Here in FNQ for a residency with Inkmasters and the Tanks. I will pursue my own work, teach a workshop in monotype, do a demonstration in Encaustic for Printmakers and a short workshop for year 10’s at a local college.

Here in Cairns, nature is rampant! I get to go to the Botanical Gardens each day, and walk the boardwalk to the studio. Such a joy!

Artist’s Talk

So, almost a month without posting…..

I’ve talked about my practice in terms of my interest in surface, and in mark making. Where to from here?

Earlier this year I lived and worked in Venice for a month where I made some large format prints of those crumbling Venetian walls. I have plenty of photographic material for new work about surfaces. I’ll let the images speak for themselves…

What do I mean by surface? Part 2 of Artist’s Talk

Well, it’s hard to explain in words, but for me the surface is something one almost feels, rather than sees. It is a visual texture which arouses feelings in me. From my first experience of printmaking, the way the ink could sit IN the paper, or ON the paper engaged me.

Here are some photographic images which illustrate this feeling for surface. They are mostly of walls. Here are images of age, weathering, distress, wear and tear. The images have been shot in New Zealand, Venice, Prague, Sydney, Tasmania – wherever I have travelled – and to me they have a great sense of place. However, I show people my travel photographs, and they say to me “But where did you actually GO?”

Gravestone, St Thomas Rest Park

When I travel, or at home here, I am often more interested in the walls or the stones beneath my feet than in the buildings, and I’m more interested in the way the people interact with the world they live in, rather than natural forms and surfaces. I feel these surfaces carry the stories of the people who have lived there, that they have changed over time, and you can see in the surface the record of those changes. There might be a nick here, or a scratch there, or a scrawl of graffiti. These walls can be sensitive, fragile and quiet, or they can be vibrant, colourful and energetic.
Melbourne Palimpsest

And so to Prague…

I’m home now, but I couldn’t leave Europe without visiting my son and his wife,  in the Czech Republic. They live in Prague, the beautiful and ancient capital city.

It’s all go in Prague at this time of year.

1.The evening of the 30th April is a time for burning witches. The children dress up as witches, and there are piles of logs on the Campa ready for the festivities.

2. May 1st is International Workers Day. Members of the Czech Communist Party marched through the city.

3. It’s the first official day of summer. In  villages around Prague, the women decorate a tree with ribbons, and the tree is hoisted high. The men of the village are required to guard the decorated tree all night. This gives them a reason to light a fire, sit around and drink with the other men, and stay out all night. The next day is spent recovering.

4. It’s  official kiss a girl under a flowering tree day. Since the Czech landscape is dotted with trees in blossom, you can be pretty disappointed if you don’t score a kiss.

5. On the first day of the month,  Prague city tests its siren. For five minutes. Loudly. Nobody seems to know what exactly it is warning against. But Prague residents are prepared, and they know what to do if one day it sounds a real alarm. Seriously.

I just missed the day when you pretend to shoot someone who is dressed up as a bear, and dance with whoever asks you. I don’t know what it is called.

Fields of yellow summer flowers.

In late Spring and early Summer, Prague parks and the Czech countryside are a carpet of flowers. Trees are in blossom – apple and cherry, mainly – and the air is heavy with their perfume. In some places, the dandelion heads produce a gentle snow of seed fibres, which blows around your ankles and drifts across the road in front of your car. Later in Summer, Czechs can travel into the country and pick cherries or apples from the trees growing by the roadside. There are wild strawberries, and blueberries for the gathering. Coming from a land which has no real seasons, I found it enchanting.

Fields of dandelions.

Spring blossoms in the Czech countryside.