Writing has always been a significant component of my arts practice. Putting words on the page helps me to articulate what I am trying to express in my paintings, which is handy – not only for myself but for those interested in understanding what I am on about. Sometimes I don’t even know! I have to finish a painting and reflect on it before I can truly understand it’s meaning – and there always is one. Sometimes it is the memory of a place I have been but often there is an internal landscape or emotion that I am grappling with as well.
I think about many things when I paint. I think about what is in front of me – usually some newly sourced organic object… the collection is ever growing and includes a turtle shell found on the side of the road outside Lightening Ridge, dead star fish from the beach on Moreton Island, seed pods, sticks and vines collected from our creek and forest. I also have some beautiful, industrial sized rusty nails that came from an old house my parents were renovating. Tucked on a shelf, underneath my paints is an old gramophone that belonged to my grandparents and my special art books sit on my upturned milk crate table, for looking at when I am having a break. Most of these objects have a connection to place but there are other reasons I choose them and disregard others… colour, form, line compel me to pick them up or sometimes it is nostalgia and history. These things all have a story to tell – much of it I have to imagine. I place them somewhere in my studio and it may be some time before I make reference to them in my work.
The radio is most always on. It keeps me company during the solitary hours of work. It is a connection to the outside world. My favourites are The Conversation Hour on ABC Radio, or Arts & Books Daily on Radio National. I think it’s time to introduce a few audio books too.
New work is rumbling in my head. I am thinking about sea creatures and flotsam found at the beach… as I get deeper into a body of work I find myself solving problems in my sleep. Time to get in the zone.