Gallery of past work

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Exploring Line and Aboriginal Art

Ever since I lived in Western Canada more than 40 years ago, I've been fascinated both by the symbolism of much First Nation or Aboriginal art and also by its apparent visual simplicity and graphic qualities. It is an extraordinary mix that brings me much pleasure whenever I come into contact with it.

Pursuing this further the other day following our visit to Australia last autumn, I ordered Contemporary Aboriginal Art: the Complete Guide by Susan McCulloch and Emily McCulloch Childs. The book arrived this morning, and since it's pouring with rain and blowing a gale outside, I settled down to browse and be inspired.

One piece has immediately caught my eye - it's in black and white with only a central splash of bright red. It's called Mina Mina Hair-String Story and was painted in 2004 by Maggie Napangardi Watson. The title refers to the string made from human hair which is used in women's ceremonies. It seems to feature strongly in her paintings.

Searching on the internet, her work is generally brightly coloured but I found the graphic qualities and subtle sense of movement of this painting irresistible and set about working from it in black and white. As I worked, I explored qualities of line - weight, thickness and movement.

 After Maggie Napangardi Watson's Mina Mina Hair-String Story ...

This book was a second hand find on Amazon as it's now out of print but I'm sure it's going to be an education and a pleasure.

What a great resource the internet is in accessing such rare finds. Without it, I could only have discovered the book after hours of trawling around second hand bookshops and then probably only by chance.


  1. I like your interpretation, what an interesting book to own.

    1. Fun to do - it really made me think about the lines I was drawing. The book is lovely and contains lots more inspiration.

  2. Replies
    1. Merçi Elfi. Ce livre était une grande trouvaille - plein de couleur et beaucoup de façons de peindre ...


Hello and thank you very much for taking the time to leave a message on my blog. Every comment is welcome and I will try to answer you as soon I can.