Michelle Heldon: artist-in-residence November 2012

Michelle Heldon, Working with shells on the Gunyah foreshore, 2012

My time spent at Gunyah was beautiful. My first reactions were to the house! The Gunyah residence sits surrounded by gum trees facing the sparkling water. Amazing location - but it was the warmth and uniqueness of the house itself that captured me. I felt right at home with the log walls and skylights and lofts and window-seat! My ideal home... stepping down into the studio was also a delight to see it was right at the bush level with wall to floor windows looking out to the sea. 

Michelle Heldon, Gunyah studio, 2012

The vision of my residency was for it to be a parallel with my residency in Lapland Finland exactly a year earlier. I thought it would be interesting to see the differences in climate and discovery in Australia, a place where I have spent most of my life, from Finland, a completely unfamiliar landscape and climate. 

Michelle Heldon, Leaf line with Gunyah behind, 2012

I was expecting a lot of differences, the most obvious being the temperature, however I was surprised by some of the similarities in my discoveries. One of these surprises was that I was expecting a lot more consistency in Australia - that the landscape would not change very dramatically. 

Michelle Heldon, Ripple stones, Gunyah 2012

In Finland, I watched the lakes slowly freezing changing every day and the snow fall creating a whole new landscape over night.  At Gunyah, it was the discovery of the tide and how dramatically the landscape could change with that. So many of my discoveries were made from spending a few hours on the beach or a rock and watching - a whole new world would be revealed! 

Michelle Heldon, Shell adorned shoe, Gunyah 2012

I adapted the same process as in Finland, Going out into the surround area everyday and collecting, recording discoveries from that particular day. Like a diary I would reflect back on the day in the studio in the evening, capturing a few aspects that had an impact on me, with pencil on wood drawings. 

Michelle Heldon, Waternest drawing, Gunyah 2012

In Finland I used watercolour on paper.  These mediums I felt reflected something of the landscape and climate. Finland with its lakes and ice and Australia with is dryness and warmth.  Again, paralleling Finland, I made detailed watercolour paintings of the flora in the area. Just like in Finland, at Gunyah, this was quite a meditative process to sit with the amazing tiny uniqueness of the plants that easily are admired from afar but not often studied in detail.

Michelle Heldon, Seaweed tree and Seaweed tree drawing on chair, Gunyah 2012

During my time at Gunyah I also spent time making site specific works out in the landscape. I've always loved the work of Andy Goldsworthy and have enjoyed reading about his experiences making transient art in nature. I did a little of 'drawing' or forming lines on the frozen lakes in Finland but I did many more at Gunyah as I could spent a lot more time outside. These works resonated with me the most. I felt it really was an honouring of these wonderful details I was being captured by. 

Michelle Heldon, Leaf pond, Gunyah 2012

Rearranging white shells to highlight naturally formed patterns on the rocks. 

Bringing together strands of seaweed to create a line out to the sea. 

Collecting white driftwood and letting it rest in the amazing creases of a revealed rock shelf. 

Using Casurina needles to gently sit like little nests in the mini rockpools. 

Michelle Heldon, Highlighted rocks, Gunyah 2012

It's poetic I think, that these works sit in nature for just a short period of time and then, with the shift of the wind or the incoming tide, disappear and return to their surroundings. They remain only in the photographic record and my memory of the creation process.  

Michelle Heldon, Working in the Gunyah studio, 2012

It was wonderful to sit and look at the Gunyah work along side my Finland work - I hope to bring this together in an exhibition next year. Thankyou to Gunyah for hosting me, I had an amazing time.

Michelle Heldon
November 2012

Michelle Heldon, Dyl Rocks, Gunyah 2012

To read Michelle's Gunyah proposal and see images of her work in Finland go to www.gunyah.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/michelle-heldon

Beyond Eye Level: an exhibition by recent artist-in-residence Robyn Kinsela

Robyn Kinsela
Beyond Eye Level
4 - 15 December 2012
Depot II Gallery, 2 Danks Street, Waterloo NSW

Recent artist-in-resident Robyn Kinsela is exhibiting paintings from her time at Gunyah, in her solo exhibition Beyond Eye Level, at Depot II Gallery, Danks St Waterloo. Read her residency report at www.gunyah.blogspot.com.au/2012/10 and find out more about her practice at http://robynkinsela.wordpress.com

Robyn Kinsela, Viewpoints, 2012, mixed media, oil and acrylic on canvas

"I have painted the micro and macro textures and sounds that are “found” in our own environments. These textures are sometimes the result of our human “interference” with the natural but they all make up our familiar environment. We often don’t take the time to stop to take notice of things. It is important to me that my paintings are without obvious tangible subjects, that they are built around the intangible, derived from our senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and even taste. These, of course, all rely upon memory and experience."  
Robyn Kinsela,  2012

Robyn Kinsela, Viewpoints, 2012, mixed media, oil and acrylic on canvas

Outside the box: an exhibition featuring work by previous artist-in-residence Linda Swinfield

Linda is exhibiting drawings created during her Gunyah residency, in Outside the Box, a Pandora artists group exhibition at Moree Plains Gallery.

Linda Swinfield, Gunyah xi - Cove, 2012,
pastel and charcoal on paper, 38 x 43 cm

Outside the box: Pandora artists

1 December 2012 - 15 January 2013

Pandora artists are a group of Hunter Valley abstract artists who first exhibited together in 2006, at the Newcastle Art Space. Artists include Sally Bourke, Helen Dunkerly, Annemarie Murland, Linda Swinfield, Lezlie Tilley and Patricia Wilson-Adams. www.thepandoragroup.blogspot.com.au  

Moree Plains Gallery
25 Frome Street, Moree NSW 2400

Find out more about Linda's residency at Gunyah www.gunyah.blogspot.com.au/2012/08
More information on Linda's practice www.lindaswinfield.wordpress.com