Monday, December 28, 2009
I have just come home from a really enjoyable drinks party and I am writing this BLOG to fill in time, because there is a party going on next door, I am a bit hyped from the party I've been to, my children are quietly reading and...well this is perhaps not a serene activity...one child is playing death and destruction games on her new X Box 360 which we bought on sale at the massively exhausting post-Christmas sales. She was given a Harvey Norman gift voucher which went towards her new obsession.
Anyway, here I am filling in time. Luckily I have a new a painting to show off. This is inspired by one of the small works on paper I produced whilst on holidays at Noosa just recently. I wrote about these 'playful' works a few BLOG posts ago http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2009/12/holidays.html So, where does the title come from you may ask?
When my eldest daughter was about 2 years old she was gazing out at the trees and bushes surrounding our house. There was a gently breeze. My daughter looked at me and said, 'Mummy the leaves are dancing.' She was perfectly right too...the leaves were dancing. Have you ever watched the breeze pick up the small branches and leaves of gum trees? It is, as if there is a secret musical rythm. It is, as if whispers of sound and movement gently pick up the branches making the leaves reverberate and quiver with small bounces and jives. The leaves move in a twisty, curly way revealing their soft yet silky coloured surfaces. I particularly love the way Box Gum leaves, which are almost circular, move with the air currents. Light glistens off their shiny dark green surfaces sending silvery twinkles across otherwise hot landscapes. I really love Box Gums and planted many of them in my country garden. Oh...and Sheoaks...when the wind pushes through the Sheoak's spiny leaves a wonderous, lilting, etherial sound is made. That's why I planted them in large clumps or spinies. The sound was amplified.
So, why do children notice such small but truly beautiful things, events and happenings and adults tend not to? I marvelled at my young children's ability to notice beauty and fun even in what seemed the most barren of places. And...the next question is....when do we lose this inate ability to notice the small and seemingly un-noticeable rythms of life? I suppose it is somewhere between noticing and getting an X Box!!!
But, artists notice things that others may not. And, these things need not be real or of this world, because artists are attuned to patterns and rythms of all kinds. I imagine artists with small antenna all over them, picking up every frequency of seen and unseen movement or sensation. When I say 'artist', I am thinking of the full range from visual, to musical, dance, film, writers and so on.
I read in Daniel Pink's wonderful book 'A Whole New Mind' that some medical schools in the US are providing their students with art appreciation classes, because even just looking at art teaches people to notice... nuance, detail, pattern etc...and ask questions! Students re-ignite what they may have 'lost' in the process of growing up ie: actually seeing what they are looking at. I gather medical students gain insights into what they don't notice by learning to notice...learning to look and see [again].
So, like most parents I have very fond memories of my children when they were very young and the delightful and poetic utterances they made. But, these utterances are important because they remind us to re-aquaint ourselves with the wonder of discovery through truly 'seeing'. I mean this 'seeing' in the fullest of senses from literally seeing with eyeball and pupil to also 'seeing' with our mind's eye.
Of course, regular readers of my BLOG will recognise that this new painting can also be my much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life with all the meaning it holds. As an achetypal symbol, the tree-of-life can help us re-aquaint ourselves with the nuances of perspective. It can penetrate pre-conceived and easy assumptions by suggesting to us to 'remember'. I believe it is a remembering of a shared human consciousness...it we take notice!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I attended a fabulous workshop some time ago which opened up a plethora of images and ideas for me. I have referred to this workshop in my previous post http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2009/11/beyond-dark-night-of-soul.html
During the workshop we discussed the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as a parable for the concept that in order to know who we are we also need to know who we are not. I think this makes sense! In an age where people are attempting to learn more about themselves through psychology [mainstream, alternative and pop], checklists, agony aunt type letters, astrology...and the list goes on...it is interesting to ferret out stories and parables which may hold some universal and possibly helpful truths. As the story goes, prior to Eve plucking the apple from the tree and she and Adam taking a few bites, their existence was one of pure oneness or, I imagine, whiteness where they were enfolded and consumed by light. This could be described as the divine light where Adam and Eve were 'One' with the divine.
However, as a result of Eve and Adam taking from the tree of knowledge, they caused a metaphorical refraction of the white light by introducing worldly knowledge. For the first time Adam and Eve could see each other as their eyes were greeted with a world that cascaded into colour and its various hues. Another way to view this is that they were now able to experience good and evil/error [and everything in between!], the mechanisms needed to know who you are not...before knowing who you are.
Now, the human [represented by Adam and Eve] quest in the story is to gain the knowledge of who we are by experiencing who we are not, hence all the vagaries from birth to death that can engulf or embrace us on our life journeys. But, the human experience is also to reflect upon the 'knowledge' gained in the quest, in order to, at some point ultimately feel and experience a deep and true knowing of who we really are. Reflection upon oneself can be difficult! A miniquest within the main quest!
So, after this brief description of the parable you can probably 'see' why I was so inspired. Readers of my BLOG know of my intense interest in the tree-of-life/knowledge motif and my visual attempts to portray it in ways which 'speak' to a contemporary 21st century audience. Like any archetype it needs to have a potency which can be 'read' throughout the ages...otherwise it can't be an archetype I suppose!
The story is one which also shared by the three Abrahamaic religions. I am interested in the fact that through a sharing of the basic story we are forever connected.
So, my new painting above is called 'The Colour Of Knowledge'. Adam and Eve, representing the human race, are depicted at the moment Eve is created from Adam's rib, hence he is still asleep. I have previously written about this in other recent posts http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2009/09/where-is-your-paradise.html
The tree radiates from Eve's outstretched arms. But, Adam and Eve and the initial branches of the tree are white. If the world is all white [or One] differences are not discernible, but as colour cascades, the world fills with nuance, difference, variety, distance, perspective, opposites...all elements that allow the human race to explore who they are by providing the potential to experience who they are not. The quest for identity! I have painted the 'sky' with what appears to be a multitude of stars to 'ask' the question...once we know who we are do we, in fact, return to the white light?
This painting is one of the 52 finalists, from over 440 entries, in the Redlands Art Prize. http://www.redlandartawards.org.au/
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Prayer Gouache on paper 21 x 14.8 cm
Archetype Gouache on paper 21 x 14.8 cm
I am reading a wonderful book at the moment. It is 'The Brain That Changes Itself' by Norman Doidge MD. I highly recommend this book for many reasons. It gives you faith in your own capacities to not only cope with age, impediments, accidents, illness etc, but to change your faculties to enjoy life to its fullest even in the face of aging, accidents, blockages, illness etc. This book re-inforces my belief, which I have written about on this BLOG before, that complexity holds the potency for solutions. I have voiced my thoughts about this with regards to the environment, but it is also applicable to our own bodies. The book investigates everything from learning difficulties, strokes to OCD and other issues which negatively affect our enjoyment of life.
It seems to me that whilst we may not understand the complex systems of our environment or our bodies, we must have faith that the complexity is the element which will provide the answers. Yet, we shortsightedly simplify the potency of complexity by something which is akin to a lack of faith. New research [and some of it not so new, but now embraced!] is revealing the potency of our complex systems to renew, recoup and re-invent themselves. Of course we need to look after ourselves and our environment but we also need to be open and compliant to forces which we may not understand or even be aware of...now isn't that having faith?
As I often do, I refer to the act of painting, which is itself an act of faith. Faith not only in my ability to choose practical and obvious things such as the right colour, brush etc, but also faith that points of disaster and accident or plain 'things just don't seem to be going that well' are part of the process of creation. It is a dance where I am being lead by forces which are seemingly unknown but felt through powers of intuition. In a way it is a return to the faith I had as a child. I am sure many of you know what I mean.
The two paintings above are again my much loved tree-of-life. The top one 'Prayer' is a reminder of the beauty of faith. The second painting called 'Archetype' explores ideas of compexity being achetypical. The tree reflects system-like action which includes shedding as well as renewal. The tree is a perfect metaphor for this because trees shed leaves and branches, some are deciduous, others are pruned, some are burnt, yet processes of renewal through new leaves and shoots or new life borne by wind-blown seeds, remind us of the constancy of life in complexity.
I am going now to share two poems with you. One was written by my grandmother D.E Ross and the other by my mother Elsie Brimblecombe. Both poems are about ageing and both poems reveal that ageing is also a renewal and a source of new insights. My grandmother and mother published a book of poems 'Out There' in 1986 when my grandmother was 87 years old. She died at 92 having been a poet, author, artist, accountant!!! [and a partner in an accountancy firm in W.A], girl guide commissioner, mother of one, grandmother of three, plus a whole lot of other wonderful things. She had her first poem published in a Western Australian newspaper when she was 14. My mother is equally as amazing and is a poet, writer, teacher, artist, great cook, has completed 3 university degrees from the University of Queensland, mother of 3 and grandmother of 8... and of course there is the etc etc etc!
GRATUITOUS YEARS by D.E ROSS copyright
These are the years
that softly fall
on the heart and face.
Cosmetic in effect
they remove all trace
with it petulant engraving:
and in its place
evoke gracious gleams of patina
with remembering highlights
of days thought past recall.
to the music of laughter,
a smile illuminates wherever it can reach.
In this bright climate
courage takes the highway,
and scorns the crypted niche.
OLD AGE by Elise Brimblecombe copyright
The moon played it part
in the bleaching of your hair
Your lines are etched
upon the disc of the sun
The world moves too quickly
for you slowing steps
And the giddiness of youth
has returned to your head
You clutch the bannisters
as you mount the stairs
And dwell too long
upon the rests
You creep from room to room
in tired chase
On the well-knonw track
once travelled at an easy pace
Yet in the mystery of your age
Hidden in the stars
Link this planet and the spheres
And in the texture of your life
Is woven more than the pattern of your
My grandmother wrote a poem about me when I was a small child. I was prone to deep thinking and I remember trying to work out life and the universe. I really enjoyed thinking...then school interrupted me for 12 years...and the residual!!!
BY D.E ROSS copyright
A tiny grandchild
barely four years old
sits chin in chubby hand
long distance in her eyes.
Whatever is the matter, Katarina?
I have sad thinkings,
she wistfully replies.
Looks like 'distance' has been a part of me for a long time! Regular readers would know of my intense interest in perspective and distance.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I have just returned from 6 days holidaying with my family in Noosa. For those of you who live overseas and have not heard of Noosa...well...it is wonderful. The beach is perfect, the views are amazing, the main street ie: Hastings St is full of life and shopping opportunities [although not as good as it used to be because some chain type shops have crept in]. And, the restaurants are great, particularly the ones on the beach front. Breakfast at one of these is a special treat. No need to dress up [unless you want to].
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Together oil on canvas 30 x 30 cm
Last night I presented at PECHAKUCHA Brisbane http://www.pechakuchabrisbane.org/ There were 10 speakers and we had 20 slides which appeared for 20 secs on a power point each. Thus, we each had 6 mins 40 secs to say what we wanted to say. Boy, 6 mins 40 secs flies when you are on centre stage.
I spoke about my interest in perspective, distance and my much loved trans-cultural/religious tree-of- life motif. I somehow intertwined these with my investigations and thoughts about art's catalytic agency as a stimulant for agenda-less but not directionless conversations which may...just may...hold clues to new pathways to peace on earth. Now that's pretty big to fit into 6 mins 40 secs! I think I managed it succinctly though. I also spoke about 'frisson' and described it as a thrill which could be touched with either or both fear and excitement like the moment before a romantic kiss. This was when I could feel my daughter, who was in the audience cringing! Mum talking about romantic kisses....all Mums are too old to even think about things like that! Well, apparently I was wrong...she did not cringe at all. She thought I did a really good job!
As I was preparing for the presentation, I was thinking a lot about my experiences talking with visitors to my exhibition in Abu Dhabi in 2005. Regular readers of my BLOG will have read about these experiences before. Visitors to the exhibition came from all over the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and some from the West. The conversations, which were stimulated by my artwork, went way beyond the art to places of shared compassion where we realised there were far more fundamental similarities between us than differences. As a result of my recent reflections I realise these experiences of intimacy made my world larger. So, a perfect example of multiple perspectives felt and experienced simultaneously...as something got smaller it also got larger.
As readers of my BLOG know I am intensely interested in exploring the notion that our contemporary world is a stage that exists between indeterminate and multi directional 'wings' of the Global and local, macro and micro, intimate and vast. Readers also know that I wonder how we can develop flexible skills of perspective in order to dance across this stage. I wonder if perspective collapses and something else is created...but I don't have a name for it...yet!
We have passed by [ I hope!] the arrested development of the post-modern playground where pretend games lead us to events such as the GFC. We are now on the precipice of learning the dance steps needed to negotiate the 21st century stage. To me a stage still means we can be playful but we are not constantly playing pretend.
Friday, November 27, 2009
One Oil on linen 90 x 200 cm
This is the link to my previous post where I write about 'One'. http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2009/07/one.html
These are the links to my previous 2 posts where I discuss 'Halo'
Now that brings me to my next speaking gig @ PECHA KUCHA BRISBANE next Wednesday 2nd December at Brisbane's Powerhouse. Check out http://www.pechakuchabrisbane.org/ and click on 'upcoming'. You can read my statement when you click on my name. I am really excited about the opportunity to speak about my passion which is art, but more specifically about the catalytic agency art has to inspire agenda-less but not directionless conversations. Thrilled in fact! Each speaker has 20 slides on a powerpoint and each slide appears for only 20 seconds, thus the total presentation time for speaker is 6 minutes 40 seconds.
I have nearly finished 'Beyond The Dark Night Of The Soul'... the subject of my last post. Just a bit of contemplation needed before I decide my bit is done. Because, as readers of my BLOG know I do not believe I complete my paintings. Rather, every conversation a painting inspires,whether it be inside one's head or with other people, completes my work. Thus, there is the potential for multiple and ongoing completions. I see this as giving life to my work.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Some months ago I attended one of the most interesting workshops [see below] I have ever been to. It was a multifaceted workshop looking deeply into the threads of life which seem to be ordained, yet with 'will' we can change . The workshop examined the motivation to aspire to the illusory world of material worth and status, those elements of life which are really external to us. It also looked at the world we can choose to embrace when the illusion of status succumbs to derailment, whether is be through loss or an ultimate realisation that life's purpose has to be about so much more than pleasing or conforming to external forces.
The journey through the material world, where the vagaries of external elements affect our core happiness can be repeated over and over again, with pivotal times for change going unnoticed. Yet these pivotal times are opportunities for alternative choices to be made. This often means letting go of things which may have seemed important, but upon deep reflection are not. 'Letting go' may also not be a choice when death, divorce or other forced cessation ocurrs. It is also not just about being a physical experience but also a need to 'let go' in consciousness. Addictions and attachments to things and even people are not helpful to anyone and with bravery, accompanied by a humbling, wilful and mindful decisions to 'let go' can result in a freeing re-evaluation of life.
So, my new painting, which I am working on, is one I have thought about for a long time. The term, 'Dark Night Of The Soul' really hit home with me! But, I will not dwell on heart ache, tumultuous self-reflection or as some might describe it...a total deconstruction of beliefs, attitudes and expectations. What I want to dwell upon and ponder is the 'beyond'...beyond the dark night of the soul.
I have used my much loved tree-of-life motif to [of course] represent life. I wanted to create a feeling of movement and journey, so I became transfixed by the spiral which has appeared in my work previously. A spiral is not static because [to me at least] it has a quivering action which causes movement. I wanted to convey a sense of enjoyment, freedom and healing. I wanted to create an image that people would talk about and respond to by telling their own stories. Some might say it is reflective of a journey of spirit.
Whilst all of this sounds very positive, I want viewers to know that the negative exists, but in absentia. I hope that my work conveys an optimistic approach and outlook, but one which has a mature and realistic understanding that optimism is a choice. And, when there is choice of optimism it means pessimism and negativity axiomatically have existed as potential, but they have not been consciously chosen. I make no attempt, I believe, to cover or hide the negative in warm and fuzzy visual homilies.
The meaning of frisson is...it is a noun... a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill. [ORIGIN French. Source-Oxford Dictionary] I think readers of my BLOG will understand why I am so entranced with the word 'Frisson'. The Ah Ah moments experienced when going beyond the dark night of the soul are full of excitement, thrill coupled with fear...frissons!
Please visit http://www.beattitude.com.au/index.php to find out more about the kind of workshop I attended...and more! Also, I recommend Metanoia: Renovating The House of Your Spirit written by Russell Sturgess who owns and runs beATTITUDE with his partner Anna Schaumkel.
Friday, November 13, 2009
http://www.blogger.com/www.pechakuchabrisbane.org and this is the global one
http://www.blogger.com/www.pecha-kucha.org I am very excited about this opportunity to have a soapbox for a few minutes!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
A Suggestion Of Duality Oil on canvas 30 x 30 cm $480 AUD
Each of these small paintings continue my interest in the tree-of-life. I like these opportunities to paint intense small pieces because I can focus my thoughts. The top painting is called 'Together' and I wanted to create a work which showed a togetherness but also a separateness. I wanted this togetherness to not necessarily be about being together with someone else, but also about being with oneself or on the other extreme a suggestion that togetherness is a relationship of the earthly and the divine. I like the concept of maintaining a kind of separateness, albeit a healthy one, because this gives room for self reflection and growth especially in this earthy dimension we all share. However, there is also that rather sad phenomena where two people can be together but the emotional distance between them is really about separation. How far can a distance be before it heralds the demise of a relationship?
The next painting is called 'A Suggestion of Duality' and I think readers can 'get' it by just looking at it. The tree seems to be mirrored... but not really because the colour variation is not an exact mirror and whilst the shape of the tree is mirrored, the individual branches have no chance of being exactly mirrored, hence the word 'suggestion' in the title and the inherant proposal of questions. I love questions which don't necessarily have answers but trigger more questions, thoughts and ponderings.
Collective Memory Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm $4000 AUD
I have written about Collective Memory previously. Here is the link http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2008/03/collective-memory.html This is a quote from this previous BLOG post. 'In this painting I have placed the trans-cultural/religious tree-of-life at the centre of an emanation of thoughts which are represented by the small dots. These thoughts change colour as they move through time to become memories. Yet, everything is connected and a vibration is maintained. The tree-of-life represents everyone...past-present-future.'
UPDATES1. Tonight in Melbourne an exhibition and prize opens at the Chapman and Bailey Art Award-350 Johnston St, Abbotsford http://www.chapmanbailey.com.au/ The exhibition continues until 28 November. I have a painting in this exhibition and here is the link to my post about 'Majesty and Order' http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2009/10/majesty-and-order.html
2. This is a link to my Twitpic image gallery http://www.twitpic.com/photos/brimblecombe
3. And my website http://www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com/
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
I have finally finished 'Halo', the painting I have mentioned over the last few weeks. My last post gave readers some insight into my inspirations for this painting. These inspirations come from many impulses and readers of my BLOG will recognise my much-loved tree-of-life motif as central to this new painting. The 'tree' becomes the earth and surrounding the earth is a pale circle of light or a halo.
In my last post http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2009/10/climbing-mountains-seeing-earths-halo.html I wrote about the 25th anniversiary of my cousin, Dr. Bill [aka Fred] From's death on Mt Everest. I have been thinking of him much more since around July last year when I was asked to give the graduation speech at the July graduation ceremony for University of Queensland's Faculties of Arts, and Behavoural and Social Sciences. I chose the theme of perspective for my speech and had hoped to mention Bill , but during my preparations I realised I did not have the right amount of time to contextualise his experiences with my thoughts on perspective. Here is the link to my BLOG post at the time of the graduation ceremony http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2008/07/in-my-last-blog-i-wrote-about-my-guest.html
My thoughts about Bill had been based on wondering what kind of perspective one would get when standing at the top of the world. This perspective, I imagine, would be physical and spatial with distance being the awesome overwhelming experience. But, in this humbling experience would there be a shift in one's own perspective of self and others? Would there be a rethinking of time ie: temporal perspective? I imagine that standing on the top of the world's tallest mountain would be different to being in an airoplane or rocket, because you are still firmly and literally connected to the earth, yet your head is literally in the clouds. I imagine your body would become like a conduit between heaven and earth. But, of course I may be romaticising all of this, because when I think about being cold, wet, hungry for food and air my romantic notions depart with a flurry!
My cousin Bill had just received his Doctorate in Physics from the University of Queensland when he ventured to Mt Everest. His particular area of research was the ionoshphere [please read my previous post for more details and links to info on the ionosphere]. The ionoshere is the outer layer of our atmoshpere which I have painted as a halo in my new painting.
Detail of Halo
When I was an undergrad at UQ I competed a year long subject called 'History of Science' with Professor Mac Hamilton. I have to say this subject was the most stimulating subject I ever studied. It succeeded in untethering my brain from the mundaneness of lock step, sequential learning. It freed me from the learned conformity that primary and secondary schooling cloaks students with, like a blanket that quells a fire. I struggled though because whilst I 'got' it in lectures I had difficulty expressing it in assignments and exams. But, to my next point...my cousin Bill who was completing his PhD sat in on these lectures. As the numbers were not large the lectures were more like conversations. Bill was a star. He engaged the lecturer in the most amazing discussions and I basked in Bill's shadow. And, thank you to Prof Mac Hamilton...I often think of you with gratitude.
The word 'halo' conjures thoughts of goodness, spirit, blessedness and saintliness. If we imagine our atmosphere as a 'halo' then we indeed are very lucky, for this goodness cacoons and protects us. This certainly makes one more determined to look after our atmosphere, yet it may have capacities to rejuvinate and nurture itself. I believe that anything which seems complex must therefore have inate capacities that ensures its continued existence. In paintings of saints by the old masters, halos are a rim, circle or sphere of ligth which is a symbol of love and spirit.
This new painting has taken a long time to paint. I hope viewers take a long time to really look at it...and revisit it. I hope they get a sense of being on the top of the world and that they are enticed to tell their own story.
NOTE ADDED 7-11-10
I was invited to participate in the 2010 $20,000 Tattersall's Landscape Art Award [invitation only]. Halo was my entry.
Halo Oil on linen 90 x 180 cm
Friday, October 30, 2009
In my last couple of posts I have mentioned that I am working on a large painting which I am going to call 'Halo'. I am still working on it and just to whet your appetites I have uploaded a detail from my work in progress.
But, I will go into a little about my inspiration. In October 1983 my cousin Bill [Fred] From died trying to conquer Mt Everest. I have often thought about Bill who was a true mountain man. He was strong, big, capable and incredibly intelligent. The kind of man you imagine conquering mountains with his little finger. Bill was 4 years older than me and I have childhood memories of him holding my arms and twirling me around in circles. I loved it and was thrilled because he was strong enough to do this to a rather large 8-12 year old gangly girl. After 12 I just got too tall and self conscious!
Bill had just received a Doctorate in Physics from the University of Queensland. He thesis was on his research into the Ionoshere. Here is a link that gives a brief description of this layer surrounding the Earth. http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/Atmosphere/ionosphere.html&edu=high He had also just received a scholarship to one of the prestigious Max Planck Institutes in Germany to further his research. I gather his research was cutting edge and very important.
Bill and one of his fellow climbers, a young doctor Craig Nottle, both slipped on an icy patch as they were descending Mt Everest. Their bodies fell into the great depths of ice and have never been recovered. They had been a short tantalising distance from the summit, but a blizzard forced them to turn away. They were climbing without oxygen so every step was arduous and slow. Bill was a seasoned climber and knew very well the risks of undertaking such an incredible quest. The team was lead by Peter Hillary, son of Sir Edmund.
I googled Bill's name just now and found an article which appeared in Brisbane's Courier Mail only last month. It is 25 years since Bill and Craig perished. Here is a link to the article http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26085462-5018552,00.html
But, back to my painting. It seems incredible to me that I have been thinking about Bill much more just recently and that it is 25 years since he died. I had not really been aware of the anniversiary until I read the Courier Mail article.
My thoughts have been about desire...a desire to reach the top of the world...a desire so strong that a person is prepared to put their life at risk. I wonder what it is like to be near the top of the world and have to turn back. I wonder what kind of views [if any through a blizzard] are possible at that height. Bill, studied the atmosphere, and one particluar part of it in great detail ie: the ionoshpere. Was he trying to reach it, to get closer to it? Regular readers of my BLOG know of my intense interest in perspective and distance...WOW what a perspective of the world from the top of its tallest mountain! Would an experience of this majestic perspective make a person feel humble as well as awed? Would this kind of perspective reveal not only the materiality of the Earth, but also reveal the substance of the atmospheric layers which cacoon and sustain us and our environment? My wonder is...did Bill see and feel the Earth's halo?
So, I am not and have never been interested in literally climbing moutains. But, all of us climb metaphoric mountains as we progress through life! Indeed, I have painted many moutain images over the years...landscape elements are important metaphors for me.
My new painting is inspired by my thoughts about Bill. And, since these ponderings seem to be serendipitously at this time of the 25th anniversiary of his death, I wonder if I am being 'spoken' to by some force from beyond? The painting will be finished soon and I hope it will be as beautiful as I imagine standing on the top of the world would be.
PS. Since writing this BLOG my next one also discusses 'Halo' http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2009/11/halo.html
Friday, October 23, 2009
Seeping Into The Intimate Vastness Oil on linen 80 x 100 cm 2008 http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2009/06/seeping-into-intimate-vastness.htmlAs readers of my BLOG know I grew up on a grain farm outside Dalby on the Darling Downs, Queensland. My parents farm was in what is known as 'God's own country' as the black soil was rich and deep. In fact, on the Pirrinuan Plain, where my parent's farm sat centre stage, the top soil is the deepest in the Southern Hemisphere. My grandfather farmed on this land for over 40 years and my father took over in the early 60s when weather patterns changed and he [unlike my grandfather] could not rely on rain arriving at the right and same times every year. I've seen my parents and other farmers despair over the lack of rain, as they watch newly sprouted seedling crops strain under parched conditions. Yet, I have also seen the horror of severe flooding where top soil is wripped away, and beautiful crops are flattened by heavy rain and often hail. From a very young age I knew that rain and water meant many things, but I also knew it meant money, prosperity and more relaxed parents!
Lifeblood Oil on linen 90 x 200 cm 2008/9
Lifeblood above, is a large painting where I have painted the strips of rain in small $ signs. The underground water and surrounding soil are also painted with $ signs. The red ribbon like vein in the sky is painted with $ signs. From a distance the viewer does not recognise that this painting contans any $ signs, but when up close they are revealed. Readers of my BLOG know that I am intensely interested in the viewer's experience of close and far distance and the impact this may have on developing flexible skills in perspective. The viewer's experience is a metaphor for how we need to 'see' the globalised world in which we live locally. We need to be able to see another person's point of view, understand another's culture, put ourselves in another person's shoes in order to have compassion for ourselves and others.
Here is the link to my previous post about "Lifeblood' http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2009/05/lifeblood.html
Thank Goodness [It's Raining]! Oil on linen 92 x 207 cm 2007 This painting above was inspired by those exclamations farmers make when it does rain. 'Thank God', 'Thank Goodness' and 'About bloody time!' These sorts of exclamations are really expressions of gratitude with all the emotions gratitude contains. I have used my much loved, tree-of-life motif as a visual conduit which could represent underground systems, mountains, a strata of the earth as if cut in cross section. The 'rain' falls from a dark blue sky, but the rain is red. I often paint rain in red because this colour represents fertility and a sense of vascular life forces. Rain and water are like the blood of the earth.
Here is the link to my previous post for 'Thank Goodness [It's Raining]!http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2007/07/thank-goodness.html
It Looks Hopeful Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm unframed 2009
The sense of hope which farmers must have is like a faith. I wrote about faith in my last BLOG post and I have to say that as a farmer's daughter I have witnessed incredible expressions of faith from my father and other farmers. I also saw this when I lived in the small rural Queensland but highly diversified town of Goondiwindi for 18 years. Faith is a kind of 'knowing' which seems inexplicable but is felt at deep core levels of our being. Faith and hope are two of the most important characteristics farmers or anyone living in rural communities must have.
Now I am going to write something which may seem odd, but artists are like farmers! We must have faith in processes which we may or may not understand. We must get to a point where needing to understand is not paramount, because we recognise that creative forces are never ending. We must have faith that we can tap into these forces, and that when we have impasses where things do not seem to flow, we 'know' to walk away to 'let' the congestion unravel. We 'plant' after we have made all the necessary and technical preparations and then as we work we 'manage' complex creative and technical processes simultaneously. Our medium becomes an extension of ourselves, just as a good farmer after making all the necessary technical applicatons and seeking appropriate informaton can 'know' at his/her core if something resonates as the right thing to do.
I have written previously about this painting 'Water Harvesting'
Answer To A Prayer Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm unframed 2009
Being grateful for rain!
Here is the previous post I wrote about 'Cyclical' . Quite interesting if I say so myself!
Friday, October 16, 2009
I have not posted for 10 days and those 10 days have passed so quickly. I am working on a large rectangular painting which I will be calling 'Halo'. The world's halo is revealed! I will discuss more on my BLOG when I have finished and photographed the painting.
I was thinking about something I said in my last post which was, 'The largest system is the one which gives pulse to the Universe and whilst we may not completely understand this system we know it exists. Now this got me thinking...if we have evidence of a system it does not mean we know how it works, yet we have faith that it does.' I have continued to think about faith, the kind of faith we have which may seem blind, but somehow resonates at a core level. Maybe this resonation occurs in what has been labelled our 'junk DNA' ie: the over 95% of DNA scientists do not understand!
I have been particularly thinking about faith in imagination, faith in our own imagination, faith in the collective imagination. It seems to me that it is imperative to have faith in imagination, because without imagination we cease to wonder, question... and really live. But, as I wonder about faith in imagination I also 'see' that imagination has been hijacked by written and unwritten rules and regulations, fashion, education!...all causing a lack of faith. I have seen this slow erosion in my own children and as I travel back in time [in my head and imagination] I feel the erosive events in my own life again. I have learnt to repel and irradicate some of the unhelpful influences, but first one has to identify them. This can be difficult because over time they have often entered the subconscious insidiously weaving networks of belief about oneself and others. It actually requires some imagination to irradicate! I see it like some sort of pest control!
All the images posted have my tree-of-life motif. Regular readers of my BLOG will identify all that these trees 'say'.
I have written previously about this painting http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2008/09/into-symphony-again.html
The Brush Of Angels' Wings Oil on linen 52 x 92 cm 2008
I have written about this painting on my BLOG previously
Into My Galaxy Oil on linen 85 x 147 cm 2008
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This is my latest painting which I have called 'Paradise'. Readers of my BLOG would recognise that it flows from my previous work inspired by the tree-of-life and tree-of-knowledge. My last few paintings have introduced Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden into my visual explorations of the symbolic and metaphysical potential in stories and iconic motifs.
My interest is not in literal interpretations or illustrating history. My interest is in the possibility of gaining emotional, spiritual and conceptual sustenance that is meaningful in this contemporary world in which we all live. I am not interested in prescribing what this meaningfulness is because I believe each person has the capacity and urge to search for their own meaning. Age-old iconic motifs and stories provide a gateway for each person to open and proceed to explore at their own pace and in their own direction. Readers of my BLOG know of my aversion to the didacticism I see and read in some contemporary cultural offerings, particularly children's literature. Didacticism does not provide a gateway with endless pathways. It is more like a cattle crush. [the yards designed to feed cattle or sheep through to be branded, loaded onto trucks etc.]
I have called my new painting 'Paradise' because the Garden of Eden is described as a paradise. It is also described as a temple, thus indicating that it was a place of worship where a personal relationship with God could take place. Many years ago when people asked me where I lived I would often say, 'In my head.' It sounded a lot more interesting than saying Dalby or Goondiwindi! As a child I daydreamt all the time, much to the dismay of my teachers. However, daydreams are an escape to a paradise, a place where everything is possible. I believe that our Garden of Eden [our temple] lives inside us, in our imaginations and dreams. I also believe that some art is the perfect catalyst for imagination and dreaming, especially if it causes a person to ask questions, to wonder and to reflect. As people do these things their abilities to understand metaphor and symbols becomes more attuned. I have previously written about my observation that contemporary society has lost its ability to 'read' symbols and then to extrapolate meaning from them. Visual literacy skills are not just about knowing what a symbol might represent, but also understanding them at a metacognitive level where meaning can be responded to in both an emotional and intellectual [even spiritual] sense.
A painting, by providing just one nano second of a story, does not attempt to complete it, thus the viewer can provide their own pre and post narratives. My new painting could be said to be based on a narrative ie: the story of Adam and Eve, but what I like about stories which are mythic and symbolic, is that the viewer can place themselves into the story. Thus, the narrative becomes a constantly new one, never before written or seen, yet the core of humanity exists as a spine or trunk of a tree. A person returning to a painting which has provided them with an internal emotional/intellectual or spiritual journey can find themselves taken even further on their subsequent viewings. A number of people who have bought my paintings have told me they see something new in the painting they bought each day. I love hearing this, because it means my painting lives rather than decorates.
A visitor to my house this week spent about 3 hours looking at and talking to me about my work. He made a comment which really blew me away. He said, 'You know you'd return from the dead to look at your paintings Kathryn.' WOW! Now this got my imagination going for sure. Lots of ghosts wandering through my house to get their 'fix'. We discussed what he meant, which was that each painting seemed to have endless possibilities for thought and contemplation, and that one idea lead to another and another, thus making it seem unlikely that one lifetime would provide enough time to fully explore. I took this as a great compliment.
Readers of my BLOG also know of my interest in distance and perspective. Stories/myths and a iconic motifs represented in paintings are like single points with endless trajectories for story and meaning in all directions. Horizons exist behind, in front, beside and under, with each horizon once reached revealing another. Indeed, sometimes returning to a previously visited horizon is important. These horizons may be close or far in temporal or spatial distance.
'Paradise' depicts the moment Eve is created from sleeping Adam's rib. Trees grow from Eve's outstretched arms creating a multitude of colour and pattern. Please read my last two or three posts where I have written more extensively about Adam and Eve, a story which is shared by the three Abrahamaic religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. My interest with 'Paradise' was to create a sense of the universe, awe, movement, beauty and extra-ordinariness. Surely these are all elements which the temple aspires to achieve. My other interest is the fact that shared stories connect us forever.
I love painting because each work exists as a point/gateway with endless possibilities. The viewer creates these possibilities and in this way quietly and privately extends my work into the collective memory and consciousness.
Paradise Oil on linen 62 x 82 cm 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
It has been 10 days since I wrote on my BLOG. The reason I have been slack is because I have been completely distracted with preparations for my daughter's eighteenth birthday party, which was fantastic too. In between doing the things one does to organise a big party, I have been painting, but the work is not at a stage where I can provide an interesting photo.
So, an email this morning provided me with an opportunity to reload 'Generations' above. The email informed me that this painting has been selected for the 'I Am' exhibition which is aid of the Women's Legal Service here in Brisbane. The exhibition is on 16-18 October. Here is the website http://www.wlsartshow.com.au/
My previous post which 'talks' about 'Generations' is http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2008/04/can-one-persons-epiphany-change.html
I was quite chuffed by a few of my daughter's young friends and their comments about my paintings. I had planned that my daughter's party would be completely outside, but when my daughter and I created the largest birthday cake possible we did not think about how to get it out of the house! And, this problem was not alerted to us until one of her male freinds, who had arrived early, decided to measure the cake. No problems I thought...it will fit through the front door and down the steps. So, whilst the party revellers were revelling, a friend and my sister-in-law [who is also a friend] tried to get the cake firstly out the front door and down the stairs to take it into the back garden and the party. But, no, we got stuck half way through the doorway nearly killing ourselves in the process. So, we decided to take it down the internal steps and out through the family room. But, we got stuck again. This time on the steps with the cake slipping sidways off its huge base. Trying to keep this massive cake flat whilst going down stairs required feats of almost gymnastic manipulation which, at slightly! older thean 18, none of us had. I just cannot write descriptively enough to explain just how hilarious our antics were.
So, the only thing to do was to get all the party revellers upstairs to have the Happy Birthday cake cutting, candles and singing thing happening. Well, the big bonus for me was that because these young ones had the opportunity to come inside the house 3 of my daughter's friends made great comments about my paintings and wanted to know more.
So, until my next post...I am in a state of recovery.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
"She was not made out of his head to surpass him, nor from his feet to be trampled on, but from his side to be equal to him, and near his heart to be dear to him." [Jamieson-Fausset Brown Bible Commentary]
The quote above inspired my newest painting. I wanted to create an image which clearly 'spoke' of the story of Adam and Eve but also embraced the sentiment of the quote, which I believe deals fundamentally with the male and female relationship, plus more deeply delves into the question of opposites and duality. There is no indication of either sex being better than the other, yet they are not the same.
The uniting of seemingly opposite forces creates an equilibrium which I have tried to capture with the 'meeting' or crossover of the two trees. These trees are [as regular readers of my BLOG will identify] my transcultural/religious tree-of-life. The story of Adam and Eve is one which is shared by the three Abrahamaic religions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. It is through shared stories that a forever connectedness exists between these religions. The tree-of-life is a symbol which is shared more broadly throughout many religions and cultures and does not need any simple explanation. Yet, it can assist in the journey to very complex and deep investigations of meaning and spirituality. This is the power of symbols and myth. Unfortunately, the contemporary world in which we live has lost an ability to understand symbols, preferring to replace deep investigation of meaning with superficial visual literacy skills that merely enable people to decipher logos, advertising ploys, jingles etc. These latter skills are certainly important, but there is another layer where metacognitive skills are essential, but seem arrested.
In my new painting Adam is asleep because in the story he is made to go to sleep so his rib could be extracted in order to form Eve. There is some suggestion that due to no mention of him being awakened [as there was about him going to sleep] that he actually never wakes up, thus leading to the thought that, in essence,'we' are Adam's dream. I won't go into this in detail, but I think it is an interesting thought, as a metaphor, to ponder.
The 'meeting' of the two trees forms a subtle almond shape akin to the sacred yoni. I have written about this in my previous post 'In The Garden Of Eden'. The scared yoni is a salute to the sacred feminine or rather the presence and power of the feminine along side of the masculine. Please read my previous post to see my thoughts about this.
Now to something which might appear to be completely divergent! I am reading 'A Whole New Mind' by Daniel Pink [Thank you Ron for the suggestion!]. I have not finished it, but Pink's observation that the primacy of left brain thinking is being diluted by the acknowledgement of the importance of right brain thinking is very interesting and makes me feel my time has arrived! I can certainly conform to situations where left brain thinking is required...that's why I did well at school, but it almost killed me! However, my natural and most enjoyable thinking certainly comes from my right brain. And, at times or when necessary having both sides work together is very satisfying. As I have been reading this book, my tree-of-life images appear in my head, especially these latest ones where they meet and cross over to create a denser and more complex 'system'. Now, to me, this is the perfect analogy for the mutual workings of the left and right sides of the brain. I know the two sides cannot literally or pysically cross over...mush time if that happens...but thinking can create a crossover with an abundant potential to generate amazing thoughts, imaginations, inspirations plus outcomes, processes and 'stuff'! So how rich, in all ways, is that?!
Monday, September 07, 2009
Flying Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2004
Hot Gouache on paper 15 x 21 cm 1995
Following on from my last post, I have uploaded a couple more older paintings. I had hoped to post an image of my very latest painting, but I have only just finished it [like right now!] and will not get around to photographing it until tomorrow. It is 10 pm and I am ready for sleep.
These two paintings are about flying. The first one was painted after I left Goondiwindi [small rural town in western Queensland] and moved to the 'big smoke' of Brisbane. The woman flying is a bride and her shadow on the ground follows her. Readers of my BLOG would know that as a child I dreamt I could fly...and it was not just a night time dream, but an experience I had both at night and during the day. I knew what my parent's farm looked like from above even though I had never been in a plane above it. This experience of 'flying' has obviously influenced my need to experiment with different perspectives in my work.
I was a young bride when I moved to Goondiwindi and my mother was a young bride when she moved to the family farm outside Dalby. In fact, there have been many young brides in my family who have moved to live in rural Australia. The men marked the land literally with their fences, roads, dams, ploughed paddocks etc. But, the women leave markings which are more about the fabric of the community. They leave their spirit in a different way to the men, who also leave their spirit inbedded in the earth with their sweat and in many cases their tears.
The young bride above seems to hover above the land with the horizon enticing in the distance. Over this horizon there maybe other horizons, but she seems wistful about her present place. Readers of my BLOG know that I use landscape elements as metaphors for our emotional landscapes. The horizon can be interpreted literally or be understood as something which is inside us, a place where we search to know who we are.
The second painting 'Hot' is a more playful image, where the two figures placed against a red background seem to be absorbed into the fabric of the image. I played with the word hot to mean both heat and sexy.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I thought I would show you some of my older works on paper. Some of them have been exhibited once and a couple not at all.
It is an interesting thing being an artist for all sorts of reasons. But, logistics is not something most people would think about an artist needing. By logistics I mean how to give our work a life beyond the studio, before it becomes too old for competitions and exhibitions...unless of course one has reached that stage where curated survey or retrospective exhibitions herald an arrival into the serious realms of art history.
Most competitons require an artist's entry to be no more than a year old. There are a few competitions which allow up to two years. When an artist has a solo exhibition it is expected that the work on show is recent...probably within the 2-3 years. Once an artist has exhibited a work of art in an exhibition, and it has not sold, it really cannot be exhibited again in that geographic area, unless it is a finalist in a competition. So, artists have to look interstate to exhibit their work again in order for it to have a life beyond storage in the studio.
So, it is with delight that I am showing these older works which have not really had an opportunity to strutt their stuff properly.
Spirited Mixed Media On Paper 56 x76 1993 $1600 AUD Unframed
I was thinking about and very interested in the force of atoms and the energy created. My tree-of-life is here! Readers of my blog will know that this motif is a favourite and recurrent motif of mine. In this case i was thinking abut the life force of atoms.
I painted this image when I had two small children and felt my energies stretched to the limits. This woman seems to have multiple arms! And again my tree-of-life motif is inside the womb-like ball under the woman's arm.
This painting was exhibited in an exhibition called Knitting Time at Whitebox Gallery in Brisbane. The paintings in this exhibition had been inspired by a friend's novel. Her name is Lesley Synge http://www.zingstories.com.au/
I have palyed with perspective in this ambiguous landscape. I had been living in Brisbane for about a year after living in Goondiwindi in western Queensland for 18 years. I moved with my 3 children then aged 2,5 and 8 because I got divorced. Once in Brisbane my landscapes took on a searching within my memory. I was and still am interested in multi perspectives and the power developing skills in perspective gives to humanity. At this point in time, in the early 2000s, I was understandably considering my options, looking at my past and examining myself and my life from new and sometimes frightening perspectives.
At Close Distance Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2005 $1600 AUD Unframed
This is a really beautiful painting...if I say so myself! I have delved inside the landscape to reveal its intimate parts. Yet, at the same time the vastness of the landscape is evident. Hence the title 'At Close Distance' which plays with ideas of distance being far and close.
So, this is a brief online exhibition of some of my older paintings. I have chosen ones I really like!