I thought this might be a good opportunity to give you guys a small tour of my home and "studio" which is situated out the back of the gallery. We are renovating next year so it will all be knocked down (not the gallery, just the old boxy extensions on the back). I've taken over the entire house in preparation for this exhibition, much to my husband's dismay. I paint mainly in the kitchen but sometimes outside in the sun with my two big, black slobbery dogs Jet and Dotty for company. We have a large collection of artwork, most of it bought from Corner Store Gallery artists, which is great for inspiration! My handmade crafty knick-knacks are everywhere, and beautiful little objects collected from different places like op-shops and handmade by my friends are also dotted around the place.
Ben Foster, my fellow exhibiting artist for Native asked me some questions about my process below........
How has your art practice changed since moving back to Orange? It’s certainly become much more active. Before I moved back I was just bumming around Newcastle after graduating from university, working odd jobs and generally struggling to find direction. I was offered the job of Artist in Residence at Kinross Wolaroi in 2011 which brought my practice back to life. I was surrounded by fun and creative people and had access to great facilities like a dark room and printing press etc. I focused mainly on darkroom photography, screen printing and etching which were my main mediums for my last two exhibitions.
What is the single most influential thing for you this exhibition? Facilities and space. I’m painting a lot more now as I have plenty of time while gallery sitting but don’t have access to a dark room or printing presses any more. Painting is an easily accessible medium, you can do it anywhere. I don’t think I’ve ever painted so much….
You work a lot with abstract forms, what is your process to get to the final image? I think the easiest way to describe my process is colour blocking. You’ve heard of people who are “mark makers”, well I’m a “colour blocker”. For this series, I’ve worked from photographs I took while at Merimbula on the South Coast. It’s so beautiful there and there’s a great variety of native plants. I muck around with the photos a lot in Photoshop, changing and exaggerating the colours. I then select “blocks” of colour which simplifies the subject to its’ most basic forms and shapes, then I paint the image which then changes again. It’s a similar process I use to create artwork when I screen print.
How important is your work environment in your final product? Very! I’ve already mentioned the space and facilities factor….. I am certainly inspired by all the work that comes through the gallery for each exhibition, and all the work we own which is displayed in the house. I know it’s a bit tragic but the weather has been a major influence on this body of work. As most of you know, the weather has not been ideal in Orange this winter. I get very unmotivated in Winter so that created a bit of a creative block. Since it's warmed up a bit the paintings have been increasingly more bright and colourful. The materials I use also influence the final product. I stretch my own canvases and use clear gesso because I like to leave raw sections of the canvas visible. The gesso makes the surface very rough to work on and the oil paint dries with a matt finish which I love.
What's next? Making making making for The Journey Person Handmade Christmas Markets. The gallery hosts a pop-up market a few times a year for this local collective, of which I am a member. We are having a pre-Christmas market in December, so I need to make some stock for that. There is also the potential for a collaboration with a certain ceramic artist I won't mention just yet, but fingers crossed we both get something done about it!