Transported by Nature

 

The heavy dark falls back to earth

And the freed air goes wild with light

And the heart fills with fresh bright breath

And thoughts stir to give birth to colour

This poem, by John O’Donohue from his book Eternal Echoes, speaks of the wonder of nature and the power of words. I love reading and can’t image a time without books…real books that I can hold in my hand and mark the places of inspiration that feed my soul. Although I shudder at hurting something I love, I do this to reinforce the lessons. Years later I can pick up this book and still feel a tingle from the message I highlighted.

I have so many books I am waiting to read that I have several on the go at any time. O’Donohue’s books, and his enchanted views relating to how we belong to the earth and have a restless longing to return to nature, all offer ongoing joy and enlightenment. To me this message is confirmed every time I step outside my door and take in the valley that stretches away from my studio.

On travels I find the most amazing places that keep my artist’s heart beating fiercely. Recently, on a road trip down to Canberra, we camped at Newnes, in the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales. It was the highlight of our trip. Newnes is a location now, but was a bustling township 100 years ago. It arose from a Shale Oil enterprise that ultimately failed, however the ruins remain. It takes about an hour and a half to walk around the original infrastructure as it was a huge undertaking.

The most magic part of this stay however was the 5 hour return walk [ 8 klm ] up the escarpment to the old railway tunnel that is now inhabited with glow worms. The old railway track gets a bit washed away in places, which adds to the excitement, but my breath was taken away when we reached the top level. I felt transported back in time.

In 1994, somewhere in the Wollemi National Park, an unknown species of tree, now named the Wollemi Pine, was discovered. It is now believed to have existed on the earth 200 million years ago. Walking through this place gave me a sense of my part in history, even if I am just a minute fragment. O’Donohue’s words ‘ when you find a place in nature where the heart and mind find rest, then you have discovered a sanctuary for your soul’ resonate. Nature does indeed call us to tranquility and transforms us in unexpected ways.

To see the invitation for my April 2014 exhibition Where Waters Meet;  landscapes inspired by nature…Visit  ArtClique exhibition page.

Old railway alignment track to the glowworm tunnel at Newnes

Old railway alignment track to the glowworm tunnel at Newnes

a_tunnel_web

Glowworm tunnel entrance from the Newnes side

 

 

A_wall1_web

Rock walls at the top of the escarpment at Newnes

 

Inspiration and Incubation from an artist’s perspective.

Eons ago I wrote some articles for Creative Portal The first titled Inspiration and Incubation from an artist’s perspective, was excerpted from my first book Gleaner or Gladiator: the struggle to create which is just about out of print. Here is part of that article..

‘ Without inspiration, the obvious tools of creative production are of little use. Sparks that ignite creativity are found everywhere, and can arise from unrelated sources in the most unlikely places. New information triggers a desire to explore, that it will somehow link back to original ideas, that will resurface with a difference taking us closer to a desired goal. The journey of discovery may be quite frustrating but there are ways to negotiate this creative path, which is often quite erratic. Persistence, and a thirst for the knowledge, may help fill in the gaps and give direction.

In the process of searching, creative expression changes without mindful decision on the artist’s part. Using intuition, rather than conscious knowledge, may seem to reduce focus and cause the outcome to be diverse, however it will flow in such a way that the integrity of the work in progress cannot be questioned. It leads to somewhere not reached by rigidity. Research will open the mind to new ideas and help the journey to be understood.

Over periods of time, the ‘real’ art emerged at the point of greatest creative procrastination and frustration. It was a huge relief to understand and accept that some of the difficulties experienced while painting were in fact indicative of change coming. I would unconsciously incubate ideas from research and at a crucial point in time all this ‘forgotten’ information would surface. Although recollection may appear hazy and inconsistent, brain research has shown that we record every detail of life in memory. Imagery actively sought out in the environment will stockpile to feed the mind and emerge at the appropriate moment’.

Have  a creative time in 2014…

Late summer storm at Tallegalla Qld

Late summer storm at Tallegalla Qld

Getting into Flow for the New Year.

Merry Christmas to all, and may you increase the passion and investment in your own creative area to make 2014 a wonderful year.

Reflecting over the past year and beyond I recalled my early research which lead to my first book, Gleaner or Gladiator: The Struggle to Create.  At the time I was looking at the repeated cycles of struggle encountered in the artist’s studio. I may have come a long way since those days but I vividly remember the frustration of pushing through the blocks to discover my true direction.  I doing so I developed an understanding of the process which helps immensely when I encounter similar painful times.

It is an enigma how creative work pours out sometimes and eludes us at others. Just as musicians do, visual artists will rehearse the moves before the ‘real’ work emerges. Earlier in my blog posts I wrote about the Twelve Qualities of a Creative Artist to address the characteristics needed to reach a higher level of achievement. While there may be many other abilities needed to face issues that arise, any understanding, hopefully, will allow us to continue along our chosen path.

My 2014 plan is to give  a two day workshop in my studio in late May to address finding creative direction. The date will be announced on the Workshops Page in the new year and inquiries are welcome. My last work created for 2013 is the painting featured ‘ Where Waters Meet’  which will be the title for my April exhibition at NEO GALLERY at Mt Coolum in Queensland.  Have a peaceful and restful holiday season.

 

Where Waters Meet 122 x 122 cm acrylic on canvas

Where Waters Meet 122 x 122 cm acrylic on canvas

ART SHED TALK 2pm -7th December 2013. Free Entry. All welcome 174 Montague Rd West End, Brisbane, Queensland- opposite Davies Park.

Annoying disruptions and pressing matters can keep us from working at our creative best. Artist and author Lyne Marshall will give an interactive presentation on maintaining enthusiasm and finding inspiration while dealing with the twists and turns of the creative journey.

Christmas 2013 Mixed Exhibition at NEO GALLERY opening 30th November. See the June Alchemy exhibition on YTube

FEEDING THE CREATIVE SPIRIT

There is sometime indescribable about walking on the sand of a beach that has been washed over seconds before by ocean waves. It is as pristine an experience as we might have in this modern age where we just have to put our mark on everything in nature.  The very act of walking on a beach can settle a restless mind. Beaches often show the ravages of nature. Trees fall helplessly on the shoreline as their supports are washed away. Nature is not open to being tamed, and will do its will despite our best efforts to hold back time and tide.

 

Being inspired by the wilderness has been an ongoing passion and as a bit of escapism I reread a book by Joe McGinniss titled Going to Extremes. Written about his year in the Alaskan wilderness in the late 1970’s during the oil boom, Joe describes the spirit of the people, their love of the wilderness and desire to keep it as nature intended.  He also relates how escaping the modern world and dealing with the ongoing cold and isolation has its downsides.

 

This caused me to revisit in my mind the amazing journey I took in 2009 to Atlin in British Columbia, to visit an inspiring artist Gernot Dick, who had influenced my own artistic journey nine years before when he visited Australia. Travelling via the Alaskan Marine Ferry, the people’s boat, which took us from Bellingham in the state of Washington to Skagway in Alaska, gave me a taste of the spirit of the Alaskan people who had their trucks and animals on the boat. We then went across the historic gold mine railway and into Whitehorse in the Yukon before hiring a car to drive to Atlin.

 

The inspiration, from my many travels, lingers in the backwaters of my mind and this jumble of information leaves emotions, impressions, and yearnings to express it somehow through artworks. I personally love the way nature erodes the surface of all things creating patterns and designs that seem effortless.  As artists we may expect to recreate the wonder of nature with tools and paints, impossible task really considering how long it has taken natural patterns to occur.

 

Safe in the knowledge that the brain has the capacity to extract memories from any part of our lives, continuing to feed the creative spirit with what it requires will ultimately allow images and impressions to emerge from a bigger picture perspective. 

Esplanade Coonarr Beach

Esplanade Coonarr Beach

Coonarr Beach near Bundaberg Qld

Coonarr Beach near Bundaberg Qld