My first week at Police Point

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.

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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.

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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.

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Study #3 was more thoughtful, and I was happier with the edges. I think you could imagine feeling your way under them.

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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!

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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.

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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.

44 thoughts on “My first week at Police Point

  1. I have the same problem, I get bogged down in detail instead of first establishing the masses and then working into them. It works the same way with textile art! I’m so glad you’re finding a space which gives you the freedom to simply explore without an agenda or a timescale.

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    1. The detail was one of the things that drew me to botanical art. Even before then, when I was working with pastels, my tutor would have to remind me to block in and then get to the details. I suppose they are the fun bits, and that’s why we are attracted to them.
      It is wonderful to have that luxury of time.
      Hope you are relaxing on your travels too. You have had a busy couple of months.

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  2. If you feel you lack drama, take a look at Mark Taro Holmes’ work for the direct watercolor challenge this week. I was most impressed with his output, I hope it will inspire me to let go a little more. You sound as if you’re having a great time!

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    1. I know of Marc’s work, so thank you for the reminder. He will be a good person to look at. Direct watercolour makes me panic, but I guess I have a lot of time to panic and get over it! Also, I have to remind myself that it is just paper.
      Do you follow Liz Steele’s work? She also works directly onto paper, very often architectural subjects.

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      1. OOPS if you do that, then change the ‘it’s’ to ‘its’.
        I’ve used this term – (he)art – for years and have been told by many that it’s an original coined-by-me term…so I’m proud to hear someone (you!) deciding to actually incorporate it into their own (he)art!!!!!!!
        Neat.

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  3. I very much enjoyed seeing your process here Anne. It’s always validating to see how we all advance one mistake at a time, one piece at a time, one step back and ‘lookitit’ at a time. Your work always has at least one interesting technique or visual to it – and each piece of course gets better and better. This was a lovely visit for me, thanks so much.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed the visit Pauline. i love seeing the process artists use to create, like your lovely ink cards. Writing it down, to explain to others, is really beneficial to me too, as it helps to solidify my thoughts. I am still at that very tentative stage.

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      1. Yes, I absolutely understand that – I also find that reading comments makes me look differently sometimes too – do you find that? I ‘m not altogether sure that I ever leave the ‘very tentative stage’ 🙂 I am very much looking forward to seeing your next steps!

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        1. Yes, definitely with the comments. It is why I am so glad to have found so many supportive people here and on Instagram/Facebook. I value people’s opinion because I know those opinions are given with good grace. It’s always good to see something in a different way. A way out example of that ~ today my Fella told me he could see a teddy bear being eaten by a giant fuzzy caterpillar in the current work! Couldn’t see it myself 😂

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  4. Thanks for the wonderful update… you have achieved a lot in one week..

    Interesting that it hasn’t been greenery rather the coastline…but still nature

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      1. I hope when you return home, you can adopt and adapt your life to give you more “luxury of time” – I know that my trips away either art/adventure have shown me similar “time”…I have streamlined a lot of my household life so that I can spend time “making” .. this morning tearing up paper, partially to work of some agitation partially because I need to get the paper ready for more “making”

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        1. I try to keep one day a week free to create, but it doesn’t allow for that creative flow. it’s good that you have been able to keep up the momentum. Keep tearing that paper!

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    1. It is certainly an inspiring place ~ how lucky am I? It was the warm tones of the rocks that attracted me too, and the dramatic angles of the layers. It seems quite unusual. I am pleased that you can’t see “the hat”, but it will always be there for me.

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  5. Fascinating to see your process – I do like the version with stitches, especially, understanding the inspiration behind it. Each study is interesting in itself and I enjoyed looking at them and thinking: do I like this one better than that one?

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    1. Each one is a learning process, which is the way it should be. The one with stitching is still the only stitching I have done. It gives it a rather rich look and feel. I am glad you like it.

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  6. I am so envious of the position you are in! The solitude, the setting, the time at hand, and only needing to focus on being creative! Wow. And your approach is fascinating to watch unfold. Pease, keep us posted!

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    1. it’s a rare opportunity to have a month where I am in total control of what happens in my day. And I am trying hard not to squander the precious time! I am glad that you are coming along for the ride 😊

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    1. Thank you for the link, Laura. I read your article and marvelled at your ability to compose. The creative process is quite similar in different areas. Have fun with your creative time too.

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  7. This looks like an amazing place for inspiration! Speaking of rocks, I thought of you on my recent trip to Alaska when I visited a glacier…the upheaval of the rocky landscape created some terrific textures and shapes you would have loved!!

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    1. Alaska is on the list of places I would like to visit ~ to do the cruise up the coast of Canada and into Alaska, then go further. I am sure I would love the textures and shapes in the glacial rocks, but I hope you got some inspiration for yourself too 😊

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