The Gallery Manager (Mathew) here at The Basement Gallery has put all my works from Reef – A Fine LIne on their website as an online catalogue. There is still time to see the exhibition “for real” as the exhibition runs until 4pm on Friday 24th. I am giving an artist talk on Thursday 23 at 10am so if you would like to meet me and ask questions about my work please come along – I’d love to meet you and explain my techniques, materials, inspiration and discuss what it’s like to be an emerging artist. The exhibition comprises drawings, embroidery, textile jewellery and collage – all related to the reef theme. Oh, and don’t forget that I am giving a short drawing workshop tomorrow morning (which you need to book for by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org )
I will be running another pen and ink workshop at the basement gallery from 10am to 1pm on Tuesday 21 November 2017. To register go to their facebook event page or email them on email@example.com The cost is $20, payable on the day.
We’ll look at the properties of different papers so that you know which papers I use, and why. I will demonstrate how I have drawn some of my images and talk about why I use particular pens. Then I will show you which acrylic inks I prefer, and talk about how they differ from other media such as watercolours, I will bring my brushes and pens for you to use, and will supply the inks for use in class so you can get a “feel” for them. Oxlades (at 49 Guthrie St, Osborne Park WA 6017) stock everything used in this class so if you decide you need some for yourself it would be worth visiting them.
The exhibition finishes on Friday 24 November. On Thursday 23rd I will be giving an artist talk starting at 10am (or just after) if you are interested in my inspiration, process or have any questions about the works.
Sometimes everything comes together to create an opportunity you just cannot pass up. That’s how come I am having a solo exhibition next week….
A friend noticed a Facebook post by The Basement Gallery asking for emerging artists who might be interested in holding an exhibition in their new premises (241 Hay Street, Subiaco) to attend an open viewing time. We both went along to find out more on behalf of a newly formed group that may be interested in exhibiting together – possibly next year. The gallery and associated Pop Creative graphics design are run by volunteers (mostly uni students) to gain work experience in the arts. During our discussions with the volunteer gallery curator we learned that there was a vacancy in November. We knew the group would not be ready by then (we haven’t even had our first meeting yet!) and I realised I already had enough work with a reef theme to fill the space. I have lots of pen and ink drawings, some collages and several textile pieces – all inspired by coral reefs and their inhabitants. I submitted the application and paid the hire fee so I will be exhibiting Mon 13 Nov to Fri 17 Nov and Mon 20 Nov to Fri 24 Nov (open weekdays only 10-4, closed weekends).
This is the invite to my first solo exhibition “Reef – A Fine Line”
The Artist in Residence Brief
As part of the “interaction with students” in the brief for the WAFTA Artist in Residence we were encouraged to give talks to groups of students and WAFTA members towards the end of the first week, and another talk towards the end of the second week.
The AHA Moment
Early on during the residency I realised that I couldn’t really create “an exhibitions’ worth” of necklaces, bracelets, brooches, etc. Two weeks simply wasn’t enough time. This was just prior to giving the first talk. I started thinking “if that’s the case, then why am I here” – and completely changed what I was thinking about for the remainder of the 2 weeks.
The First Talk
I decided to give my first talk as I had prepared it – describing what I thought adornment was, why we adorn ourselves, what types of adornment there are and the methods/techniques used to create them. I showed slides and talked about the type of imagery that inspires me – coral reefs, sea slugs, micro/macro images etc. Then I showed images of works by artists that inspire me: Mariko Kumusoto, Nora Fok and Arline Fisch. These 3 artists inspire me because their work is delicate, transparent, and either depicts or interprets natural elements. Nora Fok also makes some work that is her interpretation of mathematical concepts – which I also find inspirational (even though I am hopeless at maths!).
In-between the 2 Talks
I was nervous right from the start about talking to the students – that I wouldn’t be able to communicate effectively with them. I don’t really know why – they are people (just like me), they speak English (just like me), and we had a common interest in art. I kept telling myself it should be a breeze. In an attempt to reduce my nervousness I started making a mind map on the wall on the afternoon of the very first day. The artist in residence mind map was partly to show how I planned and recorded my research, and partly an artwork designed to prompt discussion between the students and myself. This took me a couple of days and then I started doing some planned experiments with thin interfacing.
I did a lot of the research in the 2 weeks prior to the residency so that I would be free to “make” and talk with visitors while I was there.Somehow, while I was sitting making (very repetitive, meditative work – spinning, wrapping) my mind wandered onto the questions of “what would be a big issue for young adult students?” and “how can I tailor my talk to include those issues?”
The Second Talk
I “sort of knew” that this talk would be completely different to the first – even before I gave the first talk! The second talk was supposed to be more about what the experience of being AIR was like. But I had started to think about the many media reports I had seen about Youth Suicide – and that this would be a relevant topic to weave into my second talk. So I included slides of my own work such as this one of some Shibori,
and this “Whirl” drawing, that related to being in a bit of mess.
I didn’t want to get really morbid – so mentioned some of the organisations that are around to help such as Youth Focus, Beyond Blue and LifeLine, as these seemed the most appropriate. If I’d been a bit better prepared I would have got hold of some brochures – but this all seemed to come “off the cuff” at the time. I wanted these young people to know that there are people who care what happens to them and are trained to help – and they are only a phone call away.
My final slide was of some work in progress.
I got lots of hugs from fellow WAFTA members at the end of the talk, which was great because it made me feel that maybe I had communicated well with the audience. I felt really glad that I had tackled this difficult subject rather than taking the easy path and just talking about the creative side to the residency.
The Biggest Surprise
Soon after our talks, the Manager of the North Metro TAFE Shop Front Gallery asked if Robi Szalay and I would like to stay on for another week. We were thrilled and soooo happy we immediately said “yes – we’ll do it” 🙂 So then I got to thinking – well, maybe during this third week I’ll make lots of necklaces, bracelets, barrettes, brooches, anklets, ear-rings, cuff-links, bangles, beads, lariats, hair-slides, toe-rings, cuff-links, ear-cuffs, rings……
There are still some drawings available for purchase. Numbers 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 are still for sale. I’ve just updated my Artwork Images to show all 18 of the Jolly Gerbera Series so you may like to check them out. They are for sale through the Artisan Store of Fremantle which specialises in high quality hand made art, jewellery and craft.
I’m EXCITED to have my work for sale in The Artisan Store Fremantle.
I have a glass cube and a glass shelf quite close to the window. Currently in the cube I have several hair barrettes and a bracelet made using Japanese seed beads. Also in the cube are 2 ceremonial bowls (made by recycling tea bags).
On the glass shelf I have a small easel with Jolly Gerbera #1 (of a series of 18 unique drawings) waiting for a new home. These are all framed by a professional framer here in Ellenbrook with a 20mm plain white frame so are ready to hang (ideal Christmas present for someone special). There is only room on the shelf for one at a time so if you see another one that you would like please contact The Artisan Store Fremantle. Once the one on display is sold they will put another one on the shelf. There are not many left now.
About the Jolly Gerbera Series
The Jolly Gerbera series was part of our MELD exhibition in 2014 and was very popular. My artist statement for the series was:
Gerberas. Jolly Gerberas. Their “essence” is vibrant, colourful, happy. Each one is a miniature natural mandala for meditation and contemplation with the power to transform my mood. These drawings attempt to preserve the “essence of Gerbera”. Pen drawing using archival pigmented ink on 185gsm smooth Arches watercolour paper. Coloured with archival pigmented acrylic inks. Sakura Pigma Micron black pen. Schmincke Aero colour Professional Finest Acrylic Ink and Art Spectrum Artists’ Pigmented Ink. Drawings were begun in March 2014 and series completed in July 2014. Each drawing 18cm square (30cm w x 30cm h including frame).
Keywords: flower, bright, circle, mandala, symmetry, gerbera, daisy, abstract, modern
About the etching class
As I am very much a novice print maker I learned a great deal at this class. I had been keen to learn this print method for 2 reasons. The first is that my drawings are very detailed, with very fine lines, and I wanted to reproduce that fine detail. I knew that etching would achieve that. The second is that I had read that Edinburgh Etch was a less toxic method that could be done at home.
My previous foray into etching used more hazardous chemicals and required a fume cupboard – I only did it once and decided that was not for me.
Preparing the etching plates
For the first lesson we prepared the plates – bevelled the edges, polished the surface, poured on the hard ground, waited for that to dry, and protected the back and edges. Then we drew into the hard ground, and placed the plate in the Edinburgh Etch solution for 45 minutes. Then the tape and hard ground were removed to reveal the bitten image.
Printing from the etched plates
The printing took place during the second lesson and I was very pleased with the result. Some of the other people in the class had a go at adding aquatint but I decided to keep it simple this time around. During this lesson we also prepared another plate so that we could draw into it at home ready for printing during lesson 3.
These lessons were aimed at beginners so we only used one colour. Shana talked about using more than one colour and registration, but what we did was quite enough for me to take in at this early stage. I also asked a lot of questions about the type of paper that is suitable for printing etchings. I need to do some homework on this to find out which papers I like best.
I know now that this method suits my style of work and will be practical for my home studio situation. I will be able to do the actual printing at the PAWA premises where they have a press for the use of members.
I left feeling inspired and with an extra plate to have another go at home. I’ve bought most of the things required – just a couple of bits and pieces left to find. I’ve read 5 library books about printing since the class and am part way through another!
I’ve known for a long time that alternating between sitting and standing to work has lots of health benefits over sitting for all work. So I rigged up a temporary standing station and have been using it for months – changing the items in the stack until I found the perfect height. The height of this plastic box/ironing board, drawing board stack has worked perfectly although the board on the top is a bit wobbly – especially if I lean on it too far towards the back or the front edges.
I measured the total height from the top of the table to the top of the drawing board (for me, and knowing it would always go on the same table, this turned out to be 38cm). Then I analysed what else I needed this standing station to do. I needed lots of removable shelves about an inch or so apart that could take an A2 (420 x 594 mm) sheet of paper (for when I’m painting papers so they’re not sitting all over the floor while they dry). The worktop and shelves needed to be moisture resistant. I knew it would be reasonably heavy (a good thing – it won’t move as I work on it) so I wanted a “lip” at the front and back so it could be lifted easily. It needed a back so that papers wouldn’t get pushed through, and the back also served as extra support for the shelves. I wanted the front to be open so that air could circulate and help the papers to dry faster. I wanted a bit of extra width on the worktop to allow me to have an A2 paper plus a small paint dish beside it. Once I had decided all these things I put in a request to Edgar the resident handyman (Father in Law). It took a few weeks but I now have the perfect standing station – to be revealed in the next post 🙂