Tuesday, 14 February 2023

Making the 'Shipwreck' series

I stopped making watercolours in December as the silly season started, I had my friends Ming and husband Omer staying over and it was harder to find time and space to do the work, but on 26 Jan I had nothing to do and the TV was being monopolised so I picked up my brush again. I made four watercolours and added collage in a ‘Cars’ series. 

New paintings (the ‘Apparel’ series and others) were made and I even sold one (see relevant blogpost) with the most recent series being the ‘Shipwreck’ series (see photos below). To make these watercolours I went back to my records looking for photos from the TV showing ships in distress including three involving the Pasha Bulker, a cargo ship that went aground in Newcastle in 2007.

It’s hard to put my finger on why I wanted to paint ships after the ‘Cars, ads, pop music (CAPitalism)’ series just finished but I was looking for a subject that would allow me to explore the figurative. In fact on 13 Feb I spoke with a friend overseas via Fb Messenger video call and we talked specifically about the figurative mode. She sent me a link to a show in Britain featuring works with a strong figurative cast and I remembered how Ming had voiced a preference for 19th-century Orientalist paintings.

We’d gone to Istanbul together 4 years previously and in the Dolmabahce Palace had experienced (unfortunately photos not allowed) dozens of amazing works painted mainly by foreigners living in Turkey. It has always struck me how useful such paintings are as they cement outside of time the realities of life on the ground, something that, especially at a time when photography was difficult or non-existent, is important.

When Ming and I spoked about this I remembered aloud how the records of Western explorers had become, for Aboriginal people living in Australia today, important sources containing clues to how life was lived in the past. Since so much damage has been done to Aboriginal culture this is critical.

Anyway I have more figurative works lined up and will post about them when the time comes for me to sit back and take stock again.

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