'A strange flower
for butterflies and birds
the Autumn sky'.
'Harvest', a group exhibition of 33 artists, opens this evening at Urban Cow Studio. This year, for me, has been about embracing all opportunities that come along even if I feel a bit scared or unsure; when the chance to be involved in 'Harvest' arose, I was keen to challenge myself and see what I could create. Each artist was given a Haiku poem by Matsuo Basho as a starting point for their piece and each work was to be presented in some way on the same size canvas.
I chose my Haiku poem quoted above because I love the first line, 'A strange flower', which I knew I would be able to work from. I find strange and unusual things interesting and I liked the idea that these birds and butterflies were attracted to these strange flowers. I have included butterflies in my drawings before but never birds or animals of any sort so I knew this would be the challenge for me but I also felt the piece would be a bit empty or lacking if I left them out. I began by researching rare flowers and Australian birds as a source of inspiration for these images and from there made numerous sketches of these things, partly from reality but mostly from my imagination's interpretation of them. I narrowed it down to three ideas I had and kept working on these with the plan that I would choose my favourite to exhibit. But in the end I decided that they would work together as a series of 3 closely linked by theme and colour.
Sometimes people ask me how I have created something and I know that I also enjoy seeing the process of how others work, so I thought I would share some of my progress shots that I snapped along the way.
After the initial sketches were finished and the final images decided, I completed colour roughs in pencil for each design.
After that, the outlines were transferred to each canvas and I began painting the final pieces in Gouache. I worked on the three pieces at the same time so that I could share some of the similar colours between each canvas. I tried to remember to take photos of the progress every day or so but in the end I just had to keep painting and I think I held my breath for a whole day when I had to paint in those (relatively) thin, straight lines at the end. I also never photographed the near disastrous moment when I discovered bright purple paint running across my canvas when I had tilted it to pain the edge, But these are the little learning lesson we have a long the way that teach us things and are all part of the journey and memory in creating something.
Painting in this way in small sections is a very tedious and time consuming process but I have to admit this is what I love to do and I thoroughly enjoyed creating these three designs. Often it is good to have a brief to work to as it makes you think about your work in new ways and in this case, include images I would never have thought to incorporate. I am most looking forward to viewing the work of the other artists and seeing how they each interpreted their Haiku poem which should provide the viewers with a really rich and diverse collection of work.