Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Fighting back

Ecdysis, acrylic on linen, 50 x 40 cm (progress view)

Currently we’re living amongst debris from our recent move and still face a multitude of tasks before we move house again.

It has been all-consuming, so before it sucked the very life out of us, I determined to restore some much-needed balance.

As a card-carrying cinephile, the highlight of my year is the Melbourne International Film Festival. (See also previous post). However, the move has so dominated our lives, I simply didn’t think I’d have the necessary time or energy for MIFF 2019.

Having reached this low point several weeks back, I decided that no way was I giving up something that immeasurably enriches my life and work and that I look forward to all year. Over the ensuing weeks, I renewed my MIFF membership, organised budget accommodation in central Melbourne and booked a crazy number of films (so much so, I may need to do some culling).

The main thing was, I reclaimed a part of my life, and, more importantly, it didn’t end there. I was about to lose my studio, my work was on hold and its resumption seemed highly unlikely, at least any time soon. So, as previously posted, I staked my claim for a workspace in our third bedroom.

Progress has been slow - but steady progress there has been. The painting Ecdysis (pictured top and seen in its early stages HERE) now nears completion. It has been through numerous awkward transitional stages, and for some time, I despaired of ever bringing it to fruition. Due to constant interruptions, it sometimes hung in limbo for extended periods, which was variously frustrating and nerve wracking. I feel a rare sense of pride and satisfaction to have seen it through to this stage. 

In order to clear a pathway for the future, I'm also developing the makings of further works, with a particular focus on Illustrated Women. The burgeoning body decorations in the work below draw inspiration from William Morris.

Meanwhile, I’m doing my best to turn a blind eye to the disorder that surrounds us. Shane and I remain vigilant about retaining balance in our lives, in the form of films, theatre, music, favourite cafes, gallery visits, meals with friends and of course, games with the ever-effervescent Alice. Selected examples follow.

Come From Away, currently playing at the Comedy Theatre, Melbourne and earning standing ovations at every performance,
will restore your faith in human nature. It's also one of the finest pieces of theatre I've ever seen.

Last Thursday evening, in the basement of The Lost Ones, Ballarat, a superlative trio, Australian-born,
Paris-based jazz vocalist Hetty Kate, guitarist James Sherlock and bassist Ben Hanlon, presented
a selection of gems from the Great American Songbook. We could easily have been in a smoky bar
(but without the smoke) in 1920s, 30s, 40s or 50s Manhattan or Paris. What finer way to celebrate
settlement of the Abbotsford house and our permanent move to Ballarat?
By late October, we'll be living in a house dating from the same period as many of those songs.

Playmates and BFFs, Shane and Alice

I think we’re doing OK.