... just remember always search for the feeling of place that made you feel connected to Country.
Discover your inner artistic spirit with this creative activity, designed by Jacob Nash, Bangarra’s head of Design. Making art together is a rich learning experience like no other. This activity is suitable for children and adults of any age, and can be easily adapted by teachers for student projects and assignments.
Every moment of our lives we are on Country, living in its landscape. We are a part of the ever changing cycles that happen around us each day and each year; from sunsets to sunrise, the changing of the tides or seasons, these are all examples of moments in the landscape that effects us and we are a part of.
But when we want to record these moments or someone asks you to visually create the land around you, what do you do? What marks do you make? What colours and materials do you use to describe what you see?
These are all big questions, but if you break it down into a creative process, you will be able to start to see the land in a different way and be able to make images that are important to you.
Every moment of our lives we are on Country, living in its landscape.
PREPARATION: Creative processes
When working on Terrain we went through a series of stages in our creative process:
Firstly, you need to work out what part of the landscape is inspiring to you, what do you connect to?
What part of the landscape makes you feel something inside?
Sometimes, when you can’t describe in words what that feeling is, it means you have found an emotional connection to that place - and that’s a great thing, when creating a landscape - Connection to Country.
Secondly, you need observe what’s around you and ask yourself what am I actually looking at? To do this you need to understand the land - spending time ‘on’ it, watching it as it changes during the day, walk through it, or feel it against your body. By doing this and observing as you go, you are collecting all the important experiences you will need to create the image you want.
To collect these experiences you could take photographs, videos, audio recordings, sketches, collect rocks, bark, stones or just use your memory. There is no right way to do this, except what inspires you the most.
Thirdly, you need go back to your studio or desk and start translating these experiences you’ve had on Country into reality. In my work, what I love to do is find the emotion of Country, and discover the things we can’t see, but feel inside. A landscape can be many things, and for me, I ask myself questions, for example; what does a salt lake look like when I am floating above it? Or what colour is white salt at sunset?
I ask myself these questions so the landscape doesn’t appear so big and I can focus on a particular part that I feel connected too.
Lastly, you need to start creating! This, for me, is the most exciting time, because it is when all the observing, collecting and time on Country come together and you can begin expressing your experiences on paper.
When creating, there is no right or wrong, the way you do things is the right way for you. Some people use their fingers to paint, some people use fine brushes made from human hair, some people make large sculptures. But the thing that makes these artists and their works look and feel powerful is the fact that they respond to the country around them. Country shows them what marks to be making and how they should be made.
Discover the thing or things that are most important to you in the landscape, and paint or make something that reminds you of that place.
... always search for the feeling of place that made you feel connected to Country.
So as an exercise we could do the following:
Find a place you can go to from your house, a place that you feel comfortable in. It could be your back yard, the park, the view from your window or the street out the from of your house.
Once you have chosen that place, go and stand there, be the observer, and discover why you like that place so much. Take the photos, videos or sketches, the things that you need to inspire you and remind you of that place.
Take all this creative inspiration place it out in front you and instead of making an image that is exactly what you saw, start to make marks that describe how you felt when you were there. For example if we look at Sydney Harbour, think about the tides that rise and fall, think about the currents in the water. What shapes and pattern do they make? Are those shapes and patterns clues for how you want to create your landscape?
Now think about colour, what colour is the water in the harbour? Is it many colours or one? Choose a selection of colours or just one that makes you remember what the harbour feels like.
Now think about how you are going to apply the paint. What is the best way to make you feel like you remember the Harbour? Maybe you could describe the water by using your fingers making shapes like water ripples.
With all these things in your head, begin to experiment - creating with paint is about exploring, having fun and discovering.
And this is where it begins, the creating of images that remind you of place, just remember always search for the feeling of place that made you feel connected to Country.
Sometimes, when you can’t describe in words what that feeling is, it means you have found an emotional connection to that place - Connection to Country
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