Monday, December 12, 2016

Investigating the Gorge Part 3

Artist in Residence, Cataract Gorge, Launceston, Tasmania

I've spent a few days at the Kings Bridge Cottage printing monotypes using leaves I've picked up during my walks during the gorge.  The prints I've done are fairly formulaic for me, but its like therapy and its been interesting having to work with limited materials.  I only brought a basic selection of colours of inks - yellow, ochre, blue, red, black, brown and white - so its been a challenge to find the 'right' combinations.  I dislike using colours straight from the tube, so I'm always mixing or toning them down a bit so they're not so bright.

In my studio, I use an etching press for my monoprints (except when I do gelatine monoprinting).  I have a table top press that prints A4 but its pretty heavy and takes up a small suitcase on its own, without all the associated consumables like inks.  So for this trip, I invested in a Xpress die-cut machine after getting a lead from the facebook group 'Top Printmaking Tips'.  For more information about the machine:

Using the Xpress die-cut machine, I was able to print my small collagraphs and monoprints.

I also purchased some lovely paper from the local Birchalls store at a bargain price, though I had to fold it to fit it in my backpack so I could ride home with it.  It was almost painful to fold a beautiful A1 sheet!

I've really enjoyed my 2 weeks at Cataract Gorge, the mix of urban and natural areas was very interesting and fits perfectly with my themes of the urbanisation of the natural world.  This site is particularly interesting due to its history and the manipulation of the landscape since the late 1800's. Its also been refreshing to be away from my daily routine, to wake up in the morning with very little planned except to walk, ride, read and create.  Heaven!

Printing in the cottage's kitchen with the Xpress Diecut Machine

Monoprint in progress

I donated an artwork to the Cottage,
this one's a monoprint using Dogwood leaves
found on the Duck Reach Walk

I found some fresh Kangaroo Grass but it was too green and fleshy to use.
Here it is squished on the plate after the first print.
The Kangaroo Grass at home in Queensland is dry and easy to work with.

Monoprint using local grasses

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Investigating the Gorge Part 2

Artist in Residence, Cataract Gorge, Launceston, Tasmania

Its the second week of my residency, and I've become familiar with the gorge, its flora and fauna, the people and the CBD of Launceston.  Walking and riding my bike are my only way of exploring the area, and luckily the weather has been mild and quite sunny.

My days have been spent walking through the gorge, then returning to the cottage to work on my art.  I also have joined the LINC library so I can research the history of the gorge and the cottage.  At the library I found an interesting book 'Paper Tiger' by Carol Freeman which looks at how colonial imagery of the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) contributed to its elimination by humans and eventual extinction.  Its given me a few ideas about how visual imagery can impact on the lives of animals and plants.

At the Queen Victoria Art Gallery in Launceston CBD I viewed an exhibition of etchings and linos by Udo Sellbach.  The distorted human imagery in his work is quite confronting, but I was impressed by his artist book "And still I see it", displayed alongside a digitised version of the book I could view with a touch screen.

I've got a few artwork ideas that I'm working on based on my residency.  One of the major projects is an artist book, inspired by Udo Sellbach's book.  My artist book will use the polaroid photos that I've been taking as I've explored the gorge, looking at both natural and man-made features, for example, the rocks, the river, signage, rubbish, graffiti and people. I also plan to include text from heritage reports and newspaper articles that I've found at the library.  I've got some wonderful scans of a report on the 1929 floods, the language used in the report is quite poetic with flowery descriptions, not as formal as we would expect from documents produced by current government committees or tribunals.

I've also been creating a series of collagraph plates using ferns I've found on my walks.  I've glued the plant material to mat board, and sealed them with a few coats of shellac.  I plan to print these plates in groups, using a variety of colours.

I've got a few more days left here at the Cottage, then we head off to Hobart and Bruny Island for another week.  Of course, there'll be more time for art and exploring the local natural environment.

One of my small collagraphs

My inspiration wall is growing, you can see all the polaroid
photos there - recording my experiences of the gorge area.
These will be the basis for my artist book.

Artist Book "And still I see it" (with digitised version) at Udo Sellbach's exhibition

One of the page spreads from the digitised version of Sellbach's book,
I used the touch screen to 'turn' the pages and zoom in to read the text.

This swan family is a regular visitor to the gorge

Views over the gorge, on one of my walks

Sigh....the view from the cottage balcony

The cottage at dusk, looking up from the track

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Investigating the Gorge

Artist in Residence, Cataract Gorge, Launceston

I've been here now for 4 days and have started to settle into a routine, where I'm exploring the gorge and nearby Launceston.

Tourist boats regularly pass by the cottage on their way up the Gorge.
I've discovered I'm quite camera-shy, as everyone on board is armed
with carmeras aimed at the cottage.
I wonder what they would think if I gave them a 'queen' wave
from the balcony.....

Peacocks are one of the introduced species in the gorge around the
Basin area.  They're a big tourist drawcard - I wonder if they're
'heritage' listed due to their historical links to the gardens?

I thought the rear view was just as impressive!

I'm getting around town on my bike,
here I am at the Art Gallery.
The awesome display of birds and mammals at the Museum.
I love that the taxidermied fauna aren't locked away in a
glass cabinet.  They're displayed on multiple levels, making
a very vibrant and active display.
One of my projects during the residency is documenting the gorge
and cottage with my mini polaroid camera.  It's a different mode of working,
as there's no zoom, no digital displays, and I have to wait for my
photo to develop. The photos are awesomely moody and a bit unpredictable.

This is my 'inspiration' wall (on the old fireplace) where
I'm gathering objects, photos, postcards, artwork so far etc.