I love watching birds. Each is perfectly designed for what it has to do. It's fun to identify birds and birdsongs, animals, trees, wildflowers and bush orchids. Birds have different cries for breeding time, calling territory, warnings of danger, and just plain happy, glad-to-be-alive songs. I wish I could song and fly!
This is a juvenile Rufous Whistler. It was in the Tuart forest several years ago perched on a native peppermint, Agonis flexuosa. With a loud call, their song is distinctive, easy to recognize by a trained ear. One of my favourites.
One thing my art depends on is nature in its natural state.
To this end a big concern of mine is the proliferation of artificial night-light.
There is a 2019 Australian scientific weblink which shows this is increasing across the world by 2% every year.
Here you will read of the many, many species of plants and animals - from the microscopic small and insignificant to the mightiest whales and trees that need naturally dark nights and the pull of the moon and moonlit nights.
The report is beautiful in itself and quite 'illuminating'. Do take a peepo.
The report is still in its 'draft' stage, yet to be adopted by our Federal Government, which is disappointingly slow (and this is widely known by those active in the environmental world) to act on nature conservation matters).
Should we be alarmed? I know I am.
These words made my day!
I love it when someone "gets"my work, as did Joanne.
" . . . I spent a delightful hour or so discussing painting and life in the studio of Bunbury artist Sue Kalab. Sue's delicate and gestural watercolours capture the contradictions inherent in the environment. The medium itself, with its elements of control and release, discipline and change, is a metaphor for both the fragility and unpredictability of nature, whilst the work captures the fleeting moment but also endurance and timelessness. Each work gives us a glimpse into Sue's passion for the natural world, her commitment to the environment, and our need to pay attention to what is quiet, small and still in this world."
Dr. Joanne Baitz, Director Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, August 2020
"Finding the world in a leaf"
"Let all of life be there"
In my studio, my place for reading, writing, thinking, listening, being on my own. The act of lighting a candle and a fragrant essence brings calm. I glance around at collections gathered across my years of wandering, finding, retrieving, studying, painting . . . this is my homeland.
Come and wander around with me.
Listening to Trees
Aura of great cathedrals. Misty secrets and sharp statements.
The advantage of solitude, in which we can walk or talk, or be silent naturally
"Prince of Tuarts" - Ancestor Tree"
We need the tonic of Nature to smell the whispering leaves.
To learn all things mysterious and unexplorable.
Trees give us calm trust.
We are this Earth
Silence will carry your voice like the nest that holds the sleeping birds.
Be still my heart, these great trees are prayers.
Rabindranath Tagore B.1861.
Indian poet and mystic.
SKETCHING ... Begins with the simple sketch where the life of the work begins. Though now unseen, it was once the life, and carries traces of its beginnings.
PAINTING ... Calls for imagination, and skill of hand, in order to discover things not seen, hiding themselves under the shadow of natural objects, and to fix them with the hand, presenting to plain sight.
Cennini d'Andrea Cennini B.1360. "Il Libra dell'Arte"
THOUGHTS BEHIND THIS PAINTING ... "A Song for Trees and Rain"
A tiny nest of a yellow robin found in deep forest. Bejewelled with moss and lichen, and strips of paper-bark from the melaleuca in which it sat, this found the earth colours in my paintbox, and I painted it many times larger than lifesize to emphasize the worth of biodiversity, ancient forests and native trees. That is, without the canopy of these great trees there would be no yellow robins. The painting is a call, a song, for Nature. So these great trees are my prayers and my song for trees and rain.
www.suekalab.com / www. facebook.com/suekalabartist
Say hello, leave me a word
Hours spent quietly sitting with my binoculars and a telescope, with my dog for company, at an isolated spot on Leschenault Estuary waiting for rare glimpses of migrating Arctic Circle shorebirds in the whispering reed beds. This particular afternoon, Black Swans, native to Australia, were idling, scarcely moving, only their long necks arching. I took a series of photographs to catch the poetry and the light, and the magic I can't quite explain. "The Swan-ness of a Swan - it just is"
A finalist for the coming 2020 show. 19th Feb- 18th April. , Bunbury Regional Art Galleries.
Hi Sky and Sue, I have attached a photo of our two remaining paintings that we purchased at the exhibition. I can recall the evening so clearly, must be around 13 years ago now.
The paintings have been under wraps for the past two years and I'm now beginning to doubt that we had a third! Maybe Sue can let me know but I thought we bought two swan paintings and one of the rowing boat. I have the receipts somewhere but like a lot of things, can't find them.
Maybe we only bought two paintings and it's just my imagination that one is missing. Either way, the paintings look fabulous and will soon be hanging in pride of place in our kitchen living area of our new house. The colours also work very well and provide a warm reminder of Australia.
Very best wishes to all. Will and Rachel, Northern Ireland
"Into the Sunlight"
"Journey Before After"
SEA URCHINS & NESTS
In the beginning, a nest with sea urchins caught my eye. I'd found these little treasures on my bush and beach wanders in Mallacoota, and left them on a windowsill.
One day this unintentioned arrangement called to be painted - the messy concoction of the woven nest and perfect architecture of the urchins. That first painting was snapped up by a TV writer friend.
IS IT A CALLING?
I still love to paint nests and sea urchins, it is as if a little bird stirs in my heart each time.
They give me the greatest possible pleasure and I do not intend this to be my last visit with them! I hold these in great affection.
THOUGHTS ON THIS PAINTING
So, this is the most recent. It has been shortlisted in an adjudicated exhibition, and is titled "A Little Bird Stirred in My Heart".
It greets the thoughts and the stories behind the many nest and sea urchin paintings across the years.