Sunday is studio day

I remember when I was just a little Emily, maybe 10 years old. I looked up the meaning of my name in a book, filled with definitions of flowers, oceans and honey bees. And then I found it. Emily! Completely deflated in that moment, as I read the word ‘industrious’. What the actual f@*k?! Who names their baby after a factory? Mum. And Dad.

It took years to process this information. And I questioned their brick and smoke stack decision for many years. Until now. Now I’m ready. Ready for industry. Ready to be industrious.

Today was a great day, blissed out on ink fumes, while being absolutely Emily. Industrious.

Didn’t get any washing done. Let the chickens free range instead of feeding them. Didn’t mop the floor. And most definitely did not qualify for a 10,000 step kind of day. Did I mention my pyjamas? They stayed on way longer than they should’ve too. 

I had made a few mid week carves and come up with two Lino cuts and was pretty keen to see how they turned out.

This one was first. And surprise… it’s me. It is. Morning functioning is not my thing. Unless, coffee. I’m lucky to have a partner who knows this, and delivers one every morning to the cranky, bleary eyed monster that I am in the a.m.
The next one – a little more depth involved. I have been drawing up a storm over the last month. Filling pages with parts of me, once upon a time.

 In this one I was remembering, the absolute agony of the loss of a great love. Remembering the feeling of cushioned lips pressed on a warm forehead. The forehead kiss gives the gift of many things; calm, comfort, patience, respect, adoration, preciousness and love that seems truthful and unconditional.

Heavy and light hearted – one balancing out the other.

A Sunday session ensued, slowly reclaiming my studio from being a Winter snuggle space to a Spring hang – taking the tape down in one long strip that had lived firmly for 6 months between the joins of the doors to keep the chilly drafts of  minus degree months out.

With these two cuts in tow, I inked up and waited for the ultimate treasure to reveal itself. Printing is like opening birthday presents, taking a blindfold off after whacking the belly out of a piñata. The uncertainty and following reveal is a bit of a high that I don’t usually experience on a Sunday morning. Noted….aaaaand happening again soon, make no mistake.

Found me some Mansionair and rolled like the dickens to reveal these treasures. I pegged them up to dry and drew up my next batch.

‘Exit song’ October 2016

‘Remedy’ October 2016

‘We are the tide’

I started by naming this drawing, ‘Saucy minx goes swimming’. I have tossed aside mosaic, and have found a new love; printmaking. I adore dry point etching and lino printing.

I hit the Art shop, and got the sweetest Swiss tools – which make the whole process so much more intuitive and simple, because they cut so well and fit in the palm of your hand. I decided on this image, pending Summer always brings out the water loving images in me. I gave her ruffle bum black bikini bottom to add a bit of mystery to her as a woman. And to ensure the focus wasn’t on her bum – even though it was.


So, I whipped them off and started cutting away, leaving her with a great bare bottom.


And here she is. Amazing what can be done in a day.


I renamed her, ‘We are the tide’. I’m always listening to music when I make. And this day was no different. A lovely chill song by Blind Pilot. Thanks guys – great title. It’s always nice when the songs find me working, and leave no doubt in my mind that they belong to my art.

Lino cut

A busy day at work threw itself at me. I almost let it get to me. Instead of cranky, I got creative. 

I had a piece of lino in my hands, and a head full of ideas. For some reason a cat got stuck in my mind – and wouldn’t leave. I quickly scribbled up an image that made me smile, and always will. My cat Jeffrey, the sea horse.


I started cutting away with tools, and immediately fell in love with the process, all over again. I haven’t made a lino cut in over a decade. How does this happen?!


Here is my image of Jeff, loosely based on the photo, in her best sea horse pose frolicking amongst nasturtiums and ferns. Jeffrey turns 17 soon, and I thought it would be a lovely homage to our old girl – should she choose to shuffle off anytime soon. (Yes, we are well aware Jeffrey is a masculine name and our Jeff is girl. Long story.) It was such an engrossing process I sat in silence for a few hours without realising everyone had gone to bed hours before. The heater was off for the night, and my toes were cold before I saw reason and headed off to bed. Leaving this half done was fairly torturous. 

I love this form of print making and felt so satisfied finishing it in a few hours over two evenings. Yes, I ignored my family during this time and I believe was a much needed break from each other. And with a major pain-in-the-ass-teenage-man-child in the house, fairly necessary in my opinion. I haven’t made a print yet of Jeffrey, (I am going to scratch out a bit of her fur to represent Jeff’s tortoiseshell red fur before printing). Hopefully tomorrow there will be time to squeeze this cut through the press, as actual work got in the way of art today. 

‘Sweet thing’ {making}

It’s just one little moment that gets me moving. Once that moment hits, watch out – this is where I transform into a bull at a gate. The impulse is deep and profound. I immediately start fabricating this girl with glass and smalti from an image I’ve drawn years ago in one of my sketchbooks. Without noticing it before, I’ve ended up filling it with ladies. Life drawing was always my thing, but why always girls? Youthful ladies, faceless, with long limbs, engaged in nano snippets of life.

I imagine ‘young Emily’ in these moments and am drawn to recall how I felt at this age. I remember being these girls. I did these things. In my hometown I remember spending hours laying in the grass, with the sun warming my skin, eyes cast upwards to bluebird skies – and spending time just absorbing the shapes of the clouds – and the closest I’ll ever get to meditation.

 I would naturally empty my mind once the sun hits my face, close my eyes and quietly engage all senses. From time to time, past conversations and moments would seep in. I would shoo them away again. A constant tug of war between remaining present and overthinking things. 

I drew her. Me. Back then.

I moved away from the sun on my face, lying in the grass and a head full of empty thoughts and song, no more cloud absorbing and became a girl with a career. I moved to the big city where I was affectionately  labelled ‘country bumpkin’, ‘sweet’ and ‘naive’- because I was. My street smarts hadn’t kicked in yet. I believed people were good and kind, and ulterior motives didn’t exist. Had no idea about networking, instead just doing my own work.


This happened. I was at a ball in a big puffy skirt like this, but black tulle. I was on the fringe of turning my back on the big city, and moving away. After years of racing in traffic, working hard, and complicated weekends – I longed for simplicity and ease. A slower life again. The undercurrent at the ball was beyond me, and here I was again. ‘Naive’, gangly and ‘sweet’ – I no longer wanted to understand the language of the city, I didn’t want street smarts anymore.

So here – still a work in progress, she is. (She was nearly named ‘Something’s changed’ a nod to Miss Sharon Jones.) ‘Sweet thing’ won out,  her title inspired once again by Van the man (Van Morrison). Listening to this song – I instantly feel warm, comforted, any troubles are instantly put aside, and I remember, the days of lying in the grass.

The greatest view {making}

Here I am, getting back into it all again; inspiration to create images of the gloriously mundane is no challenge for me.

My latest offering –

  

‘The greatest view’ 2016, Emily J Hogan. 

Reclaimed marine ply, glass, beads, mirror & gouache.
I imagine I find the simplicity of these images satisfying due to my ease of moving in and out of a fairly meditative state, on a daily basis. I need white space, and if I am in a position of being in the midst of chaos, which is a realistic summary of my work days – the switch goes off. Emily is officially off the grid. 

  

Dry point etching

One of the things that happens when you are required to spend a lot of time hanging around the art room at school,  all in the name of work – is that my hands get itchy. I’m happiest working side by side with students. Lucky me struck a quiet week and a generous co-worker, who suggested, ‘make one!’

So I did.

The last time I did this I was 14, with a completely and fairly permanently stoned teacher assisting the process. Needless to say, whatever we churned out was fine by her. I carved out a giraffe. I was a bit taken by spots and twisty long necks back then.

By the time I had printed out some images today I felt a little bit calmer, a little bit wiser and a little bit taller. Another thing I can add wholeheartedly to my resume, ‘fully competent in the process of dry point etching.’

 

Printed in brown – black looked best. Discoveries made through repetition.

 

‘Walking on a tightrope’ {making} 

This is about the metaphorical teetering that goes on in life. Treading on eggshells, delicately inching forward, in a vulnerable and exposed stance, maybe there are strange feelings and butterflies taking over your insides.


The practice of meditative behaviour. The tightrope walker must pay close attention to both their physical and emotional state, as both situations are precarious and dangerous.

Industrious {making}

Today was a studio day, the weather was glorious, the music was Brazilian chill, the dog was by my side, rather than her hysterical human licking obsessed self, the chickens were digging in the garden. The conditions were perfect.
And, there was a tradesman arriving, we all know how that goes. An entire day is wiped waiting around for the knock on the door, announcing they are here – just 3 hours later than expected.
My story was a happy one today, after 6 weeks of tardy arrivals, today 8.30am did really mean 8.30am.

I revisited this old mosaic and got stuck into the background with some black gouache. And I was instantly happy, I may have found my aesthetic. Finally. Mixed media. I love that this marine ply had been something else, repurposed. Then once the black paint hit the bumpy, flawed wood – I felt like I had finally found it. Something I would like for myself.

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Then I started on this glass panel. This door is over 100 years old and comes from a sweet country town. It was brought to me, to love. Which I do. I built it into my studio as an exterior wall flanked by full glass windows.
One of the yellow panels loosened on the trip, and smashed into pieces. Rather than repair I decided to stick a clear panel into the space and set about filling it with glass bits and pieces. A work in progress.

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