Africa Sketchbook ~ Continued

February 18th, 2012

It’s around this time of year every year I grow nostalgic for the perspective-changing trip I took to East and Southern Africa in 1997. To continue with my earlier posts, I opened my dogeared journal today to see where I was and what joy or angst my young self was feeling on that day. It seems like navel-gazing, but I think these experiences shape who we are as people and as makers of things. This is what I found:

africajournal

I drew this at a large bench at Njaya House backpackers. When I was finished, the Australian across the table slid his journal over my way, asking if I could do a sketch for him. I ended up doing about half a dozen of them. It makes me happy to think that there are all these journals scattered around the world and that these people could be parents now, and tell their kids about their adventures in Africa.

I’m still blown away to think that when I went, I didn’t have an email address, I used film in my camera (and took too few photos), and my family and friends wrote letters to me and sent them to Poste Restante general mailboxes, hoping I’d come across them when I passed through.

Travel seems to have lost some mystique since the interweb. Now we can go on Skype and be shown around Sydney Harbour on someone’s phone! God, I sound old. It’s amazing though.

New York + Art = Happiness

February 13th, 2012

I was lucky enough to go back to New York this last December for a couple of weeks of wandering around, gawking at buildings, people, art galleries, everything. When in Rome…

The scale is just breathtaking.

The scale is just breathtaking.

I was so excited to see that the Met has acquired a piece by one of my favourite painters, Jenny Saville. I fell in love with her work in 2001, when I found a few paintings in a book while I was attending NSCAD. Though some of the pieces are a bit grisly in subject matter (my sister said “Ugh, I don’t like looking at that at all!”), it’s all that luscious paint and fleshiness that drew me in. I’d never seen one in person until the Met, though. The piece is titled Still, from 2003. It reminded me of Willem De Kooning saying “Flesh is the reason oil paint was invented.” Absolutely.

These are just so meltingly beautiful.

Monet's waterlilies are just so meltingly beautiful, it's impossible to avoid gushing.

I know how long it takes to build up a surface like that. Again, gush.

I know how long it takes to build up a surface like that. Again, gush.

...and an old studio friend. Almost ten years later. Thanks for the date, Jane!

...and an old studio friend. Almost ten years later. Thanks for the date, Jane!

Argentina ~ Part Two: Gallery Art

February 10th, 2012

In Buenos Aires, we went to the Malba, Museo de Arte Latinamericano de Buenos Aires, a ten year old gallery filled with contemporary South American art.

Great hall at the Malba

Great hall at the Malba

Loved this crazy wooden bench. You can see the tendrils climbing down the walls in the previous photos.

Loved this crazy wooden bench by Pablo Reinoso. You can see the tendrils climbing down the walls in the previous photos.

bench

zipper-piece

Nelson Leirner (worth getting 'spoken to' for sneaking a photo!)

Antonio Berni

Antonio Berni

Dos hombres de pie con zapatillas rojas, by Ricardo Garabito

Dos hombres de pie con zapatillas rojas, by Ricardo Garabito

I kind of fell for Senor Garabito’s work. They are strange paintings, to be sure, but the drawing is so gorgeous, and I love the awkwardness of them. Why this skiddy guy, repeated, with no pants on? Why not, I guess.

and of course, Ms Frida.

and of course, Frida Kahlo's Self Portrait with Monkey and Parrot.

Some gorgeous drawings by Leon Ferrari

Some gorgeous drawings by Leon Ferrari

Remedio Varo, Icono 1945

Remedio Varo, Icono 1945

What a lovely little world he created here. I stood and looked at this one for a while.

Going Home

February 5th, 2012

leonard-cohen-in-paris-ja-007

Last night I heard a new Leonard Cohen song, Going Home, on the radio. I had to share some of  it here. It’s the chorus that did it for me, so beautiful and sad and honest. Classic Cohen, to be sure. Here’s a link to the song itself on Youtube. I think it’s best to hide the visuals and just listen.

Going home
Without my sorrow
Going home
Sometime tomorrow
To where it’s better
Than before

Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Behind the curtain
Going home
Without the costume
That I wore



Argentina ~ Part One: Street Art

February 2nd, 2012

It’s been ages since I wrote here, but I’ve just returned from 2 weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina. What a feast of colour for a hungry artist!

bike1

Aquamarine walls and propped bikes.

bridge-drawing

'A gift'? Love the almost hidden figures in white. I didn't see them until I looked at the photo!

cinzano

Peeling paint on Cinzano building.

el-cam-kate-laundry

The blondest blonde in El Caminito.

Blending In

Blending In?

"I have a thing for taller ladies..."

"I have a thing for taller ladies..."

No comment.

???


Sooke Fine Arts Show 2011

July 22nd, 2011

Gaze

This year I have two pieces in the Sooke Fine Arts Show, which opens this Saturday, July 23 at 10 am, and runs until August 1st.

Sketchbooks ~ Mexico

March 10th, 2011

Yay, more travelly sketchbooks!

This one is Mexico, January 2011. There is such pleasure in doing a silly little sketch with my wee set of watercolours. It’s pressure free, as I don’t have to show it to anyone if I don’t want to (but I’ll show them to you!). It’s the act of sitting with my notebook and my Pina Colada and fiddling with paints. Sigh. It helps when the sun is warm and the palms are swaying. Happiness.

mexicosketch1

mexicosketch2

mexicosketch3

~ OPEN ~ A New Show

September 28th, 2010

I am mounting a show at Xchanges Gallery in Victoria, which opens this Friday at 7pm. I seem to have painted myself into a corner, so we’ll have ourselves another vernissage, with the smell of wet varnish mixing with wine and perfume for the opening. I’ve decided it’s romantic…

lh_invite

Making Things

August 27th, 2010

My lovely friend sent this quotation to me, and I think it’s absolutely beautiful. I added the collage drawing (from drawing class ten years ago).

collage-life-drawing

‎”Sometimes it felt to Isabelle, at the end of the two hours it takes to wash, tone, and dry a print, that she is the thing being made. The black fish of her hands have swum through fixative, through water, through gold chloride. They have breathed underwater. They have twisted their way up to the light, and here she… is, standing now on the shore where they have pushed her, looking at the world anew. The wet heat of them flopping in her breast, turning inside her like a wish.”
~ From Helen Humphreys’ Afterimage

Thanks, Sweets!

Studio Tyranny

August 26th, 2010

When I was at art school, my professor told our class about what his wife called “studio tyranny”, or that nagging persistent voice that tells us that, no matter what we are doing, we should be in the studio. Now, I have a strong feeling about the word should. I call it the other S word. However, I do succumb to Studio Tyranny rather a lot. But, dear creative types, what I’ve started to see is that even when we’re not in the studio, we’re working. By just looking around us, we are absorbing the visual clues that will inform us when we make something tangible.

me-in-lake

I’ve started to pay attention to the times when I think I’m slacking off (lying on an air mattress in the middle of a lake hardly constitutes ‘work’ in its dictionary definition). I thought of five new paintings while floating on that lake. My friend was wearing a turquoise bikini, and it was impossible not to note the three turquoise dragonflies that landed on her all at once. Sometimes the smallest moments can impact our work. In discounting those moments, we do ourselves and our work a disservice. So, off you go! There will be plenty of studio time when the rain comes.