Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Egg tempera!

(photo reference on left)

There's a lot to learn as I go. I think I know how to start the next one so it won't result in the blotchiness that's visible in the sky at this point. It's proving to be a very enjoyable medium so far...all these myriad little glazes. Very meditative.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Setting up to work with egg tempera. First image is of the beautiful pigments Juan gifted me with, which I've since transferred to tiny jars, also transferring his hand-written labels to their lids.

Paintings to come!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

There has been a lot going on here since I got back. We're moving in a couple of weeks--always sort of a big production--and there are a lot of friends to catch up with or bid farewell to as the University does its mid-summer shuffle. I'm planning to continue to do retrospective posts on the AU trip, but in the meantime I've realized I'm getting a bit behind on covering my current activities.

For example, I've been working on the "big piece," Game. (At the stage shown below, I had just completed the sky and was moving on to the distant mountains and water. More updates on this later.) It has to be finished by mid-September, when I'll be transporting the work to Austin College for my solo exhibition there.

I've been very much enjoying exploring egg tempera--I was introduced to the medium by my excellent friend Juan Wijngaard and will be using it to make a series of four 8"x10" pseudo-historically-styled portraits (more on those later, too), which will be sent to Canberra for a show at Australian National University. Those need to be mailed off no later than, again, mid-September.

And then there's my trip journal, which ought to be wrapped up by the time I drive up to Reno for the art/environment conference at the NV museum. I'll be leaving for that in....ahem....mid-September.

So everything's sort of irising in.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Days two and three in NSW were spent exploring Sydney's public spaces, art, and birds. (Lots and lots of birds.) Accompanying the photos below are a few excerpts from my journal.

I have seen photographs of Sydney's famous opera house for as long as I can remember. In those pictures it always seems white, glowing and distant against the blue of the sea. So it was a treat to approach it, watch it grow into a footprint and see all its angles; the complexity of the curved roof's latticework, the dirty windows opening into offices, the runners pounding by in their sneakers. A physical place, planted with a purpose and lived around, not an abstract example of stunning architecture or a screensaver.

We ambled next through the Botanical Gardens, green and rolling and extensive. The strange huge fig trees with their devouring trunks and airborne roots dangling as though waiting to grab any unsuspecting piece of earth that might happen by (could be any year now...). The sun disappearing and reappearing. The ground astonishingly spongy and strange, squelching with every step from the morning's rain. And scads of birds splashing along in it, too, ibises dunking the ends of their long black beaks into the saturated grass...

The final photo here is of my favorite of the public sculptures we saw (and neither the first nor last photograph I'll have borrowed from Blake Gibson by the end of these accounts):

By now all the walking around the city had started to run together a bit. Darling Harbor was touristy and clean, and pleasant to walk mindlessly through. There was so much to see and I'd started to get a bit saturated--with the bridges, and boats, and museums, and all--so it was a relief to stop and examine a piece of public sculpture set into the walkway. It was a strangely calm and beautiful thing--a series of stepped-down spirals, water flowing over them, leading down to a smooth concrete dome at the bottom. Most of the arms of the spiral are corrugated and covered in a few inches of flowing water, but there's one that's a smooth walkway, watered only by the overflow of the arms above it. I tested the water with my fingers; not too cold. Took off shoes and socks and rolled up pant legs, then padded down to the little island and sat on the dome. The water all around, though flowing smoothly, produced enough sound in that little concavity to block out the noises of the surrounding city; and underground, surrounded by a gentle cyclone, I let myself relax.

A gaggle of kids in tartan uniforms filed by, and they begged their chaperon to let them go down into it, too. No, she said. Of course. Too much trouble to stop and let every child do anything they wanted--I understood--but it made me sad for that age, which I remembered all too clearly. Reminded me how lucky I was to get to cast off my shoes and establish that bit of free time for myself, to be accompanied by people who were not in a hurry and understood the inevitability and importance of personal fascinations. To be a grownup.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to describe the past month!

I guess starting at the beginning makes the most sense. So here's a page from my journal, from our very first day in New South Wales:

We--Blake Gibson, Bill Gilbert, Yoshi Hayashi, and I--had touched down in Sydney only hours before, checked into the hostel, and walked to the Australian Museum. The collections manager was a friend of Yoshi's, and we got an incredibly intimate and generous tour through the archive.

I stole the following photos from Blake.

Yeah! Man, it was an awesome first day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hello! Whew! Jeez! I'm back!

I'm still sort of adjusting to the time / lifestyle change (did you know it's summer here? And the whole state is on fire!), but it's time to get this show back on the road.

While I'm collecting myself, maybe you'd like to check out this very nice post about me on Blake Gibson's Blog,  O________O.  Unlike me, Gibson has been keeping a faithful record of his exploits-down-under for his readers, and has several posts about the 35/35 Project (Canberra, NSW and Albuquerque, NM happen to share latitudinal numerals, hence the name of the exchange). Please enjoy, and I'll launch back into my own posts, post-haste.