The image above is called After Image. It is nearly two metres wide and standing in front of the real thing the eye is caught first by the black and then travels to the white. But as it does it carries an after image of the black in negative, ie. white. I was dealing with war at the time and this was about the long term effect on the psychs of people.
This next painting is called Little Bird and is about those displaced by war, those who become refugees. Australia treats refugees abysmally. It is shameful.
Although it was at the time of the first gulf war, it took me a while to realise that this series was dealing with war. I just felt deeply depressed. Gone, with this upsurge of war, was the vane hope that the will of the people would be respected. People protested in huge numbers. No one except a few leaders wanted war but we got it anyway. And look where it has led? Some of us could see that.
I really didn't understand what I was doing; painting weird black and white pictures, harsh and troubled. They had a lot of punch but really? They worried my mother. Normally she smiled politely at my non-representational abstracts, but these troubled her. It wasn't until I wrote the following poem that I understood these paintings with any depth.
painting with black
I paint with black
black to cover my sorrow
black to cover my shame
there is blood on the streets
there is blood on the faces of the children
there is blood on the Torah
there is blood on the Bible
there is blood on the Koran
there is blood
black the earth
black the sky
How horrific it is. And endless. Am I making you happy? No? Not me either. But here is a painting from the end of the series. It is called Dwelling. I think it is restful and hopeful. I think it is a simple shelter in the midst of need.
And I don't know how to do an emoji heart on this platform, but that is what I send you, Dear Viewers, a good healthy loving beating heart.
The painting is mine, the cartoon under the set-square is my granddaughter, Lenka's. She would have been seven at the time. I'm really rather pleased with the painting it is much more visceral than most of my work, with thicker more viscous paint. Maybe one day soon, I will delight in paint more often.
You can see some more of my paintings and artwork here. One day I'll make a shop on this website. In the meantime, if you have the desire to part with your hard earned for any of my stuff, or anything else you want to know, contact me here.
grasses shushing the voices of ancestors
spinifex dot painting country
intricate memory of blood splatter lichen
* * * * *
how can one walk the earth of Australia and not think
of the people who have gone before
the crags sing of them
the water wells salty with tears
the earth is red as the blood that was shed upon it
* * * * *
- Country: In Aboriginal English, a person’s land, sea, sky, rivers, sites, seasons, plants and animals; place of heritage, belonging and spirituality; is called ‘Country’. (Source: Glossary of Indigenous Australian Terms, Australian Museum, Link.
'spinifex dot painting country' was first published in Journeys, an anthology published by Haiku Bindii, a local Adelaide Japanese poetry group. I don't think they have any more copies but I have a few. If you are interested contact me here, and I can get one into the mail for you.