A New Series Oct18

A New Series

Following is a series of landscapes I’ve been working on for some time now: This is an early, smallish work in the series. I was struck by the beauty of the clouds and the low horizon…           I was doing a lot of travelling on the Hamilton Highway and was often taken by the beauty of the big skies…            I was touched by the lonliness of the landscape I saw…             The low horizon and muted colours continually resonated with me…                                                                                                                                   This final one is the largest of the works so...

New Work in the Studio Sep12

New Work in the Studio...

This was a piece I was commissioned to paint earlier this year. The client was very clear about what she wanted which is always helpful. When I felt it was complete, I showed it to her and she exclaimed, “Wow” and told me it matched a vision she’d had of the work. I couldn’t have asked for a better...

The Exhibition

The exciting climax of our ambitious project finally took place last week. We had an exhibition of our printmaking at the Colac Otway Performing Arts and Cultural Centre (COPACC). The exhibition was the opening event for COPACC’s Book Week Activities. Colac’s Mayor, the honourable Ms. Lyn Russell presided over the festivities. It was attended by parents, teachers and friends and the childrens’ work was a sellout. Even the press was there! The Colac Herald covered the event and interviewed Stirling about his Bridge to Vietnam Book for the article. And there he was in the paper the very next edition.The children all participated in the opening speech and talked about their work most eloquently. Thanks again to all of the staff and students at Beeac Primary School. It has been a highlight of my career to be your Artist is School’s Artist! And as I have said to you students before, you are all very talented and capable of making striking artworks as well as being kind, courteous, resourceful and fun people! See you all soon I hope, Teresa Culkin-Lawrence. The children participating in the Beeac Primary School Artist in School’s project have given permission for their work to be reproduced here. Their full names are not given the protect their...

An Ambitious Project Aug18

An Ambitious Project

Earlier this year, an acquaintance of mine who is a teacher casually commented that this was an ‘ambitious project’ I had got myself involved in. Frankly, this reaction scared the hell out of me. I believed her vague skepticism that I had perhaps bitten off way more than I could chew. And, well,  it wasn’t ME completing the work, it was the children who had to do it all. I was just their facilitator. But now, nearly at the end of this 20 day project, the children have indeed, completed every single thing that was required of them. And look at what they have made! These are just two examples of Artist’s Books from these now seasoned printmakers. That’s right, they are Artist’s Books. I know they don’t look like books, they look like a bridge and the Eiffel Tower right? But that’s what an Artist Book can be; it’s a reinterpretation of a print in 3D. Our Book Week Exhibition opens next Monday night and the Mayor of Colac, Ms. Lyn Russell is going to open it for us. As well as the Artist’s Books, the actual books the children wrote and illustrated will also be on display. In addition to this, the exhibition will show each student’s best print in a beautiful frame. Children can achieve amazing things given half the chance. And the grades 3 to 6 at Beeac Primary School have done just that. Congratulations Sarah, Tyson, Tara, Rebecca, Claudia, Mitchell, Vivienne, Kathryn, Stirling, Hendrick, Reece, Cassidy, Adam and Zach. Your enthusiasm for this work has greatly inspired and encouraged me. It has been a pleasure to be in your company these past...

I’m not a very good drawer but…...

It’s really sad when kids say, I’m not a good drawer. I always think, You’re just a kid, how come you’ve given up so early?But the other day, one of my little printmakers said. “I’m not a good drawer, but I’m really good at this!” and my heart sang. That’s the wonderful thing about printmaking. It’s a true medium. It takes your drawing, no matter how mundane and imbues it with something that makes it art. One of my printmaking teachers was always telling us that SHE was a terrible drawer and she’s still a professional artist. She taught us to get images and pictures from everywhere, that it doesn’t matter; trace, photocopy, collage, draw, whatever it takes to make the work. And that’s what my little printmakers have been doing. They find their reference, we adjust the size on the photocopier and trace, rearrange or draw freehand. Then, there’s the carving to be done. That’s when their own hand gives the work its character. Of course, inking up the block is always a surprise, but the print is the best part leaving the printmaker to sometimes wonder…. “How did I do that?” Above is a sampling of just a few of the beautiful pieces the children have been...

Where we Work & What we Do There...

Here’s some images of the work the children have been doing for the project. And a picture of our studio space where the intense cutting and printing takes place. You’ll see a muscle car, Uluru, a French slice and some Brazillian...

Drawing Stages May24

Drawing Stages

Did you know that children draw in stages? The same stages, all over the world? Universally? If you have children, you have probably noticed that they go through the scribble stage, the more organized scribble stage, the stage where they draw big heads with wiry arms and spidery hands coming out of them, then they do ladder shapes, trees and other homey subjects. But knowing that all children do this regardless of where they are in the world makes me feel that we are all held together by something. Some inner connection made visible by kids when they first pick up a tool to communicate. This week I have been looking at the children’s work from our first day. You may recall that day, they all had a go at lino-cutting. I told them they could do whatever they liked. Then we put all their work up in the room to show our efforts. I brought them down last week because I decided to use them for the invitations to the big exhibition of our finished books in August. And then I noticed. Every child seemed to have created a house in their linocuts. Some of the houses are small, some pictures have more than one house. As I kept looking through the pile, I got excited. Another house, yes, there’s one there. Then, to my disappointment, there was an odd one, made of random patterns. Oh well. one out of a whole class is still a great statistic. I went to school for the next scheduled day of the project. I asked who had done the random patterned lino cut. It was Ms. Kelly, the teacher! I was thrilled to learn this; it meant that EVERY SINGLE CHILD HAD DRAWN A HOUSE! 100%,...

Start Writing…

Everyone’s had a go at linocut and loved it. The kids have a taste for the project. Before we can get back to that exciting activity however, we have a more pressing and equally exciting one to attend to; we must write our books. Each child must complete their template, which will become their story. Today, they must decide where their bridge from Beeac is going to take them. And Jackie Hosking, the children’s poet is here to help us with our writing too. But first, I want to introduce the idea of going back in time to them in one place. It would be wonderful if they could focus on going back in time to Beeac where we all live – it is the town’s 150th anniversary of white settlement this year. Naturally, My Place comes to mind, the wonderful classic by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins. We begin by reading about generations of children who go back in time and talk about their own space in their own place. Some of the students are already familiar with the book and love revisiting it and by now, they have also seen the television series. On each page, we see the big tree, the creek, the brickpits, the house… The idea of time travel gets them going. Some of the children do decide to go back in time in Beeac. One girl decides she’s going back to 1920s Beeac. We have a wonderful photo from that time with a horse and cart outside an old shop where her parents now have a business. One boy wants to see the big flash flood in Beeac in 1941, where the Main street was awash in knee-deep water after a freak storm. One boy will visit Beeac...

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