arrived, entered, painted

29 Feb

WEEK EIGHT (february 22 -28)
At the start of the week we are waiting for bounce down…when we will take over Esther duties, whilst we await news of the safe labour and arrival of grandy number four.
I keep myself busy.
I clear the studio for photo day to come.
I clear the inbox and catch up on anything I can.
There is no time for filling the fridge with meals but I quickly whip up a pumpkin/feta/pancetta/filo roulade-type meal that Esther may eat….?
I am prepping – for next couple of days my priority will (mostly) be with family.

On Monday night Esther arrives for her first all-nighter with us.
She picks up very quickly on routines, so we eat and initiate a bed time ritual – a walk – with this first night seeing her wrapped in a quilt whilst we push her over to Leighton Beach.
The crisp night was lovely and there was hardly a peep from her.
We have no bath so a big round tub was filled for a quick dip.
Improvisation is part of the fun.

How to spend yet another waiting day?
I need to occupy Esther and in the end I take her to Fremantle Arts Centre to see the Dani Marti exhibition – she copes beautifully with exhibitions and I hope that this will always be so.
We always have a ‘cuppa’ together to review what we have seen….

rewardDani’s work involves textile techniques and sculpture. They are lovely big works, tactile, colourful, textural….. reminiscent of textile works from the 70’s and the big name weavers like Mona Hessing who were working with ropes and braiding on a very large scale.

dani marti exhibition @FACThese works have colour and pattern and I think are very accessible.

dani marti exhibition @FAC


The recycled/op-shop/cheap jewelry works have me in envious mode.

dani marti exhibition @FAC - detailSimple and beautiful, I could look at these all day. I appreciate the rubber/hosing pieces but they draw me in to a lesser degree.

dani marti exhibition @FAC

There is a ‘thing’ about size too that I totally envy…..which artists have the luxury of time and space and funds to work so big?…. and then to store them?….to sell them?

dani marti exhibition @FACI’d love it to be me but I see so many obstacles… grants/funding/sponsorship or patronage would be essential…
It is a very nice dream….not an envious wish.

On Tuesday night we follow the walk/tub (now ingrained) ritual with Esther reminding us of every detail of the previous night that we need to repeat.
She slept through two nights in a row – a blessing – though there was some gentle singing in the dark serenading us …..beautiful.

By late Tuesday night time is against Miff and we know that an emergency Caesarian is fast approaching. I am sent a text heralding a safe arrival for an unnamed and weightless baby girl. An enormous relief and tears leak out to relieve the pressure.
Felicity (Flick) has entered our lives.
I am thankful, I am proud of my daughter, I am eager to get to know this new family member.
I feel like I have been let out of jail!

Wednesday is a change of pace – a photo shoot here in the studio where three of us had work to be recorded by my wonderful mate Bewley.
These days are not fast or furious. They are calm and considered with his gentle humour dosing us as needed. These are days of sharing a viewing, sharing the minutiae of each other’s work… we concentrate on these pieces for a good expanse of time as we set up, as Bewley shoots, and as adjustments are made.
We explore the work in increasing detail.
The time this allows us is invaluable….we see so much more of what these works entail, we learn about the artistic intent…

We finish quite quickly so that I can whip up to meet Felicity for the first time at 3 o’clock ‘opening’.
First cuddles, with total quiet and calm before Esther arrives and does her best to break the spell.
I exit with Esther, take her home to feed her so that mum and dad can give Felicity her first bath in peace. The bloke and I return for his introduction, with Esther in tow.
Things will change but day one for Flick has been calm…..

Thursday is catch up, catch up, hurry, try to get back on track/ try to get ahead day.

I need to put in my entry for twentyONE+  asap and need to measure and record the details of the piece. This piece is part of the ‘feathering the nest’ series but a third variation on the theme  and that’s with only four works completed to date! My brain works quicker than my hands.

Thoughts whilst working on this piece and its background need to be explained and expanded but it needs to be concise and it needs a name.
I write down a jumble of thoughts and leads and slowly, gently, it becomes easy to tell the story in words, to explain the background behind this work.
The artists statement is there to help viewers make connections, to make them stop and look and think.
It is not included to confuse the viewer.
It is not included to belittle untrained eyes.
Writing a good artists statement is a skill to be learned over time but it can simple start by documenting thoughts during the making process.

feathering the nest #3We also photographed a piece I worked on and finished last year – feathering the nest #3 – seen above. I reviewed it whilst it was being photographed and it has some merit but I decided that it is not the type of work that I want to define me – it is merely a lumpy pebble on my path.
I then searched out the previous piece – feathering the nest #2 and I feel that that is a different story.
It too is a pebble but it is a simpler, more gracious, less homespun pebble.
It came from a collision of thought-lines and materials.
It doesn’t excite me but it tells the story in a very quiet way
I can look at it without a frown so that makes it worthy of a submission.
Entry number two is completed.

Off to our little house on Friday evening with Miffs dog Riley in tow. It will spoil him – all ‘our’ dogs love the space and hidden corners of our large yard – and it will take away one little layer of busyness from the new little family.

My task/chore this weekend is to make a start on painting an old wardrobe that came out of and will go back into the recently painting bedroom. I was spoiled weeks ago when the bloke took over the tools and sanded it for me….there was probably a promise of cake on the way?

awaiting paintOn Saturday morn he prepped the paint – his dad was a painter and decorator and he almost always takes away this chore from me. I do not complain EVER!
As I was cutting-in the inside he got a roller to help.

wardrobe after one of three coatsA process that would have taken me all weekend, as, in the end there were three coats needed inside to cover up the dank and dark, and an undercoat on the outside – we completed in companionable hours.

Next time the outside will be painted a dirty cream and then I will get out the Posca pens and start scribbling away….. I’m looking forward to at least a couple of sessions and then ticking yet another thing off the ToDo list!

Jan Mullen

B. Ed. Art/Craft (Textiles/Sculpture) Living in Perth, Western Australia Artist, Fabric Designer, Author, Teacher, Mentor.