Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reminiscing at Year's end!

Well, I've just looked at the date of my last blog and see it's back in the middle of 2010.....which just goes to show how quick this year has passed by. I set out to have a good year and it's definitely been that!

The Survey of my artworks over the last 30 years or so has been hung at the Orange Regional Gallery and opened to a large crowd of the best people I know. It was fantastic to see the different crowd that came to the opening that night. There's a 2 mb video on my website if you want to wait for it load....shows about 1/3 of the show.

With 6 exhibitions behind me this year, I am looking towards hopefully a quieter 2011. This year has been quite strenuous and one has to wonder what sort of perverted amusement one gets from all the pressure. Along with my own shows, I have hung and curated another 10 or so at Jayes in Molong so in many ways I am exhibited out!

There was also the larger than life itself, putting together of CONTEMPORANEA with Jim van Geet which traveled from Melbourne CBD to Canberra over the month of October to November. Jim and I were amazed at the exceptional response we got to our proposal for the Florence Biennale Artists of Australia group which we head up, to exhibit together. We expected about 20 artists to respond but no; 33 artists put their hands up and we ended up with over 100 paintings, all of which were large or really, really large to hang. Argh! But Jim is an amazing man and whilst the whole exercise put me into hospital with a 'stress' attack,. Jim carried on and hung the Melbourne show then packed it and took it to Canberra. Thanks also to all those wonderful artists who pitched in and helped!

You can see my friend and artist, Sibylle Werner here with Good Boy by Gillie and Marc! Good Boy was a great drawcard and brought a variety of responses!

Here we are at the National Gallery testing out the pears!

 All round it's been a great year! Hard, but great! So till next time, break a leg!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Strange New Ideas!

I was wandering in the mind this morning....hmmm...as I often do. The topic I was wandering around was the idea of digital images and the lack of understanding of this new art form here in Oz.

The reason for me wandering off into a maze of thoughts and ideas around this topic was brought about by a conversation with the curator at the gallery in Canberra where I currently have a show. One of the offerings on hand is of course, a digital print otherwise known as a Giclee Reproduction. Now this seems perfectly obvious to me as an extension of my artworks but to the average punter, it is a frightening thing to think that someone can make a copy of a work and then print it in "how many" copies?

The curator was asked whether it was a lithograph? Does the print method make a difference? Lithographs can be reproduced ad-infinitum also and the artist rarely has a hand in making them either.....that is if they are as complicated as the painting I am rendering in a different format. The buyer still needs to trust that the edition is limited as the artist says.

But why are we so afraid of new printing methods here? I felt that perhaps there is a feeling that artists should be keepers of past technologies, masters of secrets long forgotten, the shamans who will bring forth those ideas when a society collapses......hmmm? Is that why here in Oz we are so afraid of the 'new media' or is it a completely philistine lack of knowledge.

When I went to Florence, the biennale had 2500 works there to ponder and amongst them were a great number of artists working in the new media. So prevalent was digital technology that there were works, not only on canvas, but reproduced on paper, aluminum sheets, glass, plastics and polyurethane surfaces and on and on. These were fascinating to look at! They challenged you to look further into the new.......

So for the life of me I can't understand why here we still think that working digitally is something of a fraud; not 'real art' is it?

I hope for the sake of all the artists out here in Oz pushing the boundaries and seeking out the new (which is what I thought artists did?) that the art voyeurs start to look in wonder at some of the wonderful pieces that new technologies are allowing us artists to pursue! They are artworks just the same as the old and true!

Anyway I feel better now, do you?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review of Canberra Show

Sarina Locke from the ABC opened the show last Saturday night! Here's Bob (Director), Sarina and Joy (me!) All round a great success!

How to get FREE press!

Ever wondered how some people always seem to manage to get those good stories written about them? On the road to Canberra the other day, this question was brought home to me loudly and clearly!

I was able to drop in to see a little gallery in a tidy and friendly village where I regularly stop for decidedly yummy apricot slice and creamy coffee! Today, the gallery was open, so having a bit of time to spare and being the super sleuth that I imagine myself to be, I popped in.

A pleasant enough woman stood at the counter and engaged me in conversation. Bright with curiosity, she asked me where I came from, so with my writer's hat on, I whipped out my business card and told her I was in search of stories and would like to perhaps write the gallery up on my blog.

With hardly a glance at the card, the blinds came down and the shutters went up and in a stern voice, I was informed that the gallery didn't advertise and wasn't interested. No, I couldn't take a photo as I might steal someone's copyright, etc blah blah blah.....

After getting off my left foot which had mysteriously become glued to the floor, I managed to assure her that I wasn't there to sell her anything, that I really was trying to familiarise myself with the local arts goings on.

After a rather awkward and lengthy round of general questions about the gallery, I was finally allowed to take a photo and I beat a hasty retreat to the safety of my car. As I drove down the road, I composed a nice positive story about the gallery and the work I had seen but my gut instincts and over-riding emotions won out and this is the story that has demanded to come forth - so just a few words for those of you who have ever wondered "How come some people get all the press?"

When someone approaches your gallery, shop, studio and hands you a business card, do take some time to actually read the card and understand 'why' they are there. A friendly smile and co-operation on some level cannot hurt; a warm hand-shake, a cuppa offered, a question or two about the person all would lighten and brighten everyone's day and make a good impression of you and your space.

I for the life of me can't understand why someone can't see the difference between the words "editor" and "sales" - my business card clearly states "arts editor" - now in my world that means a person who writes stories - and that is an opportunity!

Taking me off at the knee just in case I ram an advertising schedule down your reluctant throat, doesn't help to advance your story.

Some people have a press ready file available with current stories, recent press clippings, photos that can be used in both digital and print format available at all times just in case an opportunity arises - think about putting one together today, duplicate x 3 or 4 copies, hand it out with a generous heart before you leap into aggressive and assertive action to oust the 'intruder'!

Now it may be that 'madam of the gallery' didn't like the look of me. I am quite an imposing woman at 6 feet tall. I can cut quite a ludicrous site to the more conservative of us with my colourful Zandra Rhodes hair and jeans that are worn at the hems, not quite right for a woman of my age I am sure some must exclaim! But I am who I am and as I am comfortable with that, then to meet with a disapproving stare and judgmental glance of 'madam director' was a clear indication to an artist and arts writer that indeed this was not a creative space.

For the most part, galleries are fun filled, laughter enclosed spaces where people are free to express themselves as they look at and are intrigued by the freedom of expression and abundant views of the artists represented.

My advice is, if you accidentally stumble into a conservative space and are met with the type of reception I got, then turn and run for yur life as quickly as you can.

The gallery will remain anonymous, the experience will never be forgotten. Unfortunately the artists represented, although on the safe and conservative side, were quite affordable and collectible but their stories are safely being guarded by 'madam director' - some people should never have made the 'tree-change'!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Country Ramble

Hi everyone!

Well I've finally made it back here to write a few thoughts down and show you a few highlights of the last few days!

Imagine my surprise and delight to see Jessica Watson in her boat coming through the Spit at Southport the other day! I had just taken a walk along the beautiful beach, dreaming all the while, when I noticed how busy it was. I thought "Isn't it great that people use this spot?" But no, they were gathering to see Jessica return home. And here she is!

I said to a couple of nice young men with their surfboards next to me "She's a hero you know!" and they replied "She's definitely our hero!" It brought a tear to my eye to see one so young make such an impact on us all with her bravery! Well done Jessica!

And here's a shot of the beach - amazing shades of blues and greens - so fresh and clean!

The contrast between the Moree Plains and the wide ocean are wonderful to experience within a few days of each other ..... makes you think and feel ...... reminds you of what a wonderful place we all live in! How wide and free, remote and sparse, how diverse!

The colours of Australia make you want to paint, to splash about in the studio and create great big canvasses! Check out this Moree sunset!

and here's a colourful view of the Glasshouse Mountains along the way! It was a lovely journey, 2100 kms by car all on my own with some wonderful friends and dinners along the way! But today, well, I'm back at the desk doing what artists do....surfing the net and writing up their blogs hehe!

Happy painting! nJoy

Friday, May 14, 2010

New adventure - oh Joyous!

Well hi,

It always seems a little weird, sitting here at my desk, pondering the outside world......they tell me that computers make you antisocial......not sure whether that's right in my case as I seem to get about a fair bit......yep, even at my age!

Just lately, I've taken up the new role of arts editor for Style Magazine......"the essential lifestyle guide for rural and regional NSW". And just this week, the first edition came out with my glamour shot, editorial and feature article in it! Couldn't be more thrilled really.....amazing what glossy white paper and crisp clean print can do for one's words. I have cleaned up OK for the photo.....am amazed at how good Diana's photography is. Either that or she has a fabulous camera that should be gold plated!

See what I mean! Hmmm! This is going to be a good journey for me, I feel it in my bones! And it's always good to be able to write about the thing that inspires you the most in life and for me that would be the arts! All those wonderful images and objects that people create...there's always something new to look at, wonder about or trigger something deep!

So anyway, the adventure begins.....who would of thought that at my age I'd start yet another new journey and one that will inspire me to grow more! Life just gets better!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

2010 - Faster - Weirder!

Well, it seems my paintings have made it to Bologna for the "Small Treasures" exhibition in May at the Galleria de' Marchi.

 Above is the painting I executed for last show which didn't make it due to the economic downturn and now this time around, we have the volcano in Iceland doing it's thing.....just a reminder of my current theme for painting - Climate Change.

I must say I just love it when Mother Earth behaves badly! Just as we hear that there's a One World Order creating Carbon Credits to bring climate change under control (? what's that about), ol' mum lets off enough pollution to remind us just who is charge.

Of course if you live in those big battery sheds called cities, you hardly ever get out to see how awesome nature really is and so you can imagine in your mind that man is really in charge......for those of us however, that live out in nature, just one summer storm reminds us to be on the lookout.

"The Eye of the Eagle" exhibition at Jayes in Molong went really well and was received with interest by all who came along. Many were surprised at how positive the show was as they were expecting something gloomy but really, I just paint the beauty of the earth as I see it and despite what we do to her. I focused on landscapes from an aerial perspective as seen by the eagle in flight. As I googled my way across the earth daily, I found amazing patterns and places that inspired me to put paint to canvas in the brightest of colours trying to capture the eagle's pentachromatic vision.

Here's one that I did for "Small Treasures". I was inspired by the recent flooding of our inland. I think this one is called "Flooded Outback" but can't be sure, such is the state of my thinking this year! If you look close, you'll see the little farmhouse caught in the middle of islands between the floodwaters with all the roads closed.

It has been such a busy year and so far, too much to do and think about. The floods have been amazing though and right across our land bringing relief to our drought stricken land which is the 'boom and bust' nature of Australia.

I just love this place. It's so amazing to be alive here and now! and to be able to see it all from Google Earth - what a fantastic invention!

I wish you all the best out there in lala land! Keep sane amongst the madness of it all!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Early Morning Australia

I don't know why but I just had to get out of bed at sparrow's fart this morning and head off for a walk/stumble in the bush. Of course, my fave spot of the moment is Gosling Creek. So off I went.

I think it was the fact that for the first time in a while, we had clouds in the sky, a promise maybe of rain but certainly of a colourful sunrise. Clean crisp and cool air.....not to be wasted I felt! The recent heat has made me very thankful for the early breeze of morning.

And there's always the beauty of watching nature paint the early morning sky.....that blend of colours, that big soft water colour, an amazing thing to watch and for me, it had been too long since I had gone out and appreciate the sunrise and bird songs.

And there's the other thing, nature painting the trees as the sun rises, the way the light captures the beauty of the branches and the eternal clear light of Australia. It's a beautiful place, inspiring and ancient.

Although out of focus, an effect I rather like as it reminds me of a soft water colour work, the light and colours of the early morning amongst our trees is always wonderful to catch.

Well, this week has seen the last of the paintings for my next show at Jayes and I am glad to be able to rest again at last. The year ahead is quite daunting with 6 shows, 2 of them overseas and 2 in major cities......it'll be a big year! As well, I am hoping to catch a trip outback......whew!

But bring it on! One day at a time and I'll be there!

Hope you have a great day painting and being inspired. Do stop and smell the roses or at least take a break and look out at the world in wonder.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"The Eye of the Eagle"

 "Gorge and engorged" 68 cm x 48 cm Mixed Media on D'Arches

This recent month has seen me hard at work in my studio imagining flying over the deserts of Central Australia as an eagle and then putting this down on paper. I was amazed whilst reading up on eagles and how they see, to learn that they have pentachromatic vision (we have tetrachromatic). Eagles can see ultraviolet and infrared colours - so Wow!

Pondering the complexity of this, I felt that they saw far more brightly than we did and so I pushed a few colours round in Photoshop to see what effects I could get. All this dreaming and fiddling around has led to very colourful exhibition indeed. At first I found it too much but as I settled into it, the paintings burned into my soul and I now feel quite at home with them and their intense colours.

Why eagles and why now? Firstly, recent heatwaves have crossed the country leaving it bare and exposed, dry and parched. Daily reminders of the planet getting hotter, have left me wondering once again about Climate Change; is it real, why does it happen and what does it mean?

I don't have answers to this although I find it extraordinarily fascinating......like most of us I believe.

Australia is the driest and harshest continent on the planet with the most ancient and exposed soils. Millions of years have passed and former mountains have eroded down into floodplains and deserts. These cover over 90 % of Australia. The colours when viewed from a plane, are bright reds, oranges and yellows with tracks and dry river beds crisscrossing the land.

Secondly, I feel, if we could read the land, if we could understand the patterns and their meanings, then just maybe we could learn to live with the earth successfully. We could stop building cities on fertile lands and fields, we could build for temperature and climate changes, we could do things better. It's true we've survived for almost 5 million years but the recent upswing in our skills has hurt the planet more than ever before and now we worry about our own survival as a species for probably the first time ever in our history.

I have painted these paintings from a deep part of myself that yearns for a greener place, a safer place but at the same time is amazed and drawn to the wondrous colours of the earth.

Australia may be the oldest and most exposed place right now, but believe me, it's where other countries are headed over the next few thousands of years as the glaciers dry up and and the mountains erode down to floodplains and deserts. Look at this place, Australia and learn for this is where you are headed. It is not a country that can sustain many more people than it currently does......it is not the lucky country it once was.......and we will need to move whole towns and populations as the heat increases and the desert continues to grow ever larger.

There is no doubt in my mind that human activity here in this 'sacred' place has exacerbated the rate of desertification. The ripping out of whole forests, the ploughing and chemical spraying of large tracks of land, the channeling of water away from floodplains and marshlands continues today despite the warnings written already in our land and able to be seen by the eagles looking for their old hunting grounds.

Try looking at the earth through 'the eye of the eagle'!

The exhibition can be seen at Jayes Gallery in Molong NSW from 5 February to 7 March or online closer to that date.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Summer turns up the heat!

Summer is really here with temperatures soaring inside the studio to over 30 degrees let alone outside.....temps at 35 degrees and higher! Tonight it's still 30 degrees outside at midnight (or nearly!) and bush fires burning in South Australia and Victoria on catastrophe alert!

But all the while, it's raining across the desert and the water is collecting in Lake Eyre. There's floods to the north of here whilst we languish with little water in the town. The amazing thing is, the mines nearby (Cadia Mines) have just announced another extension which will need a further 6 mega litres daily from an already ailing system. Our town doesn't have the luxury of a river nearby but relies totally on local rainfall for the supply. And we are told that the mine is already planning to mechanise the processes so there will be a short burst of employment then back to the same number of employees as we have today. Once the mine water goes through the system, guess what, it's unusable in any form and so can't be returned to the system.

Amazing shortsightedness.....all about money and a once very beautiful town, the Colour City, now becoming "the brown town" very quickly!

As an artist, I have painted many works on climate change, been collected by the Federal Department for Climate Change and one of my paintings (a collaboration with Nyree Reynolds - aboriginal artist) sits at the doors to the Conference Rooms for Climate Change in Canberra. It is a warning......I wonder if anyone ever stops to consider it?

The exhibition I am currently painting is also about the changes to our landscape and the lack of water......not that many people want to think about it! But it constantly keeps in front of me and I fear for the future of this place.

In the north hemisphere, the winters are the coldest for many years...wish they could send some of the snow down here! But still we use up all the fossil fuels we can, we don't lobby governments to change and we idly stand by as they send 45,000 people to a conference designed to fail......imagine the carbon footprint of that exercise alone?

For my bit, I am trying to adjust down and this year is my year of 'clearance' and I am determined to reduce the size of my personal footprint to as low as possible and repurpose what I can. Tonight I sit here and wonder how simple it can get......I live in a small studio, I wash by hand, I dry my clothes on an old fashioned clothes line and I walk a fair bit nowadays. The cooler is currently turned off as I sit here sweating away writing this.....the studio is in darkness and the doors are all open waiting for a breeze to spring up but it will be closer to morning when the breezes come. They say tomorrow will be worse than today and I expect it will reach over 37 degrees here tomorrow (for the temperature challenged, that is over 104 degrees F)

I wonder if people will come to my next solo show and I wonder even more, if they will want to invest in art that is so "hot" and 'dry'? "The Eye of the Eagle" - a bird's eye view of what we are doing to this sacred place.......

Is this the Australia that we should know about? It is written in the geology of the land that this has happened many times before....Australia is a land of cycles of extensive drought and heat followed by floods and cooler weather.....is this just another cycle or is there anything bigger going on here? And can we as humans make a difference? I wonder.......and wonder......how about you?