Our November laurel is bestowed on a fabric printer in the Blue Mountains who produced painted objects where thoughts could dwell during the pandemic.
From her Instagram account, Julie Paterson shares the motive for making her Equanimity Trees.
I often paint these Equanimity Trees when I’m feeling a bit out of balance or thoughtful or sad. They realign me and set me back on course. I use found bits of wood or card and I focus entirely on the making at the time. It’s like having a mini-retreat when things get hard. And this week is a bit harder than usual so maybe that is why I’m drawn to making them again. We have been packing up the flat of my lovely wife‘s Mum. Marg is in aged care now, in lockdown with dementia. It’s confronting and sad to experience her decline and confusion, not understanding why we can’t visit. But we work through the sadness stay present with the grief and uncertainty and keep on loving. Because that’s all there is. Love, care and compassion.
She tells of how they are made.
All the pieces are created on found wood, mostly—wood that’s already had a life as something else, or leftover from a different project. For my paintings, I rarely if ever use materials bought specifically to paint on. They need to be leftovers or recycled.
Generally, the Equanimity Trees are very small and I like them left unframed. I like them leaning on a shelf propped up with a collection of other things. I think they are quite personal and intimate. So framing and displaying on a wall seems not quite right.
The ply is leftover from my recent kitchen reno and the ironbark leftover from a client’s building project down in Shoalhaven. She knew I collected offcuts and saved them up for me. Other times I rummage in skip bins if I see some interesting ones full of building materials. I’m always keeping my eye out.
Others I’ve recently painted on vintage teak bowls that my partner finds in op shops. Sometimes the found wood might be just 10 cm tall and the work rarely goes any bigger than 20 cm.
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