Sunday, December 8, 2013

Taking a line of thought for a walk + an online shop!

Art-making often begins as a young child with a simple line scratched in the sand, or dirt, a line 'taken for a walk' on a page... thanks to Mr Klee, or a line of thought that gets us wanting to try and visualise it in some tangible way later in life perhaps! 

And maybe returning to drawing a line is an elemental human act that can reminds us of our earliest scratchings and links us universally to ancient gestures that live within us. We are many things even though we think ourselves so modern, so contemporary, so hip or current and new.

But what if we are always in essence that young scribbler, or a tribal being making a mark in the sand... even if we have forgotten our essential selves, or our tribal ties or lost our way amidst the clamour of "now". We can get awfully caught up in striving and keeping "the wolf from the door", in honouring our undertakings or stretching our vistas.

When we put our hands in the earth to dig, weed or plant we remember something from the long 'now' ... or perhaps when we walk a hill, or swim in a body of natural water... get connected with earth physically. 

Maybe drawing lines is a way for entering the long-now!

Around 2004 I was doing a lot of putting hands in the earth, tending my garden which I'd grown from scratch starting 2002.

Often immersing myself oat this time in the ocean, and ocean pools, watching movement in water and shifting visual imagery from being inside this vast body of water... I would go from this immersion and engagement with looking, back to my studio, and take up a colour and make lines that spoke to the sensation of having being there. A daily or frequent baptism ... a routine plunge that somehow also simultaneously plunged me into the long-now, the body of never-endingness that is the ocean in our minds at least.

In the early 2000's we weren't thinking of plastic oceans every time we dipped our toes in the universal pond. Whether we consciously know it or not there is much in our heads now when we encounter the long now and the everyday thats tiring our psyches and begging questions be answered.

But I digress... and will come back to lines and line-making by showing you this 'drawing-painting' of mine from early 2006. I'd been working my way through 4 years of abstractions in line, shape and colour in the studio at the house that became my first ever real home-of-my-own in January 2002. Ruminating on New Science at that time, emergent thinking on the role of dialogue, dipping into some ideas from Rudolph Steiner, reading a great smattering of ideas and writers ... all whist working (almost full) time teaching across curriculum in secondary school... my mind thus being variously soaked in some rather far-reaching ideas.

Perhaps thats why this work evolved as a means to distill something of the disparate influences and experiences... and if swimming in a fluid mass that is the ocean was the way to dissolve the hard edges in my world then maybe these art works were the means to map the process somehow.

I like that the lines here as crossing over, meshing and touching but separate too. Coloured circles create form but remain transparent enough to perceive whats co-existing with the layers of lines... lines that form squares ...   circles and squares in dialogue and moving!

Form and formlessness in co-operation. There's quite a message in that dynamic tension. This work above is essentially a twin to the 50 x 70 cm artwork that won a prize in a Regional Award show. Similar works, one a 120 x 120 cm canvas, the other a 10 x 10 cm miniature, were highly  commended and I missed the Awards night due to my car breaking down and deciding to stay home and have a glass of wine in my studio because ... why bother going anyway!

A closer view...

In the morning I was contacted with news I'd won a generous prize, and picked up 2 highly commendeds. I remember reacting as if it had happened to someone else... how nice for her I kept thinking. Although it was exciting and confirming to have an eminent art professional judge the work as worthy, and later encourage me to commence a Masters of Fine Arts ... in time I found I was needing to break out of the confines of these lines that were holding something in that needed to be released.

That created confusion from some close observers who weren't expecting me to want to move on from here at all. I'd been acknowledged for this work and needed to build on it surely! I talked to numbers of people at that time and sound someone my age who'd worked on startlingly fine work and had to give up after constant eye strain. Perhaps the close-ups show why my eyes were starting to feel it and why I instinctively decided to save myself further eye problems. I'd already worn glasses since age 6... and the feeling to have the line be more fluid... not just describe fluidity from the arrangement of shapes.... but to get that line moving gain became more of a necessity.

Yet I look back on this time and cherish the remarkable way deep immersion in cultivating a garden and swimming in a vast panorama lit up or added dimension to my thinking process which was then channelled into studio practice to arrive at works such as this. It interesting to note that being younger and more physically engaged resulted in work that was this abstract.

I started assembling this post at 5.30am on waking this morning. A chance to think through the series of works I was assembling to put up on my new Online SHOP.

This shop is a first step... so more of a viewing platform for people to then email me about works. Because I've been slow to set it up Ive ended up emailing photos of available works to interested people in the last week whilst I sort the material to put online. I've really got to get that up to date and decide whether Big Cartel is a good way to formalise my tentative step into online selling after Xmas.

So... would I sell this work above when it represents such an important phase in my developing practice and is now virtually the only remaining work like this I have. Instead... I can make Limited Edition prints if needs be I realised. That's been a great avenue for sales of more affordable work... or making something available where I've not wanted to part with an original.

And so... to the shop.

Its a simple Tumblr template that works reasonably well for viewing works individually and addition of notes + details. As a place to start it feels fine. Ive been in two minds for quite a while about putting work up online.

But now that I have a new studio with a good gallery space on one side and I'm continuing to run a project that pulls me to work in several different directions, including taking on residencies and some teaching work, it seems like a store that can be managed around various commitments might be ideal.

Ive been finding which of the works on paper to sell as originals over the weekend. Then there are the quality archival Limited Edition prints to add as well. Plus some works on canvas and linen to put up.

Here are some works I've brought out:

30 x 24 cm - watercolour and coloured pencil

30 x 24 cm watercolour and coloured pencil

Series of 3 works each 45 x 15cm - mono print, lino and paint 

I think this one has a new owner!

Next: a series of 3 hand coloured limo-prints...  32 x 24 featuring my totem seedpod based on the blackbean.

Next: Series of works on paper 60 x 42 cm... Unique prints also painted and some just paintings on paper. Most based on QLD Rainforest fruit seed-capsule motifs.

the stripes return

 A series of work on paper 30 x 42 cm

each work is 30 x 42 cm... image taking 2 works at a time

working with different colours is a revelation at times... 
in tropical plants one sees a lot of this striking pink

bold lines

This is a larger work on paper 70 x 50cm... in acrylic and ink

larger work with close-up below

Five lino-printed works beautiful cotton rag paper

 a close up reveals the appealing edge on this paper

And to finish off this one is on a very lovely but lighter paper so I won't be 
putting a big price tag on it. Once framed it will be be quite a durable work.

                    Its a large work and has so much rhythm in it I would love to see it framed!

NB: Limited Edition archival prints will be available for this work "Sensitive chaos II" in several sizes on high quality watercolour paper. Inquiries welcome for any of the work shown here.

I have to go off to purchase some fascinating plants that have been set aside for collection... I wish you a peaceful Sunday and week ahead!

Last thing ... I found a simple little quote to sign off on this weekend of remembering one of great light who walked this planet:

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.


Roberta said...

In the older pieces you can see the "seeds" of the more recent style. They are just wonderful Sophie.

Sophie Munns said...

It's interesting you can see that Roberta! Thank you for visiting and I shall look out for more of your wonderful monotypes!

suzi poland said...

Sophie, thank you for your wonderful long insightful post, revealing the steps in your process. I have wondered for a while what got you so interested in your seed project and now here I too can see the seeds in your watery works. Having my own Summer project and sharing a love of landscape and rare plants, I am so inspired. Thank you.

Valerianna said...

The shop looks great, Sophie!! Good luck with all you do. Interesting ideas threading through this post. I'm wiped out after yesterday... sitting on the sofa, earlier than I should have gotten up today, but enjoying the cool yellow winter light on the snowy trees :)

Velma Bolyard said...

sophie, i love YOUR love of pattern, repetition, layering imagery. but here, in the three vertical pieces side by side i see something i never noticed…"fingerprints" layered in all the other printing. reading robin wall kimerer's books has me thinking of human interaction with plant beings…and there it was in your pieces!

Sophie Munns said...

You are such a lover of the coast Suzi... and for the era when I lived in Newcastle, not so far from where you are, it was all about the coast for me too. I would just drink it in as often as possible... and even drive that way before, or after, work on days where I really needed to breathe more deeply or just be inspired.
The seeds were always there in my work somewhere I'm realising ... and some who've know me over decades said it was there back then. Interesting what emerges without even our most conscious prompting Suzi. All the best with your current summer work and the pleasure you take in the coastal landscape and rare plants!

Sophie Munns said...

You must absolutely be exhausted after your big studio event Valerianna! Good thing to sit on the couch and stare out the window!
If Boston + Ravenwood weren't half a world away I'd have com along! The snow looked so enticing... and good thing no nasty storm to keep peeps at home!
Thanks for the kind words re the shop... have been on the computer all week and still have to get back and tinker some more... add more images + notes. Rudimentary at the moment!
Have a lovely week!

Sophie Munns said...

Thank you for musing on this Velma!
Its interesting to me that your are seeing something after looking closely over time... might need to follow up and clarify my understanding of the way you are seeing the three vertical pieces... the fingerprints... the human relationship to plant beings...

I feel I've been processing my work quite intensely through blog posts here ...and at the studio archive... since 2009 when I first started blogging. When I arrived from Newcastle in 2008 I really had to tear myself away from that relationship with the ocean and water... and begin a huge adjustment to being on land for all my inspiration. We are so close to the ocean here but a huge bay with mud shores lies between city and ocean... so the river becomes my only dreaming place unless I drive an hour to the coast.

Its taken slow reflecting over a long time to appreciate the whole tendency to quite naturally dissolve into abstraction that so characterises my work. Many might prefer to see something closer to botanical illustration from one doing residencies in Botanical institutions etc. My journals fill with drawings of plant and seed species ... but larger works most often become a meditation on the panorama of the planet's seed heritage ... and the abstracted symbolic language speaks more closely to what is felt and learned about this vast realm.

Online sites I curate are often dense and packed with stories from the contemporary world on every kind of issue related to seeds, biodiversity, degraded eco-systems, politics, Science and more. All that is processed whilst painting. But the work that results is not telling something directly... its not didactic or political or anything like that. My online posting does not shy away from the politics or big dialogues on seeds.... and that is what makes having a dedicated project so good... having room for all that... but meanwhile the large artworks or series of artworks very often communicate symbolically ... they celebrate or pay tribute to or call for a mediation on seeds that is, one hopes, ever so quietly working on the minds of viewers with time to contemplate the image... slowly... over time!

This is a long response... Must be off.
Thanks for your seeing mind Velma!

birds sing artblog said...

so interesting to hear your process and to see the earlier work too, beautiful, but i can get how demanding it would be. i so love how you use blue and brown together - of all your work it is the blue and brown that grabs me every time, maybe the water and the soil? it feeds me something i need anyway - thank you!