Saturday, 29 August 2015

step by step .....

Once again it has been an age since I posted on my blog but plenty has been happening behind the scenes.  The next couple of photographs are really just a tease ... I am sure Fiona and I will post on this book 'silence' soon.  It is the last of our collaborative books and was done in a more traditional collaboration where I created the artwork and Fiona was responsible for the beautiful quotes we sourced on 'silence'.  It is a very quiet and meditative book and we will speak more of it later as we have editioned this book and have also made a second edition of the five individual prints.

'silence' by Susan Bowers and Fiona Dempster.

I have had to keep away from more toxic things in the last months and as such have been revisiting my painting and drawing days and having a great deal of fun in the process.  Earlier this year I did a workshop with Noela Mills on textures and using some of the elements I learnt I have been working on 'textures of australia' which will form one of the bodies of my work for the up coming exhibition at Noosa Regional Gallery.  I have made four larger individual works and a piece made up of sixteen smaller works to be hung as a four by four installation.  I am really looking forward to seeing them up on walls and not just scattered over my studio floor.

The inspiration for these works has been our trips to the outback of Australia and being lucky enough to take helicopter flights or small plane flights over lake Eyre and Lake Armadeus - both of which were oceans of salt whipped up by wind.  Though the two years prior to my flight over Lake Eyre had been popular viewing because of all the flood water which came down from the north of Australia, I was lucky enough to be there when the typical dry was back and witness the aftermath of a windstorm the night before which created gorgeous patterns and marks and almost made the desert landscape look like frozen tundra, or our ocean shores.

It fascinates me that what we see from on high by way of patterns and marks over extensive landscape, can be repeated in a single rock or stone found on the ground.  People associate the vivid blues and reds with our outback but my eye is always drawn to these soft greys and ochres, charcoals and mauves. In this painting below you can see the remnant of water left in some small puddles amidst what looks like ice but is salt residue.

I have finally completed my 3D drawings ... seventeen of them which will spread across a wall a couple of metres - hopefully in a spot with much delicious light which seems to bring these drawings to life.  The wall upon which I hang them for viewing in my studio has barely any light so they don't look their best.  The process for each of these is quite involved as I firstly need to make the drawings, each of which is between 90cms and 130cms  in height and in various widths.  Once this is done I actually score the paper, which is mostly architectural film inherited from my father, hoping like anything that I am not cutting right through the film and ruining the drawings.  Strangely enough, once all the drawing and the scoring and folding has taken place, one of the most difficult things is to actually the stick down the works along their backs so they become totemic.  Not all all easy when you are not able to get your hands or arms into the lengths of the sculptured drawings!

Part of me thinks that is would be so much easier just to make a number of two dimensional drawings and forget about working in 3D - though I think this is as close to sculpture I will ever come. I am planning some very large two dimensional works in this vein though they won't be happening till later this year, or next year!
I am using many different layers with the drawings - mostly using inks, graphite power and pencils.  I have tried to keep the drawings varied and yet hope they all hang well together.  Mostly they deal with trees and their markings and textures.
I quite like the softness of the backs ...

The seventeen - though I haven't actually decided if this is the final number!

And some details here, and below.

I am also working on a number of artist's books at the moment.  The glimpses of this one below are from a book which will be called 'standing on fishes' and taken from the work of  Rainer Marie Rilke. If you don't know the poem I would 'google' it as it is sublime.  I have had the quote on my computer desktop for a couple of years now and always wanted to make a book of images to suit.  The imagery just happened and when I had made the fourth image and to me it looked exactly like fish beneath the water, I knew I had found my book.  Now I just have to find a way to write the words on the pages ......  will need to solicit the aid of Fiona I am sure though ultimately I want to actually write in the book myself.  I am still in the process of working out how to present this book, what papers to use, whether I need to add anymore drawing or artwork, whether to emboss covers and so forth.  Need to get a wiggle on though as the date for submitting our list of works get closer and closer.


  1. wow. Very nice ! Will turn out beautifully....

  2. I love the work you are doing at the moment as I always love what you produce.
    I would love to be able to work alongside you sometime.

    Thank you for your kind message .

  3. such a beautiful body of work your tree totems are brilliant, love the depth of thought and process

  4. No wonder you have been so quiet Susan, as you have been so very busy. I'm looking forward to seeing the beautiful results of all your labour at your exhibition with Fiona in November.

  5. Breathtaking work - I love the overall forms and the depth and softness of these pieces, the layers of subtle marks...


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