Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Annual Reflection


Despite not officially making any resolutions for the new year - partly through fear of failure - I am reflecting a little on the year that was 2008.

Due to my obsession with things, (and moments/times), being symbolic, the new year is always a transient period for me, or at least it is inside my head. My mind is today, packed with a capacity crowd of thoughts and memories, which, mixed together, lead the way to much contemplative reflection... Hopefully followed by a great leap forward.

Happy new year world.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Full Plate For Summer


The year is nearly over, but for me, the madness of the season has just begun. I have every intention of making this the last Summer I spend caught up in hospitality chaos - where a standard day involves a good 15 hours working, at a fast pace, on one's feet.

It's a catch 22 this Summer as I will possibly be working harder for the silly season than ever before - for anything but a silly reason. C and I have recently made a financial commitment that must be fed by these crazy Summer hours, and, although I am neglecting my art temporarily - and feeling terribly guilty for it, it is all for a good cause, and hopefully one that will allow and encourage me to focus even more attention on my art than ever before, and turn my plate into a palette, once Summer is over.

I've not seen my family or old/close friends for quite some time now and I must say I miss many of them very much. Sometimes I feel like I live in a different country, not just a different suburb or city. I do believe those that know me will understand the reasons for distance and also know that the distance is only physical, not emotional. For the first time in quite some time, I missed the annual catch up with the girls, (from school days - 2 I have known since I was 5), and I must say I was a little upset to not have made it this year. There were a number of reasons for my absence, including work, transport and C's son's 7th birthday. It's just a mad time of year for many I guess.

So mad in fact that last week, whilst coming home from one job to prepare for another, I managed to lock myself, my phone and the dog, out of the house. I'd come home to feed the dog, and myself - time allowing, and a few other little things, only to find the laundry a little worse for wear... so out came the mop and once the floor was clean I threw the dog in the bath, along with his bedding and gave everything a good clean. Whilst wringing and drying everything outside, the back door slammed shut and initially I though nothing of it as I was in 'let's get this all sorted' mode. So it wasn't until I went to get changed that I realised the door was locked, and the keys were inside. I reached for my phone but already knew it was not on me - besides - I had no pockets. I was in a t-shirt and underpants... trying to spare ALL my clothes getting wet. For a brief moment I really was not happy and struggled to think of what to do next. I spotted a solitary towel on our hardly ever used clothes line, wrapped it around my waist and walked out to the front yard to find my neighbour - who I have never spoken to in the 18 months I have lived in this house - working on his front fence. I smiled coyly and asked if he had a mobile phone I could use and proceeded to explain my predicament.

It was after the explanation that I officially introduced myself, thankfully he was aware I was his neighbour and not just some random walking the streets in a towel. So with around 5 weeks before we move into our new place, I now know my neighbour's name is Campbell - and to Campbell I'm now grateful.

Fortunately I was able to reach C at work, who then promptly came home to save the day.

Christmas came and went and felt just like another day for the most part. C and I worked until around 4pm and were reminded that it was a special day when the kids came over to collect their gifts and spend the evening. I must confess, I have become a wee bit fond of the Wii that was given to 'the family' from Mr. Claus himself. Thanks big fella. And even though doing Wii Fit yoga is not as good as the real thing, it's helping to at least make me feel as though I am doing something for myself other than working - I plan to get back to real classes some day... though I will not be making any new years resolutions - I don't need to put that sort of pressure on myself. I will just continue, as I have every year, with my quest to find balance.

So, whilst I am lacking a little of my desire, or the motivation, to write, I continue to make the effort so as not to stop altogether. In some ways, even though I do not have much to speak of on the artistic front, writing helps me feel as though that creative side is still present inside me... just caught up in other things temporarily... and this time, it feels less like an excuse and more like a grand plan - and for that, despite how much I am missing my paints and canvas, I am grateful.

And despite not having many words to say that directly relate to my art - I suppose in some weird way it is all relative... and I must thank L and G and all those involved in the recent sales of my work in Perth, apparently 4 works to one client who has said to be interested in a 5th piece. It's these moments, (and not even for the financial windfall - though it is a bonus), that keep me striving towards my goal and remind me that it is, and will be, all worth it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Passion Fruit


I just got back from the supermarket...with two perfect pomegranates. This little find was rather exciting (for me)... but as I must rush off to work now, I will return to this topic, with an explanation of my excitement, next time I write.

Sometimes it really is just the little things... and those are really good 'times'.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Something Old, Something New; the car my grandfather gave me was blue.

Just before my last post on this here blog, I took an empty garbage bag, and proceeded to fill it with bits and pieces from my car as I prepared it to be towed away the next day.

I knew the day had to come. After months of procrastination the battery had completely given up, which saw the vehicle never move from the one spot in the front yard. The tyres eventually completely hidden by the tall, lush grass that grew around it. The grass the gardeners avoided. All the while drawing more and more attention to itself - that phone call from the real estate agent was inevitable... and then it came, prompting me to finally do something about it.

So, finally I did.
"Hello"
"Hi. Just wondering if you are interested in a 1989 Ford Telstar."
"Sure. OK. We can take it."
"Tonight?"
"No. Tomorrow"
"What time?"
"4 o'clock."
"How about 9am?"
"OK. 9am tomorrow. See you then."
"OK. Bye."

Of course, in that brief conversation with Mr. I'll tow-you-car-away-24-hours-a-day-for-free, I provided my details and without even discussing it, accepted that I'd be getting nothing for the scrap metal gracing my front yard.

It was no longer worth anything much to me anyway. It's only value was sentimental. Something money has nothing to do with.

I had been involved in an accident late 2007. And whilst the other party was at fault, (his insurance company even agreed on that), the car was declared a write off after I was told to take it to the nominated panel beater to be repaired.

The repairs never happened and after a drawn out ordeal with the other person's insurance company - which included a number of frustrating phone conversations and a lack of assistance, with a dash of 'we're in no hurry to help our non-members' attitude - I got my car back, (in even worse condition than when I'd dropped it off), and eventually received a cheque for what they considered a fair price. I accepted it with a 'that's better than nothing' attitude and the case was closed.

There was not much I could've purchased with the amount they gave me so C and I spent $30 at the wreckers to at least get her back on the road without drawing too much attention to herself.

I let her rego lapse in May, not realising the new laws that prevented you from being able to be a little lazy with paying that bill/renewal for that large amount of money that always seems to come at a bad time. So that was that. It was no longer worth fixing. So she sat and sat.... and sat....

..until Tuesday, at 9am, when she was towed away to the wreckers.

(to be continued)

11:51am, Friday 12 December, 2008.

I was going to create a new post to finish this entry but decided it should remain as one.

I had to rush off to work last night, leaving my entry unfinished. I had not intended for the blog post to consist of as many words but I sort of went off on some tangent. My initial inspiration for writing about this event/experience was the process of cleaning out the car; post tow. Of course, this too was a part of the whole emotional reaction to a material object - so despite preferring to consider myself as someone who has not completely surrendered to the material world, there are certain things and luxuries that I enjoy and, whilst I may sometimes take them for granted, appreciate. Having a car, in itself, regardless of make and model, is still a luxury as far as I am concerned. This is a fact that I am realising even more so now that I am without one.

My grandfathers car was nothing special - on the outside anyway. It was a humble Ford Telstar hatch. It was an automatic. Given a cheque and a choice, it would not have been my pick of vehicles. However - it was reliable, had done very little kilometeres and had been looked after in every way. Best of all, it was free.

When my grandfather, (who is now almost 90), became too old and impaired to drive a motor vehicle he was reluctant to get rid of it and it just so happened that my Toyota had given up around the same time - so when the car was offered to me, I gracefully, and gratefully accepted. It omitted a lot of hassles.

I took every effort to look after that car out of respect for my grandfather. He would always ask me how the car was whenever we spoke and come out to see it when I would go and visit. It was almost sad. The car was kind of symbolic of a child that had left home. My grandfather was always a family man.

I felt awful when I had to tell him of the accident and the eventual outcome. Granted, it could have all been a lot worse - and I am truly grateful no one was hurt - but it was still disappointing to have to explain that the car was 'broken'. (He suffers from dementia so I am expecting he might ask me how the car is again at some point.)

So then it became me who was reluctant to get rid of the vehicle - for different reasons - however, both were ultimately sentimental.

On the topic of sentimental, the experience of cleaning out the car was very much that. As well as filling a garbage bag with genuine rubbish - (my pride in the upkeep of the car began to dwindle after the accident - plus the backseat was full of pop corn and other random bits and pieces from beach trips with the kids) - there were also lots of other things that I discovered. Cleaning one's car, room, cupboard or house - even sometimes just one drawer - can be an exercise that triggers many memories of people, places and things - past and present. Amongst the random findings in my car were photos, and words, of and from old lovers and friends. Piles of invites from various past exhibitions of mine in Melbourne and Sydney. Unidentified objects that were more than likely bits that had fallen or broken off bigger objects no longer in the car. And in the front console, which consisted of a tray and a box, I found a mini solar powered calculator, a mini swiss army knife, a shoe horn and a compass - all had belonged to my grandfather and were obviously travel essentials in his mind. They made me smile - especially the shoe horn. My car had become a time capsule.

I think what made the experience a little more emotional was the fact that 2 days prior, I had a dream that my grandfather passed away. I woke up feeling extremely sad.

I threw a lot out and only kept a few things - including my grandfather braces. I'll probably never have a use for them, but I just couldn't throw them away.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Work in Progress

Life is a work in progress is it not?

Often as unpredictable as the next painting.

It's 7:48pm. I want to paint but know that I won't pick up a brush before tomorrow's sunrise. I have left it too late in the day to begin working in the studio. The moment of peak inspiration and maximum motivation has passed for this 24 hour period. Sad really.

It's already been too long.

The fact that it's 7:51pm should not matter. There are no excuses. Not even long hours working in another job is an excuse.

I am perhaps just all lacklustre.

There is a lot to do before we move in February, and whilst just the thought of that is exhausting, I am very much looking forward to a new space not only in which to paint, but also to live and begin a new chapter in this 'work in progress' known as life.

It will be nice to have an area exclusively for my art/painting. A space that need not be packed up or dismantled. One I can make a mess in and not have to worry about it. I believe that alone will enhance my motivation and feed my desire. It will also be interesting to see how a new space effects the subject matter, style or content of my work, or even the size.

Will I see myself closer to attaining that seemingly unachievable yet always desirable thing called 'balance'?

One can dream can't they? Or at least remain ever hopeful. Regardless of what they wish for.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Working Dog

This is the first Saturday night in quite some time that I have not had to work, (with the exception of the one about 5 weeks ago for my brothers birthday). I feel like I should be doing more than sitting here on the couch contemplating this blog entry, yet at the same time, I have not the energy to do anything but.

I really should be in bed - even though it is only 10:30pm... That's early for a Saturday night. My body wants to sleep but my head is rebelling - perhaps only due to the fact that it IS Saturday night and I am NOT at work.

There is some mindless show on the idiot box as C sleeps on the couch next to me on my right and the dog chews a plastic coat hanger on the floor to my left. I don't even know why I am choosing this moment to blog - when my mind is all a fuzz with tiredness and delirium. Perhaps it is only to introduce the new addition of the household into my blog world - that being the 'dog' I mentioned - who is all of 8 weeks old, therefore, technically a puppy. We discovered and purchased him last Monday. It was inevitable. As soon as we saw him we both just knew he was coming home with us - despite having discussed that we would hold off any new additions until we moved to our new abode in February.

So I suppose, seeing as I have not painted since I last blogged - I will dedicate this blog entry to our four legged friend that we named Obi.



I must say, it is nice to once again be a dog owner. It was awfully sad to have to say goodbye to my last two canine friends several years ago. I am remembering just how much joy they can bring into one's life.

I should sleep. These 6:30am starts, (work), are taking a little getting used to. Hopefully this coming week will see a little more order amongst the chaos and an opportunity to start my next body of work - for which I am now champing at the bit to get started on.

I will say one thing about working such long hours over the past couple of weeks - I have actually slept better than I have in over 12 months. That alone is worth something as I was really starting to feel the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

That said - I am hitting the hay.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just...

So. I'd intended to enter blog zone tonight and write about some art related business - including a mention of an enjoyable meeting with two gallery directors last Friday and my delight in being able to use all those words in the one sentence.

I'd also intended to get my head into a book tonight as a prelude to an early night. (I am starting work at 6:30am tomorrow and have not been sleeping well of late). I've not read since we were in Japan... nor had I written much since my return; other than the few blog posts here and some run of the mill emails.

As the evening had it, I found myself in conversation with a friend and fellow artist that I'd not heard from in some time. The conversation prompted me to re-read something I wrote, ( kind of spur of the moment ), the other day... 13 days ago actually.

I don't always share my writing. Sometimes my words are like those little sketches that nobody ever needs to see but are vital to the creative process of making art. I'm choosing to post those words here tonight so that my friend will always know he is not alone.

I sit here
with a glass of red
perhaps for no other reason than
I am trying to remember
(or trying to forget)

what does one do
when one no longer knows themselves
or at least
is no longer familiar
with the person…
the being
that they inhabit?

I used to write a lot
almost every day

when did that stop?

when did I lose the ability
to say what I wanted to say
to express how I really feel
to just WRITE

I have hundreds of letters
that have been written
inside my head
but never made it to paper

words of love
and thanks
that have never made it
to those who deserve them

I used to write
as if
I was dancing like no one was watching
as if
I was singing with nobody listening

when did I become so concerned
with what other people ‘might’ think
when did i
lose the desire
to NOT CARE?

In losing the ability
to randomly ramble
with such carefree honesty
and passion
have I lost touch
with myself?

let me allow myself
to introduce myself
to myself

Hello.

I found an article
on Leonard Cohen
in the paper
last Saturday
it made me smile

as I read it
knowing that I had tickets
to see him
made me cry
but they were not
tears of sadness
but rather
ones of joy

I have waited quite some time for this
Mr. Cohen

sometimes
when I listen to music
it reminds me
of who I really am
it reminds me
that it is ok to feel
what I feel

it reminds me
of people
and places
and things I want to remember
yet often forget

of things
I want to forget
but need to remember
in order to remember
who I am

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Small Bite


I'm a little full of random thoughts lately as opposed to focusing in on any particular thing. Not that multi-tasking/function is rare, especially inside my head but I am possibly a little more scattered and sporadic than usual.

The delight for me is that despite being incredibly busy, I am still noticing little things like a sparrow desperately pecking at some fluorescent pink bubble gum that had been squished into the cement footpath. I curiously admired his persistence and determination as I carried two chai teas to meet C for a short break. I wondered what the attraction was to the gum. Was it the colour? The flavour? Or was the sparrow just into challenging itself? I thought for a minute - 'sweet tooth'? Then realised such an expression could not be used for a creature with no teeth. Sweet beak. My thoughts became a whole bunch of random nonsense but it was kind of nice. It even made me smile.

Even just now, as I poured myself a celebratory glass of red wine - (I got news of my first New York sale today) - I wondered to myself, do people still pour a standard size glass of wine when pouring for themselves at home? As insignificant as that this thought was it once again allowed me to be amused by my mind.

I automatically poured myself a standard glass.

I raise my glass today to Andrew Michael Ford in New York. He has been so wonderful to work with since inviting me to be part of In the Language of Angels and has restored a lot of faith that had recently been lost - not in me, but in others - and for that, I am very thankful.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

No-Mo-vember

So it's November already.

I'm not writing a novel, nor am I growing a mo. In fact I'm not doing much other than working, unfortunately not as in 'making art'.

So with not much else to say I will end on 'happy birthday Ryan' and 'best of luck Obama'.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hallelujah!

Just two weeks after writing this in my blog -

"There are two artists I would still love to see live, but doubt I will get the opportunity to. Seeing Patti on Saturday night almost makes up for this. I am speaking of the great Leonard Cohen, and the fabulous Mr. Tom Waits. All three of these wonderful artists have been a huge influence to me over the years. All three, in my opinion, have quite a way with words."

Leonard Cohen's 2009 Australian tour has been announced.

After a couple of hours of clicking I managed to find tickets.

Hallelujah!

Tickets and concert info can be found here and here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just a Few Notes...

I really don't have much to say at the moment. Not in blog form anyway.

The group show In the Language of Angels opened in New York on Friday night. Andrew sent me this link today of opening night photos.

I'm busy working two jobs and getting the first painting ready for this. Just something I thought I would try - for two reasons at least. One is in relation to my frustration with the majority of the commercial gallery world, and two, to encourage myself to be more dedicated to what is important to me - my art.

I also wanted to make mention that I managed to get to Melbourne last week to see Christine Polowyj's exhibition at Jackman Gallery last Thursday. It was a most impressive body of work and well worth the trip. I have been a bit of a fan of her work since I first saw it a few years ago on a collector's wall. Anyone who may stumble across this entry and be in Melbourne, it's on until Sunday 9 November.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Headfuckers and Helpful Humans

Why can't there be more of the latter...?

I am a little stunned, though not completely surprised, by the actions and mentality of a certain so-called superior. I even sat in front of a kids TV show this afternoon to try and get a grasp of such juvenile behaviour but the difference is... it's ok for kids to be juvenile, (albeit, to a degree) - it's their right. The other difference is - children are usually fairly innocent, while when adults act in such a way, (that has recently been displayed to me), it is just downright malicious and spiteful. Put simply, I have been lied to.

I really despise liars. Especially under these circumstances, and especially when the person looks at you, (though not in the eye), and tells you they are a straight shooter.

So in actual fact, I am not sure what I am more angry about. The fact that I have been lied to, or the fact that this person thinks I am stupid.

I'm not stupid.

So... on to the latter of this blog post title. Helpful Humans. A much nicer breed than Headfuckers.

The group show I am involved in, 'In the Language of Angels', opens in New York this Friday, 24 October.
Not only am I very pleased to be hanging with 5 very talented ladies: Sarah Joncas, Camilla D'Errico, Lisa Alisa, Mia and Mijn Schajte, but I am extremely grateful to Ad Hoc Art Director: Andrew Michael Ford.

a. For inviting me to be part of the 6 woman exhibition.
and
b. for being so incredibly efficient, helpful and professional from the word go.

The above mentioned qualities have often been hard to find in a number of others in the same profession. In this country anyway.

However - to mildly contradict that last line - (and there are some other exceptions) - I would also like to thank Mark Jamieson from Brunswick Street Gallery. Mark was an absolute delight to work with whilst preparing for my most recent exhibition which opened on October 10. His enthusiasm and professionalism came as a pleasant surprise and was most appreciated. I would also like to thank him for believing in the work enough to then offer to take it to Art Sydney, which opens tonight.

As for the Headfucker/s... perhaps the only positive is that I can perhaps paint out some of my frustration and possibly create something beautiful from something awful.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Linked In

I am inclined to wonder whether one day, the internet will be the only marketing tool needed. It indeed makes the world somewhat smaller and the things in it more accessible - at least to view.

I'd like to thank Andrew Michael Ford for this, Juxtapoz Magazine for this, and a fellow blogger - Tim - for this.

For anyone in the vicinity of New York - next Friday is the opening of 'In The Language of Angels' at Ad Hoc Art. I have 4 paintings in the exhibition - one is pictured above.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Musings

I'm not feeling too crash hot tonight. My stomach feels unsettled which is making me restless. However, I am at home, alone, with all the time in the world to do whatever I want and I don't feel like painting. I feel like writing... though my entry may be a little scattered due to the way I am feeling physically. Still... I will give it a shot.

I am still delighting over Saturday night. Patti Smith has dominated my thoughts over the past few days. She really was, (and IS), quite amazing. I only wish I had gone to see her on Sunday night when she performed a tribute to Allen Ginsberg, and also to her artist talk at CCP on Saturday, or her Q&A on Friday for Dream of Life. I am not sure what I would've asked, if anything. I possibly would've been all tongue tied and twisted and simply awestruck, but either way I would've liked to have witnessed both events and to have perhaps witnessed her in a more intimate environment - not that she did not make Hamer Hall as intimate as she could have on Saturday night when she performed in concert. At one point she walked through the audience in such a casual and comfortable way, receiving due respect from adoring fans, some who just wanted a hug - and got one. Her presence was most powerful, and in some way she seemed to bring everyone there that evening together, even if only for the briefest moment. At least that was my perception. I would actually be interested to hear the thoughts of anyone else who saw her on Saturday or Sunday evening.

Patti, Patti, Patti... I feel, (sound?), like a schoolgirl with a crush.

There are two artists I would still love to see live, but doubt I will get the opportunity to. Seeing Patti on Saturday night almost makes up for this. I am speaking of the great Leonard Cohen, and the fabulous Mr. Tom Waits. All three of these wonderful artists have been a huge influence to me over the years. All three, in my opinion, have quite a way with words.

"In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth". - Patti Smith

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Queen of Cool

Last night I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to experience possibly one of the best live shows ever. Speaking for myself, I am inclined to say it was the best live show I have ever been to, and I have been to quite a few.

I am talking about the one and only Patti Smith. No two words could describe her performance better than fucking brilliant... and yes, the word fucking is necessary on this occasion, if for no other reason than to place huge emphasis on the brilliant part.

For many years I have been inspired by Ms. Smith, not just Patti Smith the Musician, but also Patti Smith the Poet, the Activist, the Artist... however, last night, I was blown away by all of them. I am now in awe of Patti Smith, the Woman... the Person. At 61 years of age, she is ageless as a performer and so incredibly powerful in her delivery of words in every shape and form.

I am sure, after seeing (and feeling) her live last night, she will - in many ways - be a huge influence on my next, (or a future), body of work.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Snapshots from Singapore


I am of very few words at the moment... so it is perhaps the perfect time to upload more snapshots... this time from Singapore. A place I very much enjoyed on the way to and from Japan.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Snapshots from Japan


Some of my favourite images from my recent trip. Surprisingly, yet thankfully, Japan still continues to fascinate and inspire me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Slug...

I'm not doing a very good job at blogging regularly at the moment. I still have a selection of photos from my recent trip to Singapore and Japan that I've been contemplating posting... perhaps they'll appear some day.

A letter in the mail has inspired this brief post. My painting 'Food and Desire - Conflict I' has been selected to hang in the finalists exhibition of the Kilgour Art Prize (for portraiture), to be held in November this year at the Newcastle Region Art Gallery.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Home, _____ Home

We arrived home early Sunday morning after a sleepless overnight flight from Singapore. I must say, Singapore Airlines are now my preferred 'carrier'. We flew with them for all four flights of our trip and they were a delight to fly with. By far the most helpful, consistent, attentive and cleanest flight/airline service I have ever used.

We were fortunate enough to get bulk head/exit row seats for all four flights much to C's delight - his height and leg length are not usually economy class friendly but the staff were ever so helpful in making his flight, (and in turn, mine), more comfortable.

I was also lucky enough to stumble across a delightful foreign film that I might not have otherwise seen. It was so beautiful, in a sad yet poetic and joyful way. It was a German film titled Kirschbl├╝ten - Hanami, directed by Doris D├Ârrie. I watched it on my third flight of the trip. From Osaka to Singapore... and despite being extremely tired and having very heavy eyes, (it was my second film of the flight),I managed to keep my lids open and focus on the subtitles for the duration of the 127 minute work of art.

The film moved me to tears at times and the acting, in particular the characters Rudi and Trudi, played by Elmar Wepper and Hannelore Elsner, and also the delightful young Japanese character, Yu, played by Aya Irizuki. In my opinion the film was flawless and, despite being quite obscure and poetic in parts, in every way believable. Not only was the story quite sadly beautiful, but it was so aesthetically pleasing to watch, it was shot in such a wonderful and mood provoking way. I adored it.

I also adored Japan - yet again. It is truly a different experience visiting the place on holiday as opposed to living or being based there. The fact that most of our time in Japan was spent, by choice, in Kyoto helped also.

Kyoto, I can confidently say, is still one of my favourite places in the whole world. It did not disappoint me and it was wonderful to share the city and it's delights with C. It was his first visit to Japan and he certainly enjoyed it. I had a strong feeling I would return, not to mention an ongoing desire to do so, but I really did not believe it would be this soon after living in Osaka for 4 months last year. I am very grateful to have been able to do so and also grateful to Kyoto, for yet again inspiring me - just when I thought it may no longer be able to do so.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Home Sweet Second Home

Osaka, Japan. Here once again. I flew into Osaka early this morning, for the 5th time. The excitement did not really hit until we were flying over the hills and about to land. Then it hit me... I love this place more than I even realise.

I had been so excited about bringing C here... ( to the place that I loved so very much and had been such a powerful influence to me - especially creatively ), that I had forgotten to get excited for myself.

It is a strange feeling being back here. There has been a lot of things that have happened in my life recently that either happened here or possess some significance to the place. So much is familiar, yet there is still so much to discover and explore.

Within the first hour or so of being in the city, or more specifically, Shinsaibashi, I had managed to visit two of my favourite places here in Osaka. 1. Maman Kitchen - a humble little venue that makes some of the nicest macrobiotic delights I have ever tasted... and 2. Banco, a modest little cafe on the outskirts of America-mura, a great place to sit and enjoy a drink whilst watching the hoards of people pass by. Also managed a visit to `Dig Me Out`, a kind of too cool for school 24 hour cafe slash art gallery/venue. The place was introduced to me by my friend Chika, whom I met whilst living here last year. It is a shame I cannot catch up with her again this visit - but it is with good reason as she is now living in New York, painting and studying art.

I am blogging from the hotel lobby on their dell computer. I decided against bringing my laptop with me this trip. Amazing how much we depend on our electronic devices these days. I feel rushed on this public machine... hence I will most likely blog briefly whilst on holiday and then upload photos and perhaps recap on my return to Australia.

Japan. It is good to be back.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Singapore

Am currently in Singapore. We arrived late yesterday. It's hot. Humid. I'm sitting on a couch in a friend's apartment. I have things to write but do not wish to be rude in the eyes of my hosts spending too long online rambling about my day.

It's not the easiest city to navigate one's way around but we did manage to find the Singapore Art Museum and paid a visit to the Toy Museum which was more enjoyable than I had expected.

Then there's the food. SO much food.

It's my first time in Singapore. My previous 'Asian' travel has always seen me flying into Japan.

I like it here. The heat has taken a little to adjust to after coming from the Melbourne winter... but for some reason, the heat is more bearable when I am travelling... in some weird way it makes me feel more alive.

More to explore tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Stick In Time

It's funny how something so small made me so happy today.

This tiny little Kingston memory stick brought me much joy today. You see, I thought I had lost it. I had searched the house a few weeks back, emptying drawers and cupboards, without any luck and had given up, coming to the conclusion that it must've fallen out of my bag somewhere outside of the house.

Today, whilst perusing my bookshelf for a travelling companion of the written kind, I happened to find my Kingston hiding behind a book of short stories by Haruki Murakami. Kind of, (dare I say it) - 'symbolic', as my destination is Japan... (again).

It's amazing how much I rely on my trusty laptop and my memory stick. I had intended to copy all the contents of the stick to my laptop but 'lost' the stick before getting around to it. I was quite upset when I thought I had lost all my high res images of early artwork and other bits and pieces that I feel are important. Needless to say, when I found it today I copied the contents onto my laptop and also to an online library to ensure I need not have to worry about losing them again.

I have now packed my little Kingston along side my passport. It was a timely discovery.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Shaking Monkeys




I have fallen behind in the blog stakes. I have fallen behind with my art too. Well, at least with the production of it. Everything else seems to be moving at such a rapid pace I am having trouble keeping up with it all.

It's been over a month since I have written here. In fact, it has been over a month since I have written, (for me), at all. It has been a full month.

I've been in the process of shaking a few monkeys off my back recently. I even started seeing my psychologist again, whom I had not been to for around 3 years. I must say, the visits this time around are shorter and fewer and far between. I guess it's kind of a 'refresher course' on past progress and perhaps getting the final formula to rid some of these little primate parasites for good. I feel it's a step forward, not a step back.

The mind is a fascinating and powerful tool.

I find it funny too, how therapy can often make even more sense of my art, (to me). In other words, while reflecting on recent work during this time, it has become even clearer to me why I have been and am painting the way I am and the 'things' I am.

Speaking of painting. I have paintings going here and there at the moment and for the next few months and some interesting projects and collaborations are in the pipeworks.


‘Lullaby and Exile’ , (above), was selected as a finalist in the 2008 Corangamarah Art Prize. The exhibition will open on Saturday 9 August and will run until Sunday 17 August.

I've been communicating with a few different publications, national and international and am looking forward to the possibilty of pursuing some ideas that have been discussed. I would also like to thank Katie at Juxtapoz magazine for this.

I've also been invited to exhibit in a group exhibition in Brooklyn, New York with 5 other female artists at Ad Hoc Gallery. The exhibition, titled ‘In the Language of Angels’, will open on October 24. The other artists exhibiting are Camilla d'Errico, Sarah Joncas, Mijn Schatje, Lisa Alisa and Michelle "Mia" Araujo.

Autumn Haiku, the first piece painted after returning home from living in Japan last year, and the last piece in the 2007 series of Japanese works, will be hanging as part of a group exhibition at Brunswick Street Gallery from 15-28 August. I will also be having a solo exhibition at BSG in October.

I'm itching to get back into the studio and perhaps make friends with the last monkey on my back. I have many new ideas.

Perhaps symbollic of new beginnings, I recently cut my hair. For most, this may not sound like much, but I had not had mine cuts for many years and when it was, it was an inch trimmed here and there. The length of my hair was longer than that of my spine, but it was time for a change. I never knew just how much 'weight' was in that hair. It was an unexpected relief.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Humble Thanks

I did a studio interview on the radio yesterday morning for the third year running.

I would just like to say a big thank you to Phil and Adelaine from ABC Radio Australia for their undying encouragement and for supporting what I do - i.e: my art. As many an artist will know, there are moments where we question what we are doing, despite the fact that we know we'd be miserable if we could not make art.

During those times of vacillation or even sometimes self doubt, it is the support of people like Phil and Adelaine that give you that good kick up the arse and remind you that it is, always has been, and always will be worth it.

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Doing it For The Kids

For the 6th year in a row, I will be donating an original painting to the Artists for Kids Culture fundraising art auction.

This year the exhibition of donated works will be held at Brightspace from 3-7 September. Opening night will take place Tuesday 2nd September from 6-8pm.

The auction of all donated artworks will then be held at Ormond Hall, 557 St Kilda Road, Melbourne (enter via Moubray Street) on Wednesday 10th September 2008.
Doors open 5.30pm.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Time Flies - Or Does it?

It was on this day last year that I arrived home from Japan. In fact I think it was even this time on that day that my plane touched down in Melbourne.

As fast as the past 12 months have gone - Japan seems like a lifetime ago.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Small Words, Small Works


It has been a very busy and productive week and there is much I am inclined to write about. However, I am extremely tired and the glare from my laptop screen, (even after only this very short time), is making my eyes sting.

I will publish this entry for two reasons.

1. To remind myself to write of my thoughts and inclinations when not so tired.

and

2. To promote the group exhibition that opens this Friday night at Brunswick Street Gallery. (see below)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

In-site, On-site


I have been very lazy when it comes to art via cyber space.

It has taken me quite some time but I finally have my website up and running.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Corpor-art

Yesterday I took part in a rather interesting event.
I was asked to participate in this event, along with 5 other artists, at Aitken Hill Conference Centre, working with 60 corporate clients from Telstra Super Fund. The event was organised by Lord Ivy.

The day involved setting up a room with 60 easels, each with a blank canvas, a palette, water, brushes, and 4 tubes of acrylic paint (blue, yellow, red and white).Only the organisers, (corporate), and the artists knew what was taking place, the other 50+ corporate people had absolutely no idea what their special 'activity' was going to be.


It was our job to encourage them to think outside the square and motivate them to paint for around 2.5 hours without touching their work at all in any way.

I admit I was a little sceptical about the whole thing prior to doing it, as were the group of corporates that appeared in a herd from over the hill we were situated at the base of. As they read the sign that explained briefly what was about to take place there was a lot of head and eye rolling and other displays of negative body language, along with some cynical mutterings.

I then saw it as a challenge and was inspired to inspire.

Despite one or two very negative and cynical attitudes once we were up and running, I actually quite enjoyed the experience much more than I thought I would. I once pondered studying psychology, particularly in relation to art,(or so called 'art therapy'), and the exercise yesterday reminded me of why.

I was very fortunate to have some really great and very co operative people amongst my allocated group - they certainly made the afternoon all the more enjoyable for me.



It was really interesting not only watching peoples initial reaction to the idea of painting, but how they approached the process. Some took a long time to make that first mark, not all necessarily through reluctance, some through fear. Others jumped straight into the exercise, one even opting to apply the paint with his fingers as opposed to the brushes that had been provided. I also managed to get a few of them applying paint with paper towel, paper bags and the other end of the brush. I certainly warmed to the ones who seemed to really embrace thinking outside the square.

Of course, I would rather have spent the day applying paint to my own canvas but it was quite gratifying and lovely when a number of them came up and thanked me for making their experience more enjoyable.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Under The Skin


I happened to stumble upon a program on SBS last night whilst enjoying a lazy night at home. It was a documentary about Geisha: in particular, a young girl called Kikuyu, who was studying to become a Maiko, and eventually a Geisha (or Geiko). It reminded me of why I fell in love with Japan to begin with and in particular, Kyoto. It also reminded me of my first exhibition at Jackman Gallery in 2003, where the theme of my work was Geisha.

Just today I found a few old photos of some of the pieces from that Geisha series.

Although my recent work has moved on from the Japanese theme that dominated my work for around 5 years, I must say that watching the program last night re ignited some Eastern influences. I don't think I will be featuring the painted ladies in my work again just yet but I will say that for the first time since returning from Japan last June I had an overwhelming desire to return there. Despite seeing another side of Japan, other than the glamorised one, whilst living there - and experiencing moments where I struggled to find beauty, it seems Japan and I may have unfinished business.

Maybe one day.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Clean(s)ing The Palette

I have not painted since my exhibition opened last Wednesday evening. Actually I tell a lie, two days ago I put a base coat of colour down on two canvases that I will be painting for an upcoming group show. I find I often have a little emotional and creative battle with myself just after an opening. In some ways it is almost like I am rebelling. I still want to and feel the need to paint but there is a part of me that refuses to. The part that wants to read a book and watch a movie... and sleep in... and do all the things I don't get around to doing when I am working to a deadline. Another of those things is eating. I have never been shy about having a healthy appetite. I love food. It was one of the first things my partner noticed and enjoyed about me, perhaps partly because he is a chef.

The rather unfortunate thing at the moment however is that my appetite is almost non existent. Since being sick a few weeks ago I have just not regained my full appetite or general sense of well being. My stomach and my head are refusing to work in unison at the moment.

My canvases are accepting the subject of food a lot easier than my body at the moment. I must say, despite being a little pressured time wise whilst producing the work for my exhibition, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the subject of food and desire, combined with my dual existence. It is a subject I feel I will continue to explore for the time being. Far too many ideas did not find their way on to canvas in time for this show.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Me, Myself Portrait and I - Part II

So why paint thy self?

Does it need justifying, or am I, in some bizarre way, trying to justify it to myself?

I quickly added this to a statement the other day...

The self-portrait is something most, if not all, artists explore at some point in their artistic career. It is a figure an artist can paint without worrying about offending the subject/model in any way. An artist can paint himself or herself however they like or however they see themselves, after all, we know ‘ourselves’ better than anyone else. There is perhaps a sense of more freedom and less worry of criticism when one paints a self-portrait – though there are ALWAYS critics – we ourselves are our own worst.

Another reason for this exhibition consisting of only self-portraits is the story I wanted to tell. The story of my battle of wills – the artist vs. the waitress as mentioned in a previous statement.

Since returning from living in Japan in June of 2007, I have lived away from the city, therefore away from my family and circle of friends, away from the social and cultural activities that enticed and inspired me before I left. I have not really had much interaction with anyone other than my partner, and the people I work with – leaving less opportunity to meet potential models and inspirational figures. I often work long hours in hospitality so my life has consisted of waiting and painting and not much else in between so it seemed inevitable that I should produce this body of work on exhibition aptly titled – ‘Food and Desire’.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Post...


Opening nights are a strange affair.

I used to think they were kind of exciting and basked in the social aspect of it all. These days, I feel very differently about the whole parade. If I had a choice this year I probably would've opted to not attend my own. Perhaps I have become more dedicated to and passionate about what I do that I only want to share what I do not who I am... as contradictory as that sounds - for I AM my art and my art is me. I suppose my body of work in this show narrates the most 'complete' story of any body of work I have ever produced.


It is me on the wall so do I NEED to be present while the works are on show?

My mind always races after the opening of an exhibition. I guess my thoughts shift from being so focused on producing the work before the show then all of a sudden I'm exposing what has been such a private and intense creative process and relationship with whoever walks into the gallery. There is perhaps a sense of security whilst my works are with me in the studio and I am constantly working on them and living with them... then the dynamic changes completely. They are no longer in the safe secure environment of 'my space' - they are out in the big world... like children leaving home. That may sound a little dramatic but I seem to be on a rambling roll at the moment so will continue... unedited. I mentioned to my partner the other day that my paintings are like my children. I am not a biological parent of a human being - my partner has two beautiful boys, whom I adore, but I will never give birth to a child of my own. I give birth to my paintings. It may be a difficult analogy for some people to grasp but it makes sense to me. The bizarre thing is I actually see similarities in my partners relationship with his children and my relationship with my art.

For the first time in six years I felt vulnerable at my own exhibition opening. I felt more naked than the figures in my work. I was not comfortable there. I am comfortable in my studio. Such a difference to the me of six years ago when I had my first exhibition at that particular gallery.To the me who used to manage a high profile gallery and organise such events with flair and flamboyancy.

Back then, the whole event was about a lot of different things. For me now though, it is about the art and ONLY the art.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Go Figure... and Deliver

Ironically, I have been sick since my last entry. I spent Anzac day horizontal, paying my respects from the couch. I did not eat for a couple of days. The timing was not good, but there never really is a good time to be unwell - not for anyone.

I delivered my paintings to the gallery today and stayed for the hanging. The paintings always seem to take on a new life, or light, when they are hanging all together on a pristine white gallery wall. I felt pleased with what I had produced but was looking forward to a night away from the works and being able to walk in there tomorrow night with somewhat fresh eyes.

The feeling of seeing them on a gallery wall is so completely different to viewing them at home or in the studio. There is a feeling of vulnerability once they are out there and exposed for people to see - and no doubt judge - we are all critics of some kind.

I am debating whether or not I want to place some text on view about the works. A kind of 'guide' to the paintings on exhibit. Normally I like to leave my art very open to individual interpretation, even though I may have a definite message or story within or behind the piece. I don't like to tell people what they should see - I don't wish to force my work on anyone. If someone likes it, that's great - without sounding blase about it, for admittedly it is always nice when somebody likes or appreciates your work.

I guess the fact that these works are just so personal, I would not like to think they would be misinterpreted. Then again, anyone likely to misinterpret them would probably not be interested in the story behind them anyway. Should I really be that concerned?

I need a good nights sleep.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Plate or Palette?


I must say, one thing that suffers, (other than my partner), when I am 'in the zone' : painting or preparing for an exhibition, is my diet.

As a general rule, I try to eat fairly healthy, opting for organic produce when I can get it. I don't eat meat, other than fish, and my diet usually consists of a good balance of fresh vegetables, grains, legumes and fish. Over the past few months however, my diet has been quite poor despite my passion for good food.

I sometimes forget to eat when I am painting. I get so involved with what I am doing that in a sense, my art feeds me - or at least suppresses my hunger. Often too, even when I am hungry, I find I do not want to stop the momentum or interrupt any creative roll I may be on to prepare food so I either skip meals or eat something quick and easy - and often not too nutritious.

This habit or lifestyle doesn't seem to present too many problems short term, but the longer it goes on the more I feel it having a negative effect and denying me the sustenance I ultimately need.
I guess it all comes back to the whole 'balance' thing that I speak of so often... something I am STILL striving for?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Silence is Golden

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Living in a Paint Box


Today I feel a little 'painted out'. I feel slightly claustrophobic. Stir crazy. I have made an attempt to paint all day but have found myself literally pulling at the neck of my t-shirt every few minutes. I was finding it very hard to focus let alone be disciplined.

Perhaps part of being disciplined is knowing when to stop, or at least have a break.

I think one can look at one's own work for far too long that distance is then needed for it to be appreciated again.

Being an artist is often very much a solitary sort of existence. I have had to try and explain to a number of friends as to why I cannot see them until the end of the month... or even have lengthy phone calls. To many this may sound rather strange or perhaps even selfish, however, I know those who truly know me do understand. If not now, they will after the show. One of my dear friends recently sent me a lovely text, after I briefly explained it to her via SMS (how times have changed), the last line meant the most to me, it read - 'Just keep painting, your people will still be there when you are done'.

Right now though, I feel the need to get out. Be outside.

I am going out! Even if it is only for a chai tea.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

12 Months Ago

I missed Japan a little last night... not to the point where I wanted to be there but enough to cook myself a bowl of ramen noodles with tofu and flick though some photos.
This time last year I was going through my post-opening comedown and preparing to go back to Japan... uncertain of how long I would be staying there.

A lot can happen in a year... and a lot has... but I am not complaining.

Today I painted all day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Patience and Persistence VS PMT

I have been losing patience with my work a little bit over this past week. Fortunately before I got to the point where it began to worry me, I realised I am extremely pre menstrual. I had been working on a piece earlier this week and as my hormones starting going haywire, along with my emotions, I began changing the painting.


I finally decided to stop and put it aside... and perhaps wait until I am feeling a bit more rational and patient. So I started two other pieces.

It is not unusual for me to work on two, three or several pieces at once, but I had been trying to be a little more disciplined with the works in this series and concentrate more on the whole start to finish process, one or two at a time. I think that may have contributed to my striving for patience and failing.

On the subject of patience, I must thank my partner. Not only does he have the patience with my PMT but also with my taking over the whole house with my 'art stuff'. In every place I have lived there is always a designated 'studio area'... this place is no exception, however, when preparing for an exhibition I have a tendency to take over the entire house. My 'studio space' is not equipped with a sink so I find myself using the bathroom to wash my brushes as the laundry is not as accessable. It does get cleaned on a fairly regular basis but I must say I am very lucky as C has never once complained or even made mention of the mess I leave behind.

I am grateful.