Monday, January 20, 2014

January days and nights

Last week I posted at length on new work from the studio... here at Visual Eclectica ... the focus being two new large canvases.

It had been a while since I had really sustained focus for this kind of painting and now feeling much more settled in the studio it was time to work on a larger scale. I'm adding these new images but for the background notes on the works go to the above hyper link.'

Drawn to work in colours I associate with the rainforests of far north Qld I began this work by creating blocks of colour onto which I began by hand-printing the motifs in alternating colours.  

'Ode to the Cherry Beech - Ternstroemia cherryi'

The attraction to this symbol is partly in the balance of the 4 sections containing the seeds... and that in this abstracted interpretation of the actual seed capsule they form loosely a figure 8 or, one could say, an eternity symbol.

I found it virtually impossible to get a photo that gave the correct proportions ... so with these shots I didn't worry about that. The composition is defined by the horizontal selvedge in the top section of the work. I had some linen fabric that wasn't quite the right size so in the end I made the fabric selvedge joins part of the composition ... something that's been a compositional device in my work for a number of years in some works, emphasising the natural fibre and a certain rawness.

In the studio gallery.

Onto large colour blocks I used the link-cut of the seed capsule to print and build up a rich textured surface. I need to tinker a lit more with this work to feel happy that its somewhat complete ... but its usually only after some time that i am really sure about that.

The other canvas I actually worked on first and found it painstaking, slow and deliberate work. Here's the finished work with the stages imaged below.

'Seed collector's notations' 90 cm x 100 cm, acrylic and ink on linen

These images show to slow working stages...

I did have an idea of where I wanted to go with this... but was not so sure about the colours.

I wanted the work to be loose and the linen surface to show through... that I was clear about.

After some consideration I decided I didn't want to persist with this cobalt blue.

I used Sepia ink to wash over the cobalt blue paint to tone it down considerably. The colours started to settle as a consequence of that.

This is the painting more or less finished... four days later. I'm tempted to finesse a few areas... so I say more or less finished...  lightly!

close up of the work

The title struck me early one morning. I was thinking how these small symbols, dots and marks are like records, the documentation of seeds saved and counted, but not just in one place, by one person though. These notations are like inscriptions across time... the act of recording that countless people through history have done in order to take stock of seeds being saved. Long time inscribed in notations representing seeds.

In linguistics and semiotics, a notation is a system of graphic or symbols, characters and abbreviated expressions, used in artistic and scientific disciplines to represent technical facts and quantities by convention.[1][2] Therefore, a notation is a collection of related symbols that are each given an arbitrary meaning, created to facilitate structured communication within a domain knowledge or field of study.
Standard notations refer to general agreements in the way things are written or denoted. The term is generally used in technical and scientific areas of study like mathematicsphysicschemistry and biology, but can also be seen in areas like businesseconomics and music.

'Seed collector's notations' is a name that settles on this work so as if it had been painted with that in mind form the start.


notation (countable and uncountableplural notations)
  1. (uncountable) The actprocessmethod, or an instance of representing by a system or set of marks, signs, figures, or characters.
  2. (uncountable) A system of characters, symbols, or abbreviated expressions used in an art or science or in mathematics or logic to express technicalfacts or quantities.
  3. (countable) A specific note or piece of information written in such a notation.

NB: I've taken this text straight from the original post. Note that the text above comes from Wiki... just google Notation!

January this year has been interesting. Quiet, mostly home bound and working much of the time.
A new studio makes it rewarding ... and a good start to the creative process came by having spent the week between Xmas and New Year up in the mountains at Springbrook National Park where a mini-residency got me drawing and thinking about the Rainforest habitat of the area.

I've just purchased three canvases that are 120 cm x 150 cm... bigger than the usual size I work on when it comes to stretched canvas on frames. Last year I did work on fabric that was hung for an exhibition... but these stretchers are much larger than my usual work.

The challenge is to keep focused on the various admin and organisational tasks for the business side of the art practice and project.... and to still find time to tackle the large canvases. The interesting think I always find is the bigger the work the more I'm pulled in to another kind of head space. It seems to release/unleash something in the brain that I would actually quite like to understand. Small works and works on paper don't tend to have this affect on me.

The two works on the left are unframed linen works and the large work visible through the door is also a fabric hanging.

But large dense paintings demand a whole other layer of self and can sit at cross-purposes with the other stuff I necessarily put a value on too. I find this quite an enigma ... and there's often a price to pay for the journey into that deep space.

Everything brings with it some bigger element or challenge or obstacle. Worthwhile undertaking have substance and demands that can't be taken too lightly.

Recently I decided closing off comments at this blog was the best way to manage blogging with less time for the reciprocation process. I do apologise for the fact I'm breaking off from one of the most exciting and enriching aspects of blogging... my online sites are numerous and as the project I'm doing requires more of my time as it develops then somethings must change.

My very best to all who've been popping in here from time to time and may 2014 be a year that brings you much to cherish and be very pleased by.
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Blogging for me is an extension of keeping a journal which I have done in various forms over the decades. The difference being this is not a closed book! I like that it offers an opportunity to explore that which concerns me as an artist and as an individual about living and participating in this vastly complex, unquestionably exciting yet unnerving time in human history. Through the blog I hope to increase the possibilties for cross-pollination which I believe can strengthen the sense of being part of something both personal and universal that is vital, expansive and refreshing.