Overwintering Shorebirds.

What a superb collection of prints from Firestation Print Studio and Migaloo Press. The exhibition, organised by Kate Gorringe Smith, was to create awareness about the plight of our migratory shorebirds. Their environment is diminishing due to development upon their feeding areas.

These birds fly from Australia and New Zealand through Asia and into the Artic regions. There they bred and then return, some non stop for 9 days, back to Australia and New Zealand. They do this journey every year. An incredible journey!

This journey has inspired numerous artists to create a beautiful and varied collection of prints.



Make the most of exhibition opportunities.

It’s important to make the most of each opportunity that arises when trying to get your art out there for people to see. What could be better than concurrent exhibitions here in Melbourne and Florence Italy.

The Firestation Print Studio and Il Bisonte in Florence are exhibiting work by 30 Australian artists, including myself. Now really to make the most of this opportunity I would have headed over to Florence and their opening, wishful thinking I’m afraid. But the exhibition at Firestation Print Studio looks lovely, thanks to John Hinds for hanging it and Edith for organising the exhibition. There are 3 artist books being put together that will go to Libraries here and in Florence. Now that is what I call a grand opportunity!

Artists in the exhibition include; Elizabeth Banfield, Peter Ward, Sue Poggioli and Annie Day.

Collagraph, the artist’s hand

There’s something lovely about hand made artworks. The individuality, the artist’s hand at work during all stages of the process, the choice and depth of colours and each decision that is made along the way that finally results in the completed artwork.

Over the last two days I finally got around to doing the induction at the Firestation Print Studio, learning how to use the presses properly as I usually print at the kitchen bench, which is ok for Lino printing but you can’t do that for collagraph work. So it was great to be able to learn how to adjust the press to just the right pressure in order to get the desired result in my prints.

You can see the prints that have worked better and those with the correct level of pressure, although there is something still very interesting about other works. Some are ghost prints which create a really interesting layer of depth to the prints what is called palimpsest, the layers that are just distinguishable in the artwork that makes it so interesting to view.

You are constantly making decisions about the colour, the direction and place of each collagraph plate and that is what makes them one of a kind artworks, impossible  to make an edition and each one is a little bit of a surprise when you pull back the paper.

It is also interesting to hear what other people see in the artworks. These ideas can be completely different to what the original ideas of the artist are and that’s great because everyone can enjoy the art for themselves.

Multi layer printing

Just finished a wonderful but exhausting 3 day workshop with the very talented Sarah Amos. We created a stack of collagraph printing plates, laying them out to see what would work well and what need extra attention.

After adjustments, we proofed all our plates and overplayed them building up images.

I learned so much, particularly about colour layering, keep it simple is a great idea, looking for areas that needed a zing and something that makes a statement.

I wish we had another couple of days because you just get into the zone and suddenly the 3 days are over. I think that’s a sign of a great workshop.

I really love this technique and I am amazed at what an intricate print you can create with some simple plates and careful colour choices.

Check out Sarah’s work, I’m sure you’ll be impressed!


The matching partner.

This is view number two. It is one of a number of apple trees that stand behind the family home in Austria. In times gone by the washing line was strung between the trees and the deer also came to feed there. The view is again looking out toward Traunsee, a little bit of artist licence because in actual fact the view is towards the mountains around Salzburg. I would like to hang them up at home, it’s just finding space. I’ll need to do some rearranging!

I hope to hang one at The Firestation print studio at the end of July when we have open days and there will also be an exhibition by Wendy Sharpe and Bernard Ollis at the same time. So if you are in the area then please come and visit.IMG_3890IMG_3900


New Lino prints

These two Lino prints were recently completed ready for an exhibition at Firestation Print Studio called ‘Built’.

The main focus of the exhibition is for talented artist Angela┬áCavalieri to display her work based on the Firestation. I finally decided on the colours for the 4 level houses, I think of them as 1,2,3,4 bedroom units as there has been a lot of apartments being built in the local suburbs, something we never really had here. Where I am, next to the Yarra Valley, we don’t have much in the way of apartments yet.

The other Lino print is Assisi, not that I have been, it is on the wish list to do one day but I made it for mum. She visited Assisi as a young woman, in her twenties and she is in her eighties now. I think it would be lovely to spend sometime over there working on my art! That’s on the wish list too!

Exhibiting opportunities.

imageI am planning on using this 2 plate Lino cut to exhibit at Firestation Print Studio for their up coming exhibition 3-27 of May. It still needs some cleaning up and deciding what colours I will use but I feel quite happy with the way it is going.

It will be an extra special exhibition, as Angela Cavalieri will be exhibiting her work that she is currently researching and creating about the Firestation Print Studio in Armadale, Victoria. It was actually an old Firestation which now houses the print studio, runs workshops and is home to a number of individual and shared artist studios.

It really is a great opportunity for an artist to participate in group exhibitions like this and for the public to see a wide variety of artworks. I’m always so impressed and amazed with the work that people create. It really is such a pleasure spending time doing something creative. I just need a bigger spare room for all the work!



Emerging Artists

Getting started as an artist can be hard work and getting your work out there and noticed can be just as hard as creating the art works!

A great way to get support for you and your work is to join a studio or art society where you are able to participate in group exhibitions with other artists.

One of the best things I have done for my art was to join Firestation Print Studio. The people have been wonderfully supportive and generous with their time and knowledge. I have learnt so many new techniques and participated in exhibitions both here and overseas, ( Japan, Atlanta, London, Ireland, Townsville) which has only been possible by being part of the studio.

Bronwyn Rees, an amazing print artist, is always willing to share her skills, advice and experiences. At our most recent exhibition ‘By the Book’ I was chatting with Karen Neal about her work and she generously shared the techniques she used to create her beautiful book, seen displayed on the wall in the above picture. Also John Hinds, who always has something positive to say about my work, thank you John. His amazing book, ‘This Ferral Australis’ can been seen on the table just behind a couple of my books.

I have also been encouraged to start using Instagram so I have and it is also under the name theartfields.

Thanks to Vivian from VBI fabrics for encouraging me with this and to Brad for setting it all up.

New Artist Book

Have just finished a little artist book with Lino prints based on views from my garden. Each print is over printed and some also have a printed sheet of Japanese paper.

I have kept the colours very simple, just shades of turquoise and browns to reflect the layers of colour in the garden. I have also printed a plain black set that I am still deciding what I will add to them. They will probably end up in a book as well, ready for an exhibition in February at Firestation print studio that will be all about books, should be good!

Stencil and collagraph fun

Have just come home from a wonderful 2 day workshop with Sarah Amos at the Firestation Print Studio.

It was all about making and using stencils with your collagraph plates. We started by making 4 collagraph plates on mount card or similar, I used a close up photo of holes eroded into rocks at the beach as my inspiration.

Next it was onto making lots of stencils. Some with texture others simple or complicated cut outs. You can’t have enough stencils apparently!

Day two was all about the printing and I learnt so much from Sarah, she is a terrific teacher and explains everything carefully with plenty of demonstrations, which is essential when learning new skills.

My colour palette for the first prints wasn’t all that great but I took Sarah’s advice and worked in a more earthy palette and there was a great improvement. It was also good to have her advice about layout. Altogether a great workshop and highly recommended if you ever get the chance.

I shall work over the ‘not so good’ prints and see if I can retrieve them!

You should check out Sarah’s amazing work.