Friday, June 5, 2009

The Final Day - heading home wih heavy heart

Today is day five. The final day of painting. Dee is preparing the farewell feast although we said goodbye to Lesley this morning.

Today we decided to cut past the drama and head back to the White HiIl where we knew we would not be bogged. Also we decided to paint it from a different aspect.
Tomorrow the ladies from Adelaide depart for a two day drive home via Broken Hill. It has been a joy to share the experiences of the past week with them. We know they will be back. We all come back to Bunginderry. But words cannot describe how artists who have never been here before feel. The emotion, the elation, the excitement, just the experience. Words are never enough for the feelings.
So we had one last day. Started early and finished mid afternoon so we could get the ladies packed. They had to leave their car out near the road - 16 kms away - because of the rain so we took most of the gear out this afternoon and they will be ferried out tomorrow morning for a 7am start. For me, it is also an early start and a 14 hour drive back to Brisbane by tomorrow night.
The ladies got straight into it today. But not without a visit from the emus again.
Then to work on three wonderful works of art. Here is Lucy final work. Her best for the week according to all of us and she agrees.
Mariana attempted two works and finished this one. You can see the style she developed by yesterday is filtering through. Great achievement.

And Rocio took on the challenge to paint a diptych which is the biggest work she has ever done. It is evocative of the rebirth of this country after the rain. Great painting.
And here is my interpretation. back to my strong palette. Not totally in love with the sky. But a nice piece.

So we leave Bunginderry until the next Camp with a photo of Lesley looking at the wire wall. This is an ongoing instillation whereby artists pick up pieces of wire and old items around the property and bring them back to hang them on the laundry wall.
I am off to Sweden on Sunday. Will continue from there. See you soon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fogged, Bogged but never Beaten

What a day. Heaps to talk about and tell you. But firstly, let me explain that when the fog appears in the outback, it means the rain is over. Great news for the artists, not so good for the people on the land. However, on top of it all, we decided - rain finished, mud drying - time to go further afield to Noel's Boulders.

I should tell you at this stage that my friend Annabel has not been here this week. Yo may have noticed her absence. She had a major operation on Tuesday and is recovering well. As a result, Annabel and Stepehn are in Brisbane. So, i am under strict instructions to call Stephen every night to check where we might be able to get to the next day - due to the wet condition of the paddocks. So, rang him last night. He said if you can get through the first creek, you will be fine to get to the Boulders. Went out early to check it out. Went through the creek and thought : we are fine. Came back with the artists and got bogged in the very next table drain. Here I am bogged. Slipping around but unable to move further.
Due to Lesley's bush skills and my pushing we got out. And big accolades to Rocio who shifted across the seats ans steered me to safety. So after that no Noel's Boulders and on to Plan B, thinking all the time how Stephen and Annabel will have a big giggle at this. But, as I said to Dee. I am the fat, gay uncle from the city so it is my job to provide comic relief.

We got out but the Rav 4 is covered in mud. I will leave the mud on so I look very blokey and off-road when I get back to the Big Smoke. After all this drama, which provided the Adelaide Peruvians with great dinner stories in the future, it was still foggy. But we decided to head to the clay pan flats not far from the house to paint. Here is the scene when we arrived.
And later on as the fog burned off at about 10:30.
So we set up and started painting.
Today I am going to show a little of myself. Just for the show. Here I am painting my piece of the day. The thing about painting on days like today is that even more than usual, the light changes quickly. You can see that for yourself. The challenge is to try to capture one mood. And that is what I attempted. So my piece is about the foggy clay pan landscape.
Here is the result. I am enjoying the change of palette that the rain and fog have brought to Bunginderry.

We were joined this afternoon by Lachlan Tully - the eldest of the five children. Shown here with his unique piece.
We once again all saw it differently. Here is Mariana's work. The tree is lovely and whimsical and shows her development this week. Her confidence and love of the new media she has learnt to use.

Lesley is an amazing artist and a great person. Today she showed us her fabric work and I bought a tie for me and a scarf for my daughter Phoebe. But she likes to work a little separated from the group. Her she is in the distance. you can see the Toyota Prado quite easily. Look hard for Lesley.

And here are her interpretations of the clay pan and the distant mountains. You can see how her work is informed by her interest in print and colour.

love the hat.

Rocio worked hard at going outside the square.

With wonderful results.
And our wonderful mamasita - how you say it depends on its interpretation - finally comes to terms with the tree.
Lovely painting once again. It shines like the clay pan in the follow up to rain.

So, another day ends with a bang despite the start. And tonight we have the show and tell. Annabel's Mum, Ruth has come for dinner looking stunning in black - the only one ready for and exhibition. Lesley is going home tomorrow a day early so we want to have a good night tonight. I have been having a few vinos ready for the exhibition so must go before I get too rambling. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day Three - Finally out in the open air at the White Hill

Great joy today at the Bunginderry Artists' Camp. The weather has cleared and we were able to get out the main track out of Bunginderry to a place they call the White Hill. And the ground was dry enough to drive off and get up close and personal with the Hill. And personal we did. As you can see below we climbed to the top of the mountain where the view to the Grey Ranges is spectacular. I also think it is important to go up to the landscape you are about to paint, pay your respects to the place and closely examine the colours that make up what you are viewing from a distance. It changes your whole perspective on using colour and line.
Lots of pics tonight and less words. I want you to enjoy what we did without too much direction but I also am dying to get to dinner and eat the terrific Indian meal that Dee has prepared. We are so lucky to have excellent catering and great company for our meals.

But first - why is Lesley laying on her back waving her legs in the air. This is the way to attract the curious emus. You can see them close by. Give it a try some time.
And then they continued to check us out during the morning.

Her is Rocio out in the bush painting her heart out.
And this was the wonderful result. We had to come back to the shed to paint in the afternoon because there were a few showers around. But that was fine. It made me aware that the Adelaide ladies were perhaps a little overwhelmed by their first experience painting n the bush.

Not so Lesley, who owns a property herself with her husband Andy, outside of Aramac. Look it up on Google. Their place is Merino Downs.

Lesley did two paintings today. This one is a painting of the claypans with the Ranges in the distance. Wonderful piece.

And this is her interpretation of the White Hill. Go back to the top image to see the real thing and understand how it has inspired each artist.

Lucy is a wonderful person. Every camp should have a Lucy. Here she is enshrouded in her fly veil This is the time when the flies are least in numbers. She would hate it here in summer.
And here is her finished piece.
And finally today. Mariana paints in the outback.
And produced this great work. Tomorrow, we hope to go to the boulders. sometimes known as Noel's Boulders, other times as Miller's Marbles. Obviously, they are my favourite place to paint on Bunginderry.

A couple of pieces I painted

Not much to say here. Just wanted to show you a couple of canvasses I have painted while here. having such a wonderful time and the added thrill of being able to put out a couple of pieces makes my life even more wonderful.
This is the piece I painted on the first day. The rainy day - looking from the shed. What amazed me is that the light mutes the colours and immediately affects my palate. I remember two years ago, arriving at Idalia National Park - west of Blackall -on a rainy day. The same thing happened and this canvas reminds me of that piece.

This is my painting from the White Hill at Bunginderry. This is a small study as you can see. I used it to demonstrate the techniques of painting with found ochres and natural pigments. To my great joy my three students today gave it a go and did really well. I am totally happy with this study and hope to translate it to a much bigger work - possibly a triptych.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day Two - Printmaking in the Shearing Shed at Bunginderry

What a great day! Today we had another day in the shed doing a workshop in woodcuts. We laughed and talked and played tango music for the three latinos from Adelaide. And most importantly, we made beautiful prints. So, the rain has stopped, it seems, but the mud is still ankle deep. Being in the shed was the best place.

Of the four artists, only Lesley had done woodcuts before. But all four produced the most exceptional work. Wow, is all I can say. Woodcuts are actually the same technique as linocuts using MDF instead of lino for plates. We cut into the piece of wood with lino cutting tools. I bring out a portable roller press from Brisbane and we print on Japanese paper. We then glued the prints, which are transparent, onto canvasses the same size as the print. having collaged the canvas with hand made papers first. The colour in the paper bleeds through and adds another dimension to the prints. A great exercise for printmaking beginners or novices as they have to plan their work on several levels.

Lesley is shown here at work on her plate. She based the print image on the sheep yards I showed you yesterday from the back of the shed. Lesley often works in fabric design and printing so this medium is something she handles well. She chose to stick to a black and white print. Lesley's work is competition standard and quality.

The delightful and fascinating Lucy Barua is 80 going on 21. We danced the tango today to the music of Otres Aires. And she produced an abstract design echoing the surrounding bush. Really original and stunning.

Mariana produced a really detailed work with incredible lines accentuating the landscape she painted yesterday. Her work was visually unique and evocative. She did one version in black and white and collaged the other piece.

But the accolades today must go to Rocio. An amazingly simple design beautifully executed and deftly cut. I loved her work. It needs to be seen by a lot of people. Unfortunately, the photos do not do it justice. At the end of the week, I will take a detailed shot of it.

Tomorrow, we hope we will be out in the open painting the beautiful Bunginderry landscape. Fingers crossed.

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Day's Paintings

Here I am at work on a couple of paintings, using them to demonstrate using found ochres and natural pigments. Not finished yet. Both Bella and I paint in this media and we introduce other artists to us at Bunginderry. We mix the ochres and ground pigments with an acrylic binder and water and paint in the wet on wet method. Two of our artists at the Camp - Lucy and Mariana - tried out this media which is brand new to them. They both did a great job.
By the way, before you read this, you should skip to the blog below and read it first. I am new to this blogging and have put them in the wrong order.

We have seen some great work on the first day. Once we get outside to paint it will be even better. Lesley (above) is painting the scene from the back of the shearing shed into the yards. She has two paintings under way. Both the same scene. One is more abstracted. Lesly is a fabric artist which informs a lot of her work.

Lucy completed two paintings. This is one of them. It was her first time using the media, as I have said. Her work is soft and sensitive and related well to the local landscape. We all had fun with the light as it constantly changed on this rainy day, muting the colours of Bunginderry.

Mariana's first piece in the new media reminded me of Fred Williams. Wonderful piece. She has a great touch with the brush.

Rocio (pron: Rosio with a soft "s") stayed with familiar territory painting in acrylics and produced this wonderful painting looking out the shed doors. All four artists were peering out from the dark of the shed at the same rain-drenched country and all produced very different but very beautiful work. She is a great colourist.

The photos below show you the views outside the shed that provided our inspiration. Now, it's off to dinner for me. Tomorrow, we are going to do some printmaking. All looking forward to that.