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Drawn to the abstract

It's hard to stay present and focused and performing and perfect at all times, I find (haha as if THAT would ever happen!). Actually I wouldn't even want to try. There is something very nice about being drawn away from the intensity of things. Withdrawal into a private space, with a paintbrush.
















ab·stract
Recent posts

Doing the research

I am constantly amazed and humbled by the level of sophistication, not to mention dedication, inherent in the artisan traditions here in Bali. I know so little (I'm rather embarrassed to say) however I do know that I appreciate them very much! This is a place where it is the norm, rather than the exception, to spend one's time in making things by hand. 


indigo dyeing(before)


Recently I did some research on the use of natural dyeing in Bali (online, of course and from the comfort of my small but perfectly comfortable villa nestled in the rice fields ... nothing hard about this kind of research!) and discovered Tarum Natural Dye in Gianyar.




black dye vat


It is a small and seemingly very productive company, started by two brothers in 2001 who did the research, learning about the plants, the traditional techniques and processes of natural dyeing in order to create a viable business. Visitors are welcome and I gather they offer workshops (see their Facebook page). Spending time with An…

Foraging and gathering

Two months after having decamped to the tropics some 2000 km north (leaving all my art and clay supplies at home), I am at last settling back into working with clay. A 30kg bag, some basic tools and simple forms to get the ball rolling (unintended pun!)


I'm always happy to work with the bare minimum - fewer variables, less choices, more play! However, the other day, heading to Singapore on a day trip for a visa extension, I discovered a ceramics studio with all the supplies I could possibly need ... including some colour underglazes. 

laguna underglaze colours and a big soft brush

underglaze applied on greenware

the glaze-fired version

If you are in Singapore and curious to track down some ceramics supplies, you could check out Goodman Ceramics Studio. It's also a place to go and do ceramics as well as buy supplies. 

Meanwhile ... I will continue to battle with the pinch pot. Such a simple form and technique, but amazingly tricky to get the exact degree of imperfection that makes it…

Less is more

Now that I'm away from the studio for a while, I'm facing the challenges of getting by with less, which is generally not a bad thing  (you know, less is more etc.). Actually less is very challenging and starts with the moment you think about packing your bag and are faced with choices (not easy for a dyed-in-the-wool non-decision-maker like me). In the days before leaving home I treated myself to a new set of watercolours - not that I am a watercolourist - but how sweet it is to have the potential of a world of colour in the bottom of your minimalist bag (and which takes up so little room)



These images are in fact only postage stamp size (well actually about double that) and the result of reductively tearing up an A3 size painted page on halves, to end up with very small images (does that make sense?)


Final step is photographing the interesting ones and editing for colour, filter etc
I think from here I could be inspired to reproduce these tiny images onto large canvases. A perfe…

Wayward blogging

The mystery of the universe - which way next?

Where does a wayward blogger begin? What do I want to say, I wonder (reminded of my friend's admonishment at the lack of posting: "what, you've got nothing to say?!!)

The road and canal in front of the house 

I think for now I'll start with place: always good to know where one is located. I'm currently in a place called Penestanan, a village within the Ubud area in Bali, three and a half hours from Perth, easy to get to and a good place to settle, albeit temporarily. This is a place which calls and inspires, not so much for its beauty as for the way it embraces creativity as a natural part of life.

On the outskirts of Ubud
A short post,  a tentative toe-in, a way to place both the writer and the reader in a shared context of creativity, productivity and meaning. Lofty words I know ... I shall try to live up to them!














Drawing life

Some recent works exploring the use of line on ceramics.


Using underglaze and the right dilution (trial and error) to achieve flow, rhythm, contrasts of transparency and solidity with the overall aim (flying by the seat of my pants) of creating an image that works.


Mind you it's not about achieving perfection. Mistakes and awkwardness can lend an air of spontaneity and surprise. 


The drawings themselves are reminders of freedom and playfulness, at-oneness with the natural world, dreaming and desire for exploration and expression. 



Luckily, I think, art offers all those aspects in abundance!



Going home

I am
sitting at the custom-made, hand-delivered wooden table
on the verandah overlooking the rice field
listening to distant rumbling thunder
an electric saw and roosters
otherwise it's quiet
muggy and heavy before rain
the ducks have gone home for the day






reflecting on where my feet have been
i've done much walking and exploring and spent many days working (weeks and months)
driven by that inexplicable creative urge
inspired by the world around and within
I am
happy to be going home with drawing books full of ideas