Wednesday, September 15, 2010

beginnings (part four)

my arty beginnings... 
a story in four parts starts with part one,   ---  part two,   ---  part three 

and now - here's part four....

In August 2006 I received shocking news - Gareth Long, my dear high school friend, classmate and fellow BHS prefect, had been killed in a freak tractor accident. Gareth was a spectacular person - funny, personable, compassionate, brilliant - As teens we shared a similar confidence, clarity and intensity about our future path.... Gareth was destined to be a doctor, and me - well I was going to be An Artist of course. Gareth became a highly respected orthopaedic surgeon and passionate advocate for local (and global) health issues - mostly though, I remember him as a genuine and beautiful person. Gareth and I were 2 of only 4 people from our high school graduating year to gain tertiary qualifications and remain/return to the Bega Valley... His death was devastating news.

Just as the birth of our children had been a life-altering event, Gareth's death caused something of a personal crisis: for the first time I fully sensed my own mortality..... and from that sensation came the renewed urge to live to the fullest.... with as much honesty, integrity, kindness, humility, compassion, generosity and authenticity as I could muster.

The week following Gareth's death, I sent off an application to enroll in a Master of Visual Arts (by distance... of course!).... Sass was just entering Kindy, EJ was a toddler, we were in the grips of what became the worst drought in recorded history, my mother was very ill then diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.... basically it was absolutely insane to be considering a Masters at that moment.... but..... there was no time to lose....

I had little idea what I was about to take on so it was with tremendous nervousness that I accepted the offer of a place with Monash University.

Wow! what a roller-coaster ride the 3 year part-time course was..... in the first year I played with textiles (and took out 2nd prize in the Meroogal Women's Art Prize with a textile piece.... much to my amazement!) I played with installations and calligraphy (I was guest artist for Coffs Caligraphers exhibition 'botanical rhythms' so I created a whole banksia-inspired body of work....)

weight of words
mixed media on canvas - 10 panels

and of course I experimented with boooooooks.....

'herstory' (detail)
reclaimed history text book, cotton backing, cotton and polyester thread, acetone transfer image
(see more of this piece on the EGAG website....)

I commenced this blog at the beginning of the second year of my MVA (2008).... (indeed you can blame Monash Uni for all my blogginess).... so if you trawl back through the archives you'll catch up with the story to this point.

Last year I finished off the Masters (wheeeeeee! happy dance!)....

'scientia inflammatus'
ephemeral sculpture/photography
(reproduced in Artlink magazine, shortlisted for Basil Sellers Art Prize TBA in Oct.)

Rather than take a breather, I immediately applied for the Higher Degree Research program with Monash.....

Soooooooooo - right now I'm in the thick of things with the MFA/PhD booky arrrrrt project - the first chapter of the exegesis is due in Nov and there's much arrrrrtyness to make! (but then if you've had a peek at anything this year you'd know this already)....

....and that means I think we're all caught up!


being An Artist can be tiring - this four-part arrrrty tale certainly has taken its toll!

I think I need a little lie down......

"A beginning is only the start of a journey to another beginning"




  1. "A Bex and a nice lie-down..."
    Rubbish! You have things to do, woman!

    [ are one of those energetic people who seem always to cross the finishing line dragging the next project with you. I am your Opposite Pole!]

  2. Loved the story, sorry it's over for now. Everything you say about goodness, kindness, compassion (amongst other things) as being integral to your life makes me want to shout "Yes!" I so agree with you - lots of "snaps" there. xx

  3. Wow! I'm sad to have reached the final instalment... but what a journey! I know what you mean about seizing the day and living life to the fullest, especially when you've seen other people die: I don't believe in putting off until tomorrow what I could be doing today. Here's to your (very full) tomorrows!


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx