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


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


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.