Hill End Last Week

After 3 weeks of adjustment and cathartic emotions I have finally found peace in my solitude and the spring has brought wonderful warm days to Hill End. People are returning, more wonderful members of the community have introduced themselves and I have been painting like mad. I even made a painting for cafe Dave. I painted it over a 2 dollar shop photo print that makes it look like the kangaroo and bush in the Haefliger’s yard is in a vortex.

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Hill End Day 14

Today is a Saturday and after my jog I drove into Bathurst. First stop is always Hub for brekky/brunch and I was reading the letters between Sunday Reed and Joy Hester in my solitude (a book from Haefliger’s library) feeling very bohemian. I shopped at the art store, farmer’s market and then poxland before heading back to HE. Darren and Shaye were visiting me this weekend so we went to History Hill. What a bizarre and overwhelming place. The deconstructed town has been assembled within its dark underground interior. The rusted spooky collection of 19th century artefacts are punctuated by witty labels and additional effigies created by the assembler(s) that lend a 20th century local humour to what are extreme contrasts between male/female, Western/Eastern and the lone corner of a cabinet dedicated to the Wiradjuri that feature the most hideous neck shackles I have ever seen, their origins – the African American slave. I took over 100 photos and so there will be two image installments. A couple of notable items were the carved pipes and large locks. An installation of scales is a formidable sign of the gold rush town.

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Day 11 Hill End

Today I went for my jog under a grey sky then home for soup from the cool coffee man and then off to a wonderful yoga session and coffee with some lovely local ladies who told me more about the village. Its a really interesting community with lots of artists. At home I worked in the studio on the woodducks cosy by the potbelly as the rain came down and not wanting to leave but knowing the pub beckoned…. so I donned my computer and raincoat over (my dryzabone is still airing after 14 years in a caravan full of shrouds!) and my son Zeph’s ex blundstones (a little big) to trudge through the puddles and I met more locals! a lady called Jo who has been in Hill End since 98 and is working in inks atm and Helen originally from the Hunter valley and Maxine the barlady… all awesome ladies. I feel surrounded by strong women! (although there are plenty of interesting looking men too of course!)

And finally some images of works in progress….

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Day 9 Hill End

After such a warm day yesterday the sun refused to come out today. It was freezing but after my morning jog I went back out along the jogging path to take some shots. Part way along the camera ran out of batteries! I stoked the potbelly up in the studio and painted all day as the ran eventually came down. My trip to the pub delayed till tomorrow. I am working on the woodducks shroud and its bringing back all those memories of dad taking a baby woodduck from its mum and dad when I was a girl just because I wanted one! And I raised it like a mum and it followed me around like its mum. The work is becoming very cathartic as I miss dad (he would love being here with me in Hill End drawing all these lovely leafless trees!) and miss being a mum (my own fault of course). I think about how I am getting old, but also how this means the loss of dearly beloved family and friends (something I didn’t really have to deal with in my youth aside from my Hungarian grandfather). Creating works for me always seems to be about sadness but at least my mural (which I worked on in the evening by the loungeroom fire) is bright and happy (although I can hear dad’s voice giving me feedback!) His spirit is with me I am sure of that. I have been crying alot…

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Day 8 Hill End

Today was Sunday, my first day alone and although the sun was warm and I ended up painting the mural all day in the sunshine, it didn’t begin so well! I went for my morning jog to split rock and when I returned the key would not open the door! The lock was jammed! I could feel my anger build but saw the screens could be taken off the windows if only I had a Phillips head screwdriver (how ironic for the first day in Hill End without Darren Phillips!). First I went to the toilet (luckily it was outside!) and discovered it was that time of month as well!!!!) After using alot of toilet paper I headed off to the pub and cafe (both shut of course!) then off to Murrays cottage hoping for another artist! Deserted of course! Then in desperation I headed to the police! In the lovely old court house building luckily a live in job (I could hear kids playing and saw a gaggle of geese in the yard!) Feeling like I was in an episode of Midsomer Murders I rang the bell and was greeted by a friendly policeman in his dressing gown! I felt so embarrassed asking for the screwdriver… He gave me a flat head too and said he was having a lazy Sunday! Once I had gotten in and had my coffee and brekky I felt better, got changed out of my daggy old holey clothes I jog in (got rid of the toilet paper!), washed my face and returned the screwdriver…

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