Monday, July 25, 2011


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.

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. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Rain; all day and night. Flooded in. Its so wet here that the worms have no choice but to surface and lie stretched out on the dirt road, totally vulnerable, just trying the breathe. They are all over the road, maybe thousands of them, a bonanza if the the birds are watching, but they're not, they're all fluffed up in the trees with their heads tucked under their wings. 

This new 'water' work is a study for something bigger that I'm currently putting together in the studio for an exhibition to be called 'nervousSYSTEM', showing at GALLERYSMITH in November 2011.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


'Godlike Harmony' is the brand name of a set of cheap Chinese artist brushes I have. I love the name, for the way it infers smooth progress across paper and creative flow; that slipstream to a wonderful place where time relinquishes its hold and everything is animated and in dynamic relationship. 

You notice from this place  that connections previously unperceived become visible, extraordinary new meanings emerge via their strange and unpredictable juxtaposition. All assumptions are up for review. Perhaps this approaches  'beginners mind'; it is undeniably an opening to the energy of the unconscious. 

This is the central experience of art making for me - getting into the 'zone' where I can 'play', working with the elements I've assembled - surrendering the narrative that I've  followed closely during the hunt for the individual objects, extracting them from their original context and eventually allowing them to come to rest on the surface of the paper,  finding their own right and true location within the structure of the image.

This is the way I can 'collaborate' with the universe;  making images that, in a moment of exposure,  define the energy of the world.