Posts Tagged ‘water’

woodford spiral flow

December 18, 2013

 

 

 

 
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Woodford Folk Festival is a major event on the summer calendar here in SE Queensland and I am currently on the festival site as a volunteer with the set up crew.  As I said, this isn’t a small festival, and there are 200-300 people working on site, most of them volunteers, over a period of several weeks.  The site is extensive and pleasingly complex, with hills and valleys, creeks and forests, along with the proliferating array of tents, marques and other temporary structures being built. There is lots happening, lots of bustle, lots of busy people doing all sorts of things.  There is fun and socialising too, and with many of the volunteers having skills as musicians, artists, dancers, firetwirlers and jugglers and who knows what else, there is quite a creative atmosphere with plenty of interesting spontaneous things going on.  So, one day when I managed to have a bit of quite time by myself in amongst all of this, I decided to create something in this lovely little creek-line that I pass on my way to my shifts in the workers kitchen.  A small bridge crosses the little creek, giving a nice view of the small pool nestled at the base of a large tree, and that seemed like the right place to highlight with some bright red leaves from a Blue Quandong tree at the back of the kitchen.  It began as a line, which wound it’s serpentine way amongst the stones and reached the gravel bank and became a spiral.  This was the order of creation, but looking at the finished work, this was clearly working backwards, the leaves telling me to seek back to the source.  So this piece is about beginings, about creation, about order and design loosing it’s constraints as it interacts with the environment and follows a natural pathway of flow as it’s energy is distributed and dissapated.

the eye

March 31, 2013

eye

I came across this delightful feature in a small creek in Royal National Park recently, just upstream from my camp.  Royal is on the outskirts of Sydney and is Australias oldest, and the worlds second oldest National Park.  With that deliciously dark hole, it will definitely be making an appearance in some prints sometime soon.  I’ve been thinking of it as The Eye.

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Monotyping at Megalo

March 17, 2013

 

 
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In between teaching days at the National Art School in Sydney, I’ve been doing some walking and camping, time on Sydney Beaches, seeing some shows etc.  This weekend I have traveled to Canberra for a bit of time in the studios at Megalo.  It’s a bit like a second home here at Megalo, since I am so familiar with the studio and presses.  I’ve been taking advantage of the big Hilton electric press to make some more monotypes, with the imagery referring back to summer in Queensland.  I’m thinking a whole new series might be nice, with the figure in the landscape being more explicit than some of my previous work.  They always take a lot longer than I expect though.  I only took two prints yesterday, and one at least should be trashed.  I’ve been here several hours this morning, and only the above print has so far come off the press, but I’m reasonably happy with it.  Bleed printed in a greenish black ink on a half sheet of Hahnemuhle (76 x 56 cm). Below is the second print from yesterday, showing how the drawing changes each time, especially since I am only working from a rough thumbnail drawing about one inch square, which itself was drawn from memory soon after visiting this creek in Mapleton National Park.  What might be lost in faithful realism, is amply made up for by what is gained in the freedom to express a mood and sense of the place without feeling the need to copy a photographic reference.

 

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drypoint

March 4, 2013

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It was a busy start to the year, and my internet connection at home is rather tenuous, and so I somehow neglected to blog about the very exciting news that I have acquired a small etching press.  With assistance from the Australia Council for the Arts via an Artstart Grant, and the craftsmanship of Stephen, the press man at Melbourne Etching Supplies, my press arrived in early January.

Having a press now enlarges the range of techniques I can print at home to include intaglio methods such as etching and drypoint, as well as the type of monotypes with deep flat blacks that I like so much.  While a two person job to lift with ease, the press is technically ‘portable’, so I will, if need arrises, be able to print ‘on the road’ or give workshops in a broader range of techniques in locations without access to a press.

The first print I made on the new press was the drypoint above, depicting a curious waterfall I recently visited in Conondale National Park.  A day was spent exploring Peter’s Creek, upstream from Booloumba Falls, including this waterfall which plunges into hole about two meters across, with a very solid bedrock barrier between this turbulent, but out of sight, base of the falls and the large swimming hole in front of it.  No hint of current or bubbles gives any indication of the necessary connection between the two.  The maps I have give no name to this feature, but thought it deserved one, so Cauldron Falls it is.

As for the title of the print: So I Called it Cauldron Falls.

island engraving

June 22, 2012

Eye Island, wood engraving,Peter McLean, 2012

This is the second of the wood engravings I have made in Fiskars, Finland.  A group of nearby lakes forms the shape of an eye on the map, and is my favourite area to go walking.  On my first visit there I was entranced by the light shinning behind this little tree filled islet.  Placing the image in the centre of this elliptical block of apple wood, the whole image has become rather eye-like.

I also posted a photo of this little island a while back on Four Feetour blog about the Fiskars Residency.

pic of the day

June 20, 2012

pic of the day

March 23, 2012

 

Self Portrait at Warri Reserve, Shoalhaven River near Braidwood NSW.   I’m camped here on the lovely Shoalhaven ready for a dash into Canberra in the morning.  I do love autumn in this part of Australia, and especially on a day like today when a big cold front pushes through and the air turns cold and clear.  It is after sunset now, the big white gums are splendid against the violet sky, the wind has eased but still quite breezy and turning cold.  The sky is clear here, but low clouds loiter on the mountains to the south.

seeking the source

March 10, 2012

'Seeking the Source', wood engraving, Peter McLean, 2012

 

This is my most recent wood engraving, the latest waypoint for this image, which began on a walk in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.  Since then the image has passed through drawings and large paintings, and now been miniaturised again.  In the translation into print it has been mirrored as well.  A new element has entered the picture now, with the distinctive outer shape bringing new associations and emphasising the internal flow of the image as well.  It is the first block I have made from a small piece of Paper Birch that I collected a few years back. I’m always on the lookout for suitable pieces of wood – of suitable hardness, relatively free of cracks (or ‘interesting’ looking cracks), and importantly, small enough to carry away without causing too much of a spectacle.  This piece came from a pile of prunings I noticed while leaving the dentist as I remember.  I thought Birch would be too soft, but some of the commercially made engraving blocks are Birch, so thought I might as well try it.  So after letting the wood cure for a few years, I made a block.  It is certainly a little on the soft side, but with care is quite suitable.  My quest for using wood that I find as my main material often leads me to use blocks that cold be considered inferior – but I think  it just pushes me to fine tune my craft even more.

 

What source is being sought?  Well that’s something I’d rather leave as a bit of a mystery for the time being.

pic of the day

October 17, 2011

I’ve just come out of the backcountry of Yosemite National Park. This is Beuna Vista Lake, where I had a quick swim – very quick!

big puddle

February 14, 2010

I posted pictures just recently of a very dry Lake George. The pic above was taken yesterday, after Canberra recorded 104mm of rain over three days.  The last time Canberra got rain like that was 2002.  Still a long, long way to go before anything like a lake reappears, but after being dry for so long, this giant puddle was enough to attract a steady stream of motorists to the lookout.


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