While I am baking a walnut and banana loaf ( 45 minutes ) and wait for it to cool ( 10 minutes ) I do the above drawing. I say to my husband I am so tired and he says but you’re drawing walnuts and I say I have to and he giggles at me.
My neighbour left a box of them on my doorstep the other day as a thank you. How much joy they have brought into our house. Husband is happily munching on them, Kidlet doesn’t like the taste but she loves to open them up and marvels at the insides, she says they look like brains. We’re all cracking them out of their hard shells and sorting them so I can bake the loaf. Even the kitten is playing with part of a shell. So much joy.
Routine, routine, routine. Most of the time it grounds me, sometimes it fuels me and other times it just crushes me. Yesterday eve I thought poo you routine, and kidlet and I sat at our dinner table drawing together. She numbers up to forty, me putting the finishing touches on my sketch of Civic Hall. I had started it out in the rain, with my hands going numb.
When I came in to cuddle her later on she said I like your drawing mummy. I’m still glowing.
A number of weeks back I was researching Andrew Wyeth – in particular his treatment of hair in portraits – and I came across the phrase magical realism and it just seemed to trigger something off in me. I haven’t been able to stop drawing. And the drawings I am doing – and are planning to do – are dense.
I’m feeling incredibly excited and challenged by this new direction. The concepts are not yet completely formed but they are forming. I try not to get too wordy at this point, because if I write it all out then I feel like I’ve already explained it to myself and won’t feel driven to explore it in drawing. Words are art too.
Process is important to me, and blogging has opened a space up for me to have a place to document it. I have always struggled with visual diaries.. I feel like the ideas and sketches are trapped in those things. Blogs I use to glance over and to edit and to be reminded of things and feel pushed to develop myself. Hosting can be a pain, and I loose things and have to update things to a capacity I can’t always sustain.
But it’s all a learning curve and I think within the juggle of parenting, life-ing, writing, illustrating, teaching and artist-ing I have come to find some sort of balance. I’ve dropped a lot of stuff and working on what I truly want to do – drawing. In giving myself this space to practice and work at my art, I think I am beginning to produce some of the best work I have ever made. Within each work is a new question and an aim to be better than the last. I think I am getting to a point now where I just need to knuckle down for a few years to make another large body of work. I’m almost there.. I am pushing my drawing to the next level. It makes me feel so alive.
So I will keep posting some updates here, while this language develops and while this project goes. I would also like to add that I have been reading loads and listening to stories while I draw. I think this is informing my work too. I’ll unpack that another day.
Over the last week I have been back in my studio, I begun a drawing that I think will take me about three months to complete. It’s new and something I have wanted to explore for a while, yet wasn’t ready – until now. Also this week I pushed myself back into drawing from life. I have slacked off a bit with that. So I set myself one hour for each of these drawings, and pushed myself to get as much as I could on the page to a timer.
Elephant ears plant
Seriously – how phallic is it!
The last one is a drawing of a bird that I found this morning. I was walking past a hospital and saw something fall to the ground from my peripheral – it made a noise when it landed that made me turn. I thought it dead but when I looked closer I saw it’s tiny body breathing, little black eyes blinking at me. So I called wildlife rescue and while giving my location details, so a rescuer could come and collect the bird, it opened it’s beak up super wide and then it just stopped. Last breath. It blinked no more. So I told the lady on the other end and she asked that I could at least move it so people wouldn’t step on it, which I did. And then I drew it. What a strange thing to witness but at least I was there in it’s final moments so it didn’t get stepped on.
I started this drawing last year, to be part of the last collection of drawings but it missed the cut off point due to the accident and holidays etc etc. Life, basically. But I think that it’s a beautiful drawing, because of the belly. Bellies 4 eva!
This Saturday the 26th of March, from 2PM to 4PM at the Art Gallery of Ballarat ( in the McCain annexe ) will be the launch of Bronwyn Blaiklock’s poetry collection, Etching My Initials. My drawing ( from my most recent collection of drawings ) graces the front cover. So if you’re in or around Ballarat town, make the journey to the gallery for some poetry good times.
Other than that, I am still recovering from my large piece that I finished last week…
It’s next level and I really have to lift my game in regards to my practice. I think it is ok to have a few days off to do admin and everything else and maybe rest?
I’ve also been doing a lot of walking and wandering and thinking and exercising and cooking and reading and cuddling my kitty.
So it is school holidays now, so I won’t be traveling and getting models to sit for me for a few weeks. But I’ll be straight back into it after the holidays. Ohh, and I am going to bake some healthy hot cross buns for us.. Because it is very depressing to find out how much crap goes into packet food. I’ve gotten some fancy pants rye and spelt flour. Happy holidays to you!
This is the fourth drawings from the domestic scenes I am doing .. ( more here ) All work follows a certain trajectory, but I feel this one has made quite the leap and is way, way, way better than the rest.
The launch of my New Drawings and Darren McDonald’s Something Worth Fighting For at Scott Livesey Galleries last night was wonderful. Both exhibitions were opened by Scott Livesey and Dr Sarah Engledow, from the National Portrait Gallery. Sarah said that the three things women hate about their bodies are toes, bellies and body hair – which feature heavily in my works. She said she had never seen so many toes and that after looking at the works she began to look at her fellow humans with more sympathy. I was really touched by her words.
All photos are by Gene.
Thank you to everyone who came and spread the word about the exhibition. It is on until the 24th of February. All works are for sale.
Scott Livesey Galleries – 909A High Street, Armadale Melbourne