Yes, the first week has flown by.
There were a couple of hiccups, such as me stuffing up the dates yet again but they only little hicks. Now I am settling into a creative routine, which I will talk to you about soon. First let me give you a tour of my domain.
My little cottage is in Police Point, a park managed by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, who run this amazing residency programme. It has four rooms off the central hall ~ two bedrooms, a lounge and the kitchen. An addition out the back is a sitting room, the utilities, and my studio. It’s very snug, which is necessary as it’s Winter, and comfortable.
However, the studio is the best! It is spacious, and has big windows that let in the Winter sunlight, and let me look out across the green expanse to Port Philip Bay. I could sit here all day, just looking at the changing light, watching the clouds scamper across the sky, seeing the sea sparkle and turn silver, and work out the time from the ferries that go between Sorrento and Queenscliff.
But I don’t just sit and watch…I have been working!
Police Point Park abuts the Point Nepean National Park, so there are lots of walks. And lots of interesting shaped trees. I thought I would be captivated by them from the get-go, but it is the cliff faces that have caught my attention. I will come back to the vegetation, because I have the luxury of three more weeks down here. But this week I have been exploring the gnarly, striated rocks of the cliff below Police Point. Rocks like these:
I thought I had a little understanding of the geology of these rocks until I came to write it down for you. Trying to explain it made me realise that I understand very little! However, I do know how the knobbly ones are formed. The sand was cemented by calcium carbonate and other minerals in the ground water. The water seeps down through the soil, perhaps along the pathways of plant roots, and precipitated the calcium carbonate to form hard rock ~ calcrete rock. The calcrete remains as the rest of the rock is eroded. The bumps and spikes are the calcrete and the holes and crevasses are formed by erosion.
I loved this rock on the waterline. I wonder how long before it gets eroded right away.
So I have explored the beaches and the cliff faces, wandering, photographing and sketching. It’s made me think about weathering and time, and layers ~ layers of sediment, of human history, of vegetation.
Back in the studio I have set myself the task of producing something every day. I have been working on small studies of the rocks. They are only A5 size.
Study #1 was simply a first draft, and it told me not to rush, not to assume I understood what I was doing.
With Study #2 I felt confident enough to add embellishment from the sewing machine. I had learnt some things, but still not enough to capture what I was seeing in my mind. But there are a couple of good things about being here. Firstly, there is tomorrow to do it again. At home tomorrow would be filled with other things. Here tomorrow is filled with working in the studio.
Secondly there is time to reflect about the works, to think about why it’s not working.
With this study I realised that I had missed the sense of edges, of layers of rock, rather than frills. I quite liked the sewing, but it was taking things off in a different direction.
Study #3 was more thoughtful, and I was happier with the edges. I think you could imagine feeling your way under them.
But the sense of ‘rockness’ was still missing. I realised that it was lacking context, and drama. Friend’s comments on Facebook and Instagram confirmed what I was thinking. So I looked at different rocks and came up with Study #4. Certainly dramatic!
I had thought of putting in the background to give more context, but I don’t think I will.
And today I was fired up with confidence to create Study #5.
With this one I have gone back to my default position of going straight to the detail. There is too much, especially at the top. To my eye it looks like a fancy old fashioned hat on top! Tomorrow I will give it another go and axe the hat!
It has been a week of settling in, of finding new routines and rhythms. Most importantly it has been a week of carefree and joyful creating in a very beautiful environment.