Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Artist in Residence @ Curtin Springs - experiencing life on a cattle station

I’m a true city girl…. an urban dweller with a love of the outdoors….but for three weeks I’m swapping my high heels and handbag for jeans, sensible footwear and a heap of red dust in Central Australia.

My temporary abode is at Curtin Springs, a large cattle station (100km long and 40km wide) situated between the township of Alice Springs and Uluru, in the Northern Territory.  I’m the current Artist-in-Residence, part of a new program that allows artists to work, create and experience life on a remote cattle station.

For those who don’t know me, I live on the coast in a city suburb, with plenty of infrastructure including sealed roads, utilities, and shopping centres. I live in a world of convenience and choice – access at all hours to fresh food and entertainment, but with the negatives of urban noise, busy-ness and traffic.

My residency at Curtin Springs is an opportunity for a change of pace, and to gain a deeper experience of the people behind a working cattle property that also provides tourist accommodation, fuel and meals.  They also operate a papermaking facility utilising grasses and plants from the property.

I arrived last Wednesday and its been full on since then as the family has been moving cattle, sorting and loading them, ready for market.  I’ve been able to get hands-on, helping with herding and working the gates.  I've never seen so much red dust, I'm constantly covered in it!

Between excursions out onto the property, I’ve had some short spells of art – working in my sketchbook, taking photographs and identifying birds and local plant species.  I’m planning on making an artist book that looks at the history of the property (plenty of that!) as well as the natural environment.

I'll be posting about my progress with my residency in the coming weeks.  I also post almost daily on instagram, my username is sandy_p09.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Dragonflies, Beetles and Bugs - freeform printing to create Artists Books

Its amazing how much good stuff I have tucked away in drawers and boxes in my studio.

In the past in my art practice I have used solar techniques to create etching plates starting with metal plates with a photo emulsion layer.  I printed copyright free images from my computer onto overhead transparencies and then exposed them on the plate to UV light to create the etching plates.  The plates are expensive to buy and the process can be fraught with risks - a lot can go wrong - exposure timing, washout etc etc.
So recently I remembered how much work went into creating those plates, so I dug through my stash to see what I could find.  Insects!  One of my favourite themes at the moment.  It was meant to be!

I inked up the plates and did some random printing on some lovely toned Stonehenge paper, not worrying too much about accuracy and print perfection.  Even the ghost prints (printing without re-inking) looked effective, with strong prints as a contrast.

I then overprinted a coloured background using acrylic paints and my gelatine plate.  Not too strong, just wanted some colours and impressions of grasses.

The resulting prints have been turned into 2 small concertina books. The covers are made from leather look papers, I think the scaly pattern of the paper suits the insect theme.

The books were a lot of fun to create with no expectations or pre-conceived ideas.  And I'm happy with the result, so I hope you enjoy my photos below.  At the end of this post there's also a quick video I took of the dragonfly prints before I folded it into the book.

So whats in your stash that you could re-use or repurpose into another artwork????

The solar plates.  Between uses I smother them in vege oil and wrap
them in plastic so they don't dry out. 

The ' Beetles and Bugs' book

The 'Dragonflies over the Pond' Book