Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekend of watercolor . . . and printing

It was a delight to share the Rusty Roo with a group of creative individuals with a HUGE capacity to share, enjoy and experiment.

It could have been a disastrous weekend. The weather was a true B.....
It was dusty one minute, cold, then hot and then without a moments pause it was cold again.
Yes ! Nature was at it's most tempestuous, which could have led to temperaments being frayed . . . .but, NO !! this delightful group just changed their clothing, according to the atmospheric unpredictability, dusted off their art works, made jokes and generally got on with the task at hand.
Wonderful !!

Watercolours have never been high on my list of creative art forms to be viewed regularly or tried too often . . . well ! I have to say that after this weekend workshop with, Mia Clark, Jennifer Hamilton and a group of experimental watercolor artists . . . I have now changed many of my previous assumptions.

The gum Arabic on Mylar with water colour . . . printed onto wet paper; the glad wrap, detergent, metho . . . stretched and streaking across salt encrusted rag; the sponging, dripping, dragging, melding, melting and mixing was relentless.

I was in awe of the enthusiasm. The sharing of ideas and outcomes. The ability to try just about anything suggested . . . with real gusto.
Really great ! Thankyou for sharing your enthusiasm, skill & laughter.

Thankyou Sue, the bolle in the morning was soooo much FUN. What a hoot with the uneven surfaces, cockatoo's screeching and wallabies watching, set against a back drop of mountains shrouded by morning mist . . . . . . . or was it dust ?
We all agreed . . . . it is what everyone should do prior to a full breakfast of PERFECT eggs and bacon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tree change

New spring leaves on the leopard tree, a swarm of Double bar finches on the branches and a sea of mist.

This last weekend, while sipping a good red and watching a great red, I was asked, what I liked best about having a ' tree change '.
My first response was to the landscape itself; the vastness, the solitude, the peace, the colours. Then when the topic opened out for discussion, my concept of the question gradually expanded and I began to perceive further possibilities. . . . and Yes, they are so varied . . . . .

My favourite time of the day, is at it's start, upon sunrise. The landscape shrouded in mist, the birds feeding on the flowers, the wallabies grazing on the grass and the feeling of excitement, for the new day full of possibilities.
I then love the end of the day. The ritual of downing tools to celebrate being blessed to share another day, in such a beautiful place, with a group of good friends & family, who are so darn creative.

I love sharing a glass of wine and having a reminisce/post mortem about the days events and achievements. I love the sunset, the glow of candles, the sound of kookaburras laughing, frogs singing, insects buzzing, stars glowing brightly and the feeling of accomplishment when the day has progressed well

So yes ! the change has been tremendously rewarding and I'm pleased to be able to recognise that I relish / treasure the moments of friendship we share, far more than the items we can/could ever produce through hours of effort and labour. . . . . . though, to those who know me well, Yes, . . . ." I love to paint . . ." and I agree, it is FUN to be creative.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ikebana's rule !

Thankyou to everyone from the weekend, who have emailed and forwarded pictures. I will post as many as possible, so you can share.

That slash of red . . . Ha ! So strong and unexpected.

The red leaves against the soap woods bands of cream & grey . . . Yeh !

Trees have leaves . . . . . .But ? look at those shadows !

The leaves look like a snaking line of caterpillars.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What else can I IKEBANA

What a treat. Ikebana in the Landscape,

with Lily Karmatz.

Lily is an artist whom I have respected and admired for years, her work is mainly ephemeral so does not constantly grace the walls of exhibition venues, but in it's short life it speaks volumes with its originality and ability to delight the viewer.

We gathered Friday night on the Rusty Roo veranda to watch the spectacular sunset over the Wivenhoe Dam. Sharing wine, food, stories, adventures, misfortunes, regrets and hopes, we started to glimpse the group gathered and comprehend the new experience to be shared.

Saturday morning in the bright light of day, everyone was encouraged to participate in the two hours meandering bush walk, through the Rusty Roo landscape. All were encouraged to SEE what nature has to offer. The materials FOUND were looked at for their mechanical possibilities in future installations, but Lily also stressed that of equal value was their part in helping ourselves to look at nature, and seeing ourselves as part of it.

Lily does not attempt to teach Zen philosophy, but tries to help us realize that the creative spirit is all around us in nature. If we give it time and observe what it has to offer it has a peace and tranquility that we can take into ourselves.

Zen explains that the act of creation comes from within. In art, the brushes, paints and canvas, and even vases, flowers themselves constitute the tools and materials with which the artist works. However, the creative spirit comes from the inner self and, through flashes of inspiration, the artist, creates existence from non-existence, and

finds satisfaction in the creative process.

Zen defies rationality, or any attempt to make sense of it, instead it occurs when you let go of your every day reality, letting it pass you by and feeling the gentle breeze that it creates as it passes.

We were encouraged to use the found objects in the environment, and enhance them with the colour of the flowers supplied. We were also encouraged to make space for our works so that they had room to breathe.

Zen masters were some of the strongest earliest advocates of recycling and reusing available materials. They have a great respect for nature. They recognize that we are reliant on nature for food, sustenance and natural resources, but also realize their responsibility as its care takers.

We were encouraged to appreciate each arrangement as a frozen moment in its life, a symbol of natural but fleeting perfection. The budding, the blooming and the wilting should all be appreciated.

Lily demonstrated the basic elements of the ancient art of Ikebana that has influenced her creativity for years. The heaven, earth and man were sought and explored. Then we took ‘ a leg walk’ to view the installations that she had constructed, prior to everyone’s arrival. We were then guided to find a quiet spot to make ourselves peaceful, to conceive fresh ideas as they come to the surface.

Saturday evening with the magnificent sunset, we once again shared thoughts, food and wine while watching the light, reflections, patterns, designs and layers created from our arrangements and the Suns last rays. We had a delightful meal and a vibrant bon fire, which some of our local friends gate crashed !!. The sound of singing, guitar playing and laughter were relished, well into the night. This definitely was not Ikebana, but a delightful arrangement of another kind !

By involving ourselves in the activity of arranging and changing the image and tone of the arrangement/installation/construction, we were encouraged to do it with respect, care and love, to foster an atmosphere of serenity and peace. The more we observed, the more would be discovered and the meaning emerges.


Some people found this an easier concept to achieve than others, for it is no easy task for those with ‘little time’, to use some of this precious commodity to do NOTHING, but most managed to use some to allow nature to find them.

Sunday arrived all too quickly. ‘Go forth, discover, BE & create’, was the herald of the day.
Outside, it was hot, really hot, but we walked, talked, looked at art, ate, drank, laughed, looked again . . . . . . and something happened.

What people are capable of inventing over two days always stymies my preconceived notion of ‘what is possible’

Sunday afternoon, 10 intrepid travelers set forth on our last journey for this workshop, spanning the hills, cooled by itinerant breezes, we glimpsed each others ideas.

The results were an exciting and memorable collection of floating, waving and woven forms in diverse materials. Found materials, including the obscure such as abandoned fencing wire, discarded railway sleepers, rusting railway pegs, ceramic power conductors, as well as a considerable number of natural fibers, such as Grass tree sticks, bark fibers, prickly jungle vines, lichen embossed rocks and a multitude of colorful leaves were sourced and used.

Each installation contained more surprises as you observed the minute variations in color and texture.

Although many thoughts come to me by working a painting or print, my art is ultimately rooted in sharing. I re-engage my ideas by constructing a social space. I see the shared meals, shared demonstrations and the people that fill the “Rusty Roo,” as large collages.

The outside rambling walks, which include selecting destinations and routes to investigate and explore, are also like collages. Venturing to a new previously unexplored pocket, reminds me of my childlike sense of wonder, in the new discovery, the re-discovered, the recycled, which becomes the reinvented.

Once again, I thank everyone involved for their input/output and ability to share generously. What a treat.

I look forward to recieving some more images to post over the next few weeks.( My battery died before Sundays walk . . .so no last pics !)

Next workshops

Watercolour with Mia Clark September 25 - 27 FULL
Mixed media with Jennifer Hamilton & Sharon Lee
16 - 18 October
Botanical observational drawing FULL

Monday, September 07, 2009

Creativity . . . finding inspiration

Hi Sharon and Cameron.

". . . . Thank you so much for a wonderful week at your magical property. Sharon thank you for the delicious food and great generousity of spirit, with your art information and equipment. I was telling a friend about the wonderful time I had and also mentioned putting on weight from all the magnificient desserts. He thought I had been to a health retreat (he goes to a retreat place each year). I told him it was healthy food for the heart and soul, with dessert as the reward.

The 3 brown canvas's with red thread added are now on display in the Annerley library and I am still telling friends that I cant believe I have "done" brown.

Hope you like these photos. With much thanks Denise . . . . "

P.S. Felicity continued to work prolifically adding to her pieces, making things from leaves and doing flower arranging around my house until she left on Monday. It was delightful to watch.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A blessing is, to share . . the Time to be creative.

A week of creativity. Bliss !! But, where does that time go ?

The hustle and flurry of arrivals, settling in, finding a space, looking, learning and BEING . . . . all processes that are accompanied by laughter and interesting, colourfull and informative stories . . . . of previous experiences and adventures.

Learning to LIKE brown, being comfortable in the BUSH, using a craft UNUSED, or unexplored for some time . . were all areas re-visited and in many cases re-invented.

The playfulness of Ikebana and the sharing of the breaking of bread . . . all contributed towards the feeling of community.

Sitting here in the Rusty Roo after the completion of another workshop . . . reflecting on the TIME SHARED , I am always amazed that I have been blessed, to be in a position, to have this connection with such a diverse group of creative individuals. . . . who became warm and comfortable companions in such a short time.
Thankyou. I wish for you all, a continuation of what you have found as your precious SMALL JOYs, while here at the Roo.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sublimely satisfying

ANOTHER DAY . . . . A considerable amount of the joy of creating, commences with the finding of Snake skins, leaves, bark, bugs, butterflies and beautiful foliage. Gathering ideas and being in the landscape, all contribute to yet another day full of marvellous 'small joys'.

We sat beside the dam soaking up the cool breeze and solitude. To have time to lie on our backs watching the sun, dazzling blue through the leaves . . . the water being a canvas to the reflections of mountains and sky . . . . all left us feeling like we had spent a luxuriously, languishing, relaxing and almost forgotton childhood LONG day.

"....This is the most delightful experience. Creativity and indulgence are just the tip of the iceberg here at the six day art retreat. I wanted to know how to express by love of nature and to have a breakthrough from my technical legal mindset into the world of the abstract.
The results are beyond my wildest imaginings. . . ." Felicity

Learning to let the process determine the art piece rather than force myself on the blank space has been a revelation. It is sublimely satisfying.