Cabbage Butterfly Balloon

I did a series of two illustrations, a while ago, and I never did anymore. I can’t say why. It tapped into something inside of me that went against everything else I was doing. Bold colour, striking line, saturation, saturation. And then I drew this.

01. cabbage butterfly balloon by Ravenari

And yet I look at it and know I have to go back to that space one day. That space of fragmented line and downgraded colour. I need to know what it means for my soul to do this; and why this feels so much more like it will shatter me, than using brilliant pigments and bold line.

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I am sometimes told by other artists that they feel intimidated by using bold colour. I don’t know why, but I have never felt this way. Perhaps it is that I hero-worshipped Franz Marc and his own striking colour symbolism as a young teenager. Or perhaps it’s just that I didn’t care when I was doing artwork, because I don’t recall ever concerning myself about colour, overmuch. And maybe that’s because I was raised first and foremost in the medium of pastels which – unlike their *name* – are known for producing the most spectacular brilliance of pigmentation of any traditional medium outside of just purchasing pure high quality pigment and doing it yourself.

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I cut my eyeteeth on colour and saturation, rather than the specifity of line, which was hard for me to get at the age of 14 with only soft pastels to play with. I discovered the love I have for the line, particularly the black line, not that much later. I would have only been about 16. While I was working lineless for TEE Art (TER Art now, I believe), I was beginning to appreciate the boundaries of limning subjects with line at home in my private works. I myself am so fragmented, so much about boundary and borders and fixed spaces and brokenness, that I became addicted to the line.

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One day, I guess, I’ll drift back to the low saturation illustrations that I can sometimes do, like cabbage butterfly balloon; but when? I don’t know. Originally, it was a whimsy, a flight of fancy. I didn’t know what I was doing, I only knew I wanted there to be a butterfly balloon and a snail shell in there somewhere.

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The new The Get Up Kids album; ‘There Are Rules’ is awesome. It’s taken about four listens for me to realise this, but now I’m there and I have some new ‘art’ music. Keith Case still swamps me every time I hear it. I don’t know what it is about that song, but it rolls over me like a flood, and leaves me over-drenched and barren all at once. I could dedicate swathes of art to that single song; and no one would know.

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Blast from the Past – Eucalyptus

I drew this Eucalyptus in 1997, I’m pretty sure. I was in year 11, probably fifteen, and I had gone to our local primary school park on Priestley Street and actually taken my fineliners and egg tempera paints with me. I still remember the experience vividly. I did used to take art materials with me to that park all the time, there were big, grand eucalyptus trees everywhere.

Embleton Eucalyptus by Ravenari

Sometimes, you look back on the things you release into the world, groan, hold your head in your hands, and basically have to learn how to deal with people not only seeing, but sometimes even owning things that you can’t stand.

Sometimes though, you look back on things and think, ‘wow, could I actually do that again now? Do I have that same vision?’ And I don’t. I do have vision, but it’s not this vision. I think, personally, that it shows my obsession with unconventional colouring, something I’ve always kind of had. I feel like this with writing, too. I look back on things I’ve written and sometimes wonder who that person was, what she was thinking, why she chose the words she did, how she managed to execute a sentence that I’m not sure I could execute now.

Eucalyptus trees are fantastic subjects, they’re graceful without being too ordered, they have a lazy way of growing their branches which translates to wonderful curved lines and robust curved leaves on the page. More than that, there are hundreds of species of eucalyptus to choose from.

I used to do most of my artwork outside of and independently of class, despite taking TEE Art, and Art & Design. Sometimes I’d try and cheat and find a way to add it to my portfolio by making something up, and hoping for the best. But ultimately, I drew this eucalyptus because I really felt like this eucalyptus wanted to be drawn by me. It’s my favourite kind of art; art that is a communication between subject and artist, and is its own pattern of interspecies or interobject understanding.

It has nothing to do with deadlines, commissions, commerciality, making money or even personal philosophy and politics.

It was a tree. It was some tempera paints. Some ink. A fineliner. Some paper.

I miss those days. I don’t draw nearly as freely anymore.