Friday, October 24, 2014

Grafton ecology

Out and about on my walk this morning taking rubbings of trees and collecting fallen blooms. The studio collection of textures and various flora is growing steadily. I had great fun this week working with a large palm tree seed sprout to make marks on paper while 'thinking tree' and looking at some reference photos. It was the feel or experience of tree that I had in mind. The resulting marks have created a lovely tonal quality of organic and spontaneous energy.
This week I noticed a Mexican Tree Fern flowering at See Park and collected a number of fallen flower stems, I suspect birds have been doing their damage. The chartreuse stems and yellow open flowers were off-set with the dark black brown outer capsule of the closed flower buds, still to open.

Today I worked over a lot of my earlier coloured papers to develop a harmonious palette of Grafton. Hopefully when I look again tomorrow morning it will still gel together.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In the studio

It's the start of week two of my residency. Ideas are beginning to take shape in the studio space at Grafton Regional Gallery. Today I was keen to get some images on the wall and start cutting paper stencils. The ecology collection is gradually growing, will show more of this when further samples are gathered.
The branches in bottles came from under a large Cook Pine, which the lovely group at Clarence River Historical Society informed me is the oldest planted tree in Grafton.
Lots of streets still to walk and explore, will post more updates as the work progresses.

Grafton Garden Club

Last night I had a lovely evening at the Grafton Garden Club monthly meeting. The first thing I noticed when I entered the hall were the flowers. Each one brought from a members garden in a green bottle with roses, clematis, orchids, hibiscus, and natives. Later in the evening everyone present voted on groups of the flowers to select a favourite, with a special prize at the end of the year.
I asked members if any may be interested in volunteering their gardens for me to spend some time in, photographing and observing for some possible artwork, thanks to those who agreed.
Next weekend and through the following week, as part of the Jacaranda Festival, a number of gardens in and around Grafton are open to the public for viewing.
Thank you to Helen, Joy, Yvonne, Noelene, Kim, Rosie, Lyn, Mavis, and all the other members who made me feel welcome and for sharing your stories of Grafton. Looking forward to seeing the gardens!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Culture on the Clarence

Sunday awoke to another beautiful clear sunny sky in Grafton. I headed over to South Grafton for one of the Jacaranda festival's first events - Culture on the Clarence, a community fair celebrating local talent, musicians, indigenous heritage and community groups. It was a lovely mix of stalls and activity along the heritage shopping area of Skinner Street.
I photographed much of the lead lighting in older buildings and chatted with local artist, Rochelle Summerfield.
The town crier, in attendance with some of the Jacaranda Queen candidates, added jolly cheer to the atmosphere.
The river end of Skinner Street has tranquil views of Susan Island in the middle of the Clarence River and Grafton beyond. It was a lovely morning.

Flowering Street Trees - Grafton

Mid spring is a lovely time of year for seeing the flowering street trees of Grafton. Apart from the mauve haze of Jacaranda which the town is synonymous with, there are other bold splashes in yellow - Tabebuia and Silky Oak; Red - Flame tree and Tree Waratah; along with white jacaranda, pink clusters of white cedar and numerous others.


A poem by M. Beckman of Grafton:
Flower-laden spring
Arrayed in soft tones of green, purple and gold.
The City of Grafton is fair to behold;
And soon, now, her bright festive songs she will sing.
The year has again brought sweet flower-laden spring
And festival time to this city of flowers.
Whose petals fall soft like continuous showers.
Soon moonlight will gleam with her silvery light.
On Grafton at play, a fair, glamorous sight.

JADA 2014

Friday night was the opening of the 2014 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award. It was a lovely evening to meet artists and view the 50 finalists contemporary drawing works. This years judge, John McDonald, art critic for the Sydney Morning Herald, chose the work of Mullumbimby artist, Emma Walker, as the winner of the $20,000 award. You can read about John's selection process here.
Emma's work titled 'Keys bridge in flood' is full of energy and layering, bringing in and out of focus elements of the landscape.

Another $20,000 in acquisitions for the Grafton Regional Gallery's collection were also selected. In conjunction with JADA a two day Drawing Symposium was held over the weekend. With speakers, a drawing performance with Kellie O'Dempsey and several workshops; the event had a great vibe and lots of interesting conversations ensued.

JADA will be on exhibition from 17th October to 7th December, 2014 followed by a tour to seven regional and metropolitan galleries until mid 2016.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Jacaranda City

On Tuesday with the car packed and a clear sunny sky I headed on my way to Grafton for a residency at the Grafton Regional Gallery. The drive was scenic with cane fields and forest; ending with a crossing of the Clarence River historic bridge, negotiating its bends and then into the tree lined streets of town. This was my first visit to Grafton Regional Gallery, situated in Prentice House, built in 1880 by Alexander Fairweather. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, with a semi-enclosed rear courtyard shaded by tree; it will be a tranquil location for working in.
I unpacked materials in the studio space, a large room with views of the courtyard. Then headed to my accommodation with the usual logistics of unpacking, grocery shopping and a good nights sleep.
Looking forward to exploring the streets tomorrow, soaking up the trees and heritage.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In the studio

Responding to the spontaneity of the creative urge is something I have learnt to accommodate, or perhaps I should say the best of my attempts at least. It just happens - a new thought connects ideas and there it is - a series of work to be developed, or the idea of a colour and a series of works, you get the idea. Green has been in my mind; today I got around to mixing some colour. I was thinking of the State Library in Brisbane green, the one used on the concrete walls; it's a lovely almost retro green, patchy and visceral in its qualities.
So tonight I've been recycling some paper pieces and loosely developing shades of green....there are so many greens.
For the last few weeks I've been working in the studio on a commission piece and next week I head to Grafton for my residency at Grafton Regional Art Gallery. Time to get back to the papers :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Moerenuma Park - SIAF 2014

As part of the Sapporo International Art Festival we took a day trip to Moerenuma Park. Wow! What an amazing park. Designed by Isamu Noguchi, the park itself is considered to be one complete sculpture. With various large mounds, play mountains, water features, tree groves and bicycle tracks, it's hard to describe the expansive scale. From the top of Mt. Moere panoramic views of Sapporo city and suburbs are in clear view, that's after you climb the 390 steps to reach the top, well worth the effort. From the high points the park reveals itself as a connected pattern of triangular and geometric shapes surrounded by a water moat.
After walking around for a few hours we took a break for lunch and then hired bicycles to ride around the shaded tree lanes. The glass pyramid 'Hidamari' is visually striking and hosted several contemporary installation works as part of the art fair. The architectural structure contrasted beautifully with overhead organic clouds.

I must mention (and recommend) lunch was a most pleasant surprise when we came across Restaurant L'Enfant qui reve, with French/Japanese fine dining, we indulged in a delicious degustation. Desert and coffee was taken in a separate room where we sat alone and took in views of the gardens. A great day trip if you are visiting Sapporo.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Last weeks for Culture Ecology at BRAG

'Time capsule 1'  ©2014 Nicola Moss, Synthetic polymer paint, rust stain, water colour, hand cut paper.

It's the final two weeks for Culture Ecology on show at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery. If you couldn't make it to the area or missed out on a room sheet while visiting, details are now available on-line.

It will be two years since I completed my residency at Hill End, while I think about the memories of that place, I'm also looking forward to spending time exploring the ecology of Grafton next month, on a residency that coincides with the Jacaranda Festival, celebrating its 80th anniversary.

The Grafton Regional Gallery Artist in Residence program is open to professional artists and curators from all disciplines. The program generously supports artists' new work, research and collaborations.