I have been having a wonderful time working with Melbourne artists Ros Aitkins and Marian Crawford on a collaborative project for IMPACT 7, the international printmaking conference hosted by Monash University in September 2011. http://impact7.org.au/
Our methods―etching, photogram and wood engraving―have historically been employed to record the discovery of botanical flora. Australia's settlers used illustration and classification to order their knowledge of the plants and animals in the new land.
Our mediums follow this artistic tradition, but flag a modern predicament in which the disappearance rather than discovery of plant life is marked and noted.
We have focused on three particular Manna Gum trees, Eucalyptus viminalis, growing within a few miles of my studio. They are remnants of the old forest, which have somehow escaped the mass culling, and then the ringbarking by stock. Their lives are marginal and lonely and I feel awe and sadness when I pass or visit them.
Tonight I visited the closest tree, to commune and choose a branch that I can print as a photogram. I selected three branches that had potential and brought them back to the studio to photograph.
These photographs help me 'see' the way my images might be finally composed. Taking various pictures is the equivalent of making sketches of where things are located. This is helps enormously to narrow the choice. I only have the time and resources to print one.