Saturday, March 30, 2019

Weeks 5 and 6 including Workshop 1.

Robyn Bauer Workshop

Finally some welcome rain! Unfortunately though it was the day of my first workshop in the gardens. I had several contingency plans for light rain, heavy rain or just spitting. Luckily for an hour or so it held off and we could draw outside.

My first workshop was entitled "The Body Language of Trees" and we worked with charcoal.

We started in the seminar room for the overall teaching component and then headed to the Australian rainforest area and Aboriginal trail. Here are a few pictures from the day.

Robyn Bauer Workshop

Robyn Bauer Workshop

Robyn Bauer Workshop

Robyn Bauer Workshop

Robyn Bauer Workshop

Apart from the teaching, I have spent several days in the Gardens drawing on location as usual.
I am still formulating ideas about how these observations will translate into much larger works. I have started a couple. But in the meantime, still drawing. Drawing is the basis of everything.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Week Four in the Gardens

Even though is is now Autumn, we had incredibly hot weather this week. I worked mostly in the studio apart from a couple of little forays outside to walk in the gardens.

Robyn Bauer- Lotus painting

I have taken hundreds of photos I can work from although I still want my work to have a quality of having been done on location. The magnificent lotus plants are growing in a raised pond just outside the admin and library complex at the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. I wanted to capture both pods and flowers. I have finally moved to working on canvas after all the drawings I have done.

Robyn Bauer - costus barbatus

This brightly coloured flower is a type of ginger called costus barbatus and it really stands out against the more muted colours of the eucalyptus behind it. I am building these paintings up in layers and they are still works in progress.

I managed to get hold of these books about Australian landscape artist John Wolseley from the Mt Coot-tha library. Much of Wolseley's art has really been a search for a way of representing the uniqueness of Australian flora, fauna and the environment generally. They are visual meditations on the natural world. He seems to achieve a spiritual interaction with the landscape. (Aboriginal people have always done this) 
Many artists working in a western manner have never quite achieved this depth of response. The landscape has been painted, but there has been not so much focus on the flora and fauna except for natural history artists.

What I am aiming for is something that crosses these different traditions; Not a photographic representation or a collection of scientific observations,but something that takes from or blends different approaches. I am nowhere near achieving this yet but maybe after my year in the Gardens I'll have more of an idea. 

What I can say so far is that I want my work to show some visual clues as far as colours, shapes and a response to an object or place in the gardens. I have plenty of visual stimuli and my drawings have explored some textural observations. I am trying to find my own way.

There is also the excitement of process. As I've said before, I want even the studio work to have the immediacy of en plein air response.  The excitement of discovering something exotic to me will hopefully come across. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Week Three in the Gardens

I started the week off (Sunday afternoon) with a very long walk around the City Botanic Gardens and collected a bag of bits and pieces from the ground. (I have a special permit as Artist-in-residence to do this).

The first drawing of the week was done from examining these specials finds.

Robyn Bauer Botanical Drawing

These objects deteriorate very quickly and the colours fade. The red and yellow leaves were so vibrant when I picked them up, but after only one day they had changed colour.

Robyn Bauer Botanical Drawing

I know this one looks like a substantial departure from my usual work but it is something I have been wanting to do for a while. Firstly the collage using music manuscript and secondly the stencil cut-out idea. I had some fun with this. There is some quite detailed painting done over the top.

The music is relevant to me in several ways. I always have Classical music playing in the studio and also I find huge inspiration from how a classical piece is put together. Different lines or threads of various instruments to make a complete composition.  It is the sum of many parts.

Robyn Bauer Rainforest Painting

Now it is officially Autumn, the weather is cooling slightly in the mornings. A few mornings I arrived bright and early to get back to working on location which is my preferred modus operandi. I want all my work to have the feeling of having been done en plein air. There is a large of range of media employed and I enjoy the textural variations that result.

Robyn Bauer Waterlily Painting

I had really been yearning to get down to the Waterlily pond while the flowers are so magnificent but it's been too hot to sit there so far. One morning found some shade on the viewing platform. I took along some paper prepared with a swish of acrylic as a background to save time. I have drawn over it in quite a coptic manner, following the outlines of the lily pads. Water-soluble crayons used also.

Basically I have spent the week still exploring varying media and keeping everything fresh. I have some ideas for larger paintings crystallizing in my mind. Still not quite ready to start them yet. Having a rewarding time observing.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Week Two in the Gardens

Everything living has its own momentum. Seasons change, weather shifts and things gradually alter. They grow, develop and eventually decay. Each of these phases can interest me as an artist. Week two of my residency in the Gardens, I spent a lot more time just looking and thinking. The initial excitement of getting out there and drawing as much as I could in a week has been replaced by a quieter sense of things fermenting in my consciousness. I am looking deeper and closer and finding lots of tiny botanical treasures on the ground that I have brought back to the studio to examine in closer detail. I have done quite a lot of walking and have been to parts of the Gardens that I had never explored before.

Robyn Bauer Botanical Drawing

My subject matter this week has been various materials found in the Australian plant areas.  All of these "bits" I have discovered, are in various stages of decomposition. The shapes are what interest me the most. Such diversity and all found within the one week of February.

Robyn Bauer Botanical Drawing
This one above includes a large Bunya nut and one of its spiky leaves. Other berries and pods are in various stages of drying out.

Robyn Bauer Botanical Drawing

In some of these drawings I have traced around the leaves and used colour to indicate my delight at my discoveries. I am in a sense, interpreting what I find through the filter of myself. They are responses to the plants and to the settings in which I find them. There is quite a bit of fine detail and some of these objects are tiny, such as the white pods at top right.

Robyn Bauer Botanical Painting

I have used a colour overlapping effect that one finds in the Garden landscape, while at the same time giving each object its own space. I hope this makes sense to people reading this, because the real analogy is my life generally.  To really give this residency my best shot, I have attempted to make space in my own life to allow the response and creativity to happen. I have made a few sacrifices and given up a few other commitments to allow this to take place and I am happy to do so.

Robyn Bauer Botanical Drawing

The one above is mostly about the flowering stenocarpus sinuatus. There are a few other silhouettes of leaves behind the realistically painted ones. I can't resist a bit of pattern making as well.

Robyn Bauer Studio Shot

Finally a picture of my table where I am currently working. I have some botanical and Japanese prints as inspiration above the collected green paraphernalia.

I am fully aware that I am trying different approaches, media and techniques before I create some larger paintings where hopefully it will all come together. I am happy to share this journey and this process. I have never been more fully aware of the true value of process over results. I think that if I embrace the fact that I don't know where all this will lead, it will lead somewhere truly unexpected and worth arriving at!

See you next week.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Gardens Week 1 - My new best friends

I can honestly say that I have hit the ground running with my Artist-in-Residency at the Botanic Gardens. I have been there every day and have done a sketch on location in charcoal. Obviously this involves sitting very still and being very quiet. And the wildlife have come up very close to check me out!

I don't know what sort of snake this is. Maybe someone can tell me? I could see about one metre of his body in the open.

This little guy was more persistent. I think he could smell the banana in my bag. He didn't get it though! Nothing would frighten him off, no matter how much I shuffled my feet.

There were dozens of these guys but they didn't come too close. Too busy scratching around.

I was happy to get a photo of four of these busy birds in the same shot.

And this rather well-fed guy was pretty good company in the City Gardens.

So these are all my new best friends! We will have to get used to each other.

I feel I am really being a witness to the Gardens and everything that is going on there.
To quote Mary Oliver (1935-2019)

"To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work"

I am being a witness from a space within my own imagination. I am also pursuing beauty and I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by it.

Robyn Bauer, charcoal drawing

I can chose a subject such as this textured trunk in on the Indigenous Plant Trail and while it is my main focus, everything around it opens up for me while I am sitting there.

Robyn Bauer Fig tree drawing

Most of the week I concentrated on Fig Trees and Australian plants while pondering possibilities of turning my responses into much larger and colourful paintings. Watch this space and these will eventually appear.

Robyn Bauer rainforest drawing

I chose a wider angle in this drawing and my main focus was the moving stream in the foreground. It was an extremely hot and humid day and hopefully that shows through too.

Robyn Bauer, tree drawing

This magnificent specimen is phaleria clerodendron which I spied in the Australian Plant Communities when taken on a guided tour by one of the head gardeners. It has tiny white flowers growing straight out of the trunk as you can see in the photo below.

phaleria clerodendron

I believe that because of the extreme heat we have experienced lately it is putting on a more elaborate show than usual. I used a range of ink dilutions to get the detail I needed in this drawing.

Robyn Bauer, Fig tree drawing

My final drawing for the week was another Fig tree, ficus sycomorus and it also has fruit growing straight out of its massive trunk. Quite thrilling to see and hard to believe unless you witness it.

I said in last week's blog that my reading was getting more scientific , but I haven't let go of poetry either.

Another quote from Mary Oliver -

"Let me keep my distance, always, from
those who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those
who say "Look" and laugh in
astonishment and bow their heads." 

Well I'm pretty astonished at what I am finding and it is only week one! I have 51 to go!

I plan to update this blog weekly.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

My Artist-in-Residency at the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens 2019

I have started a very detailed daily diary about the project for the year ahead and I will share some of my thoughts here.
Naturally I have certain personal goals but the only thing that I can say with absolute certainty is that I hope at this stage to keep an open mind about where the project may lead. I can also say that I am really ready for this. Not only ready, but it is something I have been yearning for in my arts practice. Recent years have have had much narrower focus, but this is something with such possibilities for growth and expansion; for learning about the scientific side of things as well as the opportunity for my responses to my subject matter to rise to another level. A growth of the artist's spirit or essence. I could use the word "soul" or "anima". I hope you get the picture!

There has always been a wonderful relationship between art and botany. In real botanical illustration, the purpose is to show the different stages in the development of a plant; in bud, in blossom and in fruit. I have always loved such illustrations and have a whole library of books about them.

As far as my work is concerned the boundaries between botanical illustration, fine art painting and sketching on location, are something I intend to ignore. I am just going to work instinctively and respond to the place I am working.

My reading this year will be a lot more scientific than usual. I have steadily collected these books below over the last few years and the Mt Coot-tha Library is an excellent resource with extremely knowledgeable and helpful staff.

Hopefully the things I learn will inform my response to the Gardens, but I will never let go of my instinctive response. 
A quote from Rex Vicat Cole 1915 about drawing in nature -

" When we are with Nature all formulas and precepts must be left behind. If we go out to paint in a set manner we are conscious of ourselves rather than of nature: our practice will show that we are learned or ignorant, dextrous or clumsy, but but it will not show that which could have incited us to paint it"  

Here are a few drawings and sketchbook pages to get the blog rolling along.

Robyn Bauer sketchbook page, Gardens

There are so many aspects of the gardens to explore but so far I have always been drawn to the Australian Rainforest areas. Fig trees are a particular love of mine and I am looking forward to learning more about them. I will be observing the seasonal changes and the different stages in the fruiting cycle.

Robyn Bauer Sketchbook pages, Gardens

Finally a couple of charcoal drawings, one of which was done in the City Gardens. I will be varying my materials to suit the subjects and lets just see where it takes me!

Robyn Bauer Fig Tree Drawing

These drawings are done in charcoal on craft paper prepared with pastel primer. The one above is in the City Gardens and below at Mt Coot-tha.

Robyn Bauer Fig Tree Drawing

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The 100 Churches Project

I started this in a small way, recording churches close to home, but it has grown into something much bigger, that involved lots of research and driving about, and encompasses temples, mosques, synagogues and other sacred places. Brisbane is full of such buildings that embody powerful spiritual meaning and are the focus of community sentiment.
These are places where people celebrate life, be it marriages, births, and deaths. People bear witness to loving unions; we mourn our departed loved ones. But these places are often just landmarks that we drive past, and they are not really in the public consciousness.
I wanted to record these places with integrity, just the fact of the place, and how it looked on a particular day, with weather, cars, people, traffic lights, no frills or “best face”. It became an obsession there for a while. I had to stop at 100 but I could have kept going. There are many I missed but I did my best.

The 100 Churches Project by Robyn Bauer

1. St John’s Anglican Cathedral, 373 Ann St, Brisbane Q.4000
2. St Nikolas, Serbian Orthodox, 6 Ross St, Woolloongabba Q. 4102
3. St Francis of Assisi, Dutton Park Catholic Parish, 47 Dornoch Terrace, West End, Q.4101
4. Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Parish, 36 Broadway St Woolloongabba. Q.4102
5. Brisbane Mosque, Islamic Society of Holland Park, 309 Nursery Road, Holland Park, Q.4121
6. Rosalie Baptist Church, 97 Fernberg Road, Paddington, Q.4064
7. Windsor Road Baptist Church, 16 Windsor Road, Red Hill, Q.4059
8. Mary Immaculate, Annerley Ekibin Catholic Parish, Ipswich Rd and Ferndale St, Annerley Q4103
9. St Brigid’s Church, Catholic, 78 Musgrave Road, Red Hill, Q.4059
10. St Barnaba’s Anglican Church, 28 St Barnaba’s Place (Waterworks Road) Red Hill, Q. 4059
11. Annerley Baptist Church, 556 Ipswich Road, Annerley, Q.4103
12. St David’s Uniting Church, 68 Orange Grove Road, Cooper’s Plains, Q.4108
13. St Stephen’s Chapel, Catholic, 249 Elizabeth St, Brisbane Q.4000
14. All Saints Church, Anglican Parish of Brisbane, 32 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill, Q.4000
15. St Columba’s Catholic Church, 170 Kedron Brook Road, Wilston, Q.4051
16. Sacred Heart Church, Catholic, 369 Given Terrace, Paddington, Q.4064
17. St Finbarr’s Church, Jubilee Catholic Parish, 202 waterworks Road, Ashgrove, Q.4060
18. St John’s Lutheran Church, 24 Levington Road, Eight Mile Plains, Q.4113
19. Our lady of Victories, Catholic Church, 29 Cintra Road, Bowen Hills, Q.4006
20. St Mary’s Catholic Parish, 1 Bromelton St, Beaudesert, Q.4285
21. St Andrew’s Uniting Church, 299 Ann St, Brisbane City, Q.4000
22.St Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 25 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, Q.4000
23. Graceville Uniting Church, 215 Oxley Road, Graceville, Q.4075
24. Sri Selva Vinayakar Temple, Hindu Temple, 4915-4923 Mt Lindsay Hwy, South Maclean, Q.4280
25. Iglesia ni Cristo, Church of Christ, 65 Orange Grove Road, Cooper’s Plains, Q.4108
26. Logan Bosnian Islamic Centre,2674F Logan Road, Eight Mile Plains, Q.4113
27. Ithaca Presbyterian Church, 100 Enoggera Terrace, Paddington, Q.4064
28. Fo Guang Shan, Chung Tian Temple, 1034 Underwood Road, Priestdale, Q.4127
29. Redeemer Chapel, Our Saviour Lutheran Church, 745 Rochedale Road, Rochedale, Q.4123
30. St Luke’s Church, Anglican Parish of Ekibin, 193 Ekibin Road, Tarragindi, Q.4121
31. Brisbane Sikh Temple, 2679 Logan Road, Eight Mile Plains, Q.4113
32. St Stephen’s Cathedral, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, 249 Elizabeth St,     
       Brisbane, Q.4000
33. The Brisbane Synagogue, Brisbane Hebrew Congregation, 98 Margaret St, Brisbane, Q.4000
34. Bulimba Uniting Church, 216 Oxford St, Bulimba, Q.4171
35. St John the Baptist, Anglican Church, 171 Oxford St, Bulimba, Q.4171
36. St Patrick’s Church, Roman Catholic, 58 Morgan St, Fortitude Valley, Q.4006
37. Macedonian Orthodox Church, Nativity of the Holy Mother of God, 142 James St, New Farm,  
38. Holy Spirit Catholic Parish, 16 Villiers St, New Farm, Q.4005
39. St Michael and All Angels, Anglican, 655 Brunswick St, New Farm, Q.4005
40. City Tabernacle, Baptist Church, 163 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill, Q.4000
41. West End Uniting Church, 11 Sussex St (cnr Vulture St) West End, Q.4101
42. Uniting Church in Australia, Kennedy Terrace, Paddington, Q.4064
43. St Paul’s Anglican Church, 10 Jubilee Terrace (cnr Waterworks Rd) Ashgrove, Q.4060
44. Ashgrove West Uniting Church, 491 Waterworks Road, Ashgrove, Q.4060
45. St Mary Magdalene, Catholic Church, 51 Cecil Road, Bardon, Q.4065
46. Pilgrim Congregational Church, Episcopal Church, 163 Simpsons Road, Bardon, Q.4065
47. St Francis Theological College Chapel, Chapel of the Holy Spirit, 233 Milton Rd, Milton, Q.4064
48. Church of St Thomas More, Jubilee Catholic Parish, Chapel St, Petrie Terrace, Q.4000
49. Christ Church Milton, Anglican Church of Australia, 9 Chippendall St, Milton, Q.4064
50. Ann St Presbyterian Church, 141 Ann St, Brisbane, Q.4000
51. St Michael’s Catholic Church, 250 Banks St, Ashgrove (Dorrington) Q.4060
52. Albert Street Uniting Church, 319 Albert St, Brisbane City, Q.4000
53. St John the Baptist, Catholic Church, 131 South Pine Road, Enoggera, Q.4051
54. Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Stafford Catholic Parish,70 Appleby Road, Stafford, Q.4053
55. St Clements on the Hill, Anglican Church, Eudunda St, Stafford, Q.4053
56. St Therese Little Flower Church, Catholic, 80 Turner Road, Kedron, Q.4031
57. St Paul’s Uniting Church, 7 Minimine St (cnr Webster Rd) Stafford, Q.4053
58. St Carthage’s Catholic Church, 115 Beaconsfield Terrace, Gordon Park, Q.4031
59. Holy Cross Catholic Parish, 28 Chalk St, Lutwyche, Q.4030
60. St Paul’s Presbyterian Sabbath Hall, 43 St Paul’s Terrace, Spring Hill, Q.4000
61. St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, 43 St Paul’s Terrace, Spring Hill, Q.4000
62. St Joseph’s Catholic Church, 26-36 Leopard St, Kangaroo Point, Q.4169
63. Kangaroo Point Uniting Church, 40/48 Linton St, kangaroo Point, Q.4169
64. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, 344 Vulture St, Woolloongabba, Q.4102
65. Islamic Centre, West End Mosque, 12 Princhester St, West End, Q.4101
66. Greek Orthodox Church, 33 Edmonstone St, South Brisbane, Q.4101
67. St Mary’s Catholic Parish, 20 Merivale St, South Brisbane, Q.4101
68. St Mary’s Anglican Church, 455 main St, Kangaroo Point, Q.4169
69. Bahai Centre, 26 Mayneview St, Milton, Q.4064
70. Hindu Temple, Hindu Society of Qld Inc. Gayatri Mandir, 178 Lyndhurst Rd, Boondall, Q.4034
71. Masjid Taqwah Mosque, 119 Telegraph Road, Bald Hills, Q.4036
72. Gurdwara Singh Sabha, 101 Lemke Road, Taigum, Q.4018
73. Greek Orthodox Parish of St Paraskevi, 241 Church Road, Taigum, Q.4018
74. Church of Christ, Queenstown Ave and Carlyle Road, Boondall, Q.4034
75. Sandgate Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 6/8 Depot Road, Deagon, Q.4017
76. Ching Chung Taoist Temple, The Evergreen Taoist Church of Australia, 41 Depot Road, Deagon,
77. St Flannan’s Catholic Church, 194 Handford Road, Zillmere, Q.4034
78. Christadelphian Ecclesias Wilston in Zillmere, 110 Church Road, Zillmere, Q.4034
79. Brisbane Congress Congregation, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Congress, Uniting Church in
       Australia, 385 Zillmere Road, Zillmere, Q.4034
80. St John the Evangelist, Anglican Parish of Green Hills, 181 Wardell St, Enoggera, Q.4051
81. Seventh Day Adventist Church, 97 Blackwood St, Mitchelton, Q.4053
82. St Matthew’s Anglican Parish of Grovely, 35 Church Road, Mitchelton, Q.4053
83. St William’s Catholic Church, 67 Dawson Parade, Grovely, Q.4054
84. The Gap Uniting Church, 1050 Waterworks Road, The Gap, Q.4061
85. Ashgrove Baptist Church, 7 Firhill St, Ashgrove, Q.4060
86. Rivercity Family Church, 59 Settlement Road, The Gap, 4061
87. St Mark’s Anglican Church, 1073 Waterworks Road/Kullaroo St, The Gap, Q.4061
88. St Thomas Anglican Church, 67 High St, Toowong, Q.4066
89. Toowong Baptist Church, 5 Jephson St, Toowong, Q.4066
90. Christ Church Anglican Parish of St Lucia, 3 Baty St, St Lucia, Q.4067
91. Chinese Christian Church of Brisbane, 83 Ryans Road, St Lucia, Q.4067
92. Holy Triad Temple, Buddhist temple, 32 Higgs St, Albion, Q.4010
93. St Andrew’s Anglican Church, 160 Vulture St, (cnr Cordelia St) South Brisbane, Q 4101
94. Free Serbian Orthodox Church, St Nicholas Monastery, 243/247 Vulture St, South Brisbane,
95. St Clement’s Catholic Church, 74 Ernest St, South Brisbane, Q.4101
96. Gospel Hall, 50 Miskin St Toowong, Q.4066
97. Brisbane Australia Temple, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 200 River Terrace,
       Kangaroo Point, Q.4169
98. St Ignatius Loyola Church, 30 Kensington Terrace, Toowong, Q.4066
99. Toowong Uniting Church, 82 Sherwood Road, Toowong, Q.4066
100. St Peter Chanel Catholic Centre, 41 Chaprowe St, The Gap, Q.4061

All Paintings 21x21cm,
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas Board

$290 each

Installing the 100 Churches Project, Robyn Bauer
Installation shot, The 100 Churches Project, Robyn Bauer with the help of her son

Installing the 100 Churches project, Robyn Bauer with the help of her son

Individual images can also be viewed on my website.