NOTES FROM ‘STORIES OF LAND AND SEA’
Posted on January 31 2023
Above: 'I Have Always Been A Storm'
40cm x 40cm mixed media on canvas
I've kicked off the year with an exhibition in Apollo Bay with my friend Jo. We shared an exhibition last year called 'Coasting', at the same gallery and couldn't wait to do it again. Such a beautiful location and inspiring road trip through the rainforest of the Otways.
Our show, 'Stories of Land and Sea', was about exploring the connection to special places and times, and the stories and memories they carry. Jo lives on the coast and is drawn to seascapes and local places. I'm a country girl and the big-skied countryside is my happy place.
An exhibition has proven invaluable to my art practice in a number of ways you wouldn't obviously expect.
Firstly, having a studio buddy to exhibit with is priceless. Jo lives 300km away from me and it's a virtual studio companionship with DMs all day, everyday! Having a common goal to work together towards was definitely the motivation I needed.
Having goals gives my art practice direction,
and boosts my motivation and self-confidence.
Next, goal setting. A goal forces me to step back and get some perspective on what's really important. It's the first step toward creating a life full of meaning. In this instance, my art practice is sacred and precious and I will do anything to keep it.
Above: 'Soft Sky Days'
30cm x 30cm mixed media on canvas
And don't get me started on deadlines. How's your relationship with deadlines? Mine is some weird sort of Stockholm Syndrome situation where I find myself scrambling constantly with deadlines at the last minute but that window of high-scramble energy is when I seem to achieve the most. Something to do with no time to think, just do the thing. NOW!
A funny thing happened along the way ...
I noticed a shift in my work. Despite the work being created within a few months of each other, there was a change in my process, the way I applied the paint, even the brushes I preferred. I wasn't conscious of making changes, and I barely noticed until I looked back.
Above l to r: 'The Colour of Clouds', 30cm x 40cm mixed media on canvas; 'Cloud Nine', 40cm x 30cm mixed media on canvas
As I hung the work in the gallery, I could see a timeline of change between the first work produced and the last. I distinctly remember saying as I was painting 'ooo, this new thing just appeared and feels fabulous and I'm going to keep doing it and it's going to become my thing'. But it would morph into a new new thing with the next painting. It was hard to pin them down in real time.
Sometimes those pivots are subtle and other times
they happen so quickly you feel you have no control.
The last pieces created for the show are as much a mystery to me as to anyone as to where they came from. And I love them! I will admit I spent the week away quietly yearning to return to the studio to keep that flow state going. Now I'm home and I'm wondering if I've left it too late. I'm sure I've forgotten how I did it and I'll never be able to make the thing again! Are you the same? Artists are weird creatures, aren't we!