Thursday, July 26, 2012

Margaret Olley

This week I watched the ABC programme about Margaret Olley called "A Life in Paint".  It has really stayed with me.  There was so much in the programme that really meant something to me - so I thought I'd share a snippet or two.  And, of course, its a great excuse to look at some of her beautiful pictures.  I even sought out some wonderful Protea pictures (as you know I have a protea farm and am a bit partial to the odd protea!)  

Probably the most memorable for me was when Olley talked really animatedly about how she loves to look at things.  It's not just still lifes, but landscape, portraits, anything, she said.  She saw things, and loved to look at them and paint them.  She described it as having "greedy eyes".  I SO related to this!  I am always looking.  Always.  My family think I'm nuts because I have to hold myself back from stopping 50 times while I'm driving somewhere, just so I can snap a picture with my iphone! I know I'm not alone here.  But I do find that visually, I am sometimes so overwhelmed that I have to find ways to calm myself down!  I get very frustrated that my current life circumstances don't allow me time to channel this obsession fully.  It's a constant state of tension that I live in.  I know if I can find ways to channel it, that's where the creativity happens.  

It was also being able to watch Olley's process of working that I found fascinating.  I don't know where we get these ideas that there is a "proper" way of doing something, and that if we deviate from that we are doing it "wrong".  There was so much about what Olley did that was "wrong".  But who cares!!! The process is personal, private even, and is so integral to achieving the outcome.  Had she not had that particular process of working, her artwork would be different.  But the work of art produced was purely Margaret Olley and was the outcome of these "wrong" work practices.  Her brushes were more like over-used broomsticks!  I found it very inspiring and liberating.   The need and desire to make work is what took precedence for her, not having quality brushes and a large, spacious studio!  She painted in every room of her house.  Even the kitchen!  It was integral to her life, not an add-on.  What a national treasure she was/is!  If you didn't catch it, its worth watching on iView.  It is visually rich and fascinating!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Front Page Action

On Saturday, after a very bad night with the baby (don't ask) I woke to find a message on my phone from my good friend Maria from Obliss Jewellery to say that a treasury list she made on Etsy, was on the "Front Page".  Even better, my work was in it!  Getting on FP as its called, is quite a big deal.  Etsy is a world-wide site with millions of viewers.  I don't know the stats, but they are pretty amazing.  All you have to do is look at my usual etsy shop statistics, and compare them to the few hours when my item was on the front page, and it is very obvious that there are alot of people out there, browsing the site.  My shop stats graph looks like ... well ... imagine Mt Everest was plonked in the middle of a great flat desert!  It's quite a spectacular spike!!!  All very exciting.  In, fact it's happened twice in the last two weeks.  

After all the excitement has died down, I realise that apart from the impressive stats page, I haven't really gained anything to speak of.  Maybe some exposure, but no extra sales yet.  Still,  its quite a nice thing to happen, and I really appreciate Maria for her lovely treasury making.  Make sure you check out her beautiful handmade silver jewellery at Obliss.  Thanks too, to Kellie from dahlies for the other lovely treasury list.  It's worth a look, if you've never visited the Etsy website.  You could start by following any of the links I've added to this post or go to and do some exploring.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Cards

Its been a very busy few weeks.  We've had electricians, appointments, moving the house around, planting (see our flower farm blog Swallows Nest Farm) and then the general maintenance of a household of 7.  But in my "spare time" I've been inching towards finishing a new range of cards based on Australian Native Flowers.  In the end, I was held up waiting for a parcel to arrive with the envelopes in it.  Snail mail, living up to its name!  But it finally arrived and in a flurry of activity, I've been photographing and putting the new cards in my etsy store, trees4thewood.  

Some of the flowers are ones that we grow commercially, but all of them are growing here on our property.  Its a nice feeling to finally finish a project.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Getting Organised

For the last few weeks, I've been a bit silent on the artblog because I've been busy trying to organise my studio.  I occured to me that, apart from University and a 5 month residency, I have never had a proper studio set up! Arrrgggghhh!!!!! I'm a "make-do" kind of person, and because I have always had time constraints, I have prioritised the making of the work above the organisation of a proper work space.

When we moved to our new place almost 4 years ago, I dreamed of building a studio somewhere on our 43 acres, and finally having a space of my own, but as usual, family commitments took over and I ended up with a corner of my bedroom!  Most of my materials have been in storage and I've been frustrated!  So, around 6 months ago, I decided that we didn't really need a dining room any more! I moved a few of my things in half-heartedly, not really sure if I wanted to go the whole hog!  But that just lead to more frustration.  Then a few weeks ago it dawned on me that I needed specific furniture and storage.  I guess, having never prioritised a proper workspace, I was slow to figure out what I would need in it.  I set about finding some furniture that would suit and came up with a huge set of pigeon holes and a fabulous Tassie Oak workbench complete with plan file draws.  This is the first time in 20 years of art practice that I've had somewhere to store finished work!!! I feel like I'm in heaven!!

Once I got started, I began really enjoying the organisation.  There are still some final touches to be made - I'm going to build myself a purpose built easel and I'm still sharing the space with the piano - but I now have the most organised, work friendly studio I have ever had.  I jumped right in this morning and got out the paint, ready to finish off some work that has been lying about gathering dust for 2 years.  (The more kids I have had, the more time it seems to take to resolve new work!)

Anyway, I'm hoping that this will be the catalyst for a really productive season of new work.  I hope I won't be worried about messing things up too much - I'm a bit of a frenzied worker and things get messy when I get working.

One day I will build a purpose built studio - but until then, I'm a happy  girl!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Magic Mushrooms

Theres a lot of mushrooms around in autumn and winter!  So many varied colours, textures and shapes.  Some weird ones, some common - even edible.  I think they're beautiful.  This is just a selection of some of the different types I've found in the last month or two.