happy artist

Received an email from Catherine yesterday telling me that someone had purchased THREE of my teeniest of paintings. Sweet. I have no idea which ones yet, so thought I’d share the lot of them with you. I had taken a sumi e painting (inks on Japanese rice papers) one day workshop. Did a number of lovely LARGE pieces. A year later, when I knew I would not be showing them as I am not a sumi e painter and they were too out of context…I cut them up, mounted them on 6″x 6″ panels and worked some colors into most of them. So much better and they suited my work at the time, which mainly consisted of circles and dots, so much more abstract than I am now working. I had 36 of them lined up in two tiers at my solo exhibition that year. A few sold, I kept one for meself, WinklerCakes kept one for himself. I loved doing these, I loved titling these and I’m happy someone bought 3, hopefully to hang  together. Thanks Unsettled Gallery’s Catherine and Don.ImageImageImage

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Can’t Believe It’s Over

Well sports fans, I’ve left Bundy and am back in Brisbane packing for departure for camping on Moreton Island tomorrow.  The five weeks of my Artist-in-Residence at BRAG went by quickly, with a full schedule right up to the last hours, when I had Sabrina Lauriston, local photographer, stop by the apartment for a photo shoot.  From the starting stay with Jenny, chili roasting for “A Taste of Bundaberg”, visits with Adrienne in Mt. Perry and the BRAG studio printing press fiascos, welcoming party (and many more socials), installation at ChArtS with Trudie and the team, weekly demos at ChArtS, the opening reception, school talks, my workshop, visits to the artists’ studios, and so much more, it has been a non-stop experience.  I know my paintings have loving homes and I’ve filled my luggage with plenty of local artists’ work myself.  I am so glad that little painting of Jenny’s has come full circle and led to such an enriching time in Queensland and with all of you.  The blog shall continue unabated, I’m sure.  I leave you with some final images of a parting BRAG fire drill and local vagabond travelers, of which I am once again one myself, herewith.  Adios muchachos….I’ll check in once back from basking in sun, sand, and sea.

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Day 1 of tutoring – Hectographs

I spent 7 hours today being tutored in Hectographs (gelatin monoprints) by Ouida Touchon here in Las Cruces.

I arrived after visiting a Super Walmart – Don had suggested I should do this with somewhat of a chuckle – and it was a bit like being hit with a stun gun. Despite this I had a big learning day.

Ouida had already made the ‘plates’ – literally a set layer of gelatin in a baking pan that you ink up and hand rub your paper onto. So, water based inks only and no press required. Hello!

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Ouida is a patient and generous teacher and we methodically worked through all sorts of methods of inking and layering and using beautiful Japanese papers. It’s very versatile as long as you don’t use sharp tools or sharply textured objects that will pierce the gelatin surface.

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We even used fresh soft leaves from the Coolibah in Oiuda’s front yard, and her studio assistants Lily and Luca waited patiently for play.

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The end of the day saw us making backgrounds for overprinting when I return on Thursday – my last day in LC.

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Workshop in Watercolours for Beginners

On Sunday, October 27th, I finally was fit enough to hold my workshop for beginners in watercolours, delayed from its original date the weekend before.  We had a few attendees that needed to drop out, but others were added, so the number was just right for some personal attention.  It got pretty exciting for me when Microsoft decided I really didn’t want all those late night and early morning hours of preparation on powerpoint slides.  I lost everything just 1/2 hour before departing for Childers, so had to wing it instead.   Somehow it worked out, but I was a tired lad by the end of the day.  Feedback was good, so I guess the audience didn’t notice too much.  Kind souls made some donations in the jar or gave me some Arches paper, so I only ended up a few hundred in the hole for my efforts, but learned a lot about the different papers and paints here in Oz — I consider it a fair trade.  Here are a few pix (I look pretty haggard, understandably).  More photos are on my Facebook site if interested.  

Thanks to Charlie Brun at ChArtS for all his help setting this up, dealing with the changes, coming in on a Sunday to do set up and clean-up at the Childers Cultural Centre, and for taking the photos.

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J. Paul Taylor’s house

Yesterday afternoon Catherine arranged to take me to visit a house in Mesilla well known here and cross the country. We toured the house and it’s art and antiquities collection with the 93 year young owner, J. Paul Taylor. The collection numbers at over 500 pieces and he can tell you the name and artist and story of every piece.

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Our guide spent 4 generous hours with us and I think he had the energy of Catherine and I combined. We loved his stories and knowledge, it is a collection of exquisite taste with a touch of mirth thrown in. Paul’s family dates back to the early settlers of the region, and his gifting of the house and collection is an incredible gesture.

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Paul loves every piece in his collection, and has a great range of NM contemporary artists too. This piece is Saint Santiago de Campestello and in the video on this link he tells a lovely story about its acquisition.

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I have never seen anything like this beautiful adobe home and as we laughed and sighed and fell silent at times I felt pretty privileged to have Paul as our guide.

Catherine and I left in quite a dreamlike state.

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Maryborough Tour with Trevor and Christine

When Chris and I visited Trevor last Saturday, we were lucky enough to show up on the annual Old Maryborough Open House day, when numerous historic public and private buildings and homes were open to the public.  The city really has a great collection of structures, some reflecting quite unique historic elements, such as Brennan & Geraghty’s Store, seen below.  Hopefully they can salvage more, like the old shipbuilding factory on the river and the rail station, but progress is not always kind.

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 In addition, Trevor gave us the behind-the-scenes history of the public art in the city.  The man is too modest, but it is very clear that his influence has been huge on art in Maryborough.  I was especially impressed with the contemporary, sensitive handling of the Aboriginal and Islander arts of the region (the country has come a long way from my first visit in the 1970’s!).   I’m not going to begin to attempt to repeat the juicy details, just let you enjoy all the art and congratulate him quietly.

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We concluded with careful looks at the many iron art pillars dedicated to PL Travers, the girl from Maryborough who went on to write “Mary Poppins”.  Image

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I tried to measure up, but couldn’t keep it serious for long.

Studio visits with Christine, Sue, and Trevor

On various days this past week I was able to spend time with Chris, Sue, and Trevor, and see their homes, studios and collections.  Various art works changed hands in the process to further cement the great friendships we’ve been building since beginning this blog and my arrival in Bundy.  Here are some photos from those get-togethers.  (I’ll do a separate post for Saturday’s visit to Maryborough with Chris/Trevor).

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Chris lives in the back part of a larger structure she owns, with one portion used as a laundromat, one portion for her appropriately named “Dirty Linen” gallery, one portion for storage of the massive biscuit tin collection, and the upstairs rented out.  She and I have collaborated, sort of, on future works, where she’ll look to use some of my quintessential Aussie photos (Ayers Rock, billabongs) as backdrops for digital compositions.  I got to pick out a few fantastic prints of hers, in exchange.  (Can’t share images of those yet since in other exhibitions right now.)  Best of all, the subjects were other artist friends from Bundy.  So tight collection-connections all round, just the way I love to increase the meaning of my art hoardings.

I saw Sue’s studio twice, once when she was away and left it open for Chris and me to scrounge around, and again when she was home to give the tour herself.  She lives in what appears to be an old Queenslander farmhouse in the country between Bundy and Childers, but actually they built it themselves.  She’s got a nice large studio down below, chockers with art of all forms…ceramics, canvases, watercolors, prints, 3-D, etc. We had quite a battle peeling off the canvas from backing board on one of my collection additions, so I could attempt to get it home.  Not sure where I’m going to find the big walls for Sue and Chris’ work, but this is just a minor problem to be resolved.

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Image Anyway, Sue’s got dibbs now on my Shadow of the Bow, pending any sales.  In exchange, I’ve got these not so shabby works of hers.

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Trevor had returned to some semblance of normalcy following the sad passing of his father, so I was fortunate to be able to spend time with him and Chris in Maryborough.  He really has a wonderful Queenslander home, garden, and collection, only a small sampling shown in my pix below.  I’m looking forward to a future trip and visit to continue the tour. (e.g., didn’t get to see the back workshop/kiln.)  Roughly, my photos work from the workshop forward through studio, kitchen, living room and front veranda.

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Talks to the schools

I guess I am way behind, so let me start with the talks I gave on 15-16 October to the art classes at Isis State High School ( a public school) and St. Luke’s Anglican High School (private).  Roana accompanied me, and credits to her for the photos (her alignment on the cartoon balloon was especially entertaining).  I spoke to three different classes altogether, with some kids called in from other classes by the art teacher.  They all seemed quite motivated to see my crazy, self-taught path to “success”, so I guess I gave them some hope.  I also got to see some of their works in the exhibition just being installed at BRAG as I was leaving.  I wish I had a little more time to do some more extended demo’s but it was only an hour in each class, thanks to the rather excessive pedophile restrictions (how they found out about me, I’ll never know 🙂  As it was, we had to be careful not to show the kid’s faces in the pictures.  Sample pix below, with more in my Facebook albums.

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The following are from St. Lukes, which had a more robust program.

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Notice my “War Paint” T-shirt, by Las Cruces artist, SABA?

 

Meeting places

Yesterday Catherine and Don at Unsettled Gallery hosted my artists talk and a great group of local artists and art supporters came. And of course I got to meet the 4th of the NM group, Nolan, and Winkler. What a great event it was. Carey has all the shots so he and Nolan can post their thoughts on it all.

But the discussions and questions about artists working in Australia were thoughtful and thought provoking. And we all cheered our Wide Bay-er, Christine, who won an award and residency at the Edge in Brisbane.

After the gallery event the High Desert mob went all out and threw a late afternoon party amongst the cool, shady gardens and terra cotta coloured adobe walls of Cassitas with people from near and far. After sunset, and the party thinned we pulled up comfy chairs around the fire and talked a while. It was a pretty special night… and after 9 hours of these 2 events we finally limped home to bed. These New Mexicans know how to play.

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Earlier that morning I took my first look at the local landscape from a very special perspective.

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Up high to start, then cruising low over pecan farms to the dry bed of the Rio Grand, in crisp clear air and gentle winds that had us silently sneaking over the waking Las Cruces. Oh, except when the burner roared and set off every dog within a 200m radius.

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Today was another meeting moment when I was taken to White Sands by my closest friends brother – who I’d never met and has lived in El Paso for 20 years. He and his wife and young family picked me up and we headed out to this 275 square mile Park of startlingly white gypsum sand. Thank goodness for the kids who know how to play and loaned me their disk for a giggling, fear-screaming ride.

More on this tomorrow, as I have an early alarm and am heading back with the sketch pad and gouaches (Deborah, if you just happen to be passing…).

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The day ended with another stroll around Mesilla to stumble across the Mariachi in the square. It is fun and funny, a truly living culture. Young and old singing along and when those trumpets kick in the crowd goes wild and the heart rates soar.

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And back in Dave’s garden the hearts are thumping too…

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