Blind contour line drawing of Jeanette Winterson when I saw her a couple of weeks back.
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.
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.
Hope you can make it down to see the works while they are on display. Good luck to all the shortlisted artists!
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.
Thank you BB.
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.
Peace and bunnys
Grandma’s salt and pepper kitties
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.
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!