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    Falls Creek Residency - Sketch Book

    Falls Creek Residency - Sketch Book

    Working in a sketch book is always something I'm trying to improve on. Typically I'm horrendous at keeping any kind of organised 'sketch book', any bit of scrap paper or note page at hand is it and they all fly around my studio loosely. I also have a penchant for the ol' butcher's paper and love to draw up and plan on large sheets. So basically, it's a mess and there's no organisation to it at all. I'm never able to find anything again either.

    Sketch books are the dream though, so I thought I'd try and compile all the thoughts, ideas and sketches in one place during my residency here at Falls Creek. Almost like a sketch book training camp for myself! This also gave me an excuse to dash out and buy a wonderful book to get started in. I can't remember the brand of it, but I bought it at Melbourne Artists' Supplies in Brunswick. Heaps of pages and with a decent GSM. Heaven! (I love blank note books, I'm just now good at actually filling them in!)

    My other idea behind this was to really bring myself back to drawing for this residency experience. Drawing is everything, and giving yourself time to explore, play and let the ideas come out is so important and often the thing that gets pushed to the side when deadlines are looming. With nearly three weeks of creative freedom up my sleeve, there was plenty of time to draw.

    Below are some of the pages out of my Falls Creek sketch book. I mostly just used pencil to sketch so I could get impressions down quickly but towards the end of the residency I switched to ink and used found twigs as my drawing implements. I loved the outcome of these and it definitely unlocked some future channels.

    There were a tonne of pages that were just garbled thoughts and ideas, and research too, all scrawled in my crazy handwriting. This comes in handy though because over the course of the residency I was able to flick back and pick up on certain themes and ideas and build a stronger concept. I was lucky enough to meet with one of the environmental scientists up here who gave me lots of information about various species which was invaluable - into the sketch book it went! To have it all compiled felt so good and it will be a bible as I continue working into these themes.

    From day one I had a fascination with snow gums and knew that learning and drawing them was going to be a significant part of this experience - as reflected in the sketch book! They are truly fascinating and unique trees. Visually interesting and atypical, with their very own set of characteristics. The twisting, muscular trunks, the incredible variety of colours and their amazing resilience and ability to regenerate in this tough environment.

    As beautiful as they are, it is hard not to notice how every vista at Falls Creek and the Alpine National Park features thousands and thousands of bone-like dead trunks. Every horizon scattered with skeletons. This constantly played on my mind. Climate change was ever present. The snow gums are under threat from numerous sources. Bushfires is one of the greatest with 90% of the snow gum woodlands being burned at least once in the last 20 years, this habitat can not endure being burned at regular intervals like this. It takes far longer to properly recover. The other major threat is from a tiny native beetle called a longicorn beetle that happens to be thriving in the current conditions. They target stressed snow gums and burrow into the bark effectively ringbarking and killing them. The tell tail signs of an infected tree are horizontal gouges and I saw them in many areas across the alpine country.

    It was a conundrum for me which eventually presented a duality in my mission, to document these incredible beings and bring attention to their plight. Thank you sketch book for helping me sift through ideas and get to the crux of my concept!

    One of the ink drawings. I used Sennelier inks which have a shellac base making them a bit more viscose - less likely to soak through the page.


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