Studio kitty, Author and Finisher, Sanctuary and Winter Masterpieces exhibitions and haberdashery

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Friday it snowed twice and kidlet had her last day of school for the term. The above photo is from Friday evening – Kira kitty exploring the studio before curling up to sleep. I love her company. When I turn off the lamps and gather my things to leave she uncurls herself, meows at me and follows me down the stairs and back into the warm house.

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Saturday morning and it’s freezing. There is ice on the footpaths and roads. I walk very slowly but purposely to the train station, this is not a good morning to not be able to find my only pair of gloves. I sleep on the train for a few hours before making it into Melbourne town. It’s coffee and art time with friends. First up is Author and Finisher at Kozminsky by Nicholas Jones. The gallery is on the second floor and the space and the art is beautiful. There’s so much loveliness to take it, it felt really special to be able to see that. It is quite a sizeable exhibition and we were lucky to have Nicholas there to talk to us about making of particular pieces, the stories behind them and the practical sides of things like printing and framing.
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Then I went to the NGV to see the Degas exhibition. Contours feature so strongly in his works, they were so lovely to see up close. I found the famous ballet pieces charming but my favs for me were one off portraits of a peasant woman and a large bather rendered in pastel, and of course – the dead fox in the undergrowth.
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Lastly I go to see Becc Ország’s exhibition, Sanctuary, at Nicholas Projects. Beautiful drawings rendered in graphite, with delicate additions of gold leaf.The largest piece in the show really stood out for me, The Source of All Things ( Birth of The Rivers ) – it added a whole new experience to the drawings as a whole. Very dreamlike and making me recall magical places I have visited in my life; coastlines of Italy and Snowdonia in Wales.

Then it was onto collecting things for three little girls who are turning six soon. I stumbled into the haberdasher, l’uccello, in the Nicolas Buidling and it was such a visual treat. What a day.

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Here are the links to the galleries and artists mentioned, as well as a review written by Esther Anatolitis on Nicholas Jones’ exhibition. Have a click and get down to see these if you’re in Melbourne CBD soon.

NICHOLAS JONES: AUTHOR AND FINISHER by Esther Anatolitis

Nicholas Jones

Kozminsky

Edgar Degas NGV

Becc Ország

Nicholas Projects

l’uccello

Close Up

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It took about two weeks to find my way with this work, which was hard but so worth it. Now I can’t wait to get to drawing and I do have to stop and do adult things and parent things but I am so lucky my studio is just out the back so once everyone is in bed I can just get back to it.

I think I will get this done sooner than I thought, and I have a second one planned.

Milk Tooth

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The same day one of kidlet’s baby tooth falls out, we have our first parent teacher interview. I’m wondering how we got here already. I spend the whole session with my heart so big and with her tiny little tooth in my pocket, I want to cry. She’s so beautiful, she’s mine, she’s her own. I feel both split wide open and heart broken but whole and proud and stuff has meaning and yet it doesn’t. I don’t make sense, I don’t care. She just threw her melodica this morning and gave me angry face and I love her so.

Different selves and the other stuff

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These past few weeks have been pretty intense – G is working to a deadline, the film industry is a tough one. He’s doing great because he is great but it means we hardly see him. So I’m working to a really tight routine in order to get everyone fed, clothed, clean and to where they need to be on time. Or close enough to on time. So I’ve got a full calendar with little alarms/ reminders set to tell me when to stop one thing and start another, when to do the school run, when to eat. We’re a small family and we are on our own in all of this, which I think is more common for families these days more than people like to admit. Generally I feel a strong push towards some ideal of ‘community’ values yet there is no community. My days are full and I’ve dropped out of all things social. I miss people, or I feel I should miss people, but I can’t go to events – they are all in the evening and usually require me not to take a child and I’m too tired. I wish visits to each other’s houses at reasonable times for cups of tea was more common than it actually is! But it is not so. I’m too tired to push for it, but maybe one day I could.
I used to try a lot more, but a growing child who is learning to read, who has a full time school schedule – which is much more full than I anticipated – dominates our lives and that’s pretty fair. It’s a very important time in her life. I don’t organize much in the way of activities outside of school because I think we all need rest, she needs rest. And I think she needs alone time and learn how to manage boredom. Which she does pretty well. Even though the entire house will become a museum/ dance hall/ theatre/ abomination after just one day… It’s doing good, I think.
So while I try to do it all I find it hard. Get up, get ready, walk to school, run errands, home and eat, a few hours to draw, school pick up, prepare dinner, dishes, probably laundry and get ready for the next day, bath, reading, pass out. I find switching between all the roles very hard. Especially when I get into the flow of drawing… Or when I come up against something challenging in my work, which is often at the moment because I’m experimenting. There’s no time to brew, reflect, fuck it up and fix it. So I cry, it’s frustrating. I’d love to do six/ seven/ eight hours days but no one else will do the other important things that need to get done. Sometimes I think “drop the art, it’ll make your life easier”… But isn’t that what women have been forced to do for all the years prior. I know it has been hard for many years and will still be for years to come but I have to make this work. I have to do it for me and for drawing. What a real shame if I just dropped it. Grandma wouldn’t be happy with me.
In saying this, I have dropped a lot of other things. Social life, online life, I don’t network.. Online or IRL, writing grants, heck I can’t even negotiate sales or anything because when I get time I just want to make The Work. That’s all I want to do. It feels urgent yet I have to negotiate the time for it and be patient. That is so hard to do.
I’ve just gotten home from an epic public transport journey of collecting art from one place to take it to another. I’m drinking lady grey and there is so much laundry to do it just feels stupid. But I’ll do it tonight because I am 33 and my saturday nights are wild. ( I actually really love my weekends staying at home especially in the cold because it is very lovely. )

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Drawings from the sketchbook, drawing on the drawing board

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Quick drawing I did of a beautiful teddy bear my Grandmother made before I left Brisbane last week.

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Blind contour line drawing of Jeanette Winterson when I saw her a couple of weeks back.

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Growing my hair out, sort of like a hair helmet at the moment! I am thrilled about it, as you can see 😉

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Quick sketch I did at the dinner table while waiting for the vegan red beans and rice to cook down.. Kidelt drew next to me.

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Naked!

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More naked!

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Today I found a wooden toy phone for $1, it’s pretty cool and kidelt loves it.

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This is a very large drawing I have been making a start on this week.. It is so hard but I am really happy with how it is going/ growing.

Paper cranes, kissing kitty & Meanjin illustrations

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I finished Poppet’s room! Though, after a couple of nights she came out one morning and declared “I found a few more spots for you to hang more paper birds mummy” and I laughed and laughed…

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Fabulous photos taken by Gene-he-who-is-good-at-everything.

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This picture is an outtake of something I am exploring – this kitty is truly a gift to our little family.

But, she was unimpressed:

FACE

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Also this month the new Meanjin is out ( Winter 2016 ) and I have four drawings in there, paire with words by Damon Young. Here is an example:

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I am working on a mammoth drawing – a large drawing, not one of a mammoth though that would be cool also. At times I have to step away from it because it is so complex and it is doing my head in. But I am truly happy with the start that I have made and I hope to get it finished in a couple of months. A lot of work for one piece but I’m trying new things and pushing myself, which is important and must be done. I can hear Grandma saying to me “Why don’t you spend more time on your work?” Because I used to rush through things all the time.

There are other drawings and paintings forming, I haven’t digitized them, I just want to let them take form in their own good time.

Magical bedroom

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Last school holidays Kidelt and I set about painting a mural on her bedroom wall.

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It’s pretty special, the image is one that I found on pintrest that kidlet just insisted on having.. I cannot find the original artist but it is from the Last Unicorn, a movie very dear to me that my daughter now loves.

I finished it this week, it took so long because so much life, death, meals, work and laundry happened.. It’ll probably be tweaked over the coming months as I am still in her room every day sorting and decorating and I can’t help myself.

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Now I am onto hanging paper cranes from the ceiling, it’s a large room so it is a pretty big job.

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I thought I had more folded, but I was wrong.. This evening I will fold more and hang them tomorrow. Kidlet L O V E S them.

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So special!

Under Skin, Under Earth – A Tribute

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Under Skin, Under Earth. Ink on paper, 56 x 76cm , 2016

My Grandmother died a few days before I finished this drawing, it has been so hard to finish.

This begun as an experiment, which is the best part of not having a deadline – experimentation. I want to find ways to explore mortality – all the life and death lessons I have experienced over the last couple of years. I thought I would write about them – but that doesn’t feel like the right to do for me.

I’ve tried drawing people’s objects and painting still lives of flowers, while they were fun to do, they were not enough. I’ve been road tripping and sitting and reading and sketching and photographing and I get inklings of things and then I moved towards other things. I’ll get there, I’ll find it.

When I was a teenager, I spoke to Grandmother on the phone and she had asked me about my drawing. She always asked me about my drawing. When I told her I wasn’t doing that anymore she told me that I was being silly/ stupid/ ridiculous – one of those words, all of which I was deserving. I was such an angry teenager and was putting all that anger into being destructive towards myself instead of being constructive. Anyway, she said I was being silly/ stupid/ ridiculous – that I have a gift. I shouldn’t waste it.

So I’ve been trying not to waste it. I’ve had busy hands for a number of years now. In my early twenties I was making toys, she showed me how to make a simply teddy out of felt. I made a pirate one and Grandma examined it, said I was clever but I make repulsive things. I was really proud.I’ve been trying to make things that I think she would be interested in, my art has run the gamut of angst to art school to hyper sexualized to general interest and exploration of body to telling life stories. The kind of stories that Grandma’s would be interested in. It pains me that when our minds and experience become so rich, our bodies begin to age and fail.

Grandma passed away on Monday evening, I looked up the clock face of the Melbourne Town Hall around the time she left. When I got the texts and the calls and found out what time I remember this moment.. I wonder of it is connected. But maybe that’s just what we all do, try to find meaning in things and maybe there isn’t any meaning.

We are all so temporary. It’s heartbreaking.

News~

Morning Song, ink on paper, 76 x 56cm , 2016

Morning Song, ink on paper, 76 x 56cm , 2016

Hallo!
I am really pleased to say that my drawing Morning Song has been shortlisted for the Rick Amor drawing prize and my drawing Wrestling Three has been shortlisted for the National Works on Paper prize.
These are both really amazing exhibitions and I am really, really proud of the work that I have going into these exhibitions.

The Rick Amor opens July 9th at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and the National Works on Paper Prize opens 16th of July at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery.

Hope you can make it down to see the works while they are on display. Good luck to all the shortlisted artists!

 Wrestling three, ink on paper, 75 x 105cm, 2015

Wrestling three, ink on paper, 75 x 105cm, 2015