Art is the way I deal with life. The last couple of weeks have been both traumatic and miraculous, painful and wonderful. Painting this has been part of me processing all that has happened. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28
This has been the most difficult painting I have ever done. Not only was it technically a difficult painting, it was also because it was so deeply personal (sharing this with her permission). A beautiful friend of mine asked me to paint a picture of where her fathers ashes were scattered. It was such privilege to be asked to paint this.
This is quite divergent from my normal art. I was painting a commission at the time of this and needed an expressive outlet, while feeling so constrained by an unusual request. I was influenced by my acrylic splatter paintings, but this is much freer and more abstract.
I love my garden, what beautiful ever changing inspiration it brings me, especially at the moment as I spend more time at home, I am noticing more and enjoying more. Years and years a go these beautiful cymbidium orchids were passed to me from my friend and relative Trang. They were overflowing and abundant. There were so many that I was able to pass on some also and since then they have provided me with so much pleasure. It is interesting how these majestic plants largely survive on neglect. Feed them too much, water them too much, give them too much light and they won’t flower. They love my vertical gardens where they get light but not too much and rain water but not too much. These have been the gift that keeps on giving.
76 x 76cm Acrylic on stretched canvas, with Tasmanian oak frame.
During this period of isolation there have been some lovely moments. My favourite thing, has been walking with my family. Each day, rain or shine, we have gone walking or cycling and I have loved it (accept the cycling, I am the lady almost falling off regularly).
During these times the kids have discovered the joy in photography, so while we walk we take interesting pictures along the way. It has brought a new observance of my surroundings that I didn’t have before. Right up the road we discovered these beautiful flowering gums. They were so breathtaking in their complexity and beauty. While it is difficult to capture what true beauty the possess it was fun (and time consuming) to try.
This one, for whatever reason, has beens such a struggle for me. I have painted over it so many times. I think I have been trying to paint something that would sell, or paint something that others would like…whenever I do this I always fail, good never really comes from trying to please others, forsaking who you are. Ben Quilty recently posted a video where he said the beginnings of art should be hidden, you should never show anyone else, as you may be influenced by their positivity or negativity towards your work, forsaking what it would have been had you not heard their comments. What brilliant advice. I wonder how often the choices I make in my life, generally, are subtly influenced but the positive and negative feedback, I get from those around me. I wonder how much more at peace I would be if I was able to contain myself, until my form was strong enough to withstand the judgement of the world around me….
Acrylic on Linen Canvas, framed in white Tasmanian oak frame. 76 x 76cm (79 x 79 frame)
Recently a very kind local stranger offered proteas to people locally for free. They left them outside (properly social distancing) for people to pick them up. My wonderful husband went and got some for me to paint. I love that in these more challenging times kindness, beauty and joy can also flourish. Thank you kind local 🙂 it provided me with such joy and inspiration. Protea 76 x 76cm Acrylic on linen canvas
Apologies for the extreme colours, but this is how I am dealing with all that is happening. Hope… a fresh start, a new beginning, spring to come…lessons to be learnt, patience to be developed, perseverance, resilience, family, connection, change…
I painted this painting while sobbing. I wasn’t feeling the best, hadn’t slept, was aching for my son and I knew I needed to paint. I went to the backyard with a box full of paints that I had grabbed and started to throw them on the canvas. As I cried, I cried out to God. It has been a painful time as I have continued to paint this, and to continue to cry out to God for wisdom. I was reminded of the bible verse 1 King 19:11-13, where God asked Elijah to stand on a mountain where He would pass by and there was a great wind, which tore everything apart and God was not in that, and a great earthquake and God was not in that, and a great fire, but he was in none of these. Then came a gentle whisper… God has come to me in a gentle whisper: I just need to wait on Him, trusting Him in all circumstances and He will provide what I need and what my kids need.
I was terrified to share this painting because it is me, in paint. It was pure joy to paint this piece. This is one of a series of splatter art works, abstractish pieces that I have done, where I start by literally throwing paint on a canvas, and then I make something from it. It also has a lot more to it than some may see. It is kind of like a parable, it will only really make sense to the one who attends to it closely and the more they pay attention the more they will discover. It has hidden things amongst it.
I am not the most commercial artist. To be commercial you are supposed to paint in a similar style so that your art is recognisable, I am not so good at that because I paint my life and my moods, so my paintings tend to go up and down with my life. I did read a great article about the reason to paint the same things over and over…to learn from! What a good idea…maybe a good thing for life also?? Learn from past mistakes??? Maybe?? 76 x 76cm Acrylic on Linen Canvas
I always contemplate life as I paint, and I was really struck while painting this one in particular. If you were to come in part way through and check out my painting you would think it was pretty terrible, you wouldn’t see the process I was going through to enable the beauty to develop. Our life is not simple and it would be pretty easy to look at it and think what a mess! Someone messed this up! I know that God has His vision and purpose for our lives, that He sees the completed picture and the process we must go through in order for it to be made complete.