sale at Scott Livesey Galleries in Melbourne. I thought I’d put together a post with their details and if you are interested please contact the gallery on T: +61 3 9824 7770 or email at INFO@SCOTTLIVESEYGALLERIES.COM

First up, the landscapes
Haunted – 56 x 76cm, ink on paper, 2017

Waterloo State Forest, View From Back – 105 x 75cm, ink on paper, 2016

In The Gully, 56 x 76cm, ink on paper, 2016

Then – the nudes – these vary in sizes

As yet untitled, 56 x 76cm, ink on paper, 2017

As yet untitled, 56x76cm, ink on paper, 2017

Rebirth, 75 x 105cm, ink on paper, 2017

Ride, 30 x 30cm, ink on paper, 2016

Dancer, 30 x 30cm, ink on paper, 2016

There are more, if you follow this link: Lily Mae Martin at Scott Livesey Galleries

This town, Queenstown

It’s well into the second week of this residency and I have been so sick. I hardly ever get sick! But after a day of drawing from something AM to something AM.. I ran myself well and truly into the ground. I’ve not felt human since Sunday and only yesterday afternoon – whilst walking near Cradle Mountain – did I relearn the joys of breathing out of both nostrils. Yay to not feeling like death warmed up. Yay – no more fever dreams!

I’m tackling the paint and the paper and some of the original ideas that I had are not turning out as planned. Not to panic though, I’ve been doing this art making thing long enough to know that this is just the way it rolls. But to think that this residency, in a rather isolated town on the west coast of Tasmania, was just going to challenge my art practice alone is limited thinking. This is challenging my very being. I’m not used to being alone, there’s usually always someone asking me something somewhere or tugging at my sleeve or in more recent times – asking me questions over the intercom system my amazing Gene had installed. To say that I miss them just doesn’t seems to do these heavy feelings justice.
My life was not a life until I had my family. I made a calender for my kid to count down the days until we see each other again and I think that I need it more than her!

Not to get caught up in all these feels, I am trying to honour them, this time and space by being productive.
This is so hard, but I wanted this, I made this happen so I better bloody step up!

This town though, gosh. What a town. It feels interconnected and strongly so, in a way small towns often are but more so. I am just an outsider, dipping in for only five weeks so I cannot speak to it as if I have any authority but the experience so far is everyone is interested. People pop their heads into the gallery daily, ask us what we are doing, how we are going, where we are from, hey it’s bin night tonight. I walk down the street and a fella nods and says exhibition on soon? Start of June I reply. He nods and smiles and continues on his way.
They seem to make a lot of deep pan pies, none of which I have had the privilidge of trying because I don’t eat meat. It’s cold and rains most days because we are surrounded by mountains that catch the clouds, and at night – it is quiter than quite. I’ve never expereinced anything like this and so thankful that I get to.
I think it is almost impossible for me not to make art directly responding to this place. I just hope I can make something good.