Treading the Boards
“Treading the Boards”
Coloured pencils and Sennelier oil pastels.
225 x 275 mm.
In a theatrical setting; the port of Fremantle lit by morning sunshine, a seagull steps along a wooden plank with the studied deliberation of an actor treading the boards.
This drawing will be one of 21 Julie Podstolski drawings exhibited at Kidogo Arthouse, Bathers Beach, Fremantle, from 7th September 2017 (for two weeks) – with ceramics by Stewart Scambler.
Who knows a port better than one who inhabits it night and day? The ubiquitous Silver Gull is right at home among the ships, containers, bridges and cranes of Fremantle. Observant citizen of land, sea and sky, he could probably tell us the daily shipping news – if we asked. He is the port authority.
Oil pastels and coloured pencils. 230 x 310 mm. July 2017.
“Port Authority” is the second drawing of this particular gull. I drew him last year with coloured pencils only. This time I wanted to add oil pastels to the mix and do a bigger drawing. And as you can see, he is looking in the opposite direction in the first drawing…because a bird needs to know what is happening all around him!
210 x 245 mm. August 2016
I chose to put ‘port’ in the title again since these two drawings are clearly related (though I no longer have the first one).
A silver gull in Fremantle drawn with coloured pencils, Neopastels and Neocolor.
205 x 250 mm. March 2017
Sometimes I am forced to fully prostrate myself in order to get the reference shot I need for a drawing. Such was the case for the series of photos I took of this particular silver gull last August. If anybody saw me lying flat on the dirty concrete at the port, well, too bad! I needed to be at bird level so I had to pretend to myself that I didn’t look ridiculous.
“The Humble Seagull” is a drawing of the same bird which I drew several months ago.
There are people who tell me they like birds but not seagulls. Yes, seagulls may act aggressively if they feel threatened, or greedy when they want our fish and chips. I am quite sure that seagulls have variable personalities just as we do. I’ve met some friendly and inquisitive gulls during my photography trips who come close to see what I’m doing and then linger with me for a while. I think they are handsome birds with quirky and gregarious personalities.
“Port Side” – drawn at the same time as “The Humble Seagull”
Coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle
What do I do when all my drawings are finished for an exhibition? [COMING SOON] An entire body of work is ready and I am now lost for ideas. I don’t want to draw another Kyoto piece. No, that is complete (for the moment). Let go. How do I stop myself spiraling off into space – rudderless and directionless?
How about coming home in my mind and actually looking round here once more for inspiration? It is a while since I’ve done that (three years to be precise). I have a new camera so I take it out for a spin – to the port – to visit my friends, the birds.
Trying to capture birds as subjects is a lot like trying to capture maiko and geiko. On the plus side, I don’t have to feel guilty about taking bird photos or be mindful of good manners. However birds can move much faster than maiko or geiko and often leave me before I’ve got my photo.
My bird drawings are never just about the bird. They are a way for me to interpret the port – as out of focus as possible. Container ships, bridges and cranes have cool shapes and colours but they are so hard edge. I don’t want that hard edge. I massively soften those forms by focussing on the bird.
Working on “Port Side” these last few days has calmed my pre-exhibition jitters considerably. I remember to appreciate where I live, and life in general, when I seek out subjects at home in Fremantle. (Western Australia.)
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