Sunday, 16 August 2015

‘Sunlight & Sentinels’ Exhibition

After putting in plenty of hours of studio time over the past few months, my recent collection of paintings were ready to be exhibited at Claymore Wines for SALA 2015. In the end, I managed to surpass my expectations by producing 34 works. I eventually entitled the exhibition ‘Sunlight and Sentinels', as it seemed to encapsulate the spirit of the pieces to be displayed. The term ‘sentinel’ can be defined as a ‘person or object that watches or stands as if watching over someone or something’. The tenure of sentinels can vary; from a fleeting moment of human occupation to that of a silent monument that remain steadfastly vigilant in its fixed position. The landscape of the mid-north of South Australia provided me with plenty of examples of such temporary and generational artifacts that have become a recognisable presence across this region.

The exhibition opening was a great chance to meet members of the local art community while Chrissy and her team at Claymore Wines were also hugely supportive, both during the set-up and on the night. I was pleased that much of the subject matter and figurative elements were recognisable to the viewers and that the work evoked such interesting discussion. Likewise the generous feedback was much appreciated. The exhibition remains open throughout August and so hopefully there will be plenty of other visitors, in addition to family and friends, over the next few weeks.

Myself and Chrissy Van Der Jeugd from Claymore Wines

Monday, 1 June 2015

An Exhibition on the Horizon

I didn’t anticipate that I would have the time or the body of work for an exhibition in the first year of living in the Clare Valley. There was so much to be done, not the least of which was actually setting up my studio. However, that notion would soon change after a chance meeting with Chrissy Van Der Jeugd from Claymore Wines. During a casual conversation while enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon of wine tasting, it was suggested that it might be possible to hold an exhibition at the winery during SALA (South Australian Living Artists) month, is an event that encourages over a thousand local artists throughout the state to exhibit their works in August each year. While feeling somewhat ill prepared at the time, the opportunity was simply too good to resist. Knowing that there were a few months of production time ahead and with Chrissy’s encouragement, the challenge was now on! Using the mid-north region of South Australia as my inspiration, I would aim to produce around 25 paintings that would reflect upon the relationship between the mid-north environment and those who watch over it. This would also allow me to personally connect with our new home through both its landscape and man-made artifacts from both the past and present that can often be seen throughout the region.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Setting up the Studio

On the property we have bought there is an old winery shed which once contained a laboratory, cool room and a large open area for vats and barrels. While I love to drink a glass of wine, I am no winemaker, so it seemed a logical choice to convert it into my studio space. So after the initial unpacking, I moved in over summer with the intentions of just leaving it as it was so I could contemplate the best possible layout. What I discovered was that it is after all just ‘a shed’ and as with all sheds, they get hot in summer and cold in winter … so insulating it would be a definite priority. Having the big sliding door open in summer was great as it provided plenty of light, but what would happen in winter? A big window would be needed. This would provide functionality but also allow for a lovely outlook across the property. So when things got a little cooler, I began the process of converting the space into a practical and cozy artists studio. A place where I would enjoy spending time and that would inspire many a creative project.

Stage one involved installing the large window, allowing me to now work with the doors closed. This was soon followed by the lining of the walls and the construction of an interior partition. This effectively reduced the size of the workspace, but now made it much easier to heat in winter. By painting the concrete floor and throwing down a few rugs, it also provided a little more insulation which has actually made it feel like a proper room. After a couple months of work the shed now feels like a studio! As all artists know, its wonderful to have a practical workspace, but it is also nice to personalise your studio with all manner of eclectic collections which is something I have begun to do.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Beginning a New Artistic Journey

Having spent many an hour considering where to begin our new life back in Australia, we finally settled upon the lovely Clare Valley of South Australia. We have always loved this area and in the past had spent many a weekend enjoying this wonderful wine region. It was not just the beauty of the valley that attracted us, but particularly its burgeoning artistic community. The combination of world-renowned wines, gourmet foods and fine art is an attractive combination that has been embraced by both the local community and tourists alike. So it is from here that I will begin my new artistic journey as I take a much anticipated break from teaching. Hopefully, this blog will chart the various events and milestones along the way, of which I’m sure there will be many. There will be a number of goals to be achieved over the next few months, including establishing a new webpage, building my studio and meeting others like-minded artists in the community. While Jules and I will always miss our life in Japan, we are excited about the prospects ahead here in Australia. It's a chance to re-connect with family and friends, change direction and start a new phase of our lives.