When I started drawing the rock pools the drawings seemed to be just about pattern and line and have no content. Without the narrative sustenance of an intense personal history I saw pattern and colour beautiful and pristine but unconnected to emotion. The rush of the waves and overwhelming yellow/blue brightness of the shore pushed and pulled me scouring my head and eyes. Limpets, barnacles and periwinkles clinging to the rocks, closed, secrets hidden, even when I prised them off. My eyes looked and looked but just couldn’t see.
By contrast the bush is full of personal history. Every step echoes and magnifies a million steps I have taken before. Birds, creatures of legend and metaphor, their swooping, gravity defying lightness and penetrating liquid sounds are familiar and welcome. Here my eyes looked and looked and saw what wasn’t there, there was too much narrative getting tangled into the drawings.
Through being in these landscapes, taking photos, looking and drawing again and again what was truly in front of me and not what was in my head the meaning and emotional significance of the bush poured through the drawings into the rock pools. By drawing I learned to really see. By the end of the semester I felt that the rock pool drawings on the pots had become an abstract rendering of the experience of the rock pools, the bush drawings are still entangled in my historical narrative. I’ve started looking at shadows in the bush, and connections between twigs and branches, details that I am not familiar with getting away from the recognizable narrative of the bush and the birds, moving towards revealing the surprising, overlooked yet intensely familiar beauty of the bush.