Friday, April 29, 2011

Celebrating a day of trees

Whilst I have blogged today already I was reminded that I might join Suzi in celebrating trees.

Today Fiona and I started our day with our morning walk in Umbakumba. We always pass a stand of Paper Bark trees growing in wetlands - always marvel how these trees thrive so well with such wet feet.

Barry Smith © Paper Barks at dawn - Umbakumba
Barry Smith © Paper Barks at dawn - Umbakumba

And we ended our day walking on a beach - Dugong Beach - Alyangula - and were stunned by the beauty of the place and whilst I will blog on this beauty later I wanted to share photos of mangrove trees growing in seawater amidst the rocks. Again - how does nature do that - such inhospitable situations yet such beauty and survival.

Barry Smith © Amazing trees 1  - amidst the rocks

Barry Smith © Amazing trees 2 - amidst the rocks
Barry Smith © Amazing trees 3 - rocks and sea water
So it made me reflect on survival and beauty - nature has such tenacity to survive and provide the lungs of the earth - maybe we could give a hand?

The beauty of clouds

Thought I might share a few photos of clods and sunsets on Pirlangimpi and Umbakumba.

The clouds above Pirlangimpi were in the south east so picked up the relflected light of the sun setting in the west.
Barry Smith© Clouds Pirlangimpi 1
Barry Smith© Clouds Pirlangimpi 2
The sunset in Umbakumba started with striking reds but as it waned it picked out great pastles in the ribbons of clouds.

Barry Smith© Sunset - Umbakumba Burnt Purple

Barry Smith© Sunset - Umbakumba Haunting Grey
Barry Smith© Sunset - Umbakumba Pastles
Th unusual red photo below occurred by accident - I photographed the sunset with the flash of the iPhone on and this was the result.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gliding on the airwaves

Both Pirlangimpi and Umbakumba are island communities in the NT.  One pleasing outcome of their locations is that there often appears to be a sea eagle or a kit hawk cruising the thermals with a keen eye out for a fish meal - either in the water or the discards of fisher-people.

I tried to capture some of this on the iPhone - not easy with a far away moving target and a pretty simple camera. Though I thought the distant silhouettes against the overcast skies are subtle images and give a sense of gliding high.
Barry Smith © Sea Eagle over Pirlangimpi
Barry Smith © Sea Eagle over Pirlangimpi

Barry Smith © Kite over Umbakumba
 And of course because they were taken with the iPhone I played with them to see if I could give the images another mood. Given the proximity to water I though the FX water overlay was apt for a Sea Eagle; and the FX-SFX x-ray gave the Kite a moody mysteriousness.

Barry Smith© Eagle - FX water overlay
Barry Smith© Kite - FX - SFX
Though the iPhone camera is not brilliant I do find I am seeing a different side of nature through the screen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Published - artists' books

As indicated on my website artists' books are one stream of my art work. Though a quick look at the portfolio gallery on the site will reveal that my 'books' are three dimensional and usually made of metal and wood.

Recently Linda Douglas invited me to submit an article for  her journal - Australian Book Arts Journal. I accepted the invitation and submitted my article and photos; and hey presto, the article on Sculptural Books (Beyond the Object) has been published in Issue 4 March 2011.

The article is on pages 10-11.

And there is a good photo of a piece called Spiral on the back cover.

Barry Smith © Spiral
I conclude the article by saying that "I believe my sculptural bookworks are more than simply objects; they also communicate content as would any book."  I was making the point that a book could be made from any material and take any shape as long as it also carries some content - a poem, a message, a saying, and instruction etc.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Light between the lines

Though Fiona and I have been working pretty hard finishing the last phase of our work-work and preparing for the next phase, we agreed to head to the studio again this afternoon to get in one last 1.5 hour burst of creativity. I find when I am pressed for time I tend to fall back on a series I have worked on in the past that I can build on and enjoy.

Given I have sold a couple of my light catchers I decided to do a couple more just for fun and see how they worked out. On Friday I made Light Shuttle and today I made a mini catcher called Light between the Lines.
Barry Smith© Light between the Lines
Barry Smith© Light between the Lines
It is a pretty cute little piece (about 170mm high and 70mm round) made from an old bunsen burner base, part of a welding tip guide and a brass button nut - and of course a crystal from a vintage chandelier. So I did manage to do a bit of art on each of the three days of Easter Weekend - I feel good about that.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Marks in the sand

One of the pleasures of walking pristine beaches is checking out the marks and traces left by the receding tide - nature doing its quiet etching; and filling the grooves with its own debris paintwork.

The photos below were taken on the last afternoon before we left Pirlangimpi - Marks in the sand (MITS) on Front Beach.

Barry Smith © Marks in the Sand 1 
Barry Smith © Marks in the Sand 2
Barry Smith © Marks in the Sand 3
I'm quite taken with FX Colour's Invert Image and Colour Fantasy applications. I find both these are good way of highlighting aspects of the photo that are not immediately visible in the naked camera photo shots.  The spots in MITS3 are rain drops - at that point we scurried back to our Pirlangimpi 'home'.

Barry Smith © MITS1 - invert image
Barry Smith© MITS2 - solarised
Barry Smith © MITS3 - solarised
Fiona and I spent quite a bit of the day today entering 'work-work' survey data into a database, doing quality checks and cleaning. Also managed to weed the coffee 'plantation'.  So that is my little bit of creativity for Saturday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Frivolity on Friday

Fiona and I arrived home lunchtime yesterday from our 'work-work' to the NT. As usual with homecomings after being away for about three weeks, the last day and a half have been filled with unpacking, washing, mowing grass, whipper-snipping weeds, spraying weeds, catching up on administration and maintenance - I'm almost exhausted just typing that. But we have also fitted in a trip to our local bakery and sitting drinking bubbles on the southern deck whilst watching the sunset in the west.

However we made a pledge that we are going to try to do a little creativity each day for the next three days - given we can't really do any hands on stuff while we are away working. So mid afternoon - down we went to the studios (in my case the garage-workshop).

I planned to do a simple light catcher made from an old weaving shuttle I bought about 6 weeks or more ago. I thought if I kept it simple I should be able to do it in a couple of hours and it would make me smile. So the finished product, I have called it Light Shuttle, is below. The piece was photographed quickly outside - so the mountains are in the background again. It is fairly small - about 250mm high and 150 long and 50mm wide.

Barry Smith © Light Shuttle - side
Barry Smith © Light Shuttle - front
Barry Smith © Light Shuttle - top
The photo below shows it will reflect the light.

Barry Smith © Reflecting the light
And it all started with this old shuttle.  The shuttle has good wood in it and some interesting asymmetrical curves and grooves.

Barry Smith © Old weaving shuttle
I have added some plumbing brass bits for interest and highlights; buffed the brass on the emery wheel; made a bolt to bolt the brass bit in at the back; and gave it a polish with beeswax.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Images of Darwin

What better way to see what is old and new in a city than to walk around.

Fiona and I started with breakfast in the mall - nothing fancy just a mug of double shot coffee and raisin toast - but excitement moment - this is the first time we had our raisin toast served with veggies - Fiona got lettuce and cucumber and I scored carrot - brilliant!!

Barry Smith © Raisin toast with a garnish of veggies
We rediscovered the old city hall that was demolished by cyclone Tracey on Christmas eve 1974. The preseved ruins have aged beautifully with some additional aging of the ruin taking place.

Barry Smith © Old Darwin City Hall ruins
Barry Smith © Old Darwin City Hall ruins
Barry Smith © Old Darwin City Hall ruin
Barry Smith © Nail DCH detail
Barry Smith © Fractured DCH detail
Barry Smith © Layers DCH detail
All the photos were taken with the iPhone so I have altered a few just for good measure.

Doorway altered using FX Colour - Sketch - charcoal plus a little negative gamma.

Window altered using FX Colour - Sketch - charcoal colour.

Fractured - nail detail altered using FX Colour - Colour Fantasy plus negative gamma. Really like how the Colour Fantasy filter and gamma has brought out the unseen touches of rust or enhance it by adding them.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Munupi ceramic tiles

Whilst we were in Pirlangimpi we visited the Munupi Art Centre a few times - mainly to talk to the artists; or on our way past on our morning walk.

I was always uplifted by the fact that the gallery part of the centre was totally painted in art that is reflected in many of the pieces in the gallery.

Barry Smith © Front door - Munipi Art Centre gallery
Barry Smith © Side of Munupi Art Centre
In the ramp that leads into the artist's painting area (collective studio) there were these 150mmX150mm tiles embed in the plain grey cement ramp. In all there would have been around 30 such tiles that 'shone' through the daily dust and mud that was applied to them as artists entered for their daily creation. The following are but a sample.
Barry Smith © Munupi tile
Barry Smith © Munupi tile
Barry Smith © Munupi tile
Barry Smith © Munupi tile
Barry Smith © Munupi tile
Barry Smith © Munupi tile
What quiet inspirational entry to a studio.