Monday, October 31, 2011

The wrap up

I'm back home unpacking cases, getting use to the humid Queensland weather and thinking about my month away. I had a great time on residence at Montsalvat with many positive experiences. The opportunity to collaborate on work with Susan Buret was a big positive. Without locations like Montsalvat it would be difficult to achieve the results we did. Making large scale works for an upcoming exhibition and truly having the ability to work together on pieces. It takes a level of respect and trust between artists for this to work, having said that I can highly recommend collaborating with another artist, it's a 1+1=3 outcome.

A big thank you to the team of staff at Montsalvat.
Also thanks to my family, it was lovely to spend a bit more time with you.

Now onto work for my next show...with a bit of Montsalvat inspiration.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Out of the studio

In the garden

Beautiful sunshine without gusting winds today provided ideal weather for working outdoors in the gardens at Montsalvat. It was so lovely to be outdoors, listening to birds and soaking up the warmth. I packed a small bag with the materials I normally take on a day trip to Coochiemudlo Island and had the added comfort of a chair for the day.
Working on paper with acrylic and ink, I looked for the patterns and feel of the surrounds, more than the view.
The lower garden areas are a ramble of fruit trees, spring flowers, scented roses, succulents and iris ringed ponds. Luminous fresh spring growth and light provided an interesting palette of colours to work with. Images above show one view of the garden and a work in progress, unfortunately the yellow pigment is not showing up as brightly here, but you get an idea.
It's been a perfect day for nearing the end of the residency.

Monday, October 24, 2011

An other place

Wedding activities throughout the weekend at Montsalvat, continued into Sunday. With more peering through windows, statements of..'there's an artist in there'...and one lady pushing so hard against the glass I thought she might fall through. I thought to myself thankfully for not being born a zoo animal.
Montsalvat is other worldly, a combination of buildings that have the look of being taken from medieval, French and rustic slab and daub influences. Visitors love the romantic rustic charm which photographs so well (clearly they are not looking closely at the more practical side of residing here). Male peacocks strutting their stuff in each courtyard and open space only add to the exotic nature of the place. Even better if they are clambering on the roof top ridges, an activity generally reserved for evening, and trying to outcall one another.
The knife in the bottom of the 'ornamental pond no swimming'-ie. the crystal clear pool - continues to fascinate visitors who spot it, raising the eternal question, Why is there a knife in the pool? ( The event that lead to this will remain on residence, so to speak), but anyway, all these weekend activities got me thinking about what catches people attention, an ordinary item in an unexpected place, and the sense of other, something real but out of place.
I've started painting for my next exhibition which will be on show at Salt contemporary art in Queenscliff at the end of December. The influence of Montsalvat is clear to see, this place is not like any other I have spent time in and the other worldly will be a feature.
Images of workin progress coming soon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Melbourne - angel demons

Day trip to Melbourne

I took a day trip into Melbourne city to check out a few exhibitions. First stop was the NGV Ian Potter Centre, but before I got in the door I had to admire the giant baby - 'Angels Demons' sculpture in Federation Square and along Swanston Street. Installed as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the sculptures were installed by the avant garde Russian arts collective AES+F.
I took in all of the exhibition spaces at NGV, progressing from a fabulous display of indigenous shields, through colonial works to contemporary exhibitions, including a selection of Fred Williams landscape paintings, a curated exhibition - '10 ways of looking at the past', and two great collections of indigenous desert paintings. So much to see, with several stand out works and many recent acquisitions to the collection that I hadn't seen before on display.
A new work by Rosslynd Piggott had me entranced, I have seen only a few of Rosslynd's works in the flesh, but have liked every one of them. She has a wonderful aesthetic that resonates with me, not to mention her exquisite command of the mediums used. "Unfolding flower - cloudscape no.2' is the recent acquisition that caught my eye.
The afternoon was taken up with a tram trip to Fitzroy and wanderings along Gertrude and Smith streets, taking in several commercial gallery exhibitions and a stop of for some more canvas. A great day all round.
Image of one of the Angel Demon babies above, I was thinking more hybrid dinosaur.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In and out of the studio

I still haven't been able to add images and text in the one post, but it's not too hard to work out what goes together.
Another glorious day of sunshine in Melbourne today, with an early morning walk to the shops and a few art materials on the way home, which all made the cool aqua green waters of the 'ornamental pond - no swimming' very tempting!
So we worked in the cool shade of the studio and contented ourselves with views of the water instead. Later this afternoon I watched the (marauding) kookaburra bathing itself in the pool.
With the weather project artworks completed I prepared some canvas to start painting. Montsalvat is not short on inspiration, with an interesting mix of wildlife and human inhabitants co-existing on the grounds. More to follow...meanwhile an image of inside and outside the studio.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Under the white wisteria


Glorious weather today with radiant sunshine, clear blue skies and a very comfortable air temperature, meant we had another picnic lunch seated under the white wisteria that grows on the opposite side of the pool from our studio space. With few visitors to Montsalvat today we felt like we had the place to ourselves, and apart from the marauding kookaburra keen to feed her chicks, lunch was very relaxed.
This morning we wrapped our large artwork in some protective packaging for the courier trip home, and with almost all of the works completed that we had hoped to make during our residency, it was good to have a little time out and soak up the sunshine.
You can see the big wrap up almost complete on Susan's blog at

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Open studio

We opened our studio at Montsalvat this weekend so friends and family would have an opportunity to see what we had been working on so far during our residency. Susan has uploaded some lovely images and thoughts on the weekend at her blog so rather than repeating it all here you might like to check out her post.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The charm of Montsalvat

There is a rustic charm about Montsalvat that glows in the rays of sunshine on a day like today. Everywhere I look there are crafted artisan elements incorporated into the buildings and surrounds. An obvious love of pattern has been imbued by the creators.
I am staying in Sue's Tower, a small room above the archway with a narrow staircase that has a few of us thinking of Rapunzel.
Peacocks roam the grounds with a male occupying each courtyard area, displaying his finery of feathers like an elaborate bridal gown train. Once heard their call is hard to forget, somewhere between the sound of a crow and cat comes to my mind.
There is much inspiration to be found here, with each day revealing a little more of the subtle intricacies of the place.
Images below.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Choose your day

'Choose your day' 2011, Susan Buret and Nicola Moss, cyanotype chemicals and gouache on paper.
This detail is of a fifteen panel work we have completed while at Montsalvat. Hung with fishing line and bulldog clips, it was great to see it come together in one piece.

Monday, October 10, 2011

In residence

Well it's one week into my residency at Montsalvat with fellow artist and collaborator, Susan Buret, and I have to say I am now completely enamored with the whole immersion and focused atmosphere of the simple words, I will be very keen to do more!
Still getting the hang of iPad posting, if any apple lovers out there have tips on a good image sizing app? I'd love to hear from you :-)
With so few distractions and focused attention on one project, work is developing at a great rate. The opportunity of collaborating in residence, means decisions can be made on the spot, ideas tossed around, thoughts tried and revised if need be. No emails, phone calls, mailed parcels and time lapsed's been great....and I think the works show the positive benefits.
Some images to follow shortly (hopefully).