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

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