Jewel Box

Jewel Box - Susan Skuse - 2015 Oil on canvas mounted on board 4x panels 30x80 cms
Jewel Box – Susan Skuse – 2015
Oil on canvas mounted on board
4x panels 30×80 cms

Jewel Box is another in the series of paintings I have been doing of Mudgeeraba Creek. I was walking along the edge of the creek one day when I noticed a shaft of light coming in between the tree branches and lighting up the stones on the floor of the creek with a golden glow. The richness of the reflections of leaves and branches, and the shapes and colours of the underlying rocks seemed to create a complicated sort of Rococco pattern; not a collection of mundane objects, but a secret cache of precious things. That’s why I’ve called the work ‘Jewel Box’.

Three Views of Mudgeeraba Creek

three views 1three views 3three views 2

Three views of Mudgeeraba Creek – 3x panels oil on canvas, mounted on board, 40x80cms each, overall 120×80 approx. Susan Skuse 2015.

I came up with this work as part of my Fine Arts Degree work and finished it up for the d’Arcy Doyle Award. I’m happy to report that the painting has found a new home, and, not only that, but another artlover has commissioned a similar work. I’m beginning to feel that I might have found my art “niche”.

For anyone who is interested in such things, here is my artist statement relating to this work, explaining the thought process behind it.

The aim of my painting is the appreciation of the natural world as a unity in which we are not objective observers, but an integral and undifferentiated part. For me, this involves painting in a realistic style and with an attachment to place.
My recent work has been based on a single place; a rainforest stream near my home. It is not that there is anything special about this place; there are thousands, perhaps millions of such places where the basic elements of water, rock, light and vegetation come together.
In Zen Buddhism there is a term, kensho, which implies a momentary enlightenment wherein one “sees nature” and also sees one’s own nature, with the sense that there is no duality between the ‘seer’ and the ‘seen’. My goal is for my painting to open the door to a such an experience.
In the set of three, titled ‘Focus Shirt, the top panel shows a distant view, which reads as a conventional landscape painting. In the second panel , the middle ground, the patterns of shapes are becoming more abstract, and in the bottom panel they are rendered more abstractly again, with primary interest being on the distorted shapes created by moving water and the colours.

Where shadows fall, you can see what lies beneath.

Shadows of branches inscribe secret messages on flowing water
Shadows of branches
inscribe secret messages
on flowing water

Oil on canvas, 60×60 cms

This work is part of the series I am doing of a rainforest creek close to my home on the Gold Coast.  I am interested in the optical intricacies created by ripples and reflections.  Where the shadows fall, you can see beneath the surface to what lies beneath.  Could this be a metaphor of some kind?

Shallow Waters – 77 – 84/100 for 2013

Shallow Waters - oil on canvas, 122 x 41 cms
Shallow Waters – oil on canvas, 122 x 41 cms
Tree by the Pool, graphite and Colour pencil on paper, 40 x 30 cms
Tree by the Pool, graphite and Colour pencil on paper, 40 x 30 cms
Ripple Tripping, 9x panels, 15cm x 15cms, watercolour pencil on watercolour paper
Ripple Tripping, 9x panels, 15cm x 15cms, watercolour pencil on watercolour paper
Creek textures, oil and mixed media on canvas board, 30x30 cms
Creek textures, oil and mixed media on canvas board, 30×30 cms
Patterns in the Water - oil and encaustic media on canvas board, 30x30 cms
Patterns in the Water – oil and encaustic media on canvas board, 30×30 cms
Serene Creek - graphite and watercolour on paper, 30x10
Serene Creek – graphite and watercolour on paper, 30×10
Roiled as a Torrent, liquid graphite wash on watercolour paper, 20x30 cms
Roiled as a Torrent, liquid graphite wash on watercolour paper, 20×30 cms
Rainforest filigree - mixed media on canvas board, 30x30 cms
Rainforest filigree – mixed media on canvas board, 30×30 cms

For the final year of my Fine Arts study I will be working in depth on a single subject. I’ve chosen the local creek, Mudgeeraba Creek, which is a beautiful little spot. There will be a lot more creek paintings coming up in future months. At this point I am trying out a variety of approaches. Hopefully along this journey I will discover my own special way of interpreting this subject.

Always emptying; always full – 67/100 for 2013.

Always emptying, always full

Always Emptying; Always Full – oil on canvas, 30 x 122 cms

This is a painting of my local creek. I’m going to be doing a series of paintings of this creek in the course of my university studies over the coming year. With this one I created a panorama of photos taken while standing on a rock in the middle of the stream. My aim was to make the viewer feel surrounded by the scene – not just looking at it as though through a window. I painted with very thinned down oil paint on an absorbent canvas surface, trying for the fresh look of transparent watercolour. The title comes from a line in the Tao te Ching – “the universe, like a bellows, is always emptying, always full.” The creek is my little metaphor for the universe.

I see that the year is fast running out. I must get on and post more paintings that are sitting around my studio. I’m pretty sure I’ve made my goal of 100.

Silent Waters – paintings 59-61 of 100 for 2013

Silent Waters triptych 1, oil on canvas mounted on hardboard, 28x75cms
Silent Waters triptych 1, oil on canvas mounted on hardboard, 28x75cms
Silent Waters triptych 2 - oil on canvas mounted on hardboard, 28x75cms.
Silent Waters triptych 2 – oil on canvas mounted on hardboard, 28x75cms.
Silent Waters Triptych 3 - oil on canvas mounted on hardborad, 28x75 cms.
Silent Waters Triptych 3 – oil on canvas mounted on hardborad, 28×75 cms.
Silent Waters Triptych mounted.
Silent Waters Triptych mounted.

These are three paintings I developed from the small paintings I put up in the previous post.  They are all scenes from Mudgeeraba Creek, a few kilometres down the road, right up in the headwaters of it, where it is very shallow.  There is a fantastic quality of light there in the early morning, when the sun is lighting up the tops of the trees but the under-canopy is in shadow.  The colours of reflections this makes is amazing – like liquid gold and green satin.   The work is currently on display at Monet’s Art Garden Gallery, Metro Centre, Hollywell Road, Labrador.  The mosaic table-top in the foreground is also my work, if anyone is wondering.

What a beautiful place to live – 48-58

Storm Clearing Hinze Dam - oil on canvas board, 30x30 cms
Storm Clearing Hinze Dam – oil on canvas board, 30×30 cms
Calm Pool Mudgeeraba Creek, oil on canvas board, 30x30 cms
Calm Pool Mudgeeraba Creek, oil on canvas board, 30×30 cms
Antarctic Beech Tree, Springbrook, oil on canvas board, 30x30 cms
Antarctic Beech Tree, Springbrook, oil on canvas board, 30×30 cms
Mudgeeraba Creek, Spring Foliage, oil on canvas board, 30x30 cms
Mudgeeraba Creek, Spring Foliage, oil on canvas board, 30×30 cms
Top of the Falls, Springbrook, oil on canvas board, 30x30 cms.
Top of the Falls, Springbrook, oil on canvas board, 30×30 cms.
Dancing ghost gums, Springbrook, oil on canvas board, 30x 30 cms.
Dancing ghost gums, Springbrook, oil on canvas board, 30x 30 cms.
Clouds over the Tallai Hills, oil on canvas board, 30x30 cms
Clouds over the Tallai Hills, oil on canvas board, 30×30 cms
Poinciana in Bloom, oil on canvas board, 30x30 cms.
Poinciana in Bloom, oil on canvas board, 30×30 cms.
Coomera Falls, oil on canvas board, 30x30 cms.
Coomera Falls, oil on canvas board, 30×30 cms.
Into the Canopy, oil on canvas board, 30x30 cms
Into the Canopy, oil on canvas board, 30×30 cms
Forest reflections, Mudgeeraba Creek, oil on canvas board, 30x30
Forest reflections, Mudgeeraba Creek, oil on canvas board, 30×30

 

I recently had the task of painting twenty small sketches of “my place” for the Fine Arts painting unit I was then doing.  These are some of the paintings that resulted.  The exercise focused my thoughts on what I find so special in the place where I live.  Many of the paintings were of Mudgeeraba Creek, an unassuming little water-way that wends its way through sub-tropical rainforest, often very shallow, rippling over polished river stones.