I have just come back from a couple of weeks away in Australia, finished by an afternoon walking on Waiinu Beach just north of Whanganui.
Firstly I went to Towoomba which is inland from Brisbane in the mountains. It was very green and quite warm there. I stayed at The Glennie School and went to a collage class taken by Donna Watson. Donna has a very compelling wabsabi aesthetic which I love and I found the class very challenging. It was not about collage as I know it really. I had to cover all the ground paper, use a limited palette (which is what I do anyway) and I chose to experiment with the series of compositions she had listed for us. Phew - the hardest thing was covering all the ground.
The school was beautiful a mixture of old and new put together very sympathetically. This was a very long verandah I had the walk up and down at least eight times a day to get to our classroom or to get food, either way I didn't get any thinner. I slept in a dormitory which was large room with partitions marking the rooms. I got terribly lost at the beginning but then put a strategic arrow with marking tape on the floor and I was right.
We painted Japanese papers to use in our collages and while it was not easy I have thought about how much I learned. As the old saying goes "If I keep on doing what I have been doing , I am going to keep on getting what I have been getting." I don't know yet what will happen to my own work, if anything.
One thing I have decided is to make at least a collage a day. I really believe in this practice but as yet have not put my money where my mouth is. I think it's like a musician practicing the scales etc. Wait and see.
After Towoomba I went to stay with my sister on Coochimudlow Island. The island is about 15 - 20 minutes from Victoria Point, Brisbane by ferry. It was lovely, about two hours to walk around and sort of tropical.
My sister and I walked somewhere everyday while I was there and then retired to the cafe for coffee and lunch, watched the world go by and by then it was time to go home, watch TV and read.
There were so many things to see. I will have to go back one day. The coloured rocks were beautiful. Apparently the Aborigines used the red colour for decoration. There were quite a few old archaeological sites to look at but I did not get to see them all. One I missed was the "stone fish traps". They were out at low tide mark and the tide was never out while we walked. I was most impressed to think that the Aborigines had a way of eating stonefish which are very poisonous. Then my sister pointed out that they were traps made out of stone to catch fish !!!! On the Brisbane side of the island there were mangroves growing with evidence of jetties and steps constructed by the early European settlers. And up one the beach there was a lone fishing boat which had been pulled from it's mooring during a cyclone. It was very tidy and clean and had been stripped of anything of value. Several other boats had been washed up but they had been re-floated.
Once I got back to New Zealand and Masterton I had one last journey; to Waiinu Beach. It is a beautiful place and sort of settled me down to put things away in my studio, clear a space for my collage practice, do my washing and hunker down for winter.
"I paint flowers so they do not die." Frida Kahlo