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.
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
Hope… a fresh start, a new beginning, spring to come…lessons to be learnt, patience to be developed, perseverance, resilience, family, connection, change… This painting is in a series of what I call “Abstractish”. It is my sweet relied from the confines of commissioned work and trying to please. I literally will through paint on a canvas (this one with my youngest son) and then bring out the beauty that comes from it. The joy that I feel doing these paintings is immense and is immense. I have recently added this Lorikeet, from a photo taken of this gorgeous and brazen lorikeet that my eldest son and I discovered when out for a walk. We came within a metre of it, but it was determined to stay and gets in nectar feed.
This painting comes with a floating frame (made by me) in white painted Tasmanian oak.
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.
While I enjoyed a previous painting I had done, I decided to take drastic action and paint over it. I needed to let loose so threw paint on this canvas time and time again (good therapy actually) until I saw this field of flowers begin to emerge. I have included in the pictures below a quick cartoon that explains the painting much better than my words possibly could.
My wondrous weeds of joy! We don’t get to choose what life throws at us, most of the time, but we can choose how we see it. This is another one that definitely looks better in real life, check it out up close.
91.5 x 91.5 cm Acrylic on stretched canvas, ready to hang