Alma Hotchkin welcomes two privileged 30x30x30 bloggers to visit her painting studio in her charming home of 50 years.
The life cycle of the pomegranate, from bud to fruit, is expertly composed and meticulously recorded in a beautiful framed painting in the sitting room. We admire the piece and Alma casually explains that the branch was hanging over the back fence so she recorded each stage of its growth. This keen observation, skilful recording and love of the natural world is evident in all of Alma’s numerous works that grace the walls of her home and sit propped along the shelves of her studio space.
Dappled light from a neighbouring Jacaranda dances across artworks in the studio as well as the sketches and images on Alma’s inspiration board. The movement of the tree’s shadow reinforces the strong connection of the works to the outdoors. Having vast experience in plein air painting, Alma explains the challenges of working in a studio. Using her signature oils indoors has proven unworkable hence Alma has embraced the challenge to experiment and is painting with acrylics for the first time!
Further to her change in medium, Alma is also challenging herself to extend beyond her highly refined and developed painting style. Previously Alma’s works were carefully planned and drawn with immense detail from plants, flowers and natural objects. In her challenge works, Alma will retain her favoured subject matter but will introduce spontaneity; aiming to produce paintings in a more stylized, flowing and incomplete manner.
Standing in her studio we are surrounded by the layers of Alma’s creative process and passion. Admired images by fellow artists sit alongside sketches, drawings and paintings from her vast portfolio. As well as visual references for her challenge, written notes and prompts are jotted on scraps of paper and backs of envelopes. The immense amount of information that Alma has compiled, coupled with her technical skills, mastery of composition, sense of adventure and passion to experiment will result in a beautiful body of works that capture the wonder of the natural world.
Marilyn Hamilton explores her challenge by concocting parcels of wonder and shares some good news …
What wild winter weather we are having!!! Rug up, keep the fires going and drive carefully.
Day 11 is here for me and I am enjoying the exploration that the 30 day challenge is allowing me. What was I worrying about? Lots of interesting things are happening, quite eclectic. At the weekend I bundled up pieces of silk, wool and cotton with all sorts of things inside ready to steam and will unwrap them next weekend. I wonder what these little parcels will reveal and what shall I do with them? I still plan to unwrap one canvas a day and see what happens on that day. Wonder what lays ahead for me when I get to my studio this morning.
Some good news that I would like to share. My art practise has been acknowledged by the City of Wanneroo purchasing my collagraphic print titled ‘Frog in a Log’ for their collection and on Saturday evening the City of Joondalup presented me with the textile award for my work titled ‘Fragile Earth’. Yay!!! So I am indeed a very happy ‘little vegemite’. The Joondalup Community Art Exhibition is on at Lakeside Shopping Centre until 24 June during shopping hours and well worth a visit. Quite a diverse exhibition as will the 30x30x30 Treetops Montessori exhibition in September. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s work…………….Marilyn
7 down, 23 to go … Moira observes the ‘sparkly trees’ amidst the wild weather in Perth …
One week in and the challenge is more about the size of the paper – so flippin’ small! It is very hard to wave my charcoal around in proper artist styley when I have no room. And the other is resisting the temptation to screw everything up and chuck it in to the bin. I think it would be a very enjoyable excercise if people weren’t actually going to look at what I have done. TGI Friday, although the 30 day Challenge waits for no woman and I must soldier on.
to converse or talk together, usually with profound intensity, intimacy, etc; interchange thoughts or feelings
Surrounded by the glory of nature, dripping in golden colour, the trees ablaze with shades of russet golds and reds, fallen leaves on the ground rustling in the soft breezes, a Milly the Kelpie-Collie-cross greeting, Una welcomes us to her studio ….
In her studio, Una explains her quick realisation that her initial thoughts of approaching the challenge had to be revisited when faced with smaller canvases and addressing the speed of engaging with the medium.
It did not hamper her process or the inquiry into the nature of her subject matter; one of her loves in life – the beloved bush and all it’s possibilities that can be easily overlooked. Granite outcrops, and the minutiae of life that thrives in the cracks, the dirt, the green moss, the startling coloured grasses that signal the change in seasons combined with a deeper appreciation of their structure. Una is driven to delve into the mysteries that abound in just the simple extraordinary grasses that tend to be forgotten heroes of the bush environment.
Armed with a precision microscope, and a natural flair for drawing, Una’s illustrations detail her powers of observation in the colours and structure of the simple grass. This innate ability to commune with nature is certainly translated into her method of working through the layers that invite possibilities that are evident in the choice of her colours and structure in her art works …
From her Perth hills home, Moira is confronted by the concept of speed in her challenge:
Flippedy, flippedy, flip flip, today is the day I am being ousted from behind the curtain. My 30x30x30 Challenge starts today and am I ready for it? Urrh, no! Since filling in my application 6 months ago occasionally a whisper of a thought has floated in and then back out of my mind real quick but that is the extent of it. Oh well, I guess it will just add to the challenge of it all. At least I can remember what I said that I would do which is sketches of arboreal animals from around the world – being a Treetops Montessori School Initiative, I thought it was befitting. The challenge of it all comes in the application of these arboreal critters. I am making myself do them at speed to loosen up my drawing style. No beautifully rendered paintings from me(like most of the participants seem to have done so far) no, I am saying goodbye to perfectionist, control freak Moira (gulp) and hello to slap-dash composition, messy bits and no doubt some weird-looking tree dwellers! GO GO GO at the speed of a brachiating gibbon!!
informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy
Does art and imagery itself play a part in conversations?
I believe it does! Perhaps not in the way you would think… if in fact you are thinking between the lines. But think about how you relate to another person. Think about how you interpret that person. I imagine how they look (age, gender, clothing etc) has a direct influence on how you interact with that person, whether this is conscious or unconscious. So how a person looks is a reflection of their personality: the colours they choose; style of haircut; presence or absence of makeup; it goes on and on.
Aren’t we all a blank canvas that we work on to express ourselves to others?
The more I delve, the more interesting it becomes!
Having been away and unable to write for about a month, the conversations that have begun on this blog in that time are fantastic. As I read through the past posts I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the comments between artists and others. Words of encouragement and enthusiasm straight from the people doing the hard work!
Conversations are an interesting part of our communication as human beings. An essential part of our society function. Perhaps now a simple conversation will seem all the more multidimensional?
Over and out…
the act or state of contemplation, thoughtful observation or study, meditation on spiritual matters; intention or expectation
There is nothing more pleasurable than spending a moment in a day to give thanks and meditate on what we do in life that gives it it’s meaning. Following the work of all these artists who have generously given of their time, I am humbled to witness this in my lifetime.
I recall reading a story of an ancient kiri or paulownia tree that was crafted into a harp. Characteristics of kiri or paulownia wood ensure that beautiful chests and boxes can be fashioned from this light, fine grained, soft and warp resistant wood. This harp, whose stubborn spirit refused to yield to hands that attempted to draw melody from its strings would not recognise a master in it’s midst. Only one such person managed to caress and cajole the harp of its beautiful symphonies by surrendering to the eminent intent of the instrument and the latent talent of the artist. The story highlighted the very nature of art, and naturally, its appreciation.
In the act of looking at art, we bring to mind our total sum of experiences and memories, call forth other realms of possibilities. Dreams, hopes, inspiration and long forgotten yearnings come to mind. The canvas attracts a moment of communion of minds between the message the artist wishes to impart and the experience the spectator immerses him or herself in.
The 30x30x30 Challenge is a fascinating chronicle of what, how and when the artist surrenders to that magic moment of creation. Looking ahead to the day of the exhibition, it will be equally engaging to see the spectators who will delight themselves in the gems the Challenge Artists will proffer.
“An art aims, above all, at producing something beautiful which affects not our feelings but the organ of pure contemplation, our imagination.”
Andrea Day checks in from her Queens Park studio on a warm barmy autumn day with her plan to conduct investigations on her canvases and colours …
At first when I planned my project I thought I’d work one canvas at a time. Then when I went to start, it was immediately apparent that I’d need to work on all at once, building each one slowly.
I mixed thirty individual colours so each canvas would start it’s life differently from all the others.
Then I needed to be able to see all 30 together so the work would build coherently. This means they are in the middle of my studio floor, giving me about 30cm to squeeze around the edge between them and the benches, tables, dressmaking mannequin and my chair. But that’s all good. It’s been a new and exciting way to work!
From Behind Curtain 2, we are excited to announce that June Stevens has commenced her challenge. From her Stoneville studio, June will create 30 artworks from mid April to mid May. June describes her challenge:
My approach to this challenge will be to tackle five or six paintings at one time. Underpaintings will be done and dried before moving on, then each painting will take over. Most of the painting will then be done wet-on-wet in oils. Final finishes may require the painting to be dry, which may mean having many paintings sitting around my studio unfinished for a week or so! It will also be challenging to paint landscapes on a small square canvas!
One of my goals is to produce fresh, spontaneous artworks that will leap off the canvas. I will need to “look three times, make one brushstroke and leave it!” This is absolutely necessary for wet-in-wet painting, so this challenge has come at just the right time for me.
My work is still developing from painting to painting and the 30x30x30 challenge gives me a great opportunity to further develop my style and try new approaches.
a remark often related to an added piece of information, or an observation or statement
Many have commented on the possibly excessive use of words beginning with the letter “C” in the 30x30x30 Challenge blog and promotional material.
Curious to know how this came about?
When we were conceptualising the 30x30x30 Challenge, we found we had many layers to the project, many of them coincidentally starting with a “C”.
Sarah Thornton-Smith, one of the originators of the 30x30x30 alongside Dixie Bartle from Treetops Montessori School, wrote:
“The C word story derives from the brand building of the 30x30x30 Challenge logo. Dixie provided the vision of the project and when I was trying to work out how to put the call for artists – I wanted it to be different, honest and cheeky at the same time.Thirty reasons became thirty weeks [or vice versa] and the connections became apparent. The word “Call” was instrumental in initiating the c words …”.
Thirty “C” words …