Hill End Day 5

Today there were beautiful King Parrots among lots of other birds in the garden and I did some painting in the visitors book using ochre I collected in Hill End. More painting in the studio and less adventuring (aside from my morning jog to kissing point (split rock) startling the kangaroos and goats). Even when it is cold outside the studio is warm with its little potbelly.

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Hill End Day 4

Darren and I explored a lot today. First the museum, then the cemetery and then onto Sofala (which is a very winding drive) and the area is beautiful due to the magic silky oak lined waterways and some rolling countryside and rocky outcrops. When we made our daily walk to the pub we noticed a sick mother kangaroo and her baby. A local man stopped to chat saying he was keeping an eye on them but they were sure to die due to dehydration. There were so many kangaroos in the village that they were crowding themselves to starvation. They are also competing with herds of wild goats.The mum and child were later euthanized by rangers.

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Hill End Residency

This year I have scored a residency at Hill End around 5 hours away. I am staying in Haefliger’s cottage for 4 weeks. The former residence of painters Paul Haefliger and Jean Bellette the house is full of their books and pictures, etc. indicative of mid last century (Australia’s Modern period) that they left behind. In addition this history there is the 19th century Victorian era building and all its accompaniments indicative of the gold mining heyday in Hill End which saw the town develop and swell to include 28 pubs! Now there is one pub standing, the old Royal Hotel which has WIFI (hence it be my present location). Lunchtime is the best time to be here (more people) as nighttime is cold and deserted (residents cosy by their fires!). Have begun a photo journey (been here settling in since Sunday afternoon when Darren and I set up a shroud). On Monday I set up the sun-drenched studio (while Darren roamed the hills) and completed a portion of one of the wetland paintings for Sanctuary Point. Darren got the potbelly going in there so once the sun left it was still warm and I happily painted till bedtime. Today we have had brekky on the sunny front porch before wandering off into the hills exploring mine shafts and the remnants of a town now overgrown with Aussie Bush. It is something I have always dreamed, to see the bush reclaim a town. We then got a coffee at the local corner store run by a lovely fella of English origins and after walking to the museum for a look ended up here at the pub for chips and beer!

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Night Visions

Night Visions is a collaborative performing arts project installed at Siteworks 2016 Bundanon. The brainchild of Alicia Talbot who invited a mixture of artists to contribute their response to a car crash. A team of local young adults are involved too as performers working with some very experienced theatre gems and sound engineer extraordinaires not to mention the deep cultural knowledge of the country offered by David Little, a talented local culture man who was in the year below me at Shoalhaven High and who has been generously sharing some of his ancestral knowledge with me. He took me to a Bora Ring and sung the country alive at day break. I played clapsticks along with his didge playing and singing in language. He includes both Dharawal and Dhurga to respect the intermarriage between both language groups during the contact period and beyond. The images show team Night Visions, the Bundanon landscape and the discovery of the kangaroo shroud I installed last year during my residency that has nicely cured. His bones are also evident.

Womboin Marine Relic Shroud Project

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.

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Womboin Shrouds

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.

Kangaroo/Stingray/Lorikeet Shroud collection

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