19 March 2012

back to painting

Returning to painting... with the benefit of Tracy Verdugo's workshop and its participants, see previous blog entry.

I had not arrived with a particular painting in mind, wanting to work freely. My painting began as some do with the view to Jervis Bay, influenced in the past, as many, by Glenda Borchard's eye... though certainly already vanished in my own direction. [links open in new tabs or windows, close the new tab to return here]

Then as the picture built the landscape was subsumed into a nude form. Here began the serious laying down of base. I wanted blue depth under skin tones, something that stuck with me from my privileged access to the restoration work after the Florence flood of 1966, to which access for this young person in the Rome embassy because the Mitchell Library in Sydney had lent a world expert on print restoration. One of the major figurative paintings which needed its wood base removed was found to have an under-base of blue below the flesh tones of the surface to give them depth ... so I started with a blue colour for the flesh. (I have been unable to find that painting, but google being the serendipitous adventure it can be, it led me to discover the blog of Antonella Colaninno)

[clicking on any image provides a gallery of all images, press return to get back to the blog]

By the time I took that photo [click to enlarge] I had added story — I planned a yowie figure watching over her, with her thoughts streaming, her arm ambiguously seeking connection or fending off, also (we had begun discussing symbols in paintings) an echidna in the corner: singleminded, prickly, not easily picked up. 

At the end of the first day I had applied some skin tone and was so appalled by its state I turned it to the wall to hide its nakedness and clumsiness overnight.

I had no idea overnight if I would go on or paint it out and start again....

I did go on. Then late in the morning my female protagonist died and it became a tale of mourning. No photo of that state. Then I remembered I had been wondering what I might paint for the 2012 exhibition sponsored by the Shoalhaven Mental Health Fellowship, for which the subject was to be 'out of the darkness and into the light'. And so the idea dawned and the painting became "The Dream of Sunshine in the Morning". As it also remained for me to place a light cloth over herself. We shall see if it is finished... entries to be submitted 1 May.

I recognise this, having painted it, as in my style. I do not command my style. Do I like my style? Hard question. It happens.

I remain a story teller, the story evolved beyond my command, the painting changed a lot. The story it tells now is in my 'artist's statement' below. [click on images to enlarge]


In long-term invisible illness, 
you remain sentient, head full of ideas, 
and you remain sensual, heart needing love, flesh needing flesh. 
You reach out ... to touch or fend off? 
You turn away in loneliness.
Your totem becomes the echidna: small, prickly, determined, defensive, hard to grasp.
Your carer, your lover, tries to see but it's not visible; 
tries to embrace your elusive mind.

[mood change]

Oh, and!  We were given 30cm x 30cm (one foot square) ply, on which to multimedia experiment, with collage, paint, whatever. Exhausted by the major work, I produced a work which caused a primary school principal in the room to say she wondered seriously about the workings of my mind. I said I did that too.

Here is "Hey Babe"...