Where the trees are scraping to the sky
Graphite, tea, wine, coffee, colour pencil, watercolour, gesso, acrylic and gold leaf on canvas
99 x 135
Our kitchen tabletop is, out of motherhood-necessity, my studio, where domestic routines and an intergenerational flow of knowledge and learning mark evolving palimpsests across unstretched canvas ‘tablecloths’. I explore drawing as a time-based activity and its capacity to document human interaction in its macro and micro registers, including intergenerational relationships.
We live among remnants of endangered Grey-Box Grassy Woodland. With my children we trace, note, spill, and draw evidence of what passes across our tabletop over a period of weeks. Ferdinand Bauer (Natural History Artist aboard the Investigator) used a complex paint by numbers system and structured compositions to record plants and animals. Elements of these guide this gathering of family chaos, and layering of time into order as among our daily routines we learn about our local native plants and how to better care for them. Some of their Kaurna names are pencilled onto the canvas. Thankyou to Kaurna Warra Karrapanthi for advice, and permission to do so.
The title of this artwork is a line from a poem written by my mother, Janet Callen, in the Adelaide Hills in about 1985. When I was about the same age my daughter is now.