Monday, August 31, 2009

Short Break

This is just a brief post to let you know that I will be taking a short break from blogging as my mother passed away last Friday, in the early hours of the morning. I am very thankful for the fact that I was with her at the time.

I plan to be back on board some time during September. Till then, happy creating!

P.S. I have posted a few photos of my mother on my Flickr account.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Buddhists believe emotions are like clouds

And so do I....

If you've been reading this blog for more than a year or so, you may have followed the process as I put together my first artists book, Like Weather (above). It is a flag book, and explored the idea of "change" by tracking my emotions for a 24 hour period and suggesting that emotions are as changeable as the weather. (If you weren't around the first time through, you can find the first post in the archives for March 2007 and they run through to October 2007. If you'd just like to see some pics. follow this.)

Of course, we can't help what we feel, only what we choose to do with those feelings. In the past week I've seen my emotions fly high, and plummet to great depths in a very short space of time, and it's certainly confirmed for me the fragility of any situation. Our unrealistic desire for things to remain the same is constantly overturned, but it takes a long time for most of us to come to a genuine acceptance of this.

In my case, in the past week I've received the devastating news that my mother is gravely ill. Shortly after hearing this, I heard from the talented Joanna Kambourian who was "on location" at the opening of the SCU Acquisitive Artists Books Award. She had amazing news for me - the judge has selected Like Weather as one of this year's acquisitions! This is the first work I've had acquired by an institution, and as this is a career goal for me, the news is particularly significant and exciting. Later in the evening, a similar email from Sara Bowen gave me confidence that there was no mistake!

At the time, the situation felt quite unreal. I found I was able to "flip" from a sense of incredible joy and satisfaction to deep desolation, almost at will. It even seemed possible to hold these two wavering extremes within my chest at the same time. Looking back, it reminds me of the hope we feel when the clouds part briefly during cyclonic weather and we glimpse the blue sky. It reminds us that after the winds and rain subside, finer days will be waiting for us. This is exactly what I hoped Like Weather might say.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Aug-Sept: artists book exhibitions springing up

Just a quick reminder about some shows that are on this week-end. Some of you, who are on the same lists as I am, may have this information, so I apologize for the redundancy.

Opening this week-end is the Southern Cross University Acquisitive Artists Book Award at Barrett Galleries, Alstonville. They have an online catalogue and after looking through the field of artists and the works displayed, I feel honoured just to show my work in this company. If you are in this area of the country between now and Sept 24, I recommend taking a look.

The new event on the artists books calendar is at East Gippsland Regional Gallery. Books…Beyond Words opened last week-end with the announcement of the competition winners as follows:

First Prize: Deanna Hitti for Simulated Symphony and
The Tantaro Design Innovation Award: Katren Wood for 76635 263 585438

There's more information about the winning books and others which received commendations, as well as some photos at the link above. If you're not familiar with Deanna Hitti's work I suggest you follow that link - it's beautiful and intriguing work.

The exhibition will be open until Sept 8th and voting for The People’s Choice Award will continue until Sept 2nd, so if you make it to the show be sure to put in your vote.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Inks!

Very excited by the arrival yesterday of my new Akua water-based inks all the way from Dick Blick in the US. Everybody seems to rave about them and I can't wait to try them out. I guess this indicates a significant step for me towards committing to printmaking.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Productive Afternoon, But At A Price

Last Friday I booked another afternoon at Impress studio to make some prints from my solarplates. Above you can see the fruits of my labour. I don't know how this rates for productivity - but I can tell you, some thing's got to give. I haven't been as tired as I was after that session in a long time. Not good. The next day I paid with a headache and I am still not fully recovered.

The etching press I used wasn't the new whizz-bang one. Since it is enormous and new (read very expensive) and I am inexperienced with presses, I decided to use a smaller one. This operates via a handle which turns numerous wheels. In order to achieve the embossed effect I was after, the pressure required is tremendous, and the physical effort too! Maybe someone used to printmaking can tell me: is a press with a fly wheel less physically demanding to operate? I know there are geared presses available, but they are AU$4000+. Maybe it will be back to the pasta machine after all!

Anyway, back to the prints. There are 4 in the series at this stage, but I'm not happy with the composition of the fourth one, so it may be dropped. My original plan for these plates is to use them in series to create a variable edition, which will be folded to form a small concertina book. I wasn't sure how the plates would look together - whether they should be spaced out or flush with one another, and I won't make a final decision until these ones are folded.

There is another layer of imagery to be added, figures, as I alluded in an earlier post. I've been testing out a couple of ways of adding the figures but I can't photograph my results very effectively and there's a problem with the scanner, so you'll just have to be patient, I'm afraid.