Posts Tagged ‘pines’

wollemi cliffs

October 15, 2012

‘Morning Cliffs’ , charcoal on grey stonehenge, Peter McLean, 2012


Once again it’s been a long time between posts.  Lots has been happening since the last one, from  teaching a wood engraving workshop with the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop, to Sydney and catching some of the Biennale.  Then there was lots of time out in the bush, with plenty of walking and exploring and drawing.  The above drawing was made in the majestic campground at Newnes, on the edge of Wollemi National Park, home of the rare Wollemi Pine.  It was hard to stay focused on my drawing instead of watching the wombat wombling it’s way around camp, especially when it bumped into the big Goana making it’s way along the creek bank, but the shadows were changing fast as the sun rose and the frosty morning quickly turned to a hot day.  From there it was a slow trip back to Queensland, via time in the Warrumbungles, the Pilliga Scrub and Mt Kaputar – all very different and fascinating in their own ways.  Now it’s off out bush again, this time into the coastal forests between Grafton and Coffs Harbour, so posts will probably stay sparse for a while yet, but I’ll try and fill in the gaps with some more pictures soon.

more prints

June 27, 2012



The end of our residency here at Fiskars is looming rapidly, and so we have been working pretty solidly to try and get things done before our open studio show on Friday evening.  We have both been working on our various individual projects, like my little set of wood engravings, and Dave has been uploading new photo’s to Turnstile’s Shootin’ Gallery.  As well as all that, the main piece we are aiming to show we be a grid of 32 drypoint prints (with the odd relief printed collograph in there too), with each of us having contributed half the prints.  This is Dave’s first foray into printmaking since undergrad, so I’ve been helping him with all the inking and wiping a project like this entails.

Being on a short term residency in an unfamiliar place can call for some new approaches to things.  The ink I ended up with, was a Graphic Chemicals ‘Stiff Black’ etching ink.  It’s ok for wood engraving, but not nearly as foolproof as litho ink.  On the other hand it is way too sticky for wiping an intaglio plate – especially when you have been using the one piece of tarletan for way too long!  Lacking any plate oil, or ‘easy wipe’ compound, I’ve been adding a bit of the cheep oil paint that I picked up in the discount variety store in Karjaa one day.  I bought a little tube, not knowing what for, since there was a colour that matched the Falu Red colour of the houses.  Makes my black nice and warm.

Lots more prints to pull tomorrow, so I’d better get to bed.

If you happen to be in Fiskars this Friday (29th June) in the evening, 18-20, then do drop by at the Artist in Residence house to see the whole set!



pic of the day

June 20, 2012

June 8, 2012

Ink on paper, Peter McLean, 2012


I’ve taken to drawing with ink and a skewer over the last week (no real reason, except the previous artist left some drawing ink behind, and the first likely implement that came to hand was some bamboo skewers in the kitchen drawers, this being the way artistic choices sometimes get made).  I loved the fluidity of this scene, where the undulating land, patches of forest and irregularly shaped cultivated fields intersect.

the mountains keep secrets

September 22, 2011

"The Mountains Keep Secrets", relief print, Peter McLean, 2011

That’s the title of this little print.  It’s quite delightfully simple, a relief print from a little block of knotty pine found amongst the dirt, and yet there are plenty of depths and subtleties to keep me interested.  If you want to find out what secrets the mountains keep, than have a look here.

Bishop Pine

August 22, 2011

The older Bishop Pines have some great silhouettes.  All gnarly and weather beaten, often with a lot of snags where the over mature trees have entered into decline, and festooned with lichens enabled by all the fog.  In fact I read yesterday that many of the forests in this area gain a significant proportion of summer moisture from condensed fog dripping beneath the trees, or in some instances, absorbed directly from the air.  Near the house, and further down the valley towards the town, the pines can be quite tall and massive, but there is one nearby hill where all the vegetation is particularly contorted and stunted.  It is clearly older growth, not the vigorous young trees found in the areas burnt by the Vision Fire.  And yet quite short.  It seems to be a matter of soil, with the hillside being particularly dry and rocky looking, but surprisingly distinct from anything else immediately nearby, which is mostly pretty lush.

Bishop Pine Silhouette, charcoal on paper, Peter McLean, 2011

first prints

August 14, 2011

Just in case anyone thinks I’m just hiking the hills and not doing any work at all, here are a few pics from the first days experiments with printing from some of the redly available natural materials that have come to hand so far.

The obvious first place to start seemed to be to mount a sample of Bishop Pine, Pinus muricata, to begin a new ‘sequence book’.  Bishop Pine is one of the main trees in the immediate vicinity and has a restricted range – including here on the Point Reyes Peninsular, and in Baja California, Mexico.  Of course these two locations lie on opposite sides of the San Andreas Fault and were once connected!

California Bay, Umbellularia californica,  is another common species here, growing quite large in the temperate rainforest which forms a mosaic of vegetation types with the rainforest and the pine forest sometimes being quite distinct, and sometimes intermingling somewhat.  Largely to do with fire history I expect.

This piece is printed from a cross section of a large piece of bark.  Probably from a Redwood, but I’ll leave them for another day.

To finish, the view from my printing spot in the studio (note the garden produce by the door, brought to me by my neighbour Rufus).

forest tunnels

August 11, 2011

found art on a grand scale

June 8, 2009



I was poking about looking at things in a patch of pine trees beside the bike path that goes around Lake Burley Griffin.  A popular route with cyclists and walkers, and with only a narrow strip of accessible land between the lake and a fenced off golf course.  So I was surprised to find these massive earth sculptures amongst the pines.  Well, of course they aren’t really sculptures – they are a series of ramps for use by daring mountain bike riders.  No less impressive though.  You can’t really tell in the photo, but trust me, these are some very well made, and quite substantial pieces of work.  They are entirely hand made as far as I can tell – there really isn’t room to get any machinery in there – someone has spent many clandestine hours making these things – and they have built them to last.  And all just 20 meters or so from the busy path.  Goes to show that lack of ownership or sanctioned access to land is no barrier to some peoples desire to build things.  I was so glad I strayed a little and found these lovely objects – doesn’t the red earth look just fine against the green pines.

the right place for art?

August 12, 2008

Part of my work with the art out and about projects and chalk drawings has been about placing art back into the context of the ‘real world’, ie not a specific art world context like a gallery.  Not a new idea of course, nothing ever is.  Well it is one thing to do this with ephemeral work, which isn’t really an art object anyway, but what about works on paper.  So I have been thinking about taking some of the woodcut prints back to the source of the images. In this case a plantation of pines in Fyshwick.  I wanted to install them there, and had intended to paste them onto some old concrete structures.  This turned out to be more of a technical challenge than I had imagined – pasting onto the rough concrete simply wasn’t going happen with the glue I had – so a work still in progress.  I still did some photography of the prints at the site, and then started using the concrete walls as a surface for drawing on – hopefully informed by the site – again a work still in progress.

Wrapped on a tree…

…and on the ground.  This print did end up pasted onto a flat slab of concrete on the site – amongst the faded old porn images someone else had left weighted down with sticks.

I started some drawings in the main concrete tank structure – a figure rising from the soil, seemingly associated with the mysterious mound of soil – again left by others unknown.  The barbed wire a reference the the fact the site was originally built as an internment camp for German citizens during WWII.  As it happens the site never was used for this purpose.  The pines were planted after the camp was dismantled in the 50’s.

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