Thursday, 21 February 2013

On the grind for 2013

October 2012 saw our Open Studios as part of the BARI Festival, and a rearranging of studio spaces as our fellow artist Anthony Walker left for his new job as Indigenous Arts Development Officer at Arts Northern Rivers. I’m very honoured to have one of his pieces at home now, in exchange for one of my more experimental works. Visit his website and Facebook page to view more of his beautiful works.

Bundjalung Bush Grape by Anthony Walker

I’m also very lucky that Anthony offered me his studio space at Norman Park Studios [thanks Anthony], and I couldn’t have asked for a better space to work in. I’m really getting things rolling and the paint is hitting the canvas now more than ever. I have been busy finishing commissions over Christmas and have now finished the first for 2013.

So I have been a busy bee in my studio. Lots of coffee and loud music to lose myself in my work.


In November I was invited by artist and curator Edward Niznik, to show my work in the Jugglers X Show alongside other Jugglers’ resident artists. There was a nice turnout on opening night and it was great to see everyone’s work up. See my previous blog entry for the current line-up of Jugglers’ Artists’-in-Residence whose work was on show.

Fresh Look  2012
Acrylic and Oil on Canvas 600 x 2000mm (diptych)
This work was on display at the Fifth Battery Coffee Roasters on Warry Street, Fortitude Valley for a couple of weeks, and finally was sold privately.


(my works are the series of 6 on the far right. Please visit UAB site to view others' works)
In December, myself and 45 or so other Urban Art Bingers of 2012 showcased our efforts for the year at Jugglers Art Space on Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley. It was really a great experience to assist Emily Fong and Joannah Underhill in hanging the works over the three days prior to the event; a nice close to the year and a great opportunity to celebrate the creative experiences of fellow Bingers. Visit the Urban Art Binge blog to see more images of the works at the UAB show December 2012.

It is really rewarding to see the progress of those attending the Urban Art Binge workshops, who overcome barriers in their sketching and observation, in their creative expression. A group ready and willing to put their creativity into practice, from such different backgrounds; the hobby artist, the practising artist, the architect who wishes to explore a freedom in her linework, the interior designer, or the engineer, and those who are stepping into completely unfamiliar territory. The drawings that I see coming out of every binging session often inspire a sense of excitement in me, and so I have developed a greater respect for the skill of drawing and through the intensive sketching sessions on Saturdays, it has become something that I really enjoy and put time aside to practise; whether I feel like it or not. Sometimes the best work comes from frustration or a strong emotion...

The sketches below are from my UAB sketchbook 2012 (210 x 150mm):

In blind drawing the lines created by intense observation of a subject rather than the paper we are drawing on, are uninhibited by what we think something looks like, and this is key to overcoming many barriers in drawing. I see parallels to this in every day happenings.

A big thank you to Emily, Joannah and all those who have shared their creative journey with me. I do not make it known often enough how good it is to be able to connect with others on a level that inspires my creative genius.


In my last blog entry I mentioned that I’d been commissioned to finish a couple of my works-in-progress during BARI. I’ve finished them both now, as you can see below...

Vanitas 2012 Graphite A4
Vanitas 2012 Oil on board 395 x 300mm

Mia 2012 Pen A4

A new year with new opportunities. I am expecting to have work ready for show early March (place to be confirmed), May and November at Jugglers Art Space and I will be available to take on more commissioned work depending on size and complexity of work requested.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

BARI Open Studios

We had our Open Studio beginning last Saturday, 13th October. It was a really great day. Thanks to those who came and those who had good intentions. You do know where good intentions lead you right?

Jokes aside, I enjoyed sharing my creative process and look forward to more of it in the future.

mel davis' studio

visitors in mel davis' studio

Paul Harris in his studio

Paul Harris' studio

Paul Harris' studio

As an artist, I know that I'm pretty good at underestimating the true worth of relating with others on the creative, philisophical, and technical levels. Today was a sweet reminder of how relating to one another within the 'creative experience' helps us to grow, and to expand our [experimental] horizons, so that we're able to break through old habits in our 'ways of seeing'.

On Saturday and Sunday we sold quite a few works, and as another rewarding aspect of the endeavour, I found that by having unfinished works on the wall not only opened up a conversation about the processes involved in creating a work, but allowed people to then commission me to finish them. So thank you! My hard work has been, and will be, well worth the effort.

These are some of my works sold, and others still on the wall looking for a good home...

Caught in Contortion (triptych)
Oil on Board 50cm x 20cm 2010

Sharpie and pencil on Paper A4 2012

Hand Study
Mixed Media on Paper A4 2012

Last leaves of Autumn (diptych)
Oil on Board 62cm x 11cm 2012

Leaves alone
Mixed Media A4 2012

Graphite on Paper A4 2010

Graphite and Ink with wash A4 2012

Ink with wash A4 2012

Graphite on Paper 10cm x 15cm 2004

Skull dramatic
Conte' on Paper A4 2011

Vanitas study
Graphite on Paper A4 2012

Watercolour on Board 12inch x 15inch 2012

Print 20cm x 20cm 2009

I'd like to thank Jugglers Art Space in Fortitude Valley for having given us this opportunity to open our studios as part of the BARI Festival; making it an event that has shifted the course of, at least my own practice. There is also a more collaborative feel to the studios now, with the table in the kitchen from Saturday 'serving' (excuse pun) as a collaboration station, where we share ideas about our process; breakthroughs and pitfalls... jotting down ideas for new paintings, sketching each other and experimenting with different drawing media. There has also been a few visitors at the table over the past few days.

Jugglers founded the Brisbane Artist-Run-Initiative (BARI) Festival in 2008. This year the festival has been running since October 5th, and finishes October 26th. There are two exhibition openings left as part of the BARI Festival. At the Judith Wright Centre at 420 Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley, the InHouse ARI will be opening theirs at 6pm - 8pm, and The Wandering Room will be opening their exhibition at The Box, 29 Vulture Street, West End at 6pm - 9pm.

Drawing and painting over a beer (thanks to Little Creatures) and conversing about things that matter to us is an activity sure to continue at the Norman Park Studios. And for you to make sure you don't miss out on all the fun, please come and visit us before 4pm Saturday, 20th October. At this time works will be coming down, and we'll be getting back to the grind of creativity, such a chore...

There are some works left that are at a great price. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity in terms of having an eclectic mix of works up for decent prices. There is no middle man here, it's straight from the artist; a more personal approach to exhibiting works, which we're hoping will take off with the other Jugglers' artists as a regular activity.

You'll also be able to see the works of many of the Jugglers' artists, at the X Show on November 9th 2012... at Jugglers @ 103 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. Featured artists include: Sue Beyer, Anna Carluccio, mel davis, Emily Devers, Jan Van Dijk, Emily Fong, Joanna Fuller, Bridie Gillman, Carmel McGregor, Peter Kozak, Edward Niznik and Nic Plowman.

That's it for now folks. I'll update very soon on Paul Harris' work. 

Thank you to Little Creatures for sponsorship. Quench a well earned thirst you did!

Friday, 12 October 2012

We at Norman Park Studios are opening our doors for one week starting Saturday 13th October from 12pm - 4pm, as part of the BARI Festival 2012. We've worked hard for this event and despite having survived on very little sleep this week, I'm awake in anticipation for the chance to chill out with great people; cider in one hand and paintbrush in the other.

An informal event, works displayed finished and unfinished, for sale, in progress for exhibition, old works new works... There really isn't much we haven't put on the walls of our humble studio house which, by the way has been made available to us thanks to Jugglers Art Space at 103 Brunswick Street, in Fortitude Valley.

I recommend anyone driving, to park in either Agnew or Bennetts Road. Our street is very poky and near impossible to 3 point turn in, especially when the street is full!

Drop in and have a chat, we'd love to see you all there!

Greater Heights study (A4)
mel davis

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

On the 13th August, I will be on board with Emily Fong and Joannah Underhill at their awesome six-week workshop, Urban Art Binge at Jugglers Art Space in Fortitude Valley.

I signed up to do the first six-week block in February this year after having experienced the 'taster workshop' where I was delighted to find a group of like-minded creatives looking to harness their inspiration and turn it into something beautiful. My reason for going was to re-discover my inspiration. Having been 'creatively dry' for the past year, it was time for me to take on something that would kick-start my business in 2012.

Having found my inspiration to push through and paint paint paint! ... I'm happy to share that I'm creating a body of works for the BARI Festival in October and a few more to enter a few art prizes.

Six months later, these girls are still inspiring new crowds of people and, I've been asked to share my techniques and observations with the group for this block!

Visit the Urban Art Binge blog, where you'll find testimonials, photos of everyones' work and information on how to join up to the coming six-week block. 


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A weekend at Gatton

In early July I took a drive down to Clifton to meet my friend Larissa. We had decided some weeks ago that we would meet and venture into the landscape in her camper. An experienced countryside traveller, Larissa has given me even more inspiration to explore with canvas and paint.

When we travel through this country, (I’m usually the passenger, which is nice), I’m planning in my mind to stop here and there to take photos, and to paint ‘en plein air’ the many varieties of gums alongside the road at Gatton, and this weekend was intended to be only a taste of what is to come. Aside from the many photos I now have for future works, I took home with me a sweet reminder of how inspiring the Australian landscape is.

Some of you are aware that I have been planning for at least a couple of years, to take a journey across Australia; my vehicle of choice either a DR 450 or an XT. This is still at least a year away as I need to get the money together to first buy a bike and to kit it up, so that I can take my art materials and the basics I need to be comfortable on my journey (the bare essentials). I imagine the first part of my journey will entail a trek around Queensland, just to get into the swing of things. And I’m sure that I’ll need to request the assistance of some knowledgeable others to show me how to keep a motorcycle in top form when I’m out on the road (nudge nudge wink wink)... In the meanwhile, let me share my weekend at Gatton with you.

Some of the photos I took reminded me of when my partner and I rode down to Sydney and back to Brisbane in 2010. This is really when I first had a real sense of how I might undertake my journey and of what images I’d like to create. 

Our first stop for the weekend was Queen Mary Falls Circuit. The glowing trees reminded me of Hans Heysen’s work, particularly Mystic Morn, however it was afternoon and it was just starting to drizzle.
'Twas a mystic drizzling afternoon.

Keeping the camera dry was a task itself, however I made it my mission to capture the afternoon sunlight through the fine rain past the trees. I'm very inspired to paint at this point. As I was walking I was devising a way to paint in this climate. A large umbrella and a flask of hot sweet billy tea I'm sure would get me through.

And as we move on, it gets colder and wetter. If you ever go these falls, I recommend you spend time at the bottom. Such an incredible feeling. The force of the water pushing the air against your face is really amazing. On a hot summers' day I'd really like to get closer to the water.

That night I had the pleasure of fire duty, all to myself. Thanks to the teachings of my beloved, I can keep a fire going all night. It was Larissa's duty to keep the fire warm with tea lights. ?

And for breakfast I was spoilt with hot porridge, muesli on top with apple.

Lunch time special. We had moved camp, closer to the river, thanks to a French couple who had also generously donated their firewood to us. Following the success of our roast pumpkin dinner the night before (which was a delicious compromise after a long and unsuccessful mission to find spuds on the roadside), we had more for lunch. 

I also roasted the seeds... YUM! This will be on my list of roadside recipes for sure.

And after ‘much adoe’ about everything unrelated to art-making, I spread myself out and began to draw. I came home with one drawing and an unfinished watercolour, so plans are already made for another art-venture in the near future! 

And another morning of mouth-watering goodness; hot porridge and muesli; this time with chunks of orange and juice...

... and a generous drizzle of honey.. WOW. Highly recommended.

Time to go home and draw up a plan for the next weekend away...

Now, in testing my skills on keeping my blog up-to-date, this month I had almost failed the test. I assure those of you who have been on my case about this *cough Arjuna and Melody cough* can now withdraw your disappointment and get busy reading; for inspiration is not yet failing me, and I do have a lot to write about. And paint about.

And in concluding this blog I share with you the final drawing which is now in Larissa's loving hands.
Happy Birthday xxx