A new event for participating artists in this year's Open Studios is an exhibition to be held at the Cooroy Butter Factory Arts Centre in September ahead of the main event in October. Studios 100 will feature a work from each artist which will undoubtedly be a diverse and eclectic exhibition showcasing the wide ranging arts practices of artists from across our region. This inaugural show called for something special and having been a first time participant in Open Studios last year, I wanted to tell something of the story of what those 10 days meant to me.
As visitors came and went through my studio last year, I invited them to make marks and leave impressions on some paper I had set up outside the studio door, with inks, paint, charcoals and pencils. I knew I wanted to physically capture some of the energy that rippled through the studio during the event and this seemed the best way to do it! I had in mind already that I may be able to use these marks as a starting point for new work. The papers languished in the corner of the studio for many months as I completed various other bodies of work, but when the call out came to submit an expression of interest for this show I knew the time had come to revisit the idea.
I began with sections of these papers collaged onto large sheets of soaked and stretched watercolour paper and then set too, having a wander with colours, lines and shapes to see what I could find within that would spark a direction for these paintings. It wasn't long before the concept of journeys and energy lines began to emerge. I also knew I wanted to weave in a sense of the landscape surrounding my studio, as this was one of the most remarked upon things by visitors. Our native and natural, (code for wild and unkempt) garden seemed to delight visitors and the stroll from the street down the lane to the studio was clearly enjoyed by all, this little journey set the scene for the visit and I think left a lasting impression on visitors.
With these works I wanted to capture this sense of journeying both for the visitors and for me, as never before had I had so many fascinating conversations in one week about everything from personal philosophy to varnish! At the end of Open Studios I felt as though I'd been on the wildest of rides, it was a journey of such impact that seemed to hold a gravity I had never before experienced. New friends and connections made, so many stories told and positive energy shared.
I've been working on two pieces, one for Studios 100 and the other for the group exhibition at the Wallace House Hub, which will be on show for the duration of Open Studios this year.
These paintings have given me a chance to assimilate my experiences from last year and reflect upon the importance of opening my studio doors, welcoming in such a diverse range of art lovers and collectors and sharing my arts practice with inquiring minds.
Though not yet finished and with a deadline looming I'm pouring my energy into creating paintings that speak to this special journey and at the same time I'm getting excited about what this year's event may bring as I wonder who will walk though my doors in October.
You can check out the full history of the development of these paintings on my Instagram as I've been documenting my progress daily. But for now, here's a short video of the beginnings of these paintings. Stay tuned!