Monday 19 September 2022

Chiharu Shiota - The Soul Trembles

A wonderful exhibition at GOMA, Brisbane is coming to an end soon, so you should take to opportunity to enjoy while you can. 

Chiharu Shiota  is a Japanese performance and installation artist. She explores the perception of space to explore ideas around the body and flesh.

The Soul Trembles is a visual feast. I’m going to let the photographs of the installations speak. 

Across the River 


The Burnt Piano

A Question of Perspective 

Inside/ Outside

Exploring Acrylic Ink

When you’ve been painting as long as I have, you collect art materials -  a lot of art materials. Visiting an art supply store is the best therapy. The lure of shiny new paints, brushes, sketchbooks, pens and pencils is very hard to resist. If you have seen my studio you would have seen evidence of this - many, many brushes, boxes of drawing tools, paints and sketchbooks. 

Many years ago, I attended a workshop which stipulated an extensive supply list which included a number of acrylic inks. After the workshop was over, I realised that the inks had been just a whim of the tutor - none had been used during the workshop! Now and again I’ve enjoyed using the inks, but since the workshop I had not done a deep dive into their possibilities.

A couple of years ago, I came across the work of Missy Dunaway. Here’s a link to her website . She uses acrylic inks almost exclusively in a Moleskine sketchbook as a wonderful visual diary of her travels. 

Take a look at her Instagram page - it’s so inspirational. Now here was an opportunity to explore the inks more thoroughly. I took part in a couple of online courses that she offered through through Creative Bug and more recently a course offered in conjunction with Moleskine called The Travelling Artist. 

Now here was an opportunity to explore the inks more thoroughly.I took part in a couple of online courses that she offered through through Creative Bug and more recently a course offered in conjunction with Moleskine called The Travelling Artist. This type of work aligned with my current preoccupation with working smaller, and, more importantly the course was scheduled at a civilised hour for Australia. (Most online offerings take place as 2 or 3am AEDT!)

The 3 tutorials were two hours each over a period of three months - plenty of time to practice in between sessions.
Acrylic ink provides a flexibility not present in watercolour - colours can be layered multiple times, allowing one to edit and alter frequently.
I am, by nature, quite an impatient painter. I tend to paint and then rapidly move on to the next shiny thing. Missy’s approach is to continue refining and adjusting her painting far longer achieving wonderful detail. So this is a good practice for me, to push through and work on the detail. 

Windarra stream - acrylic ink on watercolour paper 

The Country Lane -  acrylic ink in Moleskine sketchbook 

Coastal Landscape - Tasmania - acrylic ink in Moleskine sketchbook 


Mt Wellington Tasmania acrylic ink in Moleskine sketchbook 

Wednesday 14 September 2022

The end of an era.

I woke up on the morning of 9th September to the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II the previous afternoon. 

She came to the throne when I was barely 2 years old. While watching programmes about her life and long reign I am also watching the events which took place during my life, new technologies, the fashions, music and historical events. 

Such a lot has happened over the years. 

Monday 5 September 2022

Walking every day - shinrin-yoku

A walk in the forest or  “forest bathing” is both a fitness exercise and a mindfulness practice. 

The term shinrin-yoku emerged in the 1980s in Japan. The purpose was two-fold, to offer an anti-dote to technology and to inspire residents to reconnect with the country’s forests. There are places where you can take part in guided meditative excursions, or you can do as I do and just take yourself off to somewhere outside and walk. 

Wonderful fragrant Jasmine - a pity you can smell the perfume.

After I had a heart attack last September, yes, it will be a year next week, I was tasked with improving my approach to my health and cardia health in particular. I decided right away that rather than approach a 3 times per week regime I would rather make the exercise a daily schedule. 

So far this has been a successful. When you have a plan to walk Monday, Wednesday and Friday and when then it pours with rain on Wednesday and you don’t walk it’s all too easy to postpone. You discover later it’s been a week since you walked. You make a promise that you’ll start again on Monday, but Monday dawns and there’s something else you have to do so no walk happens.

If you walk every day, whether it’s raining, windy or very hot you don’t give yourself a chance to make excuses. 

A huge bonus for me is that, living in Brisbane, there are many walking trails in the numerous bush reserves near my home. Each has a slightly different feel - some steep and challenging, some more easy going. Many are shady so even in the hot summer months there is somewhere to escape the sun.

A second big bonus is that there are so many beautiful sights to enjoy each time you venture out.
If you follow my Instagram you’ll see frequent photos from my daily walks - wonderful trees, shadows on the path, reflections in a stream - there’s something new each time.