Linda Swinfield: artist-in-residence July 2012

Linda Swinfield, Walk 1, 2012, pastel and charcoal on paper

The Gunyah AIR was for me a sincere time of quiet reflection, away from my hectic life of work and everyday existence. I didn’t want to leave its location and beauty. This was a period for me to be only a mother and an artist, it allowed me to reflect upon future directions as an artist and teacher and re-ignite a variety of tangents within my art practice that are often pushed aside in the outside world.

Linda Swinfield, Composite studio two, 2012, Lomography*

We enjoyed the regular company of the kookaburras at dusk, with the occasional magpies and butcher birds competing for treats - accompanied by squeals of delight from Sid. We also listened to the possums on the roof most nights and enjoyed watching the wallabies in the bush in the afternoons.

Linda Swinfield, Trisch and Sidney at the water’s edge, 2012, digital photography

My original proposed goals were a little forgotten and I commenced by drawing in sketchbooks. This included images of seaweed, oyster shells, and a variety of sea treasures we found on the water’s edge, some natural and others manmade. I researched some of the symbols and motifs borne out of these scavenger hunts along the waterways. 

Linda Swinfield, Seaweed drawings, 2012, pastel, charcoal and chalk on brown paper
Linda Swinfield, Composite textures, 2012, Lomography*

We went on daily bush and beach treks and had little adventures including a renegade trip to the historic cemetery in Carrington, two trips to Tea Gardens, as well as a day trip to Great Lakes Museum and a lunch with friends in Karuah.

Linda Swinfield, Cemetery Carrington, 2012, digital photography

I drew daily with a variety of materials, and kept a small diary of drawings and notes about our daily events. The drawings extended into dremmel drawings into plywood and carved linoleum blocks that I am yet to print.

Linda Swinfield, Water movement, 2012, digital photography

Towards the end of our stay I created larger and more finished drawings that were interpretive and a less literal response to the site. Through these works I attempted to capture some more ephemeral aspects of the landscape walks, trails and small frames of sight lines or views formed through the trees. I was quite captivated by the layers of textures within the bush, along the waterline and hope to incorporate them into my print making processes in the future.

Linda Swinfield, Diary page two, 2012, charcoal and pencil on paper

My interest in history prompted me to research the area’s past and its connection to Walter Burley Griffin. I found his original drawings online and then discovered some of the original signposts in the bush around the cove.

Walter Burley Griffin, City of Port Stephens, 1918/19
National Library of Australia
North Arm Cove was the site for Walter Burley Griffin's great city (the New York of Australia), planned in the expectation that Port Stephens would become the main seaport for New South Wales. The land was purchased by Henry F. Haloran, land developer and surveyor, but the city never eventuated. Plans for the city show two railway stations, a business district, Federal and State office sites, a factory district, car parks, wharves, parks and playgrounds. The subdivision commenced in 1918, the outline of which can still be seen from the air.

Linda Swinfield,  Trees with texture at the water's edge, 2012, digital photography 

On our daily walks we took hundreds of photographs, both digital and with an old plastic 35mm film camera that I purchased at Vinnie’s for $1, prior to the residency. This camera enabled Sidney and I to play with Lomography*, our experiments created spontaneous images with surprising results.

Linda Swinfield, Composite studio one, 2012, Lomography*

Three friends assisted me at the Gunyah AIR, without them my time here would not have been as productive. Revisiting was Emily Valentine Bullock who travelled up from Sydney, Patricia Wilson Adams (Pandora Group Artist) also stayed, and Emilie Tseronis visited and took Sid out for playtime with other children.
Linda Swinfield
August 2012

Linda Swinfield, Emily and Sid toasting marshmallows, 2012, digital photography

*Lomography is a term coined in the 1990s, referring to the use of a cheap film camera to take experimental creative photographs. According to there are 10 rules that define ‘lomography’:
~ Take your camera everywhere you go.
~ Use it any time – day and night.
~ Lomography is not an interference in your life, but a part of it.
~ Try to shoot from the hip.
~ Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible.
~ Don’t think.
~ Be fast.
~ You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film.
~ Afterwards either.
~ Don’t worry about any rules!
Linda and Trisch by the fire, 2012, Lomography*, photograph taken by Sidney Swinfield

You can find out more about Linda's practice at