The easy welcome of the house and the expansiveness of the boat shed studio provided the base for a happy and productive week for me.
I set out to explore the immediate area by drawing: making studies of cliffs and chitons; and rubbings of seaweed tangles and weathered wood. But it was a large (2m square) drawing started on my second day that got me most excited, and I worked on this outside as soon as there was a dry moment through the week. I used charcoal, chalk and yellow ochre from the eroding cliffs, working with the paper folded up on a drawing board or laid out on a grave slab. Moving out from the garden of Caselberg House to the cemetery I was struck by the patches of bright sea and sky seen through the darks of bare branches and slanting macrocarpas, giving a sense of the shape of the headland I was on. It was challenging working on this scale and I learnt a lot from my struggle to resolve the composition!
The week went by all too fast, but the distraction-free time has given me a real momentum for the start of the final semester of my degree programme. I intend to carry on exploring-through-drawing back in my own area of suburban Dunedin.
Rebecca Cameron – ‘Down the Bay Retreat’ Resident 6 -13th August 2012.