What is a body of work?

This week I said goodbye to a recent landscape series which is a part of a bigger body of work. The recent work has taken me over 4 months to complete. This work began in 2006 when I found the joys of painting ‘en plein air’ around the Hunter Valley.

I will see the work again shortly, when we attend the opening of the exhibition at Galerie Belimage, however it was a heartfelt “auf weidersehen”. My paintings are an extension of me, they are like my children. I have laboured over them, loved them, nurtured them and now let them go. It is challenging. Some works are very close to my heart.

 So, what is a body of work?

A body of work (oeuvre) is a cohesive series of artworks which are all linked in style and theme. An artist can carry this subject into multiple disciplines however they usually concentrate on 1 or 2. For example, I focus on drawing and painting.

The intention is both quantity and quality. The idea being, if you focus on one subject/ one medium you become more adept technically and thematically.

Your skills are refined thus refining your message through your medium.

Monet's water lilies. Photo taken when I visited MOMA NYC in 2011. What an amazing experience!

Monet's water lilies. Photo taken when I visited MOMA NYC in 2011. What an amazing experience!

A body of work has no end. You return again and again over many years, usually via a series. An artist (I say that term loosely as this can also include writers, actors, and musicians) can focus their entire oeuvre on one idea.

A good example is Monet and his water lilies. Over time his paintings became lyrical, deeply emotional and abstract.

To stay on one theme enables an artist to concentrate on the development of their skill set. Push their boundaries and open up possibilities with their style. Focus creates confidence too. At art school we were encouraged to draw an apple every day for a month. Alas I didn’t have the stamina to complete it but these days I still set myself similar tasks. Usually the concluding work is stronger than the beginning work. Like physical exercise, you only get stronger over time and repetition.

Nature is my body of work. It is a reflection of where I live. It is an extension of me. I am deeply passionate about it and conveying it through my art practice. I can’t see me changing anytime soon.

I hope you will stay and enjoy the development of my body of work with me.

“Various Storms and Saints; Recent landscape paintings and drawings from the wine growing areas of Hunter Valley, Australia and Tuscany, Italy” Opens July 9 2016, Galerie Belimage Switzerland.

Studio chaos last week.

Studio chaos last week.

Yours in art,

Bec xx

 

Rain rain don't go away.

I love the rain. It sounds beautiful on the tin roof. I can hear its melody now as I write this blog. The plants thrive, frogs croak and our tanks fill with precious water. You miss it when it doesn’t come especially after bouts of dry weather.

We moved up to the Hunter Valley about 10 years ago, during a significant drought. The ground was parched, nothing grew. The red soil dust got into everything. We had to buy water and not a drop was wasted. Mice thrived in the conditions. We found them everywhere, even in our beds. It was a challenging time.

But Nature provided. The rain did eventually come. Overnight the ground rejuvenated. The grass grew, a luscious sap green colour. Instead of mice in our beds we had endangered Green Tree frogs in our toilets.

Nature is my muse. Inspiring, beautiful and mysterious. I love her ability to rejuvenate despite hardship. The 18th C Romantic artists Turner, Friedrich and Constable were also captivated by what they called Nature Sublime - Fullest Feeling of Sublime: Immensity of Universe's extent or duration. (Pleasure from knowledge of observer's nothingness and oneness with Nature).Schopenhauer

Have a great weekend and I hope you get out and enjoy Nature Sublime.

Bec x

Has the Internet hampered our chances for creativity?

 

 

It has been raining for the past few days. Although it is good for the water tank and our vines, it also means bad internet reception. Bad internet reception equals no WiFi which means limited smart devices and emails. It's great at home as we get back to basics. The board games come out after dinner and a disco can spontaneously start in the lounge room. Kids laugh, the dog barks and we sit back and watch the raucous.

Plein air painting in the backyard.

Plein air painting in the backyard.

I wonder what life was like before the Internet or even television. I imagine artists developing their skills with many evenings spent painting, drawing, sculpting, writing or playing music - practise does make perfect. Has the Internet, television and other electrical devices limited our creativity or is it simply a different type creativity?

Wine barrel art. It has been nice picking up the brushes again after some time way.

Wine barrel art. It has been nice picking up the brushes again after some time way.

As for me, I have been painting plein air under the awning of my shed and making do with a wine barrel for an easel. Even the rain won't stop me. It simply makes more interesting paintings! The Romantic 19thC English painter Turner famously strapped himself to a ship mast to fully experience the eye of storm. Now that is commitment to the craft!

Four little 5x7 en plein air oil on panel studies from this week.

Four little 5x7 en plein air oil on panel studies from this week.

Bec x