Who ART You? 03

I had the privlege of meeting Lorna in Australia when I took her workshop ! I love her spirit and expression. I think you will too.

Who ART You?

LORNA CRANE

How did you grow up? Sometimes I think I have never grown up…… But my roots were grounded in the working class steel city of Wollongong  an hour south of Sydney, NSW Australia.

I became an artist because……It was just part of my life from an early age. From finding shapes in clouds and letting my imagination take me on a journey through my dreams to, I guess that deep knowing that art would be ever present in my life journey.

What brought you to art? At the age of five I won a colouring in competition and from that time on I just knew that I would become an artist. A hunger that still flows through me each and every day.

Growing up in the ’60’s my desire to go to art school was squashed when my family said that I had to get a ‘real job’ and my father pushed me into a traineeship at the Port Kembla BHP Steelworks studying Land and Engineering Survey Drafting. So I became a mapmaker in the ’70’s. It was during this time I married and had three children and then studied part time at the local Technical College. 

That time gave me a strong basis of technical skills, then later, the University of Wollongong commenced with offering a Diploma in Creative Art then later the Bachelor of Art courses. After five years of study with a painting major along with printing and textiles as minor studies I graduated with both an Associate Diploma and a Bachelor of Creative Arts with Distinction.

Describe your favorite art piece that you had trouble letting go.
Earthy Delights’ Mixed media on canvas 30cm x 30cm 2013

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This piece was one of a series of landscape inspired works that were on display as part of the 30 year Art School reunion show in Sydney. Strongly influenced by an artist residency with the Bundanon Trust 2012 during late spring and now in a private collection.

When I see this work the memories flood back of the fecund flowering blooms of that time along the Shoalhaven River.   

If you could come back and live as any artist, (alive or dead) who would it be and why? Elisabeth Cummings is a living female Australian in her mid ’80’s that has spent her life drawing and painting the Australian landscape. Her colourful, vibrant and textural works continue to inspire me. Her timeless works on canvas and paper resonate on many levels. Her attitude, aesthetic and continued passion to paint the landscape that surrounds her keep wanting to keep on working as an artist for as long as I live.

Who, what influences your art? ‘From the mid ’80’s I was strongly influenced by the Neo Expressionists from Germany viewed at the Adelaide Festival of Art 1986 - in particular Gerhardt Richter, Peter Bommels, Joseph Beuys and Anslem Keifer. I enjoy the bold expressionist approach of these artists. With a one month residency in Berlin 2009there was a huge impact on my work and mindset - and attitudinal shift resulting in a solo show at Belconnen Art Centre 2010 - with a series of paintings, works on paper and a video projection. My other favourite is Tapies!!!!

My Australian influences include Ian Fairweather, Tony Tuckson, Elisabeth Cummings, Rover Thomas and Terri Brooks.  These artists still continue to be an force in regard to gestural abstraction and the Australian landscape. I strive to be still painting like Cummings in my later years.

Right now the artists that speak to me are Sally Gabori for her landscapes of bold brushstrokes and sense of place and colour.  Also Sydney based artist Catherine Cassidy with her primal and inventive approach to her landscape inspired works. I get so enthused by the way she questions the elements of light, air and space within her work where she uses such a fresh approach in bold brush strokes and mark making with an undeniable connection to the land.   

 What has art taught you? To trust, to be brave, to be bold, to be vulnerable, to tell a story, to look further, to continue to learn and to be resilient as a female artist 

Favorite/best resources as an artist?
Google search
Artist Books
Instagram
YouTube
Podcasts

What becomes a magical instrument in your hands ?
My Handmade brushes of course!!

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What medium do you use? Why? Acrylic and ink mainly as I work very fast and get impatient with drying times

What is your favorite subject matter? The memory of the landscape that I have inhabited. From working on site and letting it distill into more gestural drawings, works on canvas as well fibre pieces.

What are you still hoping to learn? Learning to be a bit more minimal in my work - taking on the less is more in the balance between the positive and negative in a work. Letting the spaces in between speak volumes. A work in progress ……..

When I think of art, I ………….I feel challenged, excited, nourished and alive!!

How do life, business, creativity and art intersect? You strive to make it work the best possible way for you. Finding the right balance is a challenge but making the time and having a disciplined approach is an essential part of the journal.

A defining moment in my life is when……….. There are many moments in my career so far. One in particular was a time that carried me further and deeper into my work. It was a one month residency in Alice Springs during 2002, where I began relating much more to the Australian landscape as an artist through the observations being present but also the distillation of shapes, forms and colour into my work.

It was a special experience sitting in a dry creek bed with indigenous artist Billy Benn. Listening to him talk about his land and hearing his stories about his place, made even more special by observing the story in his sand drawings at Honeymoon Gap. One of those pinch me moments that touched me on many levels. It made me question myself as an Australian artist and gave me the desire to spend more time relating to the surrounding landscape.  A residency like this was a unique experience where you place yourself in a totally different environment. It was such a valuable experience where you questioned and confronted yourself as an artist.

Best advice I ever got about art or being an artist was…….. JUST DO IT and continue to make your own authentic marks

Do you have a ritual or do creative activities that help your art practice? If so, what is it? It tends to change with the seasons but I work on my practice most days. It can be spent in the studio during the mornings, preparing for workshops, research and listening to podcasts. 

Lorna Crane

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