Monday, March 31, 2008

Riches To Rags

I took some time out from painting on the weekend and went to Ballarat with my partner and his two boys. A dear friend of mine had invited me to her partner's, (Ted May), exhibition at Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.

It has been a while since I have been to any sort of art event or exhibition opening. I think the last opening I went to was my own in April last year. A lot has changed since my days as gallery manager at Metro 5 Gallery, where it was a job requirement to schmooze at such events inside and outside of the gallery. I did get caught up in it all for a little while but I must say I prefer things a little more low key now.

There were a number of faces I recognised from those days whilst enjoying Ted's work on Saturday, and a number of them recognised me. One comment I loved was made by someone who did not recognise me at first glance and when his partner pointed me out he made a remark that suggested one of the reasons he did not recognise me was because I was not dressed as dashingly as I was when in that position. He did not quite know how to word it, possibly worried his words might be taken in offence, but I understood what he meant and I certainly did not see it as a criticism. In fact I felt more comfortable in my trusty cargo pants and plain black t-shirt than I would have in my white tuxedo.

This is not to say I don't like to get dressed up on occasion, but it is for different reasons now. When it comes to these sort of events, I am happy to dress down and blend in. I don't want to stand out. Art events are about the art on the walls, not a fashion show - and when it comes to my exhibition, I'd rather people notice my work than me or what I am wearing.

I have just questioned my subconscious - for perhaps this is the reason I am not wearing anything in my paintings. It's not about exhibitionism... it's more about a no frills type of rawness.

It makes sense to me anyway...

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Art Of Endurance

Finally I have finished the next piece in the new series. I feel exhausted after hunching over my canvas for the past few days and squinting whilst doing all the fine brushwork.

I am feeling happy about my work though so it makes this exhausted feeling worth it.

It is nearly time for a shift carrying plates... how fitting - this piece says it all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Me, Myself Portrait and I

This current body of work is possibly the most personal and intimate that I have ever produced. So personal that I feel it will be somewhat of a risk to show it - or should I say exhibit it in a commercial gallery sense.

All works thus far in this series are self portraits - a subject I have had numerous debates about regarding mine and others. I am an artist who will happily promote this subject, and when needed, defend it... and my reasons are not as egotistic as some may think. Having said that, I don't know an artist without an ego - then again, I don't know many people, artists or not, who do not possess at least something that resembles one. It's not a dirty word.

This body of work is also the most articulate work I have done for a long time. I feel like I have been working on this current piece forever. I have spent the past few days working on it and I still feel like I have so much more to do before it is complete.

It will be interesting to see how this work is perceived. I could worry about what others will think of the work and whether they will understand my reasons for painting this series but I am choosing not to. For far too long I have let things like this worry me far too much.

Worry less - Paint more.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Final Touch

It's always such gratifying feeling to complete a piece AND be happily satisfied with it.

My new work is really making so much sense to me. I feel I am beginning to make up for lost time. For the first time in ages I feel so connected to, involved in, and excited by the work I am doing and it's a fucking great feeling.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Calling it a Night...

Due to poor light...

Being in the hospitality industry, as I am at present, I work most nights, therefore it is quite rare for me to have the opportunity to paint at night, such as tonight. This being the case I have never really worried too much about lighting in the house/studio as not only do I prefer to paint in natural light, but it, (daytime), was really the only time I had the opportunity to paint.

Now that I am spending less time carrying plates and more time pushing paint I am going to have to look into purchasing some kind of artificial lighting - perhaps some that simulates natural light - to allow me to paint well into the coming evenings.

My eyes began to feel rather strained tonight so I had to stop. I feel a little anxious about stopping tonight as the piece I have worked on meticulously all day, (and not just today), is finally so close to completion.

My partner has watched me painting this piece (and a sister piece) for the past week or so and made a comment earlier today about the hours upon hours that can be spent on each piece without any real evidence of progress to the average eye. He is so right. However, finally, late this afternoon - the progress became visible.

I am finally feeling excited about and interested in my work again after a long lull. It's a good feeling.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Random Ramblings From a Visual and Verbal Diary

Food and desire...
The battle between necessity and passion – one feeding the other and the frustration along the way. Where would I rather be? What would I rather be doing. Exploring the idea or notion… fighting to create… the painting waitress – the waitress who paints – the painter who waits…. Waits to create… waits to paint.

Exploring my world… the means in which I need to meet to paint… as well as the NEED to paint. Waitressing to support my art. Also exploring the mysteries or other persona of the waitress… such a personal yet non attached job… an intimate yet generic job or role. Serving an audience. What does a waitress do when she is not waiting? More than just a waitress… the notion that she could be anyone or anything outside of her waiting job. Many musicians, actresses and artists have done it. Often it’s a way to make ends meet whilst waiting for a break or recognition or respect in their chosen field of the arts…. Waiting to be noticed? People have no idea of what else you can do other than carry multiple plates and pour champagne with one hand behind our back and a smile on our face… “she’s just a waitress” – oh no she is not – she is so much more…. Wanting to sometimes scream out loud… to paint the walls…. The disrespect from some… the demands to be ‘served’…. We offer a service but not our dignity. What makes you better than me? Then there’s the tippers…. Most are genuine – a few are sometimes patronising… ‘here – take my money, I have too much and you look like you could use some, after all, you’re just a waitress.’ There is a certain mystery to waitresses and waiters… its like role play… we ARE actors… we are not always happy to see the customer – sometimes we’d rather be doing something else…. I know most of the time I’d rather be painting, though there is somewhat of a fondness for the job, the people and for the role play – I guess ultimately I could be who ever I want to be, what would anyone know?… but all I want to be is an artist…. I AM an artist. An artist who waits.

There is also the personal and sensual element to food and taste… the quality, presentation and service can contribute to making someone’s night, or day, special… memorable…

Some remember you some forget…. the same goes the other way. Some want to know more about you, others pretend they already know and some couldn’t even remember which one of us took the drink order. Some are understanding some just demanding… some want all your attention some want hardly any… you learn a lot about people… but what do people learn about the waitress?

A battle of wills
A conflict of interest.
A slave to the wage.
It takes two
Waiting to paint
Plate or palette
Serve it up
My heart on a plate (I wear my heart on my plate/palette)
Serving up my soul
Culinary studio
Culinary culture
Taking orders
Passive aggressive
Me and myself versus I
Pushing to paint
What’s on the plate
Carving up the canvas
A recipe for dreaming
Place your order (here)
First course / Entrée
Main course
Just desserts
Time waits for noone

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Canned Heat

I am struggling with the heat today.

Sometimes I find I have more energy on hot days - but today I am finding the heat oppressive. It is affecting my work and my time in the studio. It is battling with my creative productivity and it is winning today. As I tried to stitch into my canvas I felt like my hands were melting.

I sat on the couch to eat lunch and ended up falling asleep. When I awoke it took me some time to drag myself off the couch and back into the studio. I attempted again to work on a canvas but found myself back on the couch.

I don't even think it is actually that hot today, but for some reason I am feeling it to its full intensity and it is causing me to feel incredibly lethargic. Admittedly I have not had a great nights sleep in some time, and I have never professed to being a Summer or hot weather person but this feels somewhat extreme for me... and apparently the coming week is going to be even warmer.

It's a waste of time feeling like this. I am going to go to Bunnings and buy a fan tomorrow.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Fill In The Blanks

I picked up my twelve custom made canvases yesterday and whilst I was at my suppliers, ordered a couple of larger ones.

It is always as daunting as it is exciting when I get new canvas to paint and create on. After all these years I am still somewhat intimidated by the blank surface - pristine and white - daring me to make a mark... MY mark.

My head has been spinning a little in the studio today. I am jumping from one piece to another, whilst contemplating a brand new one. I feel a great lack of discipline today but also a resurgence of inspiration and motivation - so it's not all bad.

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Recipe For Dreaming

I was just about to head off to bed when I saw a story on the late news.

I cannot even begin to write about how happy this story has made me and has given back a little of the faith I seem to be rapidly losing in and for the Australian art world.

I have admired the work of Del Kathryn Barton for a few years now and whilst I am not a big fan of, or advocate for, art awards - despite having helped to create one during my time in arts management - I was pleased to hear of this result.

I will sleep easier tonight.