Solomon Island Dreaming

Our Artists: Intimations.

It is a commonplace that an artwork, in any genre or medium, stands alone. The artist does not have to stand beside, explain or write an explanatory statement of each completed work. Debate forms around each work: that is part of its perpetual value.

Not everything is ‘known’. Works from the Greek golden age are still active, informative, relevant, exciting, debatable each day now and future. The violinist’s performance is built on the relationship between the composer and the performer – centuries apart from each other. To stand in front of Picasso’s Guernica is to establish in 2021 a relationship with that 1937 work. For some people there will be just the reputation that has drawn them to Madrid and the gallery. For others there will be a full knowledge of the Condor Legion, the Spanish Civil War – an array of information. Neither ‘condition’ is essential to the work: it stands alone, blue, black, white, and ferociously communicative. Lives will be informed by that work for many years.

Recently Rick Stein (Rick Stein in Spain. BBC TV. YouTube) on his programme filmed in Basque country mentioned the famed agricultural produce and general markets in Guernica (founded 1344) with particular reference to cereals. The viewer’s surprise was to realise that Guernica, bombed into rubble in 1937, had any life now more than 80 years later. Of course it has recovered, been re-built. Yet upon mention of the city’s name the mental image can be Picasso’s Guernica. Art draws life, draws on life, informs life, records life, enhances understanding; but it needs the viewer, the relationship in order to be integral. Quantum mechanics foretold. Revealed complexity enlarges life.

Propaganda however must consciously be avoided. It is not necessary to know anything more than the painting. Nonetheless to know of the artist to the extent permitted and possible a biography, a provenance of work and its maker, is helpful: stop, stare and gather meaning. The artist comes to the work from the first thought to last: the presentation for others to know, should they wish to know.

This can be a ‘counsel of difficulty’ requiring inquiring minds to meet at the work itself. It assumes open minds, receptive minds in both the making and the receiving. The meeting will always be informed by the individual perception activated by the viewer; the perception will be better shaped by familiarity and research. Fortunately nothing will erase that first ‘shock of the new’ (Robert Hughes -Australia and BBC YouTube); the effect can become even more powerful given time and concentration.

Therefore Easel-Art-Space has suggested to our artists that each provides an Artist’s Statement with each work, exhibition or other gallery event to guide the viewer to a closer ‘reading’ of a work. Without polemic. The following are two current examples.

1. From Rose McAllister. Greater Newcastle NSW Australia.

Works from the Solomon Islands, exhibited at Easel-Art-Space March/April 2021. www.

“ Only three hours north of Brisbane the Solomon Islands can be found. Having travelled to this country in 2018, I was struck by the landscape and culture. The Solomons has over 900 islands, six major islands, and is divided into 9 provinces, each having their own culture and language. We have to respect and be culturally sensitive to the needs and expectations and all of the provinces, as each has lived relatively in isolation from each other.

The country was named Solomon Islands after the wealthy biblical King Solomon. It is said that they were given this name in the mistaken assumption that they contained great riches.

From my experience the Solomon Islands does contain riches, but ones much different than what we perceive in the Western world.

The works created have been influenced by the time I spent in the Solomons.

There is a richness and strong bond in relationships with each other and in their Christian faith.

The country in many ways is divided from each other and separated from the rest of the world, but still has a strong sense of community and vibrantly celebrates this life through sacred rituals and traditions.

Visions stay in my mind of the colours, smells and liveliness of the daily fruit and vegetable market in Honiara. The birds eye view of the archipelago, the different tints and shades of blue as we flew North-West. The Betel nut stained streets which look like a murder scene. The island which is only an airstrip. The flight from Kaghua to Honiara which saw us caught in a storm, rain pouring into the cockpit, trying to land three times and then eventually diverting to Auki as we nearly ran out of fuel. The rainy journey to the turtle conservation island, where we were witness to hundreds of turtles making their way to the open ocean. Ringing of the bells on the Island of Wagina to bring the community to together each morning for mass and at the end of the day for Rosary. The welcoming ceremony and the energy and spirit of their dance.

The experience provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the post-modern, technological driven, consumeristic state of existence, which the West is part of.

Many people live in a ‘wants’ reality, not a ‘needs’ based one. Western culture has brain washed us to believe our life will be better and we will be happier through consuming things and having stuff.

I question, what is most important in life and what makes us happy? “

Ends. 29 April 2021.

2. From Stephie Clark. Armidale, NSW, Australia and Paris, France.

Stephie Clark has been in art practice for many years, having also managed professionally a medical practice in Armidale NSW, whilst raising family, looking inward to the garden for close detail, looking out to the world for direct inspiration. In 2021 she has tutored popular Workshops ( in pastels, invited initially by Jo Chisholm-Ray owner and curator at CStudiosmore than a decade, now welcomed also recently by the other Directors of Easel-Art-Space. To see a fully subscribed Workshop being conducted by Stephie is to see personal, technical individual tutoring of many works in progress across productive days. The departing pastel artists at the end of the day leave affirmed, they say. “See you next time” the refrain.

In discussion over some weeks, Stephie has commented:

“Nature provides me with a myriad of subjects that spike my creativity. I gather combinations of composition and colours from Her.”

“I can see a painting on the paper even before it is even started, if the composition is perfect. Again Nature shares these moments of joy and as an artist I get to pop my own voice within Nature’s beauty.”

“My creativity is looking for the interesting viewpoint which is unusual and interesting in a particular way or detail. My artist voice is my signature in this medium and composition plays a very important role.”

“I believe my reason for picking up pastels is to show people pastels are not limited to what people perceive soft pastels are capable of. The soft pastels are magic sticks of pigment that allow me to portray Nature with my expression.”

“The beauty I see is momentary and I feel I need to record my view and move on. I encourage my students to do similarly and I love that I’m given the opportunity to share my love of art and creativity with others and encourage each of them to find their own way with looking at the world. I love that I get to ‘feed’ their creativity.”

Stephie was asked: “I need to be metaphysical, and simultaneously practical. Your work actually hangs on the wall on an easel, in the experienced world. Is that fair?” to which Stephie responds,

“I think that portrays who I am…no shrinking violet and I like to be heard and I feel I do have something to tell my viewers.”

Provided with artists’ approval, 12 May 2021.


Recent Posts

See All