3 Keys To Success In The Studio When You Are Gearing Up For An Exhibition.
My weekly plans for the last 8 weeks before the exhibition
Well, of all the keys to success, number one would be planning. A good six months before hand if possible. And of course the very first item would be planning the theme of your show. The image above also shows lists of all the tasks that need to be done, broken down into groups of tasks.
Then there’s having the work done at least three weeks ahead of hanging time if you are working in oils – even longer if you use really thick paint.
Asking for help with things that others can do such as , putting the cords and tape on the back of the works, labelling them, writing inventories and so on.
Exhibition preparations – get help
Of course there are many more elements involved in having a solo exhibition
Most people have no idea what goes into preparing a solo exhibition. Basically it is a mini or bigger event that has may details that need to be attended to.
Matting the prints – tools of the trade
Yesterday I began preparing prints for the exhibition. They have to be matted and shrink wrapped.
This Weeks Question: Have you visited any exhibitions lately that stood out for you and what was it that caught your attention?
Look For Next Week’s Post: More preparation for the exhibition
If you’ve been following the blog in the last couple of weeks you will know that I’ve been sharing with you some of the different series of works I have painted and how they came about. Today I would like to share with you the latest body of work which is centred around exploring current issues and challenges facing displaced persons and refugees. This new body of work, examines the underlying problems facing them and their hopes for a better life.
Where can you see it? – it will be exhibited at the Ruby Samadhi gallery in Kincumber When can you see it? – 1 December to 31 December 2016, more details to follow.
As with some previous bodies of work, this one did not emerge from my fascination with a particular subject or in this case even a conscious awareness around the topic.
I had recently come back from a trip to New Zealand and as I was about to begin a new series of work I thought I would try to loosen up my style somewhat. Although I enjoyed the previous series of works which were floral in nature, by the time I got to the end of that series my work had become quite tight and I wanted to remedy that. I picked a palette of colours and started splashing paint around, endeavouring to work very intuitively and abstractly. However as the work progressed I began to see figures emerging from within it.
The first painting in the series
When the painting was nearly done I was wondering what title to give it when the word refugee popped into my head. At the time I couldn’t figure why, why refugee??? Although the figures in the middle of the painting do look very frightened and harrowed. A short while later, I was talking to one of my students about the painting. We had previously been discussing how I would like to return to live in New Zealand as I currently live in Australia. At this point in time however, that is not an option for me. When I was telling her about the painting being called Refugee, she looked at me and looked at the painting and said ‘but you’re a refugee, aren’t you? ‘ I was quite astonished as I’d never thought of myself as such. This got me to thinking further about refugees and displaced persons and so the birth of a new series began. I then quickly developed several paintings from this first one. These subsequent works related to the emotional challenges and hopes that a refugee or displaced person feels. I feel like a displaced person rather than a refugee. The thing we share in common is being cut off from our homeland, although perhaps in different ways.
After that I turned to my source material, the photos I had taken on my recent trip to New Zealand and it all began to come together.
Next week I will share further highlights of this journey as we approach the count down to an exhibition of them.
This Weeks Question: What can we do individually to help alleviate the misery of refugees in our own country.
Look For Next Week’s Post: Why Go To An Art Fair – 3 Fantastic Reasons Why You Should
My Dark night of the soul found its resolution through a rather unlikely event. For some time I had been looking at a photo that I found on Pinterest of dresses in a wardrobe. I was really drawn to this image although at the time I had no idea what lurked beneath its innocent surface. Anyway I began painting the image as you can see in the photo below.
Dancing In The Dark – beginnings
As I began to paint the bottom of the dress on the extreme right, I was suddenly overcome with a huge grief. I was crying and crying and I suddenly realised that I was releasing the grief I had held onto all these years about giving up my dancing.
It was as if there was a hidden self within me that knew I needed to somehow access this grief and release it. Thus I was drawn to the picture. The funny thing was that I actually came across the photograph almost a year before I ended up painting it. And for the whole year it was calling to me to paint it but I kept finding excuses and reasons why I didn’t need to do it. But clearly I did.
Many people don’t realise that works we produce are always a reflection of who we are in some way. It may be reflecting ourselves at the current point in time, or something from the past we need to let go of. As was the case in this painting.
The first Painting In The Series
What I found quite remarkable about this series of works was the way it operated on two levels. While there was the grief for abandoning my dancing, simultaneously the dresses being stuck in the dark closet seem to somehow echo my grief at not being seen and felt at deeper levels, by my partner. The dresses were beautiful and unappreciated and so was my work. The series continued to evolve as the dresses emerged from the closet and eventually ended up floating freely from a branch, in the wind.
Final Painting In The Series
This Weeks Question: How does your creative work reflect your own life journey?
Look For Next Week’s Post: Coming Soon, A Sensational New Body Of Work. Where Can You See It?
Finally I can show you the New Horizons Triptych finished. It was rather a marathon effort I have to say. My previous post on the subject revealed the latter moments of the second panel. This week I am sharing my vlog of the third and final panel and a photo of the whole thing completed at the end.
You will see the journey of the refugee, from a troubled homeland to a new homeland in the third and final panel. Some of the other paintings in this series deal with specific difficulties faced by the refugees such as we see in The Boat People below.
The Boat People
One of the terrors faced by these refugees is capsizing and drowning amidst raging seas and flying flotsam – as depicted in this work. An amazing story of such bravery recently came to light in the Olympics when the story of Yusra Mardini,
one of the Olympic athletes, was revealed. She escaped war-torn Syria with her sister last year but after making it to Turkey they struck trouble when they set off for Greece. The sisters saved their own lives and 18 others, preventing their sinking boat from capsizing in the Aegean Sea. When the motor failed they leaped over the side and into the freezing waters, pushing the boat for three hours to safety.
My work is a tribute the bravery of all those who flee their homes, looking for a safer, better life.
This Weeks Question: What can you do to help refugees?
Look For Next Week’s Post: More handy tips for art collectors.
Exciting New Works are rolling off the easel every day now. In preparation for my solo show in December, I am working hard, painting at least one new work a week,. Today I’m sharing some close up snippets of the new work and a vlog of work on the Triptych.
Below are some snippets from some of the other works, as well as this one, that I’m currently creating. If you would like to keep up to date with my latest works as they happen, please sign up for my Collector’s Newsletter, ‘Notes From The Studio’.
One of the most exciting new works I have done recently is the Triptych, “New Horizons”. It is the major work in my refugee series. Two of the panels have as their inspirational source, the mists of a Rotorua hot pool.
Photographic inspiration for LH panel
You may wonder how I see things in the mist. I am I Myst Weaver. One of the things I can do, when I am connected to my inner source, is see images unfold within the mists. However the full impact of the images do not crystallise until I work with the images in paint. As I work with the painting many things then begin to unfold.
Figures from the hot pool
For example in the centre panel, on the left, (seen below) there is a large figure, an Earth spirit, related to the New Zealand land. Then if you look at the broken line of blue paint which leads from behind the blue figure in the middle, down to the bottom of the painting, you will see near the bottom, a bird image. When I painted this section, those paint marks were intended to signify the detritus that man leaves in his wake as he passes through the world.
However a couple of days later when I was standing back and looking at the work, I noticed there was a very definite figure of a bird sitting at the bottom of the painting. I have found on several occasions that air or water spirits seem to find their way into my paintings. This little fellow looks rather like an owl or perhaps the Australian kookaburra.
New Horizons – Middle panel
While this work is founded in the refugee’s story, it is also a multi-layered piece. Part of the story is a comment on our environmental record as a race.
How The Series Evolved
To give you some insight into how this painting evolved I will describe how the left hand panel unfolded. You can see the figures at the top of this panel which did come from a photo of a hot pool. As I was working on the drawings for this panel I came across a news article showing the recent destruction of ancient antiquities in a Syrian museum, and in the Ruins of Palmyra. These priceless artefacts were damaged by recent fighting there.
Therefore this panel speaks to, not only the refugees plight, but also to the destruction of heritage that occurs during war. Two things are occurring here. One is destroying the priceless artefacts, from ancient races. Things that can never be replaced. And secondly is destroying people’s heritage. So often in war, we see, the attempt by the aggressors, to obliterate not only a race, but also any evidence that they might have ever existed. The latter they attempt to achieve, by destroying that race’s cultural heritage.
Navigating a new land is the fourth painting in my current refugee series. This work again developed from one of the misty hot pools at Rotorua. See below the photograph that this work developed from. Next to it I have also included the initial drawing up.
Walking in a strange land, with new customs, a new language, the refugee is adrift, often homeless and alone. We see here a woman walking with great courage, holding onto her inner strength as she proceeds. She reminds me of the sculptures we sometimes see of women acting as pillars in ancient buildings. There is a certain grim determination to move forward no matter what the obstacles.
The curious thing I found about this work was the creature that appeared on her right shoulder. Is it a combination of a few different creatures or something entirely of its own species? What I love about it is the supreme contentment and trust it seems to radiate. Could it be an external image of her inner feelings?
I trust you enjoyed this peek into my studio process.
It takes time to create a work of art, document it, video it and put it in a blog post. I invite you to make a comment, express your thoughts about this work. Feedback is always awesome because I then get to see the work through someone else’s eyes.
This Weeks Question: Can you leave a comment – what are your thoughts on Navigating A New Land? I would love to hear what you think.
Look For Next Week’s Post: Why being busy is killing your creativity