PART 5 – POST 8
Following written feedback from the tutor and almost an hour long video talk about my work, I feel to have a clear direction of how to proceed and so the process continues. The main focus from the feedback for me now is on further exploration of the painting medium itself. There is so much to continue to learn here. With the topic of the critical essay concentrating on personal issues about ‘country’and identity, this has dominated thought and so the’what’ of my work has had precedence over the ‘how’. In these next months, I will be focusing on ‘painting’ itself.
Another important point came out of my recent feedback. In the work this year, I’ve found that the inclusion of the written word has been a natural addition to the painting process. Often, I would take the painting so far and then conclude the thought process by writing poetry. This wasn’t a forced process; the written word simply came quite naturally to me as an idea unfolded. But I am beginning to realise that in doing this, I’m actually cutting short the full expression of an idea in the painting itself. I love ideas and I am beginning to see that it has been the idea which has driven the creative process and not the pursuit of the idea through the development of the painting. This has been something of a revelation to me. To further explore this in the next work, I’m putting aside the written word and allowing the painting to guide the expression of the idea.
The final artist’s statement presented in the previous post will need further revision following the tutor report but that will come in a later post.
With the very serious situation of worsening bushfires in Australia, I am continuing the body of work on the climate. The Australian landscape is conditioned somewhat to fire. Species of the Eucalyptus have adapted, to allow them to survive through the protection of thick, tough bark. The thick tough bark also insulate dormant buds which are able to reshoot after fire. Buds can turn active and grow due to environmental stress such as fire or drought. The bark may be removed or burnt by severe fire but buds are still able to germinate and recover.
With this fact in thought, I began some studies using the bulb as a starting point for the promise of new life. I had worked with images of the bulb earlier in drawings and so I went back to these earlier studies –
I began to explore the shape with quick line drawing using ink and the sharp end of a stick. I wanted to get as much energy and life into the shape as possible. Then I applied paint with my hands.
These preliminary sketches gave me a familiarity with the object. I am using drawing as an exploratory tool for form as well as feeling.
The following steps were the important ones. With the drawings and the bulb in front of me, I now concentrated on the painting, still working in the sketchbook. I was most interested in the colour and wanted to suggest in its application that, even in dire conditions, there was new life being germinated. I started with cadmium red and yellow and cobalt blue, mixing the various colours and tones on the palette with my hands – I still don’t seem to be able to connect with brushes…too remote! I began the study on the left side of the surface, trying to get away from always beginning in the middle. Interestingly the image of the buld emerged out of the paint – I didn’t actually attempt to draw it.
I had in mind the tutor’s comments about the edges of the painting and the need to include every bit of the surface. I feel that this has been achieved simply by the variations of tones in the colour mixing, There is a sense of a space in which something is happening…
So many new colours have emerged through the colour mixing. Everything is still being done with my hands or pieces of stick and occasionally wiping back the paint with plastic cards. I feel that the idea of germination is being achieved here, in secret, hidden from view, but there is a loving presence, even in the midst of the red hot of the fire.
Still exploring the new life emerging with the bulb, I did a second study in the sketchbook.
As before, the colours were mixed and applied with my hands, this time with the inclusion of cadmium orange and quinacridone violet. Again I started at the side of the surface. Interestingly, more drawing has emerged in this study, done with stick and cards and I feel that it has lost much of the germinating conditions surrounding the object. It is much more a painting of a bulb compared with the first study. I think the colours and tones indicate the fire surroundings but somehow there is a disconnect.
Watching the idea emerging out of the paint is exciting and I’m pleased not to be using words to fill in the gaps. I want to now use what I’ve discovered in a painting…