Look at that! I’ve jumped seamlessly from Kick-About #28 to Kick-About #36 without a single kick!
I was busy there for a while. By putting just about every other thing to one side, I have finished my picture book project for Allen and Unwin, and I’m very excited that I will have an advance copy of When You’re Older in my hands in late November this year. So Hip hip hoorah! But more on that another day. This rather hasty post will be about surrealism and the language of dreams.
The theme is Sheila Legge, seen above in costume in 1936 as a ‘Surrealist Phantom’ in Trafalgar Square to promote the opening of the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition … Should I call it a costume? Because she is a living work of art, the living embodiment of a Salvador Dali painting Printemps nécrophilique.
I’m sure I’m not the only one to be having vivid dreams and nightmares at the moment. Melbourne is currently still in lock-down while we wait for enough people to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to allow us to step out without swamping hospitals and losing many more lives. Unlike so many others around the world who are facing real danger and hardship, I am here, at home, living in a kind of paradise with a partner in full time work, a roof over my head, a vista of green outside my windows and the company of my family. For all this I am truly grateful. Nevertheless the night time world of my dreams is a wild one – a Rousseau Paradise, rather than a Fragonard. This was even before I started re-reading short stories by Angela Carter and Leonora Carrington… Ahem.
So there’s a coincidence! Just when I was reading the short stories of Leonora Carrington, who met Max Ernst and became involved with the surrealists in 1937 at the age of 20, the Kick-About veered into the very same territory with Sheila Legge.
All I have to offer the Kick-About today is the beginnings of a… something… featuring some bird-headed, flower-headed women. They will possibly eat one another. I may add colour if there’s anything left of them by tomorrow. (growls softly)
Art is born from a complex direct relationship with its surroundings and culture. Imago Mundi’s ambition is to unite these diversities of our world in a common frame of artistic expression.
I am lucky that a friend opened the door for me to participate in this wonderful international exhibition. (Thanks Juliet)
Here is my tiny canvas for Imago Mundi.
‘Seen and not Heard’ (dedicated to Gillian Triggs)
I’m endlessly fascinated with vintage cabinet card portraits, so this came out of that space, and also from my interest in the cladding of women under layers and layers of ornament. There is a drawn woman under the coat. It’s a strange thing to add layers of clothing to a drawn woman and slowly hide her from view. (Something I explored earlier here.)
But I was also thinking of Professor Gillian Triggs trying to be heard in the Australian Federal Government arena as I made this artwork.
It’s made with acrylic paint, indian ink, felt tip, watercolour and collaged book pages on a very small canvas.
Aaah, the perils and pleasures of spontaneity and ignoring the rules!
Woman mourning the loss of a Giant Pomeranian
Having decided to do an illustration onto plain paper (gasp!) instead of a printed book page, I grabbed a fine liner (the nearest one to hand) and proceeded to do a slow and deliberate (double gasp!) outline.
It was when I was about to apply the first watercolour that I thought to look at the pen to see if it was waterproof. The pen shaft was mute on the subject. Oh well… My first dab of watercolour revealed the truth and the ink began to run enthusiastically. However, I have long been a fan of Sally Rippin’s beautiful ‘Fang Fang’s Chinese New Year’ that features profusely bleeding ink outlines so I continued on and really enjoyed it. (I must ask Sally how she did this.)
I also liked the fact that the ink bled a deep purple colour, which has infused the whole picture with blackcurrant tones.
When I tried to invent a new breed of dog (a kind of Giant Pomeranian) to accompany my character, it didn’t work. But that’s another story. So my costumed lady was cut out from her page and collaged onto a new background. And I enjoyed that too, including the bright, undisguised cut edges remaining around her.
And lastly, Brain Pickings had a great post today on creativity and taking risks and it’s worth a read for any artist. Yaaay!