Sunday, August 31, 2014

Finding Inspiration by Bike

During the past couple of years, I've developed an interest in Mountain Bike Orienteering.  Although I'm no athlete, I enjoy getting outdoors on my bike navigating my way along gravel roads and dirt tracks in the forest.

Most of the events are held in pine plantations, so the landscape can get pretty bland - pine trees with lantana and other 'weeds' and grasses.  But there are pockets of native bushland, usually retained near creeks and swamps.  These areas are my favourite, leading to some mid-race distraction!

Luckily I have a map, and I can navigate my way back to spots that interest me after I've finished my race.

Today we visited Beerburrum, north of Brisbane.  Its a very sandy, coastal landscape, very flat so its easy to ride.

I found a lovely spot with beautiful ferns, and of course my very handy plastic bag enabled me to collect some samples for future monoprinting projects.  Watch this space!

The pine forest at Beerburrum - its so quiet,
you can hear the wind whispering through the
needle-like branchlets on the trees.
It has a very artificial feel to it even
though its filled with bird song.

A 'selfie' - behind me are the formal rows of
the pine plantation

A pocket of remnant native bushland along a creek -
a beautiful natural forest of ferns

A close up of the ferns

One of my favourites - pouched coral fern

This is one of the controls for the orienteering event -
that's how I found this beautiful spot.
I had to navigate to it using a map.

Here's me with Craig's mountain bike after the event.
You can see the map board holder on the handle bars -
its flat surface is ideal for stashing plant material!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Monoprinting Workshop at Kenilworth

Kenilworth Celebrates!

Art workshops and other events

28 September to 11 October 2014

Kenilworth Celebrates! is a major festival held annually in Kenilworth, a small town in the Upper Mary Valley on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland about 2 hours drive from central Brisbane.
The Festival starts with an orchestral concert on 28 September (booking required), followed by painting workshops with professional tutors from 29 September to 3 October (bookings required). The Town celebrates with music, poets' breakfast and street entertainment on the weekend of 4/5 October and free art exhibitions run from 4th to the 11th October.

I'm running a 4 day workshop from Monday 29 September to Thursday 2 October.
We will be exploring the printmaking technique of monoprinting using plants, stencils and other found materials to create one-of-a kind and often unexpected images. We'll be printing with my etching press 'Thumper', but also devoting time to printing using homemade gelatine plates. The workshop will cover ghost printing and how to develop layers and complex colour relationships in your prints. The four days of the workshop will allow you to extend yourself creatively and fully resolve prints using your own imagery.

For more information about the workshop, bookings and the festival: or email me

If you're interested in the workshop, please make your booking prior to the end of August, so they can assess whether the workshop has sufficient numbers to go ahead.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mountain Getaway....and art opportunity!

This week Craig and I took advantage of a mid-week public holiday to escape to a cabin in the 'mountains', well, as much of a mountain that we could find close to Brisbane!  We stayed at Cabins at the View at Mt Mee, approx 40 minutes drive in a north-westerly direction.

The view was delightful, as were the bird and animal friends that we saw along the way.  We did some exploratory drives through the nearby D'Aguilar National Park as well as dropping into Woodford for some refreshments and to visit a couple of op shops..... but don't worry I only bought one book which I thought was very disciplined for me!

And of course, I had to take my art with me.  This time it was gelli plate printing, using some new leaves that I picked up during my stay.  I took some unresolved prints to work on.  The most successful gelli plate prints are those with at least two layers, using 2-3 colours, so its easy to start with a incomplete or pale print rather than a new sheet of paper. 

The view from our cabin,
Brisbane city is in the distance

The view from one of the lookouts, looking

I'm on a rock-hop along a creek bank, always on the
lookout for printing goodies
A Currawong at the picnic area.
I sometimes hear these birds near our house, and
I read recently that they are moving closer to urban areas
which is not good for local small bird populations.

A friendly Kookaburra, no doubt he was after
a handout or just to swoop and take what he wanted!
Unfortunately for him we were indulging in dips and crackers,
not on his diet.
I took over the dining table for my temporary art studio
at the cabin.  A very small table - good for romantic
candlelit dinners but not big enough for serious art making!
But yes I did clear it all away at dinner time......sigh

A printing frenzy.....heaps of fun!

Printing with leaves and a stencil.
 This one has a yummy colour, blue and a bit of black I think.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


During the last few weeks I've been busy preparing to make prints for an upcoming show called 'Blueprint'.  I'm part of a small group of printmakers exhibiting in an architect's studio at West End, responding to the theme of Art and Architecture.

Even though my work is based on the spontenanity of the technique of monoprinting, there's actually a lot of preparatory work, mostly with the selection of imagery.  The other technicality with this project is that we've been given only 5 sheets of paper - so that immediately restricts me to take a less experimental approach.  Hence the extra time I've given myself to do test prints and work out exactly the sequence of print techniques I need to follow to get the result I'm after.

I'm using a combination of monoprinting and a solar etching plate.  I've used these two techniques together before but this time I've used the techniques slightly differently, maximising the effects of printing off the object rather than the plate. 

And because the paper supplied is so large, I wasn't able to print on my 'Thumper' travelling etching press, but had to use my new large studio press which is stored under my Mum's house in her garage.  A slightly less inspiring environment, with the challenge of poor light and wind blowing in the garage door, but it did the job.

I'm happy with the resulting prints, they'll all be exhibited at the Blueprint exhibition, Baber Studio, 9/173 Boundary Street, West End, Brisbane (upstairs and turn right).

After the opening at 6pm Friday 29 August, the exhibition will continue until Saturday 20th September.  Opening times are Monday to Friday 12-2 and Saturdays 9-3 (2 of the artists will be present on the Saturdays).

My temporary studio in Mum's garage,
slightly chaotic but I still managed to print OK
My HillDav Studio Press, ready to start work

Gorgeous Swamp Blood-Wood leaves,
covered in ink after printing

The solar etching plate I created from a map, with
images of the leaves 'printed' onto it (the aftermath of
my printing session)

One of the final prints, just to give you an idea of
the end result - a monoprint and etching
using a Cotton Tree leaf as a plate.
Details of the Exhibition, opening Friday 29 August 6pm @ West End.
Please join us for a drink, some nibblies and beautiful art!