On any given day we can be blindsided! Personal tragedy can strike and we are all too suddenly reminded of our mortality! But to watch the sun rise over the ocean with the promise of a new day is to reflect on and be grateful for all we have right now. To watch the sun rise anywhere is akin to being reborn every day. A sunrise can be dramatic, like a curtain slowly revealing the main act, a drama we are unaware of just how it will unfold. Each sunrise is intrinsically different than the last, with no promise of anything better either! Lest the notion of enjoying the present moment for what it is. At the beginning of any new day there is a sombre darkness – like the dark night of the soul. Then the brilliance of the sun appearing is the balm that nature provides us with, and a realisation that we live in a stunningly beautiful world. Pertinent to these uncertain times is the knowledge that anything can change…and quickly, another reminder to appreciate all we have which is good and bright in life.
These are the capturing’s of my early mornings spent in Northern New South Wales on various beach locations: Bogangar, Casuarina, Tallows, Kings Cliff, Cabarita and Lennox heads and at varying times, witnessing the sun rise.In 2019 I spent time caring for my ex-husband Bob, who was blindsided with a brain tumour and given 8 weeks to live. I promised myself I would watch the sun rise everyday,… and I did. As I witnessed the sun rise, I also watched someone I loved slip away from existence. This was a poignant reminder to appreciate the ‘right now’ and ‘the given day’ ahead of me. The experience was profoundly life changing.
I believe that the environment we live in affects our ability to create. Therefore sometimes it is necessary to create the environment first. Well, this is what works for me, and is why it has taken five years to complete the environment for creativity to fully blossom. The environment I talk of is mostly exterior and therefore visual, however there is a flow through to the interior environment as a result of having a suitable space to work from. The renovations to the studio were in fact completed in 2015, but the renovation to my life was still a work in progress.
Last weekend I finally “hung” my body of work from the recently completed and final year of an Arts degree (Bachelor of Visual Art), onto the walls of my studio. Interestingly (as you can see) there are no body’s, and the portraits wear headgear reminiscent of a death mask. I started with only two portraits and ended up doing five, and ironic that in the end they all fitted so perfectly onto this funny curved wall which is the main hanging space in the studio. It was as if I had somehow subconsciously painted these portraits to suit my studio; the middle one of me emerging from the dark, smack bang in the middle and the others facing inward, surrounding me in support.
Titled ‘The Immortal Soul’, this recently completed body of work explores my life experiences and spiritual beliefs. Through a combination of mythological, psychological and symbolic imagery, these paintings reflect facets of my persona. The sequence of five paintings is structured around the idea of personality archetypes as defined by Carl Jung and depicted through the language of surrealism. The masked aspect is symbolic of death. Through the executioners hood I reflect on my existential approach to life and how I have reinvented myself many times over. The hoods therefore speak of endings and new beginnings. All the portraits of the archetypes explore the concept that humans have two basic natures, the physical and the spiritual. They represent psychic intuition: the unseen inner life, which guides me in the physical world.
When I stood back and looked at my work, I was reminded of the quote by T.S Elliot, ” we shall not cease from exploring, and at the end of our exploring will be to arrive and know the place for the first time”. Even though I was born with this gift, I felt a sense accomplishment, I was amazed (that I could do this), and they made me feel worthy. These paintings define me right now, but in five-ten years better paintings will define me, and THAT is the power of self discovery through ART.
HAIL ART!……long may it live (after the resurrection)!
I am not a hyper realist artist, and nor do I wish to be. However this is my attempt at painting in the hyper realism style, created through a master class workshop at The Art Academy (Adelaide based art school run by Robin Eley). What I wanted to achieve from the workshop was knowledge about form, and how this is created through tone and colour, and also mixing skin tone from the correct palette. We all painted the same painting from a photo, so I don’t know the woman (left side in case it isn’t obvious!)
Robin Eley is a generous teacher who happily shares his knowledge, and mastery of paint technique with a class of roughly thirty people, over a five day intensive workshop. He’s also a super cool dude who is living the dream as a successful artist in Los Angeles. I think it is quite safe to say that he still calls Australia home, and shall return to our fare shores once he has made his mark on the world. Other notable Adelaide artists such as Tsering Hannaford also teach at The Academy. The next up coming workshop is in January next year with David Jon Kassan and Shana Levesen. I highly recommend the Academy for those artists who wish to develop their painting technique. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the camaraderie gained by meeting other like minded souls.