Saturday, January 28, 2012

Order ... then I guess the inevitable!

If you pop over here to the studio blog you can see small low res images of the studio after a clear out and re-organisation.

Weary of the feeling there was no room to breathe it gave me great pleasure to rethink this essentially very small studio space and make whatever changes would resolve the dilemma of feeling crowded.
I have space under the house not suitable to work in but ideal to store large paintings and such.

The computer moved into the window area of the next room with a great view from the bay window. I thought carefully about what could go and that also helped. At the moment I'm doing a lot of small work, mostly working on concertina book formats. Also being planned is a second printed book for my homage project following on from the first which was published late 2010.

Even though I have ideas for large pantings on my mind the book and preparations around that may keep me working small scale for now. I'm picking up work this semester tutoring in Visualisation at the QUT Architecture faculty. Having connected there previously, and finding staff most engaging and friendly, an afternoon a week collaborating with other tutors and students in a very large open space offers an alternative from the routine of solo work at home. Ive had a keen interest in designed spaces over the years, lingering on from an adolescent obsession with designing houses and such. I'm rather keen to put my mind to this fresh departure in thinking.

And what is this you ask...
          some might recognise it as a jacaranda seed!

I spent some time drawing one under the microscope at the Millennium Seedbank last October. I was captivated by its delicate structure... this image is quite a low resolution so it might be difficult to see quite what I'm talking about.

Today at the homage blog I added articles on the KEW Millennium Seedbank as an update... always such a lot to read over there!
       Time to be off now.... Have a good weekend won't you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Resources? WHat are our most precious resources?

First some pics.... from seed capsules tumblr of course!

 iceblack, via beverleyshiller)

Sometimes i feel like doing this...


“le dérèglement des sens”
 (via Merce Cunningham Dance Company in ‘Roaratorio’ - Review -

Not that I can ... but I have imagination!

Pause to wonder...



Litter (detail)
by Anita Hutchinson
recycled textile art
courtesy of Edge - Textile Artists Scotland
Litter by Anna Hutchinson via Sweetpeapath from  Edge - Textile Artists Scotland
And this extraordinary painterly view...


A landsat satellite image a of a swamp in Russia.
landsat satellite image a of a swamp in Russia. from The RX tumblr

When I moved to Brisbane in 2008 locals were catching every drop of excess water in every bucket they could find the drought had gone on so long. One could almost hear annoyed mutterings about yet another person moving to this State and using their precious water. How dare I?

Well I thought about that and the place I had just left, Newcastle, in the Hunter region of NSW, which had such a good track record with water use because they had been charging for its use for many years and the locals had been careful in consequence. It was also a MUCH less affluent and showy place on the whole... presumably without a huge home, pools and lots of cars on large driveways, water use is less! 

A boom state Queensland had been when I arrived ...and they kept coming till the GFC slowed that down. Last summer the rains certainly did come.  This year so far has been rainy too ....nowhere near as catastrophic in term of deluges...but the last couple of days have brought flash flooding so I was outside in the middle of the night checking drains and moving stuff under the house. Our run-off is from neighbours with drains on their properties that get blocked. So at midnight there I was in the next door's yard with my brother to the rescue unblocking their drain of bark chips so the water could flow out where is is supposed to and not drown us! I was reminded how necessary it is to think and work together if we want the best results for all.

When I came home from my getaway last week this wonderful big fig tree (photo taken two years ago), that takes up half the street, had been chopped back so harshly we were in shock. Its already pruned frequently for power lines and the trucks using the street... huge limbs were now gone...though not once has there been any reason to worry that these stately old limbs were a danger. I was just pleased to hear we weren't the only ones in the neighbourhood horrified by this.

Trees that have taken decades to grow chopped out (or stripped back) in no time! Ive been seeing to much of that around here of late. Yet... paradoxically, because we are next to a tennis court and there are several huge wonderful shady trees on this part of the street, we get many vehicles parking here to eat lunch or rest throughout the day. They come to sit in their vehicles in the shade... buses servicing local schools, removals trucks, tradies... which reminds me each time how invaluable trees are to us... but do we forget this? 

Over at the homage blog I have been reblogging some excellent articles found of late... I know how much you... like me... like to be seduced by all things wonderfully artistic and inspiring...and I guess the homage blog is short on that at times. BUT can I just fly the flag for a stopover at Homage today... ask if you might take a moment to read one of the articles I've reblogged of late. I know some of you pop in when you can... its a darn nuisance really not having a single blog... so I am not wanting to be be greedy and demanding in wanting your time...

simply saying...

I know you all care about theses themes ... and are doing things in your own signature way to make a difference...

so IF you can retweet or reblog for me I would be VERY grateful as the latest posts are all from reliable and news-worthy sources... I am simply being a vehicle... (OK... a little added editorial) for passing things on... so if you can be too I'll be SO delighted!

Lucy... big thanks for retweeting:
 lucinda dodds 

 always has the best links RT food sovereignty ... are we talking about that enough?  .

OK... I just did a tricky thing and linked this from the Homage blog so you can visit there more easily.

Yale Environment 360: Value of Conserving Habitats Could be Worth $500B to World’s Poor
Jan 25, 2012
As we in the...
Food Sovereignty in New Orleans
Jan 24, 2012
Found at the...
Improve your plant life balance!
Jan 21, 2012
An interesting...
The biodiversity crisis: Worse than climate change
Jan 20, 2012
The biodiversity...
Diverse ecosystems are crucial climate change buffer
Jan 19, 2012
This article is...
Why plant science matters!
Jan 19, 2012
The following...
low tech vertical farming from Sweden
Jan 13, 2012
Found via Green...
thought for the day!
Jan 13, 2012
Next year's...

I hope you don't need a whisky after this reading ... but you know... its stuff that's gotta be chewed over.
Maybe I'd better find something really good to finish up with!

How about a cup of tea?


Rosemary Valadon
Tea for Two III
stilllifequickheart: Rosemary Valadon  - Tea for Two III

Friday, January 20, 2012

pics from up the coast...

It was a wild old day when I set off on my coastal escape. 

Heavy rain slowed things down ...but I had a lovely afternoon with my niece at North Arm, near Yandina, before joining friends at Coolum for the evening. Next day we found a dry hour or so for a beach walk ...the coast looked windswept but the ocean water was rather tempting as it was warm enough for a dip!

These images are very low resolution ... still getting use to the laptop i-photo. Tried adding them to Flickr and Facebook this morning... I'm only keeping a public Homage to the Seed page on Facebook...  the wonderful followers here at Blogger are  the friends I want to keep in touch with ... I can't quite see how there could be enough time to keep track of the friend scenario over there at FB so I have not gone that way!
As for Flickr ... well I am a slow learner over there... nothing much happening yet... thinking about a new camera at the moment. Anyone know of a fail-safe camera for dummies... I really have little interest in gadgetry...i like on-off buttons,,, point and click. Well ... I do like being as artful as possible with framing things... but the technology for recording the image.... simple please!! 

Coolum .... steps up from one of the many small beaches.

When we settled in at Noosa on Monday afternoon at our accomodation it was bucketing down. The pool was steps away, a private jetty a little further along... and where were we? Inside with our noses to the window staring out.No... it wasn't that bad!!

 A trip to Organika for a few supplies and coffee (+ to check emails) was highly worthwhile, in large part because I discovered that my fav bookstore/gallery (that had been next door) where I had a show early in 2010 has relocated to Melbourne where its doing well ... situated close to the State Library in the heart of the city. 
Organika in Wyeba Rd, Noosaville
Embiggen Books previously next-door to Organika in Noosaville...
Warren and Kirsty at Embiggen's first wonderful home - next to Organika!

I just found a great blog post on the new Melbourne store... so if you get to/live in that fine city be sure to pop in! And here's a photo (below the map) from the blog post. 

Embiggen Books on little Lonsdale St in Melbourne

the Melbourne store

Back to the getaway story....

It rained heavily day and night Monday... and when I woke at 5am next morning I was itching to go explore. Despite grey with heavy clouds it was definitely not raining outside. At 5.30 I headed out with an umbrella and a little cash hopeful to find a coffee spot after my walk.

I came across this tree after hearing a quite amazing cacophony ( will send pics to a botanist friend for the name of this tree) coming from its blossom-heavy branches. Excuse my low res pics... can you see what was hiding in this riot of yellow?

Not just one... but a whole host of what I think were Rainbow Lorikeets. If ever there was need of a good photographer to capture this sight of a tree laden with delighted birds after the heavy rains... feasting on the nectar from these blossoms.

I think I passed two others on my walk along the beach. I guess everyone was tucked up asleep... you'd have thought the town completely deserted on this morning ... a rare sight over summer in this popular place I must say!

and yes... I did find a place that opened early... I was here by 6.30am and as you can see getting a seat was not an issue! The morning paper from Brisbane was gloomy about possible flooding... but then it was the 12 month anniversary last week for those who'd been through a particularly harsh summer of floods in our neck of the woods. 

another cafe view... 

Just about home from my walk it started raining again... luckily my spotted brolly, which I picked up at an Op shop in Cornwall last October, was on hand!

I managed to get in a swim everyday ...  and found cafe's with wi-fi. I'd brought along my inks and brushes here ...  and as getting to the end of a busy day I was left to occupy a corner seat for a long stretch!
Berkelouw Books (and cafe) has long been a favourite of mine so I was so pleased to discover a few years ago they'd set up in Queensland at 87 Memorial Drive, Eumundi. 

This is a cotton paper book Ive been working in of late, playing around with the possibilities this paper offers. A basic mono-print below ... pressing onto the page that has been applied with paint straight from the tube.

my watch from the November Paris excursion... no... i didn't apply it with paint and press!

This concertina book I started at the KEW MSB in October... I find it interesting to keep adding and altering images at whim! There is something about this format that so suits mobile art-making.

MORE IMAGES of this work at STUDIO ARCHIVES blog ...posted also today!

Just noticed one of Berkeleouw's Sydney stores has this wine bar below.Now that's an idea!

Page-turner ... patrons relax with wine in the inviting surrounds.

The river-frontage of where we stayed was very peaceful. There were kayaks we could hire... perhpas a trip back here sometime when its sunny!

This amazing plant contains so much detail...  where to start drawing?

Yesterday before heading for home we stopped for a coffee... loved this very homemade fruit scone!

This chair perhaps will be waiting for me if I return... next time we'll hope with clearer skies!

Well... there's much to do now... its been a wonderful time away and I'm ready to hit the studio... so more soon!
Have a good week won't you!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

a little summer excursion...

I have been in my studio till late last night finding a home for every single item thats kicking around that space...if It doesn't belong then it has had to go.

Today I an off to Yandina to visit my lovely niece and her partner, then staying a might at Coolum with an artist friend and tomorrow some of my family will join me for a few days here on this map.

Its only a couple of hours to drive here... so I am pottering around finishing off the studio before I leave so that when I return it will be all ready for the work I have been planning, So good to feel that the space is fresh and I know where everything is!

aerial view of Noosa
I'm staying where I can walk to that long beach in 5 mins... can't wait... and if it rains I'll still be swimming...i can promise you that.

Looking north

Noosa is a UNESCO world heritage listed site... so that even with its being a much visited tourist mecca a strong community has fought for contained development and preservation of national parks and surrounding habitats.

Read about other Australian sites on the World Heritage List.

Well ... I will take my camera and hopefully post on my recent room makeovers as well as holiday shots.

If you skip over to my Seed Capsule tumblr you can see it has been filling up with images during breaks from all these tasks Ive been consumed with at home of late. Its been great musing on what I am going to concentrate on in the studio whilst spending time on Tumblr. Part of my process has always been to search for images and ideas through all kinds of sources during these moments of stopping and refreshing my vision...tidying or redoing the studio. 


(via Leafing through Green Tips to Flower-Power Up Crib | The Beautifulist)

At tumblr the world comes to you , visually, so its been a fertile thinking space during my search through imagery.


note added by sophie munns:
Adore your work Bernd … looking forward to seeing many such works in 2012  and beyond!
This one got me thinking about where I'm off to... loved it.

Now... wouldn't this make a great studio?


San Francisco’s Flora Grubb Gardens’ Wally Woolly Pocket 

Interesting ...


Cordy Ryman
Scrap Wall 2
2010, mixed media studio scraps and Velcro
dimensions variable
Cordy Ryman via  julianminima:

and a little reading perhaps?


When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.
~ Erasmus  #
via uncertaintimes:

Speaking of books...
yesterday I found myself a great breakfast spot in a cafe at New Farm... yes... its a Brisbane suburb that once was just that and now its so close the the city its filled with apartments and cafes! I decided I will perhaps frequent this cafe in the coming months .... its a large breezy space with good niches for writing. I started serious planning work on my next 'homage to the seed' book (she says tentatively!) yesterday whist observing this space... so that's where the idea was born to make it a bit of a working destination for this particular project.

well friends...
have a good week and I will be back with a fresh outlook I hope!
S xo

Thursday, January 12, 2012

trying to summon the archaic...

Here's something to ponder for painters...

TAAFFE: Essentially, I’m trying to make a primitive painting. I’m trying to summon the archaic. I want to enter into a primitive situation. This is my protest against the sensory deprivation that we experience, which is due to this tendency towards globalization, towards homogenization, towards the generic—a technological standard rather than an aesthetic standard. I’m mining history, trying to regenerate a pictorial situation that is more humanistic. It’s not about commodification, it’s not about fitting into some sort of corporate structure. It’s opposed to that direction.

That is part of this piece from Interveiw magazine which I found today.

October 2008 issue

I've posted on Taaffe here before in May 2009... an early post when I had just started blogging and was very uncertain about the way I wanted to present ideas. However... I was never uncertain about this artist and his paintings or ideas. Since discovering his work some years back now I found myself drawn... and curiously ... able to resonate with certain leading themes and ideas in his work.


Juncosa, Enrique (curator), Colm Toibin, and David Brody (artist interview). PHILIP TAAFFE: Anima Mundi. 128 pages, roughly 40 color plates, numerous color and b&w figures. Small folio, boards. Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2011. Exhibition in Dublin. Book available through Ursus books and prints.

Composition with Egyptian Vessels 1998 
Mixed media on board, 32 x 24 in (81 x 61 cm)

Taaffe at work
I found the following quotes about his work here.

"What Taaffe has been doing now for almost three decades, as his paintings reveal again and again, is nothing less than bending the shape of time. He began by looking at art from the '60s; today he travels much further back, to earlier centuries, to ancient civilizations, searching for ways to reimagine the world in which we live that acknowledge those 'ancestral connections.'" 
Robert Nickas, Artforum, May 2008

"Mr. Taaffe aspires to the condition of an Oriental rug weaver: Strict yet playful, he intertwines a lexicon of motifs into inventive structures. Then again, great rugs usually achieve an internal dynamic; however much they play games with scale, they exude a sense of containment. Like mosques, they are conceived as symbolic portraits of the universe…In his new paintings, as much as ever, there is a bravura insolence in his collision of cultures, his insistence that everything can be reduced to ornament. But philosophically these sumptuous canvases can equally be argued the other way, as reminders that every ornament has its origins in something once deeply experienced. Mr. Taaffe's eclecticism long outgrew 1980s attitude in favor of an enlightened universalism. These accomplished, rich, thoughtful paintings mark the election of the artist as a trustee of what André Malraux termed the 'Museum Without Walls.'" 
David Cohen, The New York Sun, March 1, 2007


Well ... perhaps this is quite a foreign line of thinking for you?

There are, after all, so many approaches, so many philosophical view points and ways into painting. 

A title I've used for a painting more than once is "archaic, yet reverberating still." For me that is a really important idea and in Taaffe I find an artist who extends this thought quite profoundly through his work. He has been recorded in interviews, had a number of critical commentary pieces written on his work... and you can read more at his website. Also really engaging are his studio viewings here.

Its late so I will pop back tomorrow to check for spelling mistakes and such!