Arts Zine article July 2018

I'd like to share 16 page article which was published in Robyn Werkhoven's regular art magazine, Arts Zine. I'm honoured that she invited me to contribute my art and photography, share about my processes, history and influences.

It is a worthwhile magazine to read, with lots of engaging articles about interesting artists and upcoming exhibitions.

Click the link below to read the article.

Arts Zine July 2018

 Dragonfly Encaustic Panel

Dragonfly Encaustic Panel

A Walk in the Woods

When I lived in the UK, my favourite spot to escape to with my camera during the week, was the “common and woodland”. We lived in a midland town with not enough trees or birds to satisfy a girl who had moved from 27 acres of bushland.

The woods were my escape. There I could slow down and quietly spend time with the birds and plants. It was quite odd being unfamiliar with the vegetation varieties and I managed to get stung by nettles on more than one occasion (gently moving a leaf to take a photo of a beautiful curled up frond……OUCH!)

The contrast between the Australian and English landscape is chasmic. Our Aussie landscape is so strong, harsh, dramatic and bright and the English landscape so soft, gentle, quiet and understated. 

Man-made elements have been integrated into the English landscape for so many centuries that one doesn’t really ever know what is truly natural in the UK. Certainly, the local woodland was well trodden by both human and dog. It is normal to see planted hedges, stone walls, bridges, gates and styes. 

It often rained when I was walking, but again, I learned to take advantage of the  wonder of raindrops sparkling on leaves and the fresh smell of the damp earth. Of course, I always took my macro lens for those tiny details on the forest floor.

Now I’m back in Sydney, I still enjoy walks in the bush, but with entirely different vegetation, birds and scenery.

These images are available in my shop as limited edition prints on fine art paper. 

Visit the shop HERE.

Transition

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Last time our art group met, we began a discussion on the concept of ‘transition’ and how that could pan out in a series of artworks.

It could be transition from one period of life to another, or one location to another. Transition from light to dark, hard to soft, wet to dry, summer to autumn, day to night, doubt to faith or any number of things.

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A theme which I often return to, is the tideline. The space between land and sea. It is special place between two worlds. A place where the busyness and sounds of the man-made world fade away and the sound of the wind, waves and sea birds take over. I love this place, it is my happy place. 

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There is nothing more relaxing than wandering tidelines and collecting shells, driftwood, pebbles, feathers and other treasures.  The rhythm of the waves flowing in and out is soothing and there is something mesmerising about watching sunlight sparkling on the water. There are endless, beautiful patterns made by the ebb and flow of the water in the sand and delicate landscape etchings.

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When we actually stop and look at simple things like individual pieces of sea weed, they are so beautiful - treasures from the deep, that mysterious, endless ocean.

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The tideline is the transition space between land and the great, unfathomed deep. It speaks to me of a portal between the natural world and the spiritual world. The man made world is like the natural world and the ocean is this huge, endless place full of beauty, but also full of mystery like the spirit world. 

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So, I have an ongoing project of exploring the tideline and would one day like to create a body of work based on this.

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Join me over in the new Facebook group to chat about this and other art topics. Share your images, ideas and works in progress or if you live near the norther beaches in Sydney, come to our next group meeting.

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Healthy Lifestyle Fitness Shoot for Kangen Water

A while back, I worked with two business ladies, taking their head-shots and some website photos. One of the women distributes Kangen Water machines which produce alkaline water for healthy living. I just love the water and it's benefits and plan to purchase a machine in the future. We had a fun day shooting. Here are some of the images. It wasn't practical to shoot outside because of the weather, but I wanted to create a light, happy, healthy feel to the fitness, lifestyle images, so I used a backlight from the glass doors. 

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I took some information style photos of the water for the website.

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And of course some head shots of the lovely ladies.

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If you are interested in learning more about Kangen Water and it's health benefits, visit their website which has loads of helpful information. www.h2o4livingwell.co.uk

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Workshop - How to Photograph Artwork

Do you need photos of artwork for your website, instagram, facebook, exhibition invitations or other print requirements? Do you ever struggle with getting the images square, the colour, lighting and white balance perfect? Come along to this 2 hour workshop to demystify the process once and for all.

22nd February 2018 6.30-8.30pm - Creative Space North Curl Curl

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This workshop will also cover how to save and export your files for various uses for print and web including email, website, instagram, Facebook etc.

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My upcoming workshop is part of the Creative Spirit exhibition held from 13th until 25th February.

It will be particularly useful for those who need to show their full artwork including the surrounding paper. You will learn how to set up to shoot as square on as possible, then tweak the final image in Lightroom so that it is perfectly square. 

 Small aperture for maximum depth of field - showing everything in focus.

This workshop will cover:

  • Aligning artwork for square capture
  • White Balance
  • Colour correction
  • How to get correct exposure
  • Shooting in natural light
  • Lighting with flash
  • Correct camera settings for high quality images
  • How to achieve crisp focus
  • Extra tricks in Lightroom
  • Saving files for print and web

Participants will leave with printed notes and a digital PDF with all you need to know to take successful photos of your artwork to make fine art reproductions, exhibition invitations or update your website, instagram or social media.

how to photograph artwork Sydney workshop
 
  • When: Thursday 22nd February 6.30 until 8.30pm
  • Where: Creative Space, 105 Abbott Rd, North Curl Curl, Sydney
  • Cost: $50
If you are interested in coming, please phone Bernadette on 0432 731 488
 
 
 
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A Performance Installation by Artist Mirre Van Dalen

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A few weeks ago, I documented a beautiful and touching performance installation by Mirre Van Dalen at Eramboo Artist Environment, Terrey Hills in Sydney. The artwork was part 2 of Zwarte Bloem, a project she first started years ago. In the initial artwork, Mirre wore a calico toile of a wedding dress while she dipped coloured flowers into black paint. The flowers represented the lives of people with mental health issues and the black paint, the difficulties they have experienced. In this second part, Mirre once again wore the toile and dipped the black flowers in white paint - bringing hope to broken lives.

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This series is a brief overview of the several hundred photos taken during the performance. Although the coloured photos had a beauty of their own, I preferred the black and white processing since the flowers were painted white from black and the toile was white with black paint.

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Visit Mirre's website to see more of her inspiring work and learn about her concepts, materials and process. 

The Psychology of Portrait and Headshot Photography

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The aim of any portrait or headshot is to illicit a genuine feeling from the subject and reveal their true self. Every face is beautiful if we can photograph it from a position of drawing out something from inside the person's beliefs and not focus on their outward appearance.

Here is a link to a Ted Talk with Anna Rowley and Peter Hurley - maybe next time you have your picture taken, you can enjoy the experience a little more.

Balancing Time and Creative Space

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As part of my daily rhythm, I aim to work on some area of personal creativity. The busyness of life sometimes means that I only achieve my goal 5 days out of 7, but it is something I feel is necessary for survival and mental well-being. There is nothing more depressing than simply going through the motions of a day without noticing something beautiful or creating something fresh.

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I recently read this quote: "Work expands as to fill the time which is available for its completion." Cyril Parkinson

I began to wonder -

Does our creativity expand to fill the vision we imagine?

How much space can we give to a single creative project?

If we envisage a daring creative project, will that push us to expand our technical skills to execute the project? 

And how do we balance limitations with openness?  

The bigger our dream for a project, the more potential it has to be amazing. I've never once actually achieved the level of excellence and creativity that I've imagined for any artwork, photography project etc. However, by aiming high and putting time into researching, planning and preparation, I'm sure the work stands a better chance of being creative and unique.

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We can give a lot of space to creative ideas, but I think they will struggle to come to anything unless we break the idea into smaller, bite size pieces to work on. For example, one of my long term projects is developing a body of light and airy black and white images. So, I regularly take both macro photos of natural objects and stylised portraits to work on this concept. The natural objects are great for three reasons, firstly, I love the opportunity to slow down and really spend time with a flower, plant, seed pod, feather or sea shell, secondly, they are patient and don't move while I tweak the lights and experiment, thirdly, they don't complain about modelling. 

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By planning projects, whether they are photographic or perhaps paintings, mixed media works etc, we begin to travel down previously unconsidered roads. Then, we are inspired by the work of others, or by a theme or concept. Then the real work starts as we begin to figure out what skills are needed to create something which brings our imagination into the tangible world. I always find there are new skills I need to work on in order to bring my ideas to fruition. Having a specific project, gives me a reason to develop those skills

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So, where are the limits? How do they help? The world is an amazing place, we are surrounded by beauty and wonder everywhere, but most of the time, we walk by in our hurried life. Setting limits in a project actually opens up the opportunity for it to shine with creativity. It allows us to focus in on 1 or 2 concepts and draw out the uniqueness of the idea. 

T.S. Eliot wrote: "When forced to work within a strict framework, the imagination is taxed to its utmost - and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom, the work is likely to sprawl."

Sprawl isn't necessarily a bad thing. The photos in this blog post were taken one day when I just wanted to play with the macro lens for a while and explore the lovely bunch of poppy seedpods that I bought at the flower market in Amsterdam and carefully carried around the city for the rest of the day. Now that I've 'met' the seedpods and made an initial acquaintance, I can begin to think of different aspects of them, such as their form, the texture, the flat shapes of the tops, how they look repeated or as individual seedpods. I'd like to do some further exploration and consider how I could use them in composite photographs or incorporate text and other elements with meaning. Poppies are often associated with remembrance and seeds with fresh beginnings and new life.

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My little play with the poppy seedpods was a small part of an ongoing project photographing natural objects up close, experimenting with selective focus, abstract forms, pattern and composition. Plus, I worked the images in black and white which is another long term project. I then applied the high key backlighting to a portrait shoot a few weeks later. Here are a couple of shots from that day.

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