Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 22: A short photo essay

Something’s happened to Harry….for the last day of the August Break, I went out for a walk looking for photos, and I stumbled on this little mystery…

 Harry1 Harry2 Harry3 Harry4

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 21: Fish in the dish!

Fish in the dish: AWatson-Will

Well there are some! Honest! I hoped to snap a lovely close-up of them slurping up their food at the surface, but this is as close as either of them would come today. Can you spot him/her there in the middle of the shot?

Well tomorrow is the last day of the August Break and of me focussing on my photography, but I’ve got something new up my sleeve for September…

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 20: Speed


Well okay, the train from Sydney to Canberra doesn’t actually travel at this speed, but I wanted to emphasise the colours, which I think of as typical of that area of Australia.

Last one before the week-end, and then only two more days of photos to go! It’s been fun and interesting, and not as difficult to keep up as I thought.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 19: The moon shines bright

The moon shines bright: AWatson-Will

…but this isn’t tonight. Taken in the eastern sky just outside my front door a while ago.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 18: Is it a hippo?

Do hippos fly? A.Watson-Will

I’m notoriously bad at seeing these things. (Also those Magic Eye thingos). What do you think it is? Taken while flying to Sydney last month.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 17: The yellow house

The yellow house: AWatson-Will

A lovely example of traditional Queensland architecture.

I’m thinking of making a long-term series along the lines of “In my street” or “In my suburb”. This would obviously be a part of that.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 16: Ice, ice blue

Ice, ice blue: AWatson-Will

Starting week 4 of “The August Break”.

If I told you how I got this shot, you’d be shocked by how mundane it really is!

If you’d like to see the work of some of the other participants in the August Break, you can see them in the associated Flickr group.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bibliotheca Librorum apud Artificem I

Possibly the highlight of my holiday was my visit to Monica Oppen’s Bibliotheca Librorum apud Artificem, a private collection of artists books. I have Sara from BAO to thank for reminding me that it is possible to make an appointment to see the collection.

Monica is a printmaker and bookbinder, also making artists books herself and in collaboration. She delights in sharing her personal collection of artists books, acquired over 20 years or more. Generous and knowledgeable,  I had a wonderful time discussing and sharing with another like-minded book art lover.

Although I spent some hours there, I know I only scratched the surface of the collection. Its not possible for me to give you an accurate idea of the beautiful works I saw, so I thought I would just name some names, with a little descriptive commentary and  links to the listing in the online catalogue for the Bibliotheca. I hope this might help you decide whether it is an artist whose work might be of interest to you.

As this is an Australian collection, I really have to start with a luminary of Australian book arts. The collection holds over 30 works by Peter Lyssiotis, a writer, photographer and photomonteur.

P Lyssiotis: A gardener at midnight

Peter creates imagery using old fashioned techniques of photomontage, by which I mean nothing, even his latest works, is computer-assisted! I had seen A Gardener at Midnight and 1316  elsewhere but had not realized the imagery was not digital.

To give you an idea of the sort of books he produces, I’ll share this quote I found on the IMCA website, briefly:

Whenever in doubt, Lyssiotis returns to John Heartfield’s dictum: “Use photography as a weapon”.

Despite being less beautiful than Peter’s recent books, I was also captivated by a couple of his early small press books, particularly Journey of a Wise Electron & other stories

Searching around online for some images of Peter’s work, I came across this video of a lecture he gave at the Ural University. I’ve only had a chance to watch the first 5 minutes and the sounds not great, but the text does seem to be included in his powerpoint presentation.

Peter Lyssiotis: I Make Books from NeMe on Vimeo.


I spotted Laura Wait’s name on the spine of a book, which turned out to be The Goddess in the Garden. I was interested to see the covers were wooden, stained green and I had a good look at the binding (wrapped cords) to see whether it would work for ceramic covers too.

In the catalogue , Monica explains that the  "book has a handwritten manuscript comprising an alphabet of symbols related to gardening and plants, along with early goddess and fefmale symbols."

The book pages are painted and relief printed on a variety of papers, some translucent. (Another of my loves, as you all know). I think my introduction to Laura Wait was as an artist working in encaustics, and some of her recent books use this medium. You can see more of her work on her website. For those interested in calligraphy, this is another feature of her work.

Laura Wait: Hostilities, 2009

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 15: Leaving Brisbane

Leaving Brisbane:awatsonwill

No processing at all – just as it came out of the camera. More photos on Monday.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 13: Views on a train

Views-on-a-train: A.Watson-Will

More reflections, this time in the windows of a train at Central Station, Sydney.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Holidaying with CFS

Sydney: AWatson-Will 

Flying in last month

I am finally home after nearly 3 weeks away. It was an exciting and stimulating interruption to my routine, and it has really raised my spirits significantly.

We are gradually learning that it is possible for us to have holidays and to travel, if we are very careful to keep things flexible and be disciplined about how much we try to pack into the time. Here’s why I think this holiday was our most enjoyable so far.

  1. We spent a little more on accommodation, recognizing that we would need to spend some days just resting there.
  2. Also choosing your accommodation in an appealing area helps – that way even short forays out for coffee or whatever will be more fun. Unfortunately both these make the holiday more costly.
  3. Making sure you take everything you need with you. This seems obvious, but its easy to get to your destination thinking you can just slip out and buy your lactose-free milk or gluten-free cereal there, but if you can’t manage for the first couple of days because you are too tired from travelling, then you will just feel worse.
  4. Of course the biggest adjustment you need to make is how much you can expect to do. How you manage this is quite a personal matter. This time, because I had 10 days, I let the first 4 slide by, just resting up after the trip, exploring fairly locally and then I made a list of what I was interested in. Immediately I could see there were more things than I could manage, so I picked three as absolute must-dos. That’s three in my remaining six days. That felt reasonable to me, although I still knew it wasn’t definite that I’d manage. Still I knew that by focussing on the things I really, really wanted to do, I could leave Sydney and feel like I’d had a good holiday.

Even a holiday in a place like Sydney needs to be at least 50% rest for me, but that still means 50% fun, and that is a lot more fun than I seem to manage in my home environment. The release from the responsibilities of running a house does seem to free up more energy and I’m sure the positive effects will be helpful for a while.

Centrepoint: AWatson-Will

Looks as if we are flying at about the same height as the Centrepoint Tower!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 10: Blue skies after rain

Blue skies after rain: awatson-will

Last photo before the week-end.

Taken this morning on my walk, after heavy rain on Wednesday. This small grove of trees is one of my favourite local spots.

If you click on the image, you should see a larger version.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 9: Self portrait

Self-portrait-(emotion): awatson-will

There’s a fair bit of processing on this one. Taken with the toy camera setting on the Sony PSP and then converted to black & white in Photoshop.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 8: Hotel nostalgia

JETSON HOTEL (postcard): a.watson-will

This building makes me nostalgic for the 60’s vision of the future - a la “the Jetsons”.

Holiday art catch-up

Over the past month I’ve been to a lot of very different exhibitions and I thought I’d share my impressions of some of them with you. I won’t attempt to work through chronologically, as there’s no logic to the order I saw them. In fact, I’m going to start with the most recent, which is still showing.

I’ve just returned from 4 days on the Sunshine Coast to attend the prize announcements at the Noosa Travelling Scholarship at the Noosa Regional Gallery. You might recall that I was selected as a finalist in the $12000 scholarship. 

The winner was Shona Wilson, who makes beautiful sculptures of diatoms, a microscopic organism, from materials she finds on the beach.

Shona Wilson

Image from Shona’s website.

The exhibition was limited to 3-D work for the first time this year, and was judged a successful sculptor, Salvatore Di Mauro, who lectures at the QCA in Brisbane.

With my background, I was quite pleased to see a number of ceramic artists were selected, including Shannon Garson, Michael Ciavarella (my very 1st throwing teacher) and Rowley Drysdale. There were also works in glass, assemblages, soft sculptural works, installations and much more. I couldn’t help thinking how difficult it must be to make a judgement when works displaying superb craftsmanship are to be compared with works that operate primarily conceptually.

The works that appealed most to me were Tina Lee’s “Recalling Materiality”, Lyndal Hargrave’s Song Towers and Erin Keys’ “Drawn”, and I do recognize that this relates strongly to my own interests and biases.

Tina Lee had created a work where she collected mass produced ceramic trinkets from Op Shops assembling them with her own work and putting them into the context of the gallery, thus pronouncing them  “artworks” in the Duchampian way. It was an interesting approach to ceramics and I found myself drawn back to look more closely at the individual works.


Image from NRG website 

Lyndal Hargrave used mixed media on pianola rolls, which were suspended from the ceiling to create her “Song Towers”.


                Image from Lyndal’s website

The surface was really quite beautiful, and I thought it was interesting that the “towers” roll up into their own individual cases for transportation!

Erin Keys’ work was another favourite. Entitled  “Drawn”, I found the way it hovered between a drawing (its obvious origin) and a sculpture, and incorporated the use of shadows really satisfying.


Image from NRG website

To me, this piece is both aesthetically pleasing (the photo doesn’t do it justice) and conceptually interesting – and this is not a common combination, I find.

I haven’t really attempted to be terribly analytical about the works on show, to make a call about whether I agree with the judge or not. It’s such a “mixed bag” as I said, and having work included, I felt it probably wasn’t a realistic task to set myself. If you’re interested and nearby, the works will be in the gallery until August 29th, or you can take a look at the other finalists work here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 7: Footprints

untitled-(footprints): a.watson-will

At Marcus Beach on the week-end.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Day 6: New accessory for your lap(top)

New-computer-accessory: awatson-will

…instead of a mouse, try  a cat!

Not exactly a fine art shot, but it’s good to be back home with a pussy in your lap.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Day 2: On a winter’s day

On a winter's day: awatson-will

Near the Domain, Sydney, July, 2010.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The August Break


 Even though it’s winter here, I’ve decided to join Susannah Conway on “August Break”. From her blog:

“The plan for the August break: you simply share one photo per day on your blog – Monday to Friday, or every day. Or whenever you want.”

It looks like a lot of fun, no pressure, and a lovely way to see some interesting and beautiful photos. Perhaps you’d like to join in too? There’s 300-odd of us taking part.

I’ve decided to go for the Mon to Fri option, and although for Susannah it’s a way to take a break from regular blog post writing, that’s not how I am planning to use it.

Having been away for a couple of weeks I’ve seen lots of art and I’m keen to share my thoughts about it with you, so I plan to still write at least weekly. But I have also taken lots of photos, so the plan is to post one each day Monday to Friday.

Sometimes the photo may be a reflection of the day I’ve just had (like today’s) but my goal in joining The August Break, is simply to devote a month to photography, and see what happens. So, here it is -

coming home a.watson-will

Day 1: Coming Home