Thursday, December 22, 2011

Not so fast

We all know time is constant and we each have the same amount each year, but still it is often said, and heard, how quickly the year has passed and how it just seems to get quicker. I had to rethink this recently though, when reminded of an exhibition that took place in January this year. It seemed like such a long time since the opening and workshops, but it was this year. It seemed incompatible - an event at the start of this year feeling a long time ago and that the year had passed quickly.
 I've been thinking about it and concluded, that it's not so much time passing quickly, more that we fit so much in to our lives (or try to), often at a frenetic pace, and this in part is what gives the illusion of time passing's all the go, go go! Perhaps the year passing is not fast, just choc-a-block full with little time for relaxing. So I'd like to wish everyone the enjoyment of some chill out time over the festive season.

Reflecting on 2011, it's been fun and full and slightly more balanced than the one before. I'd like to thank everyone who shared their time and experiences with me. Big thanks to my husband, first time ironman and all time supporter, recipient of two husband of the year awards in 2011 (I am slightly bias :-) All my family, it was great to catch up with you throughout the year. know who you are, thanks for the gallery going, openings support, residency collaboration, garden advise, french dinner, weather watching, beach walking, art making, seed sharing, bird listening, ideas thinking, philosophy, side line cheering, hiking, blog posting, photo taking, gift giving, shared food and all round good times.
Thank yous too to the gallery directors and staff who have shown, supported and encouraged my artwork in 2011.

Wishing you a merry festive season and all the best for 2012.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Coochiemudlo Island

Bliss! I headed over to Coochiemudlo Island this week with Helena, for a day of outdoor work. The tide was high when we arrived with large green spheres of mangrove foliage appearing to float on the waters surface. It was very pleasant set up under the shade with a light sea breeze to cool the air. We often venture over when the tides are low, so the change was good and encouraged a fresh look at the landscape. I made a series of works on paper that responded to foliage shapes silhouetted against the bright sky. And while waiting for paint to dry lay on the sand soaking up the atmosphere...a perfect day.
Little mangrove shoots are beginning to establish in the bay we visit, it will be interesting to see how these transform over time. I went for a stroll collecting any plastic rubbish I found washed up and entangled in the mangroves, which ended up being an odd mix of party balloon, fishing line, fishing net rope and an action toy. I'm looking at rubbish in environments as part of my project work next year, will have to wait a little to see how these end up in more developed work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Peppermint Magazine article

During October I was contacted by Emily Lush, a freelance writer from Brisbane, to say she was planning to write a small article about my art practice for the upcoming issue of Peppermint Magazine. I was very happy to answer some questions and am delighted with Emily's writing, which captures the essence of my practice beautifully. Personally I find it interesting to read or hear how others interpret my work, it's partly that they are removed from the making and can look at it with fresh eyes, something that can be difficult to do with your own work. I also appreciate writing which is skillful, (not really my forte.)

Peppermint is focused on showcasing the best in eco and handmade design from Australia and the rest of the world. Fashion, accessories, natural beauty, art, film, design, social issues, lifestyle and culture.

A big Thank you to Emily and Peppermint.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Taste of Salt - pop up exhibition in Ballarat

Salt Contemporary Art is hosting a 'pop up' exhibition - A Taste of Salt - in Ballarat this week. The exhibition features paintings, works on paper and sculpture; I'm very happy to see my paintings will be in the show at 14 Camp Street, Ballarat (B1 Gallery space).

If you are in the area and have an opportunity to pop in, please feel most welcome. The opening is on Thursday December 1st, from 5.30 – 8.30pm, RSVP (please send your details if you can make it) to , or contact Fiona Kelly (Director) on 03 52583988.

The Exhibition continues on Friday December 2nd, 12 – 4pm

Exhibiting artists include Alan Bates, David Beaumont, Peter Blizzard, Nona Burden, Tarli Glover, Rudi Jass, Nicola Moss, Craig Parnaby, Neville Pilven, Anne Saunders and Doug Wright.

Also in the show are limited edition works on paper by selected artists including John Olsen, Christine Johnson, Dean Bowen, Rona Green and Sally Smart.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Collectibles at Spiro Grace Art Rooms

'Tide Lines 6', 2011. Nicola Moss. Acrylic, hand cut papers, rice paper. Framed size 40 x 40cm.

I have three new smaller hand cut paperworks on show in the group exhibition Collectibles, opening this Friday at SGAR: Spiro Grace Art Rooms in Spring Hill, Brisbane. These works began on site at Coochiemudlo Island and were completed with hand cut paper elements back in the studio.
Collectibles features small scale and affordable pieces by over 15 Australian artists and designers.
It would be lovely to see you at the opening if you can make it, please say hi if you do.

Exhibition Opening Friday 2nd December
6 - 8pm

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Exchange has opened this week at Gatakers Artspace in Maryborough. Congratulations to Amanda van Gils for doing a wonderful job of curating and managing the exhibition. Very excited to see who's artwork I will receive.
(Click above if you'd like a larger image.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Before I start talking about focus, have a laugh at my pink socks...I have.

So...Focus. When asked before leaving for my residency at Montsalvat, what it was that I hoped to achieve, or 'What are the benefits of a residency' opposed to working in  my own studio; one component of my answer was a reference to the focused time I thought I would experience. The absence of home chores to a large degree and working on one project are ways that I thought my time would be more focused. By the end of the residency I noted other circumstance that created a focused atmosphere. There was no TV or radio at Montsalvat, I don't watch much, but this was nothing and I have to admit I didn't miss it. As residents we provided our own internet access, which lead in part to reduced usage, but really we were just so busy - perhaps fulfilled is a better word, with making our works that checking emails, etc during the day just didn't happen. What I noticed is how productive we were, how much work was achieved when our focus was on process and making.
Administration of an arts practice can chew up large amounts of time, checking emails throughout the day at home, generally leads to more time sitting in front of the screen. It's about discipline really and the obvious realisation, or confirmation, that the world doesn't end if I look at my emails once a day. I am bringing this appreciation of focus home to the studio and look forward to more productive use of my studio time...even a balance somewhere between the before and during residence would be beneficial.

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).

Monday, September 26, 2011

'Exchange' exhibition at Maryborough

'Tide Lines 3 & 4' 2011, Nicola Moss. Acrylic, hand cut papers, rice paper and Arches vellum.

I will be taking part in a group exhibition in November called - Exchange - a show which takes the 'artist swap' concept one step further. Exchange has been curated by Amanda van Gils and features art works by 55 contemporary artists from throughout Australia. Each artist is contributing one piece to swap with another artist in the exhibition and another available for purchase, with both artworks on display during the exhibition.

A diverse range of painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography and more will make up the exhibition on show at Gatakers Artspace, Maryborough from the 4th November to 1st December 2011.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Snake = mulberries for me...

Out in the garden late this afternoon, trying to encourage the chooks back into their coop, with little success. I decided in the meantime to check the asparagus beds for fresh spears, only to notice, unexpectedly, a large crop of ripe mulberries on the tree. The mulberry has been fruiting for weeks now, but at the first sign of swelling fruit a flock of figbirds turned up and have done so each morning, devouring all fruit that was remotely ripe..and unripe. I headed back to the shed, grabbed an ice cream container and began picking the sizeable crop of juicy ripe fruit. As I did so I pondered why the crop had not been eaten by the birds. Was the leaf cover thicker? Would this have stopped them, not really the tree has been thick with leaf for a few weeks....eventually I thought...I wonder if there is a snake in the tree? So I looked up amongst the canopy and sure enough looped around the central fork of the tree was a large carpet snake, no trouble to me, but hoping for a feathered feed. I continued my picking and had to thank snake for possibly the only harvest of mulberries I will get this season, unless it's still there tomorrow. Perhaps next year I should invest in a fake snake.

Monday, September 5, 2011

'Site Lines' installed

 Intertidal (Coochiemudlo Island), 2011, Nicola Moss.

 Waterline, 2011, Nicola Moss.

Tide Lines 1 & 2, 2011, Nicola Moss.

A few images above from my exhibition 'Site Lines', now on show at Spiro Grace Art Rooms in Spring Hill, Brisbane.
I would like to send out special thanks to many friends and colleagues who came along on the opening night. And for the best wishes from those further a far, it is truly wonderful to have your encouragement and support.
Thank you also to SGAR, Renai and Meagan, It's been great working with you.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bark - Rock - Sand...and so much more

I spent a day working outdoors last week with friends, Donna and Helen. As usual the day was a huge refreshment, it's hard to beat the fresh air, serenades of bird call and shared conversation. Weathered by air and water, textures of the coast are both smooth and rough, filled with life and constantly on the move. There is so much to see, but I find a whole day is easily spent working in one small area, observing details of tide lines, the layers of worn tree structure or tangled arches of mangrove roots. My works on site are usually paper based, trying to capture a feel of the place more so than the view.
I'm already looking forward to the next trip.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Site Lines at Spiro Grace Art Rooms

Nicola Moss, ‘Life on the edge. Acrylic, charcoal frottage and natural ochre on hand cut papers, rice paper and stonehenge paper, 74x170cm archival framed. ©2011.

The past few weeks have just flown by. Yesterday I delivered artworks for my exhibition at Spiro Grace Art Rooms in Spring Hill. I was excited to see the works all framed with beautiful shadow box edges and soft white space around them. A small hiccup with transport was helped out generously by the staff at Chapman and Bailey, Thank you!

Site Lines opens this Friday, 6-8pm, if you are in the Brisbane area and would like to check it out, it would be great to see you there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Makings of a garden

I recently came across a blog post by friend and fellow artist - Nicola Chatham - about her making of a new permaculture garden, her permaculture studies and lots of things she is learning along the way. It made me feel quite nostalgic about the beginnings of my own vegie garden and orchard. So I thought I'd dig out some old photos and look at how much it's grown over the past eight years.

The very first orchard bed, 2003, and a huge pile of organic mix ( and Georgie, one of my chooks at the time). I layered cane mulch, soil, cane mulch, soil and finally mulch again to make the long raised beds. Then a swale was dug along the top contour edge and holes dug only where the fruit trees were to be planted. Our block was part of a dairy farm once, but had never been ploughed, the ground so full of rock that the removal of one revealed the next underneath, this method of raised beds was a lot easier than digging.

Onto the second bed with ground cover planting between the fruit trees of hundreds of cuttings, divisions and seedlings from my previous garden. The hessian staked up was an early windbreak for the young fruit trees.

In 2004, Beds three and four are in and planted, the back bare raised mound was ready to start and beds towards the vegie garden entrance (right) were planted.
2005, centre left Bed 2 and centre right bed 3. Peach tree pretending to be a white bag tree, all in aid of fruit fly free fruit, and yes it was worth the effort.

The garden has been through a few stages as far as the amount of attention I've had to spend on it. The initial two years of setting up beds and swales were intensive and exciting. The next couple of years saw some good growth in the first beds and more new orchard beds being built. Then a couple of years when my artwork picked up, that busy, busy thing took over and so did the weeds. La Nina weather certainly helped this along. But I have to say that designing with permaculture principals in mind made a big difference, the bones of the garden are still there, the swales worked wonderfully in dry years, holding and directing moisture deep to the tree roots, growth accelerated in the wet years. Plants that seemed lost in the weeds, kept on growing and have been 'found' again. The underplanting have changed a lot since they first went in the ground, with a lot more shade now and gradual phasing out of the pioneer pigeon pea, no longer required for a wind break.

2011, looking uphill from the bottom of the orchard.

 I've spent some time over this winter clearing the weeds, mulching and finding plants again, I'm thinking about where the orchard will head in the next few years. For too long I left growth habit up to the plants, not pruning enough. A blog post by professional gardener Chris some time ago reminded me that gardens are created places, they need maintenance and control, so the pruning saw and clippers have been in regular use, bringing in more light where needed, reducing lower branches that created ladders for vine weed and there are a couple of trees that eight years on I realise are just too big for where I planted them....they'll have to go...such is the changing dynamics of a garden. A never ending journey, which I love.

Nicola Chatham has some great tips on starting a permaculture garden and lots more on her blog that's well worth a read.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ikigai - the reason for getting up in the morning

Following a link from India Flints blog - Not all those who wander are lost, led to this interesting Ted talk on Jeanne Beck's blog, thanks India and Jeanne.

Art by Jeanne Beck: Ikigai and Art Making: A Sense of Purpose: " Dan Beuttner discusses the cultures and lifestyles that seem to contribute to health and longevity in this Ted talk."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

In the studio

The before and after of paper cutting. Phew!...Today I finished the works I've been making for my upcoming exhibition, Site Lines at Spiro Grace Art Rooms. I still have a few other projects to complete this month, but it feels good to get some items crossed off my August to do list.

I have enjoyed making this series of papercuts, developing from several day trips to Coochiemudlo Island and earlier visits to North Stradbroke and Russell Islands. Working onsite provides me with a lot of memories to draw on and the option while there of working with textures of the place.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An invitation to 'Paper Trails'

I have been looking forward to this exhibition for some time, 'Paper Trails' will be the fourth annual Paper Show at Art Piece Gallery. Nineteen artists are brought together to tell their separate stories, united only by their love of paper, its malleability and versatility.

Artists showing works in the exhibition are Julie Millner Barratt, Susan Buret, Sue Codee, Michelle Giacobello, Sarah Harvey, Debbie Hill, Helen Hill, Sheridan Jones, Anita Lord, Kate Maurice, Shelagh Morgan, Nicola Moss, Jennie Nayton, Liz Powell, Jasmine Scheidler, Robyn Sweaney, Emma Walker, Oksana Waterfall and Christine Willcocks. Looking through these links, I'm sure it's going to be a diverse and intriguing exhibition.

I would like to extend you a warm invitation to the opening night on Friday 5th August at 6pm.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Winter Salon:mini surveys continues at ATG

Nicola Moss (left) and Gabrielle Courtenay (right)

With an extended hang the exhibition - Winter Salon [mini surveys] continues at Anita Traverso Gallery in Richmond. Winter Salon tracks the conceptual and technical development of 17 artists with a salon-style installation of selected works across several years/series of practice. I find this salon format of showing a combination of works from an artists practice an interesting way of viewing.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Forest Kingfisher

On Tuesday I spotted a splash of vibrant turquoise and electric blue in the garden. Out with the binoculars quickly! and then the Birds of Australia Field Guide...a new variety in my garden, I always get excited with the first sighting. This beautiful bird is a Forest Kingfisher and for the last three days it has perched each afternoon in an overgrown area of the garden which I can see from my studio window. Occasionally it swoops down in the overgrowth, I'm sure it is finding a good feed. I've been recording bird species in my garden for five years, not in any systematic way, but whenever I see different species I make a note, and also the migratory regulars get noted when they arrive each year. It feels good to see the number and diversity of species gradually increasing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It's not my favourite activity, writing statements, bios and press release statements, but one that constantly needs updating and fresh thinking. It's funny how thoughts can roll out freely on a blog or in notes in visual diaries, but once I try to put the words into formal formats... oh boy, it all seems very self conscious. I've contributed to a few proposals and statements for group exhibitions and collaborative projects, even this seems easier when it's not just about moi!

This morning I was happy to read Joanne Mattera's post on writing for artists, with a clear description of what you might include in the various formats of statements, bio, etc. Some good tips on what to leave out too, otherwise it's really just practice, like most things the more you do it, hopefully, the better the results.

Thank you Joanne, your Marketing Monday posts are always helpful.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cut, cut, cut.......cut

When I'm not out in the garden pruning (peach trees, plum and mulberry trees, it's that time of year), I've been in the studio working on a new series of hand cut paper works. Trees are featuring, often with ones I have admired for some time in the local valley paddocks or on trips to Moreton Bay Islands. This one sits alone isolated in what was a farmhouse paddock, I love its form, especially late in the afternoon when driving home it presents a ghostly silhouette against the setting sun. Much of the land around where I live is gradually, or not so gradually, being rezoned. Change is a constant, in some ways I am trying to capture memories of place and change. How do we fit in with our environment or it with us?

These recent paper cut artworks will be on show in a couple of upcoming exhibitions in August and September, more details soon.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Winter Salon at Anita Traverso Gallery

'Integral parts of therefore I am' series, 2011, Nicola Moss.

This recent series of artworks on panel are currently on show in the Winter Salon at Anita Traverso Gallery in Richmond, Melbourne. I have written previously about ideas inspiring these works.
If you have an opportunity to visit and view a very interesting mix of artists work, the exhibition is on from the 29th June to 16th July.

Friday, June 17, 2011

In the studio

There is a lot happening in the studio at the moment, with a couple of commissions on the go, an upcoming Paperworks exhibition to complete work for and ongoing development of works in the weather project. Deadlines certainly make work happen, actually I like deadlines to work to, they help me prioritise.
I have been paper cutting, detail above, a work inspired by the intertidal zone of mangroves. And thinking about the way this process relates to my past printmaking studies, the composition needs to be worked out before the first cut is made, what will be positive and negative space, dark and light, contrast and texture, it's quite abstract in a way, and not unlike developing a plate for printmaking. But this will be a one off. Must get back to work...

Out of the studio

I love getting outdoors to work on site, and even when things get a little hectic, like at the moment, I keep the date. I find these days so refreshing, with so much to see, the details, textures, smells and sounds of place can envelop me while I work.

I start each trip with a few notes in my visual diary:

11am - Low tide - the water is the furtherest out I have ever seen it. Large areas of mangrove mud, shell grit ripples from tidal currents and exposed red volcanic looking rock. The sky is clear cerulean blue without a cloud. Stunning!
Tree trunks are silver-white, sunbaked and starkly beautiful against the deep blue sky. Bird calls, waders in the shallows, curlews at the cafe. Oyster shells encrust the random rocks, deposits of past life. Large sandbars of broken rock stretch out into the bay waters with clusters of mangrove trees supported or supporting the bar. There is so much life here.
Yes, these days feel special.

I came across a blog this week recording the journey and works of a group of artists on a trip to Western New South Wales. Interesting reading, and inspiring, enough for me to start making plans for an art camp trip of my own.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

therefore I am...

'Eat-Rain' from the Integral Parts of Therefore I am series, Nicola Moss, 2011.

I mentioned in an earlier post I'd been reading about ecology, relationships between species and our (humans) place in the scheme of things. It's affirmed many thoughts I had and hit a few nails on the head for me. An afterword by Linda Leer (1998) in Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, really hit home. The quote goes along the lines of..." (the author) did so with no other motive than her own immense love of the living world, and with the romantic and perhaps naive belief that if the public were made aware of the wonder and mystery of life, they would have less appetite to destroy it."

The word naive went off like a gong in my head, there goes my painting I thought. I have on many occasions spoken and painted about the beauty of the natural environment, though really for me it is the sheer fecundity of nature that I find incredible, ugly is beautiful as well. All those lives, the trees and plants, billions of trillions of creatures going about their business, each unique and exquisite; exchanging with us fresh air and water, providing all of our food, cleaning up the decomposing carcasses of spent life to make get the picture...I mean WOW! Isn't the living world incredible? I walk outside and it's there to be seen, everywhere.

And yet is this not enough to convince a majority of humans to respect, protect and cherish this life around us which we are part of? (I'll get off my box now).

For the past month I've been making a series of works on paper, Integral parts of therefore I am, thinking about intelligence and being 'civilised'. The works depict connected elements within my ecology and relationships to environment. I don't believe any amount of intelligence or technology can remove humans from the basic parameters of biology and ecology. Life gives life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Across the border

I went on a trip last week to Northern New South Wales for meetings at a couple of galleries. First stop was at Mullumbimby to meet Nadine Abensur, director of Art Piece Gallery. Situated on the main street of this lovely rural town, Art Piece Gallery has a very welcoming feel and wonderful mix of art, textiles, jewellery and crafted homewares. Conversation about art and future events was great, not to mention Nadine's enthusiasm and energy. I'm delighted to be showing artworks in the gallery, with some exciting group exhibitions coming up in the next few months (more on that closer to the time). Thank you Nadine it was lovely to meet you.

The second stop was at Tweed River Art Gallery at Murwillumbah, to finalise dates for a joint exhibition, Susan Buret and I will have there next year. The gallery has stunning views of valley and river looking on to the dramatic Caldera, pictured above. But inside the buildings architecture and facilities are equally impressive. Our exhibition will feature works developed during a collaborative one month residency we have later this year at the Montsalvat Artist Colony in Eltham, Victoria. For the last couple of years Susan and I have worked collaboratively on a weather project, ideas currently developing are exciting, more on this a bit later.

Thank you Gail for a wonderful meeting, we are thrilled to be part of the upcoming Tweed River Art Galleries program.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Silent Spring

I've been a little quiet lately with posting here, but the weather has been so brilliant that any spare time not working in the studio is being spent outdoors in the garden. Sowing seed of broad beans, climbing podding peas, beetroot, parsnip and carrot, transplanting self-seeded lettuce to beds where they won't be accidentally trampled, and mounding up soil around new potato plants, so much to do and I haven't even mentioned the 'W' word. (weeding)

I've been reading a lot too, mainly about ecology and environment, weeds, and the origin of species. The book that has my full attention at the moment though is Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. First published in 1962, it's been incredible when reading to realise just how pertinent and relevant it remains today nearly fifty years on. I have to wonder what the author would make of genetically modified foods developed specifically for human consumption. Many books I have read reference 'Silent Spring' but I just hadn't got around to reading it. In a very clear and unemotional way the book reminds me why I don't like to use chemical sprays in the garden and how we are inexorably linked to the food chain of other species.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From the Heart - Fundraising Art Auction

I would like to extend a warm invitation to the upcoming 'From the Heart' fundraising Art Auction for Women's Legal Services in Brisbane. The auction event will be held on Friday 20th May from 6pm at the Riverside Centre, Brisbane. It looks like a great night, maybe I will see some of you there. The Art Auction catalogue can be viewed here.

The Women’s Legal Service is a specialist community legal centre run for women by women which has been in operation for 27 years. WLS provides free legal information, advice and referrals to ensure all women have assistance when dealing with legal matters and their legal rights. Women’s Legal Service assists approximately 4,500 women in Queensland per year, many of whom are experiencing family law disputes and/or domestic violence. Women’s Legal Service relies on the contribution of over 100 volunteers and a small staff team. The service has a holistic focus and regularly undertakes law reform and community legal education.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2011 Albany Art Prize catalogue

A short note.
The 2011 Albany Art Prize catalogue is now available for viewing online. There's an interesting mix of subjects and technique displayed amongst the finalists work.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Diamonds in my eyes installed

I've been in Melbourne, Geelong and Queenscliff the past week, enjoying time with family, friends and attending the opening of my exhibition Diamonds in my eyes at Salt Contemporary Art.
On Friday I was delighted to see all the paintings hanging, Fiona has done a lovely job of arranging the works on the spacious walls at Salt. The opening on Saturday was equally enjoyable and relaxed, with many opportunities to speak with guests about experiences and inspiration behind the works. Hearing peoples responses and thoughts is one of the aspects of openings I enjoy most, an exchange of ideas and conversation that in some way completes the process of making art and hopefully begins an ongoing conversation around ideas in the work.

Special thanks to Fiona for hosting the exhibition and providing a most welcoming atmosphere, Thanks to all my family for making the trip to Queenscliff and joining in the opening it was wonderful to have you there. And to all the guests who popped in or stayed to have a chat, it was lovely to meet you.

Diamonds in my eyes continues to Friday 6th May.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Art in Geelong - exhibition post

Nicola Moss, 'All that glisters is not gold'. Synthetic polymer on canvas. 120x180cm. ©2011. Photography by Carl Warner.

A few weeks ago I was delighted to speak with Deirdre Carmichael the writer of the blog - Art in Geelong. Deirdre was an art teacher for several years before making the leap into print publishing in 1993. Since then she has assumed various roles including writer, editor, illustrator, graphic designer and desktop publisher.

Deirdre established her Art in Geelong blog - "to promote the visual arts in Geelong and the surrounding areas of the Surfcoast, the Otways, the Bellarine Peninsula, and occasionally extending to Ballarat. The mainstream media give scant attention to regional arts, so it is up to citizen journalists, such as bloggers like myself, to fill the gap and get the information out there".

We had a chat about my current exhibition, Diamonds in my eyes, inspirations behind works and the overall theme. You can read Deirdre's post here. Thank you Deirdre for your time and thoughts on the exhibition.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I went to the woods..

Nicola Moss, 'I went to the woods'. Synthetic polymer on canvas. 120x120cm. ©2011. Photography by Carl Warner.

It's two days till my next solo exhibition Diamonds in my eyes opens at Salt Contemporary Art. I'm looking forward to seeing all the works together in the beautiful open space of the gallery. It's been an odd time the last couple of weeks, works were completed and shipped down for the show, but then the wait until they are actually hung. I've cleaned out the studio and begun gathering inspiration for new works, I think I'll be more motivated once the show opening has passed.

'I went to the woods' was inspired by several visits to Kidd Street Conservation Reserve, a wonderful, wild area of bushland with striking grass trees, large hollow scribbly gums, banksias and she oaks. There is a palpable energy to the place which I've tried to suggest in this painting. It's a place I will keep returning to, I feel like there is unfinished business there, when I think about it I've really only scratched the surface.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A day at Coochiemudlo

The weather has been brilliant the last couple of days, with clear blue skies, a light breeze and comfortable warmth. The bay waters around Coochiemudlo Island looked like silken fabric, very smooth and shimmering. There was lots to see with the Bushcare Birders group this morning. The large Sea Eagle below was a stand out for me, so majestic.
Azure blue crabs moved across the low tide sand flats in large formation groups, if I got too close for a photo they ducked into holes in the sand.

And tiny frogs were spotted in the undergrowth of the Melaleuca Wetlands.