Saturday, January 23, 2010

Visual Diaries

I started thinking about how I use visual diaries in my art practice after a recent discussion with fellow artist Sophie Munns. Recently on her blog Sophie posted an interesting article on conversation and sharing ideas, it made me recall some quotes of conversation I had recorded. For me these diaries are a step between the research, reading, observations and site visits I undertake, developing ideas and the artwork that eventuates after some time for contemplation. Ideas can spark at the most in opportune time, capturing them while fresh is vital for me, and preferrably with enough explanation to be understood in time to come. Projects can extend for several years before works culminate in an exhibition, being able to read the initial inspirational concepts and trace back through ideas can be very useful. In a way I value what is in these diaries as much as the artwork that eventuates.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Eddie Santagiuliana Way - Cleveland

While in Cleveland this week I also visited Eddie Santagiuliana Way. This trail is named after the late Mayor Eddie Santagiuliana who served the Redland Shire as councillor and Mayor from 1982 to 2001. The foreshore trail was established as a memorial to his service to the community with stages generously supported by the business and local community.
I entered the trail from Beach Street where a boardwalk and wide path leads through paperbark and casuarina groves beside the mangrove foreshore. It's a visually interesting trail with various plants creating distinctive landscapes in close proximity. Casuarina groves create dense mats of leaf decay, smothering any other vegetation on the ground, for a textured fibre carpet effect. On the foreshore side, glimpses can be seen of rust coloured water pools, a striking contrast to silver-grey trunked mangroves. There is the sound of wind in trees again, this time I thought 'scouring' would be a good description.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Black Swamp Wetlands - Cleveland

The buffer between housing and wetlands area.

I visited Black Swamp Wetlands at Cleveland today as part of my Redlands habitat project. The site is located in the heart of Cleveland with boundaries onto Wellington, Queen and Shore Street West. There was plenty of vehicle traffic on Queen Street as I walked along, but this didn't seem to disturb wildlife in the wetland area. Black Swamp Wetlands is home to three species of Flying Fox, Grey-headed and Black Flying Fox throughout the year and nomadic Little Red Flying Fox during early summer. From the street pavement it is quite easy to see large groups of flying foxes hanging in the trees. Many were flapping their wings, with the heat today, I suspect in an effort to cool themselves. I also saw water dragon, ibis, lorikeets and kookaburras in the area.
I find this habitat area interesting, situated adjacent to homes and surrounded by substantial traffic roads, it is a haven for various wildlife.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Point Halloran Conservation Area

Point Halloran Conservation Area at Victoria Point, Redland, has a well maintained loop walking track that leads from mixed woodland to the edge of saltmarsh with views of mangrove beyond. The area has a large variety of vegetation, initially casuarinas and bracken border each side of the path with some large gums, often hollowed out by fire, interspersed. There are groves of paperbark trees, many strikingly marked black from fire on the pale bark. Gradually the smell of salt water becomes evident and then a glimpse of water on flats and mangroves beyond. A boardwalk leads through textured grasses, some long and flattened others forming ball-like clumps. There is a distinctive sound in this area of wind passing through foliage, somewhere between a whoosh and howl sound, quite different to other wind in tree noises I have heard.
I found this walk interesting, the area engaged all of my senses.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Egret Colony Wetlands - Victoria Point

I visited Egret Colony Wetlands at Victoria Point today as part of my Redlands habitat project. I am enjoying these site visits a lot. Green areas marked on the street directory don't give much indication of what I will see in the flesh, so I am often pleasantly surprised.
This wetland area is surrounded by suburban houses and streets, I entered from Egret Drive which presented a park like area of open grass with trees. The sounds of many birds is the first thing I noticed, loud honking sounds and chirping of many small birds. The wetland 'lake' area is concealed behind a belt of trees and some buffer planting, the sounds of birds drew me to the tree line edge where I could catch glimpses of the water and birds.
I spotted one egret, most of the large birds were ibis, often perched high on the very topmost position of trees. There is an interesting variety of vegetation in the area including paperbarks, large gums, palms, vines and wattle.

Seeding in January at the APC

Polycias australiana

Freshwater Mangrove Barringtonia acutangula

There are some striking seed and fruit forms to be seen in the Australian Plant Communities this month. I find it interesting to observe the change of flower to fruit and seed on trees, the diversity and variation of form is fascinating.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Flowering in January at the APC

Firewheel Tree Stenocarpus sinuatus

Canthium sp. ( Bolt Head)

Phaleria clerodendron

Ivory Curl Buckinghamia celsissima

There are some wonderful flowering displays at the Australian Plant Communities in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha this month. Phaleria clerodendron is one of my favourites, a stunning vision at the moment with its dark trunk and branches smothered in tiny pure white flower clusters. Ivory Curl trees are in full bloom, the many planted as 'street trees' around Brisbane are looking a bit like fluffy cream lolly pops at the moment.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Breathing In

Nicola Moss, ‘I stood alone at the edge; breathing in the cool, still waters of a silent landscape’.
Acrylic and pigmented ink on stretched canvas, 1120x1120mm. ©2010.

Over the New Year break I have been spending time between the garden and studio, my favourite combination of activities. For several years I have viewed January as an opportunity to develop new works in the studio. It can be a quiet time in the gallery scene with many closed for annual holidays. I am also in my annual, clean out and declutter mode that inspires me to start the new year fresh.

I have stacked up freshly stretched canvases ready for painting, and taken a hard look at any unfinished works that have been in the storeroom for a while. Quality rather than quantity is my thinking, so anything that doesn't fit gets a fresh coat of gesso, or as in the work above, a new life without losing all of the old. I enjoy working over earlier paintings, it can give some good bones to a new work.

'I stood alone at the edge; breathing in the cool, still waters of a silent landscape', is inspired by a walk I took late last year in the Venman Bushland National Park, Redland.