I’ve been busy on a couple of large paintings for an art and environment project. The project launched officially this week so I can put up some images here. The project takes as its starting point a conversation with a sheep farmer in the western district where we talked about how many people today, when they feel a bit chilly at home, will put on the heating rather than put on a jumper (or a sweater in the US). Fossil fuels rather than wool. The project aims to spread the joy of knitting and continue this conversation through different groups and generations. Often over tea and cakes.
The landscape painting has been turned into a series of brilliant knitting patterns by knitting designer Georgie Nicolson. In September this year (2016) Georgie and I will assemble – live and in public – the resulting knitted fragments into a woolen version of the painting, roughly 3 x 4 metres in size, at the truly awesome Art Gallery of Ballarat. If you want to join in, hop over to the SEAM web site where you can find instruction and patterns to download. Have fun!
The two paintings represent a sort of before-and-after version of the same landscape. The good news is that the one with the lake is the “after” version once the imagined post-mining regeneration happens. So it’s a hopeful set of paintings really. In some ways they represent two paths of a decision tree. These landscapes represent the sum of our choices.
The open cast coal mine landscape was a real emotional challenge. Partly I was repelled by the Dystopian apocalyptic vision I was creating and partly I was having great fun hacking away at the paint surface… and drawing yellow trucks. Yay! Funnily enough, at the launch I had two different people ask if they could knit a yellow truck. Well, no. Not yet anyway. There may be future plans for a yellow truck pattern but that’s not for me to say.