Posts Tagged ‘trees’

Bonsai and Monotype

April 21, 2016

eucumbene

Well I am well out of the habit of writing blog posts, but there are a couple of pieces of news to share, so I am back. The two things are related, and they have to do with monotype. Firstly, my work above, Eucumbene, is in a show at the moment at Megalo Print Studio & Gallery in Canberra.  The show is called Bonsai + Print and it is the culmination of a year long project which brought together five printmakers and five bonsai artists.  More about that shortly.  The other thing is that Megalo have asked me to present a monotype workshop next month (May 22 – see here for details). This will be just a one day workshop to keep it as a fun and easy thing to do.  We will probably concentrate on black and white images for this one, and then schedule a later class for working with multiple colours later.

bonsaianika

The Bonsai + Print show has been really well received with many people commenting on how different the gallery feels with the living (and quite spectacular) bonsai in the space.  The above shot shows a great bonsai Banksia by Mike and a large print by Annika Romeyn which also happens to be a monotype.  Mike was the bonsai artist who responded to my query as to if anyone had any dead bonsai they could give me.  I intended to slice them up and either make relief prints as they were, or use them for wood engravings.  The dead bonsai that I received fromMike were such interesting objects though, I got stuck on making drawings of them and later monotypes and still haven’t reached the stage of being ready to slice them up yet.  A prominent feature of bonsai is of course scale, with the plants looking like scale models of much larger trees, and so it just felt right to start printing the monotypes on some of my sizeable collection of old maps (that’s another story).  I started drawing the trees in an upright fashion, but with them being dead, and using the maps which seemed to emphasise land as something to be used and altered for industrial purposes (like the map used for Eucumbene, which is actually a blueprint used in planning some of the tunnels that make up the Snowy Hydro Scheme in the Australian Alps) I began to think about the loss of very old trees from many of our landscapes and other forms of degradation of nature, habitat and soil that have occurred, and so my tree forms became fallen.

You can see a review of the show here, and it will be on at Megalo until April 30.  Keep an eye on the Megalo Facebook page; it seems like a number of us will be giving an artist talk in the gallery at 2pm on the last day (Saturday April 30) but that’s not quite confirmed yet.

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Chalkboard 003

July 23, 2015

chalkboard003

These rough and ready quick chalkboard sketches were all done in one fairly short brainstorming session last night. I’ve got a solo show coming up soon, and want to make the main wall a grid of monotypes. I have a set of nine that I have shown before, as a single line of prints, but now I want to extend that series further and make a grid. The decision to hold the show was something of a short notice thing, and so now I’m planning on being quite busy with new monotypes over the next month. Hence returning to the chalkboard for brainstorming white drawings which mimic the way I like to make monotypes. Although I only had yellow chalk available for this lot.  Had a reasonably successful printing day today and made four prints, of which two might make it into the show. I started with “Luna” from last nights ideas, as something not too difficult to warm up on, and then a different image entirely not featured in the chalkboard drawings. Not a bad start I think.

Grey Gum

December 23, 2013

greygum

 

The Grey Gums on the Woodford Fstival Site are looking splendid in their new orange bark.  Many Eucalypts shed their bark annually, often revealing quite a different appearance to the older bark, which in this case is grey if you are wondering why such a colourful tree would be called a Grey Gum.

 

Diversity in Print

March 7, 2013

foresttunnel

 

Last night saw the opening of Diversity in Print an exhibition of prints at the Royal Queensland Artist Society gallery on Petrie Terrace (Brisbane).  I’m in Sydney teaching at the moment so couldn’t get to the opening of course, but the good people there phoned to tell me I had been awarded a second prize for the wood engraving Forest Tunnel shown above.  This print was one of the ones I made in California, while at the JB Bunk residency.  I particularly like the crispness of the printed bark, that I had carefully retained on the block of birch wood as I cut and polished it prior to carving the image.  This print also makes use of  hand printing with a banana leaf barren in such a way as to produce subtleties of tone through the controlled use of variable pressure.  I’m glad to have been able to represent the somewhat neglected art of wood engraving in a show called Diversity in Print.

The show is on until 23rd March at 162 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane.

I love living in Bunya Pine country

January 10, 2013

bunya

 

I have been so enjoying the views from my new studio in the Mary River Valley area of SE Qld, including this shot of the valley below and the forested hills opposite.  Most of all I’m enjoying living in Bunya country.  No doubt I will soon write more about the extraordinary Bunya Pine.

lace bark

January 3, 2013

lacebark1

 

Walking in Conondale National Park recently, one of the many delights to be seen was the large flowers of Lacebark (Brachychiton discolour) trees, scattered on the forest floor.  Lacebark are a large rainforest tree which at this time of year, along with their better known cousins the Flame Tree, are almost leafless but covered in spectacular flower.  Being usually very tall and often emergent from the top of the canopy, it is quite difficult to see the flowers looking up into the tree, but they make an impressive display on the ground when they drop anyway.  The underside of the flower was particularly inspiring with the contrasting dark and light pink, so a little ephemeral land art was in order.

starring

 

A little later there was an even more spectacular carpeting of flowers beneath one of these forest giants, but it was time to push on with the days walk towards a swim at ‘Artist’s Cascades’.

lacebarkcarpet

 

 

pic of the day

August 20, 2012

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

wallpaper drawings

June 11, 2012

Summer House, charcoal on wallpaper, Peter McLean, 2012

I found this wallpaper while browsing in op shops in Karja.  It’s got a nice old fashioned feel that seemed to fit Karja.  I thought I was going to use the back for drawing on, but as you can see I’ve used the patterned side for this charcoal drawing of a small island in one of the lakes.  After walking through the forest for some time to get there, I was surprised to see this small island was host to three or four summer houses (in the usual red and white colour scheme).  It looked very idyllic indeed.  I hope the drawing on wallpaper suggests the idea of cosy homeliness nestled into the landscape.

 The lakes seem to be developing as the main focus of my work here in Fiskars, and there is a particular group that seem to create an eye on the big map in the kitchen which have become the focus of my walking too.  This second drawing is based on the same  long narrow lake, called Långsjö (I think that might be in Swedish, not Finish?)

Promontory, charcoal on wallpaper, Peter McLean, 2012


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