Bindi Bur Blog

Weird Paintbrushes

Not the best looking paintbrushes, but I love them. Perhaps in the easily-bored artist mind, the predictable mark of a perfect brush stroke becomes less desirable. Once you can handle commercial brushes well, it's nice to work with instruments that will afford you a surprise or challenge you. It gives the work vitality. Some of these brushes have done a lot of work. The long-liner forth from the right has painted a very closely cross-hatched and multilayered painting 180 x 120 cm large and whites on white. Some of my favourite work I give to my family. My son has that one.

I have made paintbrushes from my own hair (those dark thick ones are my old dreadlocks) and the hair of dogs and horses, goats and sheep, fibres and feathers. I even took some hair from a dead cat on the street. I once saw a video of a calligraphy master who said the fibre of his favourite brush was the eyelashes of an ostrich. I didn't even know they have eyelashes.

in the spring
of the squirrel-hair brush
a tentative darkness

Do you see what I mean by vitality? You just couldn't do this with a standard brush.


​The Place of Pine Flowers

The days are lengthening and so
pine flowers burst forth at the tips
of branches, all vigour and hope,
each a tiny replica of the cones to come.

The tree, so huge and old, stands
more stolidly than a man could stand
each branch surging life into
the space it occupies, the place of itself.

Deep roots draw memory
not long fallen as rain, not long drawn
from some wide ocean by great winds
or tiny movements of air like the breath of a baby.

There are times when I don’t remember
my feet planted in this earth. I look to
ideas and delights, fingertips and quandaries
ice cream and books, love and sustenance.

There are times when I don’t remember
the flowers that I put forth into the world:
this, for example, or the children I reared
growing older in their houses.

There are times when I don’t remember
the space I occupy, my space and no one else’s.
And I forget that it has a place
no less deserving than this old tree

A place no less deserving than this old tree
giving and taking from the great field of life
with its roots delving, and moisture swelling
the supple clenched fists of its flowers.


Angry with God

I'm Angry with God

for filling mankind with an inflated view
of its own importance:

‘in My image, go forth and multiply,
subdue the earth.’

And here we are, having multiplied,
fighting each other for peace.

Having subdued the earth, we’re living
in our own shit, we’re cooking ourselves under heaven.

And I can’t remember God saying, ‘subdue the weather.’
Let alone how.

Memento Mori by Ervin Janek

The Artwork is by Ervin Janek. It's called Memento Mori. It's a double exposure, but the main image is shot on the salt flats at the Coorong in South Australia. I am the model and I'm wearing a yukata (Japanese summer kimino), a plaited raffia wig (homemade), and the spine of some beast that we had found, probably a Kangaroo, hopefully not still stinky, I can't remember. Strange weird and wonderful things that man does.

The poem is a rant about Genesis. Seriously, was it good to make people think they are the centre of creation? Look at where that has got us. This is one set of important stories that is seriously flawed. Because if you have some sort of hierarchy in your world view, with you on top (naturally), then racism and other atrocities are justifiable. And It blinds us to other possibilities. It would be better if we realised (as do most fist people cultures) that all things have equal importance, including us. Then perhaps there would be respect for the natural world, and maybe even each other.

Have a look at more of Ervin Janek's work here and here.


Ervin sitting in front of a picture of flowers and some tanka

in the dream
you pushed our rickety house
how shall we live
now that we grow old?

I stopped reading
and began to gaze
out the window
and that’s why he
reached over and touched me

open Heart, open
to the world of beauty
its cruelty
and your warm husband’s breath
and his limited sleeping breath

the young plum tree
in the first autumn fog
already bare
my loving heart
will take what comes


A Poem Like Many I Have Read



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