RE:Location Project …the next layer

Veiled Horizons Dusk 122 x 122 cm acrylic on canvas

Veiled Horizons Dusk 120 x 120 cm acrylic on canvas

After returning from visiting Ireland and the UK it is exciting to see new work finally starting to take shape.

Currently I am painting although I am longing to start working on some digital images for the Re:Location exhibition.

My first work took on the ambiance of  my own back yard. I overlook the Minden Valley and late in the day, as the sunlight fades, it becomes atmospheric, almost spiritual.

The third work I finished had moved offshore, taking me back to the ancient architecture of the churches and castles  and the tiny streets of my ancestral lands. The family tree then emerged and I knew it was complete. I am looking forward to posting more artworks as they emerge and I relive my wonderful seven weeks of travel.

Ancestral lands 122 x 122 cm acrylic on canvas

Ancestral lands 120 x 120 cm acrylic on canvas

Coping with the unexpected

We arrive at a time in our lives when an unexpected experience is pivotal in changing who, where and what we believe in. Today I am visiting the orthopedic surgeon who put my painting wrist back together in late January. While he must see the tragic results of many traumatic injuries he remains upbeat, loving what he does. ‘I am just a carpenter ‘ he smilingly says ‘ I just work with bone instead of wood’.

I recently began reading Taking Heaven Lightly written by Roisin Fitzpatrick, an artist whose near death experience went on to take her art to the highest places. While my smashed wrist was not life threatening, as was her brain haemorrhage, there was some concern regarding the future of my art career.

However lessons learned in life are game changers. I painted with my left hand while I questioned my path and today I am still in the studio. At some point in a recent overseas journey my right hand became part of me again. It may not be as agile as it once was, but it is early days.

Chateaubriand in Travels in Italy wroteEvery man carries within him a world which is composed of all that he has seen and loved, and to which he constantly returns, even when he is travelling through, and seems to be living in, some different world’.

Catching up with some unfinished work produced the following videos on my projects and books.

RE:Location Art Pod Project -VIDEO

Three books on the creative journey -VIDEO

 

 

A Sense of Belonging

I am on a journey of discovery. Encountering new experiences is the substance of life, but this journey is a seven week trip that includes looking back in time to the lands of my ancestors as part of the first leg of a long awaited art project Re:LOCATION.

On Thursday 14th May 2015, after eight days at sea with a mostly non-English speaking companions, and stops only on the African and European continents, we landed for a day at the Port of Dover in the Kent Region of England. This was my first encounter with the ancestral lands I had dreamed of visiting since a child.

My father was a seaman, and his people before him, and his grandfather left this region of England in the 1800’s to cross the seas to Australia. As for many of my ancestors from England, Scotland and Ireland the sea passage before them would have been harrowing. These were stoic people, heading into the unknown with very little in infrastructure waiting their arrival.

I felt at home in Dover. We walked towards the town center stopping to place my very first ART POD in a hedge behind a small stone wall in a local park. The geocache GPS co-ordinates for this art pod can be found on the dedicated Re:LOCATION page.

Close by we located the historic Cowgate Cemetery at the bottom of a steep walk to the old forts that had protected the inhabitants for centuries. What a find. I was wandering amongst the headstones thinking I could have been related to some of these long departed souls. They had only very short lives compared to our modern standards.

We didn’t stay long in Dover after visiting the town and the unforgettable Dover Castle. I had achieved my goal and we aimed to be back in Kent in three to four weeks during the rest of our trip. There was something about getting drenched in the rain with the sea winds in your face and a temperature of 10C that made the ship suddenly very inviting. Images of our Dover experience are below.

Cowgate cemetary headstones

Cowgate historical cemetary in Dover, Kent Region of England

 

 

 

The Dover Castle experience

The Dover Castle experience

Looking to the port and our ship from Dover Castle

Down town in the Port of Dover, Kent England

Down town in the Port of Dover, Kent England

Learning from the Masters

It is a joy to watch another artist going through the processes of bringing an artwork to life that confirms your own practice and inspires you to continue. When this groundbreaking painter is recognised as a world master you feel privileged to be an observer.

Recently I watched two fascinating movies on innovative painters; David Hockney in ‘A Bigger Picture’ and Gerhard Richter Painting. Both artists were very giving and Richter in particular seemed approachable and humble. He found being observed while painting a difficult situation and something he had been reluctant to do.

Painting is a solitary exercise and when the planning is in the action it is not predictable or desirable to have an audience. Richter said ‘painting is another form of thinking’ and that paintings were ‘mortal enemies’ and while the second is a strong statement, I tend to agree.

He goes on to say that ‘Paintings have a quality of their own and the painter, viewer, and consumer all must have a high standard and recognise when something is good’. According to his own standard, as he paints each work becomes less and less free and when there is nothing left he feels is wrong, he stops.

Richter’s paintings undergo further scrutiny for sometime before he considers them finished. He can, weeks later, add another layer to a working painting that can either enhance or destroy it in his eyes. His movie gives considerable encouragement and inspiration to this much less qualified artist who works in similar ways, destroying fledgling artworks until that creative door fly’s open, and the quality work begins to pour out.

My exhibition Journey through the Wilderness continues until the 30th April at Regional Arts House Gallery at 1/ 24 Macquarie St,  Teneriffe. Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  All welcome

Journey through the Wilderness

Pathways to Success

Slowing down isn’t something creative people contemplate. Sometimes the controls are taken out of your hands, and if only for a short time, you compensate. The concept of the child within us being constrained by our dominating adult self is, I feel, very real. I am however constantly reminded that we can overcome old habits if we believe in the neuroplasticity of our brains, and the ability to teach an old dog new tricks, so to speak.

More and more highly skilled medical personal are coming to believe in the ability we have to take control of our brains and build new pathways that overcome obstacles. The recent article in the Weekend Australian magazine by Norman Doidge titled Brain Heal My Pain is just one example of this phenomenon.

Artists, writers and all creative people can often face barriers that can seem insurmountable and so around 2010 I began study that would fast forward my knowledge of brain plasticity and change the way I viewed the world. Like most things I embark on I did this for my own growth, and later found it was something I could begin to share with others.

In my new workshop Pathways to Success some of the best concepts that helped me to change will be offered in a two day workshop. I may be helpful if you have first completed the Inner Artist: Finding Creative Direction workshop but not essential.

On another note: My exhibition Journey through the Wilderness will open at 6pm on the 5th March at Arts House Gallery 1/24 Macquarie Street, Teneriffe, Brisbane, Qld . All welcome but please RSVP HERE for catering purposes. It will run until 30th April.

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