Monday, March 28, 2016

artist - in - residence

Does anyone remember what their Christmas was like?
What about New Years? 
Or Australia Day?

2016 seems to have its high performance running shoes on - and be moving at warp speed. Every year has a momentum of its own. But this year feels different. Every day, every occasion, every catch-up seems to be blending into one another - to the point where there is no pause, no deep breath, no moments of reflection. 

That's exactly what I was experiencing this year UNTIL I went to Gunyah - in the Hunter region of NSW a couple of weeks ago - and took a deep breath.

The Gunyah artist-in-residence program, organised by Sydney based artist Kath Fries is like no other. It is part holiday retreat, part nature wildlife sanctuary, and part artist think tank. Artists' who are lucky enough to be awarded with a 12 day residency have the use of a lovely house on the waters edge of North Arm Cove, and a studio with views of the bush and water. So yes - it is a pretty special place. 

When I arrived I had a million ideas of what I wanted to achieve, and packed my car with a plethora of materials for any and every project. Paints, pencils, paper, canvases, wood panels, ink, oil pastels. But - as I quickly discovered - the property of Gunyah sets the rules and the pace. 

So I rested, reflected, swam, explored ... and THEN I started to work in the studio space. 
My work took on a lighter, more airy feel - inspired by where I was and how I was feeling. 
And I knew - twelve days was not going to be enough. 

What my time on this recent residency showed me was that I need to stop more, reflect more, and pay heed to what my surroundings are trying to communicate. The way the world slows down at Gunyah was such a treat to experience - like the way the clouds and water change in form and colour as dusk takes hold. That's how much I had slowed down by my last day on the property, I was watching the wind, clouds and water at dusk - while listening to the birds and Wallabies rustle around the trees surrounding the house!

Looking now at my completed artworks that I have just unpacked in my studio in Camperdown I can truly feel and see that quiet breath that I took on my residency, in a beautiful and inspiring place called Gunyah. And I hope I can carry this feeling through the rest of my year, and the artworks that are yet to come...

Triptych on wood. 

When one paintbrush just isnt enough!
Painting at the Gunyah studio.
photo credit: Tina Fox

The beautiful shoreline...
by the crescent moon 2016

reflections of outside looking into the studio, Gunyah 2016
photo credit: Tina Fox

atmospheric thoughts, 2016

Thank you to Kath Fries and all the organisers and custodians of The Gunyah artist residency at North Arm Cove. Thank you for this amazing opportunity to think, to reflect, to dream and experience the beautiful place on North Arm Cove. A big thank must also be given to Cath Derksema and Tina Fox for visiting and taking such lovely photos.

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