What to do on a rainy Monday when you have a spare moment, write a blog post? Why not. Except I am not sure what to say. In the hectic jumble of squabbles, decisions and changes to decisions that is booking an overseas holiday, my art rather fell by the wayside last weekend. In normal circumstances I might not care, I would have my Monday off to address that wrong. But not now, now for the moment I am working full time, five days a week, and that luxury doesn’t exist anymore.
It’s hard to describe how literally losing just one day of free time can make such a huge difference. Yet it does. So I think I shall dedicate this post to the traumas, challenges and stresses incurred by those of us who love art just as much as the next artist, but who thanks to circumstances and life choices find themselves tied to a salary to get by. Those of us who have to squeeze our art into whatever little corners of our lives we can afford. Squishing it here and there, one moment to another, whenever a second is free. Pulling it out, uncrumpling it and dusting it off for a period of brief insane intensity, as we manically attempt to get it to “the next stage” before our window of opportunity closes, and we are forced back into the dull drudgery of the real world.
Sounds melodramatic? It feels it! There are so many instances of weekend days where I sit briefly on the sofa enjoying my morning coffee and I dream of just, well, doing nothing, sitting staring at the TV, or being outside on the balcony shooing away mina birds… But if I do that I am miserable. I have to gear myself up and head into another determined flurry of action for as long as I have. It’s the melodrama of the sacrifice that makes it possible, really…
Sometimes that means you only get a miniscule fraction of your days off to create. And there have been many occasions when the time has been too small, too compacted into itself, and too laden with exhaustion from daily life. On those occasions I come away with nothing, and that nothing travels with me all week, a gnawing sense of incompleteness, a lack of fulfillment.
But sometimes in just an hour you manage something special and unexpected. Like this beautiful abstract pulled from a moment when I felt that I had no time for myself, and yet here it is. I cannot tell you if I love it because it is a good piece of art, or simply because it is a creation from a second when I didn’t think the time belonged to me:
Then there was this weekend. Having lost all of last weekend to travel arrangements, this one was always set aside for creating a new set of photographs. I wanted to build on the research and the work of my previous shoots for the Narrative of Things. These two days were ear marked to explore the concept of “context”….
…And yet life gets in the way. My husband and I had time to spend together, he didn’t go to martial arts training, and I was at home. Art got pushed to the side and we went to spend some quality time (and money) together at the Richmond Junkyard.
The Junkyard is one of my favourite places, despite its high prices for things that are so old and so rotten that many of the metal buckets don’t even have bottoms to them anymore! I take my camera and I shoot textures. I shoot textures whenever I can. They make up such a huge element of my artistic practice, I am always on the lookout for gungy walls, metals, stone, wood. Anything which catches my fancy! So after a wonderful morning wandering around things that people have discarded as too grotty, too broken, too useless, the rest of my day was spent in working through the images, finding the ones I liked best and the ones which would be most suitable to add texture, colour and affect to my images.
Editing the images to the level I am happy with is a strangely time consuming and in-depth process. I am always amazed by how long it takes me, and how tired I am afterwards. There is almost a let down, as you realise that you’ve put in all of this effort, and yet you haven’t created an artwork, you have only created a template which you can use to alter future artworks. And many will turn out to be largely ineffectual in practice. It seems strangely heartbreaking.
That said, though, there are times when I am working on these files, and I realise I just love the photograph all by itself. It doesn’t matter if it works as a texture, or if I never release it as an artwork in it’s own right; I just love it for it’s colours, it’s cracks, it’s lines, it’s blurriness. There is a beauty in these surfaces, simply by being what they are. They are their own art, their own story, their own striking individuality.
So before I upload the actual shoot I did this weekend, I would like to share these images with you. They may turn up in a way you don’t recognise some time down the track, but today they stand on their own merit, and speak for themselves of their history and their present:
Mount Stromlo –
National Art Gallery, Car Park –
Junkyard, Richmond –
Canberra Botanic Gardens, Car Park –