Today I drove the old Ford Falcon ute out to Sally’s place in Womboin to collect the fish and stingray shrouds on my lonesome. It was hot work and I was annoyed by the shadows created on the dried husks by the sun when documenting the process. Luckily clouds drifted in and I took some photos without the shadows. The mullet were still quite wet and smelly underneath but the stains were nice and rich. It was really difficult lifting the bedframes into the back of the ute on my own, and I had to leave the largest one there it was a two person job. I placed the husks in a crate for Sally to investigate for possible sculptural materials. I then drove on to Canberra to Adam’s place and gave the shrouds a vinegar bath. I then hung them out to dry in preparation for taking to Emma at ANU painting workshop for stretching tomorrow.
Last Sunday Darren and I drove to Sally and Dave’s house to set up the marine relic shroud installation. It was very hot work. Summer has extended into Autumn thus far. It didn’t take long for the mullet to leak and the stingray and catfish were already part rotten when I collected them so it was smelly work as the sun beat down and flies of all sizes began to swarm. The dog also broke out of the yard in excitement at the smell of pungent sea life so far inland. It was lovely to catch up with Sally in her wonderful home as she worked diligently weaving detritus together in her kitchen full of wonderful art and collected pieces.
Darren and I drove the ute to the shroud site, but once I removed the body of the kangaroo, the smell was diabolical! I spent most of my time running away from the stench so I could take another deep breath and hold it while trying to put the rancid canvas in a vinegar tub. I didn’t have enough vinegar needing another 40 litres. The stingray was much easier to deal with and the print was perfect.
The lorikeet’s colourful feathers are so beautiful, but the print on paper needed to be exposed to the elements more so the feathers could be defined. Darren enjoyed taking photos of my disgusted expressions and flights to escape the cloud of doom!
To see all the images taken (there are more funny ones of me running away and making disgusted faces see https://www.flickr.com/gp/36965266@N08/7y3o91
Yewande and I walked to the shroud site yesterday and saw the stingray very dried and the kangaroo losing fur now and internal liquids. In the studio I have been stitching canvas soaked in eucalyptus and wattle leaves to the back of the woodducks shroud to fill the holes in the body stain. I have also been working in ochre on ‘Nebachudanezar making a Cloud (after Boyd)’. Today I began working on the Woollamia Rosella shroud using oils and find the fumes a shock after using ochres. Yesterday I also began a mural project with local school student Eliza. The design and painting method were all her idea and its looking good!
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.