Norway wasn’t somewhere I thought I would be visiting so soon. My sister has been hopping between Australia and Norway for a couple of years now as she fell in love with a Norwegian boy at university. They suddenly decided to wed and so I hopped on a plane to be there for the big day.
The landscape there is like nothing I’ve seen before. So rocky and shapely. The pines, especially ones near the water are all squat from coastal winds. I sometimes felt like I was inside a giant bonsai display.
With such a small population, there’s a delicious sense of slowness and absolute quiet, but not in a desolate way.
It was so wonderful to spend time with my sister again. Only sharing the same father (different mothers), we didn’t grow up together, though our similarities in personality are surprisingly striking. We went on lots of nature walks together, which I will now share photos from. I’ll put up a couple of wedding snaps in another post (I had the pleasure of taking some bride and groom shots after the ceremony).
Well, my painting is finished and in the mail to Illustrators Australia to be hung in their yearly 9×5 exhibition. I’ll post details about the opening night closer to the date. In the mean time, here’s my piece all colourful and finished. I used gouache which is my new favourite painting medium. I like how matte it is and how easily you can paint in layers without it getting all tacky like acrylic.
I’ve recently become a member of Illustrators Australia who have a yearly exhibition for their members. We’re all sent out a 9×5 plank of wood to paint on and this years theme is “Play time”. It’s taken me some time to come up with an illustration which isn’t overly obvious. But an idea came to me quite randomly while going for a walk (though this is how ideas often come to me).
I was thinking about the friendship between Van Gogh and Gauguin, how legend tells us they were rather close while also being quite argumentative. So I loved the idea of a playful illustration with Van Gogh giving Gauguin a piggy back ride. Kind of sums up a sense of closeness with a touch of antagonism. I don’t think either of them thought they were better than the other (or did they?). But it just felt right, Van Gogh’s personality considered, for him to be trudging along doing the heavy lifting, cementing his devotion to his friend.
Oh my goodness, if only my high school art teacher could see me now! I used to hate going in to detail about art theory and symbolism, but look at me go! So much nonsense over a lil illustration.
So yes, the sketch is ready, but I need to paint a background before transferring these guys. I’m thinking a rolling meadow with lots of flowers.
I’ve been doing a short course on illustration, one night a week. It’s been a welcome escape and break up of a weekly routine. There was an activity where we had to illustrate the following beautiful poem. Below is my take on the piece. I used ink on watercolour paper.
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree of a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest know
Where you are. You must let it find you.
– David Wagoner
Grief can do funny things. Once you’ve had time doing almost nothing (what is time?) you start to get back in to the things you used to enjoy. For some reason, it took me extra time to pick up my Olympus film camera. The first few photos felt so clumsy, but it didn’t take long until its familiarity and warmth laid weightily in my hands.
Here are a couple I took in a paddock near my friends property. I always feel like I enter some kind of dream state when walking around there.
I’m trying out different comic strip styles lately. I’m liking this one I just finished working on for its mixture of hand-drawn and digital colouring. I often appreciate art with a minimal colour palette and so enjoyed limiting myself here.
This is a personal one, mostly to do with feelings of grief and displacement in our strange world.
I was back in Sydney recently to sort out a few very heavy things in my life. I might tell you about them another time. But Lavender Bay was a beautiful pause in my trip. There is such a feeling of nostalgia in Sydney, not just because that’s where I grew up. It’s an energy I pick up from poets and artists who once thrived in areas like the Hawkesbury River and Potts Point. So I suppose it’s no wonder I feel so drawn to Lavender Bay, as this is where Wendy Whiteley (and her husband Brett Whitely) converted what was basically a junk yard, in to the little oasis it is today. Wendy is shy, but I’ve spoken to her a few times and she was even happy to pose for a portrait. I make sure to thank her for the care she’s taken in this garden she keeps up for the public to enjoy.
Here is a quick pen sketch I did while sitting there in the sun.
Photography is one of my most loved outlets for my creativity. It’s pretty neat to be able to give others a peek in to how I see things and what catches my eye. It’s like “Here, see the way the light is hitting that leaf? I find it beautiful and maybe you will too”. Or, “Look at how utterly unique that person is”. *CLICK*
I already have a photography blog, but am thinking of taking it down because I’ve recently integrated my photos in to this here site. I figure it makes sense to have it all in the one place. You can have a look for yourself up there in the menu under photography (though I probably didn’t need to tell you that).
I mostly use my Olympus OM2 film camera, but sometimes shoot with a Sony Nex digital. There’s something about film I can’t resist.
It is nearly a full moon. On the opposite side of the sky, Venus and Jupiter look like they are about to collide. Directly below, a fire is burning in an open field.