I just have to talk about the wombats.
Wombats are really cute and noisy (so they keep me company). They peak through the window at me while I work and leave their poo on the verandah, I gotta be careful in the dark…
Alicia, who was Visiting Bundanon for a couple of days, found another gift beside the apartment. The colourful rainbow lorikeet. I placed her on thick paper between two heavy boards. Thanks Alicia.
Yesterday, Bundanon staff moved the dead daddy kangaroo away from the homestead to the stingray shroud site. Today I estimated and cut a length of canvas from my roll and walked out in the heat of the midday sun to the site. Ravens and a wedge tail eagle greeted me. The kangaroo is big but young and fibrous and so I was able to drag him by his thick black tail onto the canvas I had laid out beside him. It was, miraculously, a perfect fit. His death pose is strong and dynamic. The stingray is drying out nicely and should create a neat silhouette.
I jogged along the Cedar trail this morning and discovered dead lantana bunches hanging like crazy nests from trees and rocks. I checked on the stingray and it survived the night, but two ravens were hanging around calling to each other. I filled up the copper cauldron with water from the lagoon and found a dead daddy kangaroo. Maybe he had a fight with another daddy so I told Jennifer the collections manager and she said it needed to be moved. I suggested he could become another Bundanon shroud. Jennifer’s husband had found a ‘skate’ at a similar time to me on a Vincentia beach and photographed it. They had also found it serendipitous considering the Boyd show featuring the Skate was on at the Jervis Bay Maritime Museum at this time. I think both should feature in my stingray works. I put one coat of rabbit skin glue on 6 canvases including the Woollamia ringtail possum and rosella.
Darren and I collected the shroud equipment from Woollamia and took it to Bundanon in our new Falcon ute. Installing on the warm clear Sunday was so peaceful. I placed the stingray (found deceased on the beach where I jog each morning) on a canvas beside another canvas that will be left exposed to the elements without a decomposing body. I collected the nearby wattle leaves and put them in the copper cauldron. Looking to see if I could get to the river to collect water to soak them I found a piece of barbed wire, which was serendipitous as we needed more wire for the installation. I took the copper to the lagoon and put water in it there to make a wattle leaf dye for the stingray canvases. In the late afternoon as night fell I resolved another work on paper adding delek to a paper shroud containing fish.
It was crisp and cold early as I jogged down around the paddocks to the river. A cow sitting near the fence watched me open the gate while further down I encountered the big daddy grey kangaroo again. As we stared at each other and I walked slowly around him in a wide circle he then slowly made his way toward his mob. As I approached the herd of black cattle I wondered at the aesthetically pleasing contrast between their hide and the green grass as I love silhouettes. I thought of a painting with the black cattle looking at me with a large white galah in the foreground. I startled the ducks on the lagoon and the mob of grey kangaroos again. The wombats seem to be in hiding now, their burrows are everywhere.
Another jog up to the amphitheatre and then the ridge startling a rock wallaby. The sun was bursting through the trunks of trees. On the way down I found some ochre dug up by machinery and encountered a big daddy grey kangaroo who stared me down. I waited for him to pass before running back to my studio. I prepared all my images for use in my paintings and began working with delek to finish a work on paper, realising it was now the birth of my son Zephyr Nebachudanezzar on the Shoalhaven River in 1994 when I lived with Adam in a farmhouse across the river from Bundanon. We had hung out the sheet I gave birth to Zephyr on to dry but during the night it was taken away by a mystery creature.
The morning of my first day I jogged down the paddock scattering the feeding wombats as black cattle and grey kangaroos stared at the newcomer to their country. But it is familiar country, on the river where I gave birth to my son 20 years ago. Near the town I went to high school. I had been to Bundanon before as a school student, then adult visitor, but today I was living here. The first day of 5 weeks. The apartment and studio are perfect, and I have settled in among other creative peers, feeling at home and grounded, in spite of the extreme winds. I focus on the tree lined horizon and begin to gather images. I drive the long treacherous way into town and buy food and a portable electric stove for melting rabbit skin glue. I return to find a black out and flat batteries in my scales. I need to measure 5g of alum and 50g of glue, the sizing will have to wait.