Happy Healthy & Here
A creative emergence from the clouds of 2020 and 2021. Deliberate joy. Deliberate colour choices. Summer. Viridian, cyan, plum and lemon.
It was a warm December evening on the front veranda. We sipped wine and talked about the day and days to come, while the humid air pulsed with the melodies of summer. With dog walkers and talkers. Clouds of insects reshaping overhead like a murmuration of birds. Motorbikes opening up as they turned onto Main Street, the spiraling scent of summer roses catching a corner of memory. The sweet tide of wine washing over me, and of course, ludicrous summer conversations. The rhythm infiltrated my painting and writing. It dictated the tone in each brushstroke and harmony in each word.1
Last summer, we waited patiently for news of borders opening and COVID restrictions easing, but lurking within my patient demeanour were selfish motives. I wanted the family home for Christmas. My watercolour wish materialised in front of me that December day on the veranda, but so too a grey cloud: such whimsical desires for togetherness may bring dire consequences. Yet my wish persisted and spread itself all over the paper in my favourite hues of greens and blues.
We were lucky last Christmas, in more ways than one. The South Australian border opened a week before Christmas, flights were booked and everyone arrived, just in time. COVID was not one of them.
The joy in this painting is real and long-lived, “where does the art experience start and stop or stop and start?”2 Joy is certainly not limited to the final object.
This ‘finished’ painting is ~almost~ at the stopping point; a perpetual condition in all my work. Objects and process nuanced with concepts—beginning, middle, end; just because I stopped doesn’t mean I wont start again. There’s always that. Rework, touch-up, overpaint, underpainting, collage (get those scissors out).
The twilight of the art experience for the artist—where looking is all that is left—is more akin to a funeral than a birth; the apparent final image haunted by a rhythmic process. But that’s not all that’s left, is it?
Of Water & Wine
This painting goes one step beyond memories of place (Adelaide Hills) and time (summer), where COVID is the conflict and love the heroine. The structural integrity of this painting owes some credit to the fruits of the Hills embedded within it.
Again, not a conscious decision.
From the moment flowed pigmented patterns onto paper, producing a melody of uncontrived creativity, there for all to see in a large dark green tree (bottom row, middle).
This is how it actually went: while enjoying the crisp delights of a dry white wine, a wayward-wave at an approaching insect toppled my glass. The citrus tones and herbal overtures of my local Savvy Blanc enveloped the lemons, viridians and cyans of my painting. Watercolour transformed to winecolour.
That’s what I thought as I reached for a cloth. Luckily the next thought made me pause; instead of wiping it all away to start again, I could keep that tree as an embodiment of the place where it grew. A tangible connection.
**Exhibition button will be live from 1 August for the beginning of the South Australian Living Artists 2022 Festival
Kendrea Rhodes’ SALA 2022 Exhibition (online) comes to you from an Adelaide Hills kitchen in August. This exhibition focuses on alternative methods of studying place and community through art praxis. Various images are framed and for sale during the SALA 2022 Festival. Digital images are not 100% representative of physical artwork. They are distinct artworks in themselves and can be printed for purchase upon request. If you are in the Adelaide Hills, and would like to see the paintings in person, please contact KendreArt here
- The idea of expressing writing in musical terms, such as rhythm, harmony and tone, was inspired by Anna Gibbs’ notion of “writing to a rhythm” in her article, “Fictocriticism, Affect, Mimesis: Engendering Differences.” TEXT journal, vol. 9 (1), 2010, pp. 1–10.
- Eduardo De La Fuente. “The Artwork Made Me Do It: Introduction to the New Sociology of Art.” Thesis Eleven, 103(1), 2010, pp. 3–9.