As a creative person, I am my father in girl form. I’m not sure if I’ve become more like him, or if I’ve only now noticed. Growing up, I spent a lot of time playing with the gadgets and ornaments I found around my dad’s study. When I had outgrown playing with his glass figurines, I would do my homework at his writing desk while he worked on his computer. His study was the perfect retreat because I was the only one who dared to disturb the peace of his sanctuary. His study was the most productive place to be because he had every article of stationary or tool one could ever need. Many of his tools are even self made for specific purposes.
When I was a little girl, my dad made various creative versions of christmas trees. I loved that. He made one out of chicken wire and toilet paper for a couple of years. It was way prettier than it sounds. It was my favourite tree. I attempted to make an origami something this year as a stand in for a christmas tree. It turned out being quite pretty though not very christmasy.
The process of making it and deciding on the materials to use reminded me so much of my dad. It really made me miss being home this year for Christmas. When I started making it, I realised that I already had all of the materials that I needed to make it. It appears that I’ve begun to create my own ‘study’ that is well stocked with art and craft tools of every variety I can think of.
I don’t know when I started trying to recreate his study, but its a place in my heart that I attempt to recreate wherever I live. It’s my base.
After making the hanging thing and cleaning out an art box, I came across some off-cut squares of watercolour paper I’ve had hanging around in my art storage for over 5 years now. I kept them thinking that they’d make lovely little ‘moments’ one day.
This holiday vacation, I used them all. I got out my stained watercolour brushes from my dad’s old orange tackle-box and got to work with the gouache paints he sent to me for christmas last year.
Today I sat reloading ink into my fountain pens (just like my dad taught me) and I realised that I owe him the biggest thank you. Thank you Da for making me who I am. I see you everyday in many of the things that I do, think and say. I’m older now I guess, so I can see it all much more clearly. You made me who I am and I’m not sure how to say thanks for that. But I’ll try anyway. I love you. Thank You.
Natural Symmetry, 10 x 14″, ink & goache on paper
I’ve been thinking about incorporating colour into my mandalas for months. This is my first attempt at combining mandala and painting. The mediums used here are ink and goache on watercolour paper. Next time I’d like to try using coloured pencils with a mandala to see what’s possible with textures.
This piece considers symmetry found in nature alongside the symmetry of geometry and mathematics. I used the air plants here because of their unfurling nature and the markings on the geometric centre were inspired by the markings of butterfly wings.
A sneaky puppy
Pen & ink, 10 x 14
This is my first mandala of 2014. It’s called Bird’s Eye View. It was snowing steadily all day today. Even though it was a fairly warm day in comparison to recent days, I couldn’t bring myself to walk to the art store for more canvas. Instead, I spent the afternoon drawing at the dining table.
Recently, I’ve been watching a documentary series called Through the Wormhole. One episode I saw last week looked at near death experiences. In that episode, there was a snippet of footage of a butterfly flying through a forest. Since then the idea of flying with an animals eyes has stuck with me. One of the ideas discussed involved the notion that at the moment of death, our minds might latch on to the consciousness of other being in a quantum like transfer of awareness. That’s the best way I can restate it – non technical as I am.
This mandala explores that idea – of reaching out beyond human form and seeing life through another’s eyes.
Hope you enjoy the mandala, and as always thanks for being interested in my work.
The last couple canvases I’ve worked on have been hard. In past, even if I started something without any idea of where it was going, there’d be some overarching vibe – like I had some inner focus that drew things out of me in some coherent way. It doesn’t feel that way anymore.
I knew this year, starting after a break of sorts that I was some place new. It’s been harder. I feel like in life I know how I feel about things, but then when I sit in front of the canvas, it’s all more visceral. Like I might have some vague inkling that things aren’t right from day to day, but then I sit to paint and the pain floods me and I can’t ignore it.
Today I had to come face to face with how lost I feel in the topography of my life. I was painting something and trying to feel out where I was going as the unanswerable refrain kept coming back to me – ‘Where am I? And what am I doing?’
My inability to answer these questions didn’t evoke sadness in me. Instead those questions illicited frustrated, exasperated, raw and undeniable anger.
I pulled out my Phaidon collection of Latin American Art to try to tie myself to something. It’s a great collection of work that makes me feel closer to home. In it is a range of expression more familiar to me than a lot of European Art. There’s an anchor there and within all of the great works of Art that I love, that I feel I lack.
It’s as if my life is cut away from its moorings. Sometimes I try to paint but I feel like there’s nothing inside me worth putting on that canvas. Like all I’m doing is applying daubs of paint to canvas instead of making art.
I suppose this is all part of the process.
This piece was done with thoughts of two of my friends who are getting married this spring. The piece is composed of two framed mandalas. Each reflects the other and are bound together by the spirit of the bird. It’s a story about the love and union of two separate and beautiful souls.
Union, pen & ink on paper
I collect rocks. I collect rocks and shells and then take them with me all over the world wherever I move. I literally have a box of rocks from scattered places. It’s not really for sentimental reasons. Some have strong memories and images attached to them, but mostly I find them pretty. I collect rocks of different shades and shapes, all of which are particularly unique and beautiful to me. I can sit and stare at them for a long time, seeing the sediments and crystals that compose them as well as the odd scratches and bumps that form them. Recently I started making pendants by wrapping them in silver wire.
These rocks are a few that I painted last night. There was a Blues festival on this weekend and so while listening to a concert being played down the street from my apartment, I sat painting rocks. I’m thinking I might try to make a couple into pendants. The others I want to leave in different places I go to. Maybe in the same way that I picked them up, someone else will find them and my little painted rocks will continue their journey around the world. Even if no one ever laid eyes on them again, it’s nice to think of putting them back out in the world rather than having them sit in my living room.
I moved into a new place this month. I’ll finally have a studio space to myself. When writing a friend an email earlier today I realized that I haven’t painted anything for the whole year. Instead this year, I’ve been drawing. I used a brush pen to do these little drawing/paintings on these rocks.
Anyway, if you come across any weird painted rocks when you’re walking through the park – I guess now you know where it came from!
As always, thanks for tuning in.