Wednesday, October 5, 2011

grevilla flowers and birdsong

When naturalists write they often observe a place, in solitude for a period of many years. Part of developing a framework for filed notes relates to how I am making art and living life. Field notes and maps are an attempt to reconcile the crowded hours with this fantasy of long, loops of uninterrupted observation. There is a temptation to believe that the latter method is more "pure".
I haven't the opportunity for long days in the wilderness. I have to observe quickly, a couple of hours in my friend's garden, a week in the wallum, a flick of a shadow as I'm driving the girls to ballet class. All these things can come together to make a complete observation. The method of taking notes affects the final, analysis of the data.
These little sketches were done in my friend Sarah's garden, together with some drawings and paintings and my later reflections I am becoming familiar with what I want to explore as my core themes. Weird little impressions and drawings give me a feel for the shapes and sounds and smells of the landscape. Sarah's garden by coincidence, is on the remote, obscure road where I spent the first six years of my childhood. In one way I know this landscape and the vegetation , driving out to Sarah's is overlayed with all the memories I've ever had of living in the sclerophyll forest. The shadows on the road are embedded in me, but now I am 40 and travelling out there again. For me getting to know a place intimately enough to express it in a pot begins with a process of backwards and forwards between the actual place, photographs, thoughts. Drawing something makes me know it. Drawing something leads me further into it. Grevilla flowers and birdsong were with me today. Every journey is layered with previous journeys even if the explorer is traveling to somewhere they have only imagined.