Sunday, November 27, 2011

Logan artist Society workshop - November

Thankyou to all the people who participated in the recent workshop using Lino, stencils, found objects and ink to make some original and interesting monoprints.

I think everyone enjoyed the 'what if' quality of this process and the unique properties of each individual print. . . . not to mention, that it is so much FUN!

Resident Roving Reporter, Dianna reporting in the December Artists Society new letter.

“ . . . .When Sharon Lee gave her talk at the recent meeting,she held us fascinated by her works, the over-layering of designs and ideas. So her printing workshop promised to be a collage of images, layers and colour (personally, I couldn’t wait). In spite of tiredness (and the odd hang-over) from the previous night’s frivolities at the Bowl and Banquet, we were all soon engrossed in thinking about our design, the layers, colours and cutting lino, positive and negative print. . . . .
Thank you, Sharon for a terrific workshop, we had a great day. . . .. “

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Back in Australia - Landed and running

Well here I am back in Brisbane and slowly adjusting to my NORMAL way of life. . . .busy, busy & busier

I love these workshop as the facilities are brilliant and the workshop co-ordinator is highly professional, which combines to make for a situation that produces great results in an atmosphere that is extremely creative.I was impressed with their Art and Pottery studios, which are located at 27 Coral St, Loganlea.

I have been having some informal workshops with friends at the Roo (which are always highly entertaining, creative and a joy. I will blog about them later) and doing a few workshops through the Logan City Art Gallery. One with Children, ( YES!! It is amazing for me - the queen of, 'I don't do children' . . . . and I did say 25 CHILDREN . . . ) from a Brisbane school (which I will blog about next) doing Monoprints and one assisting Nancy Brown doing printing on Fabric.

Assisting Nancy Brown at Print workshop. September 2011

A first for me recently was to be asked to attend a Saturday morning monthly meeting with the Logan artists, to give a talk on my art practise.

I have always avoided these requests as I can never think where to start and what to leave out . . . . however I was assured that there would be no throwing of rotten vegetables or booing, so I thought I would take the plunge and go for it.

I was surprised that I enjoyed the experience and that everyone was enthusiastic and interested . . . or at least well 'BRuNG UP' enough not to tell me otherwise. . . . .

They are proud, and justly so, of the fact that the studios are where Art and Friendship come together to produce a friendly atmosphere while producing some incredible art works.

They welcome beginners to the more experienced to their artistic workshops and classes in various art mediums.

You can ring 0421874225 if you want to make any inquiries regarding what they are currently offering.

Logan City Art Gallery Print workshop. Shibuka

In October I was thrilled to conduct a printmaking workshop with 25 students from a school here in Brisbane. The work they created will be forwarded to a school in Japan, as part of an exchange project, that has been an ongoing annual event for the past few years.

I found the Students were attentive and enthusiastic, which produced some inspirational work of a very high quality. Even the stencils they cut out to use for their prints, were art works in themselves and will look incredible collaged onto some of the prints.

I was blown away with the quality of the work they managed to create and feel that the recipent school in Japan will be thrilled with them.

They showcased the native flora and funa we are privlaged to enjoy here in Australia. Kangaroos, crows, lizards, leaves, flowers and Koalas were represented in bright colors and various compositions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2011 China - Paper cut, copies & many things creative

For eight weeks Brianna and I rented an apartment in Beijing, on the second ring road, near the lama temple, just outside the city.


It was a studio apartment with two queen size beds, a small kitchen, bathroom, laundry and balcony - with a view across the street to other apartments. . . . nothing flash, but comfortable and very central. Safe!!

I was thrilled that Arron was able to spend a couple of weeks with us exploring. An incredible experience, to share The Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, the Summer Palace . . .and many other unique experiences with my children . . . .

During the day, the businesses downstairs would be in total flux as they were renovating, expanding and resizing. 
The entire place bustled with activity,ensuring there was always a spectacle or some form to observe.

Don't get me wrong. I did not have rosy glasses on all the time.
There were many things of which I did not approve, like or understand.
I did not like the pushing, the putrid smells of drains and stinky tofu . . . the public spitting.
I did not approve of the chaotic traffic, shoving and sheer mass of people and the obvious attempts at cheating you.
I found the tangible smog of pollution depressing . . . & the obvious lack of birds disconcerting.

I did not understand the language, the perceived rudeness's or the need to haggle continuously.
However, there were many, many things of which I approved, enjoyed, marvelled at, photographed and wished I could bottle and bring back with me to Brisbane, Australia. I admired the gardens everywhere. The amalgamation of species from different climates seemed to thrive in one garden plot. Standard weeping wisteria, roses, bamboo, grasses & shrubs.
I adored the colours everywhere. Be they in the food, the paintings, carvings, lights, reflections, foliage, flowers and clothing.
I admired the imagination, creativity and ability to produce work of an admirable quality, under less than satisfactory conditions.
I liked the humour, ability to laugh at themselves, the hunger to learn and the ability to share knowledge.
Combining the more traditional with modern concepts.
I had originally applied and received approval to attend a residency at the RED GATE residency, just outside Beijing for 2 - 3 months (hoping to obtain the allocation of time that would coincide with leaving Brianna in Jinan after our 6 week holiday . . . . . when she had resumed her studies and the weather was still warm enough to survive comfortably. . . .September, October, November 2011)
I intended on furthering my studies in layering, paint effects & paper cut, so that I could incorporate them with more productivity and accuracy into my printmaking.
I have used grounds, layering and paper cut outs and stencils for years. I tend to use a layering printing process (combining block, screen and intaglio) with found and created objects, printed onto canvas, which I then cutout, paint and layer.
Studying these processes under expert tutelage was something I envisioned as being highly beneficial & enjoyable. . . . .

Exceptionally detailed works are plentiful and varied. Shown in portfolios through out the art/craft shops. Many now are cut by machine . . .
Alas! the timing for this particular proposal was not appropriate. I was offered a later time slot, (from September - October, then Jan - March) which would mean that I had a few months between leaving Brianna and commencing the final part of the approved residency. I would need to leave the country to renew my visa and find alternative accommodation for the few months in between the two time slots.
Also, The January, February and March period in Beijing can get to - as low as -30 degrees. . . . did you see that minus? I was informed that it is a dry cold and therefore more tolerable . . . . however, and this is by no means a little HOWEVER!!! being from PNG and Queensland, I did not feel that this GIRL would be able to acclimatize and enjoy a stint in such conditions . . ..
regardless of the obvious attractions. . . .
and believe me the attractions were hard to resist. (BUMMER!!!!!!! I want to be resistant to cold and 20 again!)Regardless of the disappointment I had many opportunities to see some interesting works.
I did visit many places were they practise the printmaking and paper cut out traditions and where they are adapting them to more modern techniques.
It was great to see the diversity of materials & styles. . . .from the more traditional to the obvious ones with a modern flavour. Layered paper cut using grounds and black paper. Huge cutouts & Traditional cut outs
I was aware of the ability of many artists to ignore copyright and ownership of any sort . . . . people seem to BORROW ideas and repeat processes, without any obvious consideration of who may have previously DONE a similar work.
Throughout the markets and art district works were blatantly repeated ? . . . . . .copied ? . . .. . . .Borrowed ? Painting seen repeated. Ink drawing on wall. Paper cut multi- layered
Then you would turn the corner of some obscure Hutong and there stencilled/drawn/etched/grafitied or painted on the dirty wall, were works that gave you something to think about . . . . an emotional message with some originality?
Stencil of girl on old hutong wall. Grafitti? Etching on glass window
There were entire shops full of cutouts in fabric, leather or paper . . . .stencils on the more isolated parts of the Great wall of China and cutouts used through out architectural interior displays. Leather cut outs. Stencil on Great wall. cutouts of Butterflies
Yes, as I have said on numerous occasions . . . .China gives you much to think about . . . .

Bri, how you manage to live there alone, is beyond my grasp . . . there is no way I would have endured CHINA without your company, let alone at your age and level of experience. I am in awe of your capabilities. . . . . . . Sooooooooo a HUGE thankyou. )

So, now I need to Sits and thinks . . .

or maybe it is time to . . . . just SIT - or even take some advise and RELAX !!!?
But, be it sitting with some thinking or just sitting . .. .I know all the things I have enjoyed, fought the traffic to see, shared, photographed, documented, drawn, painted and thought about - will eventually percolate into something to create . . . .

Thank you to my delightful and clever daughter, Brianna . . . . .I adored your company, strength, enthusiasm and ability to communicate with the People.
(Without this huge asset of language, I do not think the trip would have been as incredible and I certainly would not have been able to understand what the people we met, were trying to say. . . . and we would not have known which individuals to avoid!!!! 

and thank you China. . . . . what a spectacle!!!! I'm glad I have seen you NOW.

I think given the current pace of change it will be a completely different animal in a very short space of time. Just in the period between our last two trips, a mere span of 4 years, the changes have been mammoth.

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!! Yes, it has been an eventful and extremely pleasant journey.

Shanghi to Beijing then onto Jinan - an adventure 2011

Brianna on Boat on the lake of Summer Palace, Beijing 2007. . . . Beijing 2011

Brianna started this journey in China, in Shanghai at the University of Fudan, in January 2011.
I joined Arron and Brianna in July, to have a few weeks exploring Beijing. We had a fascinating time in this eclectic city. The Summer palace, Forbidden city, Peking duck, food markets . . . . . it is amazing what you can fit into 24 hours of each day, when your days are not enough . . .

and when are they ever enough???

Arron had to return to Brisbane after 3 weeks travelling with Brianna to various destinations, and time with Bri and I in Beijing. I would have enjoyed having more time with Arron, but such is life . . . .and what we did share was extremely enjoyable.

Arron on the Great Wall of China. . . .Bri pounding peanuts. . . . Arron drinking yogurt. . . .Bri on the Great Wall of China.

Arron in Food Night Markets Beijing. Bri with Fairy Floss Man. . . 
Peking Duck night out
Brianna and I continued our affair with Beijing. ( I am extremely grateful to have spent this time with my daughter in such exotic locations, while exploring places this suburban mother and wife would never normally venture . . . without the assistance of her warm, intelligent, and daring daughter, who is proficient in Mandarin . .. .what an amazing time I have had !!!!! Can I ever say Thankyou too often ? . . . . Thankyou!)

During our stay at the Beijing apartment Brianna took a trip across to North Korea, leaving me alone for a week . . . . if your interested in North Korea her blog is a very good read.

After 8 fabulous weeks exploring, experiencing, and being decadent in Beijing, it was time to move onto the Shandong province, to deposit Brianna into her New University, for the second part of the year. We caught the fast train which recorded its fastest time during our journey as 367 km hour . . . .

I thought the bullet train in Japan was fast . . .?

The journey from Beijing to Shanghai only takes 4 hours . . the one from Beijing to Jinan was only less than 2 hours. Incredible! Safe? Who knows . .. but we made it!
Cake creations at the LOcal bakery?  . . .Modern shopping centres. . . .
Bri in her University of Shandong.

Jinan is an interesting city. We did not spy another European face in the first 3 days. Considering it's size and beauty, you wonder why more people do not visit this area. This region is the origin of 700 plus fresh water springs. This copious water supply flows into water ways, lakes and fountains throughout the city. They are well maintained and the lighting of an evening is spectacular.

Outside mammoth, modern shopping centre, Jinan.  . . .Brianna in University of Shandong, Jinan.  . . .Bri and  Me exploring Jinan at night.

The shopping is a mix of old, and extremely modern, mammoth structures housing all the expensive and desirable commodities out of Italy and France!I have a feeling that before too long we will not be able to afford to shop in China!

I felt comfortable knowing Brianna is in Jinan. The pace is a BIT slower, the people more ready to smile, the traffic less hectic and the sheer size less daunting. Yes!, it is a NICE 'little' place!!

I kept wondering what the difference is between Australia and China . . . why does it feel so foreign? Yeah! Yeah! I know the different nationality of the inhabitants is a certain give away!! . . and the architecture, and the obviously Grey vs Blue skies . . . but there is something else.

After my travels, I think I have nailed one of the variances that makes it obviously different.
In Australia we tend to have extremely structured and strict building codes and policies that protect areas from being 'different'. 

Well, I don't think the government has initiated these strict codes in China . . . .

Walking anywhere, you will find a children's toy and clothing shop next to a sex shop, which rubs shoulders with the local bakery . . . . moving right along you'll find a very expensive boutique which derives it's aroma from the open sewerage drains that flow between it and the semi demolished houtong.

Yep! It is this juxtaposition of such variances that causes us foreigners to feel uneasy.

I talked to a lot of foreign visitors (while attending art classes at the The Hutong, and doing the cooking classes etc) and it seems that you either love this or hate it . . . there is vary little room for nonchalance. I found at first it unsettled me. 

Why have an exquisite shop or boutique Hostel next to a smelly old crumbling food outlet? . . . . a fascinating, modern Art gallery in a dark labyrinth of an alleyways. An exquisite, meditative garden next to a market district lit with the most incredible neon lights . . 

But after awhile I did not find this disturbing. (however, I am well aware of the positive differences, that being able to communicate with the local people - speaking their language makes. Just being in Beijing by myself for the week, while Brianna was in North Korea was a slight night mare. Hoping into a taxi was fraught with dangers, ordering a meal off an all chinese menue an adventure, getting lost a firm reality . . . )

But !. . .and However !. . .. I must categorise myself as, 'loving the strangeness' of the place.

I know I will find Brisbane plain and under whelming.

I will find the sameness and slowness claustrophobic.

Initially, I will look for something new and unpredictable, knowing it will be without success. (Brisbane is like a well manicured garden, with predictable pathways and water features signed and fenced . . .. nothing is left to explore, with an adventurers heart or a soul that craves something different!)

However, like most humans I will adapt and eventually appreciate the orderliness of the roads, the ability to be able to read and understand most signs, the sameness of quality, the Blue skies, the quietness and the safety . . . of sleepy little Brissy.

Yep! Home will certainly be a LOT different . . .

for one thing, I will miss my daughter.. . .again !. . . .but,I would never want her to miss out on such an adventure . ..

"You Go Girl" . . .ain't life grand, for those brave enough to take it face on. 

We will be here when you get back. Enjoy! X