Over the last couple of weeks I've been working on my sketchbook. I've discovered the difference, to me, between a visual diary, and a sketchbook. A visual diary is where I record all the things that interest me, be it shapes, colours, plants, details of how things join or are structured, or little sketches that give a feeling of place, or identify where I've been. The sketchbook is where I develop my thoughts and compositions, using the library of images and information gathered eclectically in my visual diary.
When we returned from the roadtrip, I struggled to get the sketchbook started. But I think this is part of my normal working practice - it takes me some time to assimilate what I have seen, and what interests me. It takes me a long time to filter the inputs, which seem to be other people's thoughts, and link to things that I have seen, before they become outputs, which require a lot of creative play, before I get an outcome that is meaningful to me. And creating something that is meaningful to me, is very important. How do I create things that are meaningful to me, without becoming totally narcissistic! I want to go beyond "creating pretty things". I want to create things with appeal to others, but it is not necessary for them to understand the motivation behind my work.
I have been thinking about how I use my work to represent my time here. I've enjoyed drawing plants. I've enjoyed the brighter natural light, and how it makes colours sing. I've been thinking about linking disparate things, recording specific things that I have done or that have happened to me. I like to have things dated, so I know when I drew them. I've been considering why I think I want to use my experiences in my work. For example, why would I want to use my study abroad experience to make textile art? Does this make me self-obsessed? Why on earth would anyone else be interested? What would be the application of such fabric? Why am I so interested in furnishing fabrics? Why am I so interested in representing where I am now/the spirit of the moment/my moment? Why does what I create, need to represent something specific to me? And how would this be, in any way shape or form, pertinent to others? Why am I obsessed with hand-drawn illustration? Why do I keep thinking about Eddie Squires, Warner's textile designer?
What I have learned is that the visual diary is at the foundation to the answers to all my questions. Spot the answers to the questions above, in the list below!
Iris Francis - How to do a self portrait without drawing yourself - draw your interests
Marina Shaw - wanted an Australia specific design language, independent of Europe
Margaret Preston - promoted the use of Australian inspiration
Picasso - "I paint the way some people write their autobiographies. The paintings finished or not, are the pages from my diary ..."
Scott Sisters - water colour illustrations of moths and butterflies
John Russell - "I am a painter of nature, of nature's moods. Of sunlight and changing temper of the seas".
Margaret Preston - When is a work modern? When it represents the age it is painted in"
William Yang - "About my Mother" photos and narrative about her life and their relationship
Fiona Wirrer-Geroge - "prints are connected to marks and marks are connected to symbolism and symbolism to identity"
So to show my work from the last day of the year, here are the photographs:
|Left hand side of page|
|Right hand side of page|
|Pomegranates (from Aus) and Christmas letter (from home)|
|More representations of home and away|
|Bleach on green ink removes the yellow component and turns it turquoise|
|This shows the cutaway page|
I've thought a bit more about applications for my work. If I was using my study abroad experience imagery of things that were Australian and things that were personal to me, and wanted to apply this artwork to furnishing fabric, wouldn't it make great unholstery fabric for the Study Abroad office! Or a student union common room. Or a travel agent!
It reinforces that I need to work freely on things that are important to me, then come up with ideas on how they might be applied, and to whom they might appeal. Juxtaposing unconventional things that are fun, is important to me. And I think that if I want a commerciality to my work (do I?), "fun" is something that sells. But do I want comerciality? Not sure that I do. But I do want fun and light-heartedness. There is enough grief in life. I want to focus on the good, fun, forward travelling things in life.
Enough musing for New Year's Day. Onward and upward!