G’day viewers, I’m Sophia Stacey, and welcome back to Colour in Your Life. I’m usually behind the camera, but I’m going to be hosting for the next few shows as Graeme recovers from shoulder surgery. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles and mums and dads and come and see how some of the best Artists do what they do. (Music Plays) (Sophia) Well, welcome back viewers, and today we’re in Mount Martha, in Victoria, and I’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Fletcher, welcome to the show. (Jennifer) Thank you very much, Sophia. (Sophia) Now Jennifer’s had a very long career and you’ve done everything from sculptures, (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) to the current style you’re working on now. But can you explain to the viewers what we’re actually going to be doing today with a variety of different mediums? (Jennifer) Yes, I started life as a Printmaker, that’s what I majored in at Art school. And I like to work in layers, so today I just thought well, and I did this yesterday, I printed a couple of very large etchings. And my idea is that I will tear them up and collage them onto the canvas and paint. (Sophia) And so you’re actually going to be using Hydrocryl paints today. (Jennifer) I am. (Sophia) And we’d like to thank Alex, from Hydrocryl, because you’ve been using his paints for quite a while (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) and (Jennifer) They’re delicious. (Sophia) Yeah, they’re very thick and rich and… (Jennifer) They’re rich and buttery and they have the most luscious colours. Just gorgeous. (Sophia) One of the great things about them is they’re nontoxic. (Jennifer) Oh, that’s really, that’s actually the biggest thing for me. Apart from the luscious colours and how nice they are to use, is they’re not non-toxicity. Because as a Printmaker for years everything we used was toxic, (Sophia) Yeah. (Jennifer) everything was carcinogenic. Just about everything, everything you cleaned up with, every ink you used, every type of medium – it was all toxic. And of course back in the old days there were no safe guards. You didn’t have exhaust systems and you know, we just slathered it all over our selves. We were painted in turps and stuff like that. (Sophia) But it runs it course after a while doesn’t it? (Jennifer) Oh, yes, so this is really important to me that the materials I use are nontoxic, and they don’t have fumes. And the clean up, you don’t have to use toxic stuff to clean up. The bonus of course is the wonderful quality of the paint itself, which is the colour and the buttery texture of it, and the fact you can do different things. Like you can make it flow, and thin, and wash. (Sophia) And you use one of flow mediums don’t you? (Jennifer) Yes, I do, I do their flow mediums are wonderful. (Sophia) And you’ll see some of Jennifer’s Art through the show, and all of those bright colours that come from the Hydrocryl. But I think we should get stuck in and see what you’re going to create today. (Jennifer) Okay. Great. (Sophia) Okay, Jennifer, so what are we going to do here? (Jennifer) Well, this, these are the two etchings, large etching plates that I printed yesterday. And they’re now dry and I’m going to tear them up. These have been printed on heavy rag paper, three hundred GSM, BFK Rives, which is a beautiful French printing paper. (Sophia) And Jennifer, I must say you have got a fantastic studio. You’ve got it laid out so well with all your draws for your drawings. But you’ve actually got an etching press here. (Jennifer) The Queen of the studio, and she was built for me many years ago by a man here in Melbourne, (Sophia) Okay. (Jennifer) and she’e pretty special. She been tucked away in a country barn for a fe years, and she only came home last summer. But we’ve been working on this for a few years to create the studio. And I’m really thrilled because now I have storage on site for the first time in years. As an Artist, storage is one of your biggest problems going forward. Because you have work that’s between exhibitions, it’s work you’ve framed, that you need to store and keep safe and actually have access to. And I have had off site storage for quite a few years, and having off site storage you can have a few disasters. I’ve had a few floods, you know where you go there a few weeks later and you don’t realise it’s flooded. (Sophia) Oh, no. (Jennifer) and your work is you know, the frames and the papers soaked up the water and it’s just been ruined. And because I was a Printmaker, primarily for a number of years, I have just so much work on paper, and paper – it’s really good paper, and good paper will last for hundreds of years. But it needs to be stored flat, and dry and orderly. And that’s why you need plan draws. (Sophia) I must say I’m very envious of your plan draws. (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) They’re fabulous. (Jennifer) They are fabulous. (Sophia) And Jennifer, apart from living in the beautiful Mount Martha on the Mornington Peninsular, you are lucky enough to live for about six months of the year in Italy. (Jennifer) I love Italy. I think I was somewhere deep in the back of my ancestors past, there had to be an Italian there somewhere. (Sophia) And, Jennifer, you do quite a few mixed media pieces. You’ve got a beautiful one here called Tidal Treasures, and its got all sorts of bits and pieces. And as we were saying before it’s those Hydrocryl paints that are so bright and vibrant (Jennifer) Absolutely. (Sophia) that make everything pop. (Jennifer) I like a richness of image. It’s quite special when you can work on something and you build it up, and you build up the layers, and you build up the colours and, you build up the richness because life is rich. (Sophia) And you were saying before that your theory on life, is that every single person is creative (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) and they just need a bit of encouragement and a chance to get back in touch with… (Jennifer) Oh, with their creative side. I think that’s essential; I think that’s essential for health, and longevity and mental well being. And I think it’s rather sad that our society somehow has negated that need. And I used to teach little children in a country primary school, go and teach them Art. And at the beginning and they’re wild and free, and they know they can do anything. And they’ll splash colour around and they just love it. And you see the same children three years later, and they look in there and they say, oh, I can’t draw a straight line. I can’t do this, I can’t do that. And I think, how sad is that? Where does that come from? How do we put that into our children? That they go from having such freedom, and bliss, and joy, and happiness, and expressing themselves so freely, to thinking then they’re so closed. By the time they’re eighty years old they are closed down. And I just, I just find that incredibly sad. And I find you know, were all – society as a whole, if you’re lucky enough we’re all living longer, and not necessarily happier. I just think people, people need to back in touch with their joy. (Sophia) Well looks like you’re doing that, that’s for sure. That looks like fun (Jennifer) It is fun. (Sophia) and this is just the beginning. (Jennifer) And this is just the beginning. (Jennifer) You haven’t even got any paints out yet. (Jennifer) No. (Sophia) But I love your whole process and it must take up quite a while to map all this out in your head. Do you stay up at night and sort of map it all out? (Jennifer) I don’t really stay up at night and map it out, but when I’m working I will dream it. I will where colours colours out in my sleep. I sort of live it, live it while I’m working on something. So I suppose it’s there in the grey matter just sort of wanting to be nutted out. (Sophia) And you’ve actually done a series called the Flying People series, (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) and you were saying some of those were inspired by your dreams of flight. (Jennifer) I had one incredibly powerful dream and it’s still with me. If I think about it I get all goose bumpy and emotion, because it really was so extraordinary. I was flying across valleys, and landscapes, and I was doing barrel rolls in the sky (Sophia) Wow. (Jennifer) and swooping to the ground. It was so real cause I come from an aviation family, so flying has always been part of my life. So I thought, I just had this idea I would do people flying in the air, dropping from the sky, flying through the air, but using people in flight, as, as an analogy for life itself. Life’s journey. (Sophia) Your beautiful home and studio, you’re only just meters from the beach really aren’t you? (Jennifer) Yes. Yes, just a lovely walk. I love Mount Martha. I love this area, this is a very old part of Mount Martha. You’ve got these little winding, sandy lanes, and eclectic gardens and eclectic houses too. (Sophia) And there’s actually the Mornington Peninsular Studio Trail that happens down in November which you’re part of. Can you tell the viewers a little bit more about that? (Jennifer) Yes, it’s quiet wonderful and had been going for quite a few years. But at the moment there are eighteen professional Artists who live across the length and breadth of the Peninsula, and they open their studios for two weekends in November. And it’s quite extraordinary the response, because people love actually seeing people in their studio. They love seeing where the people get their hands dirty, and where the nitty-gritty happens, and where ideas are formulated and actually emerge into something they can see. (Sophia) Okay, Jennifer, we’ve ripped up all the bits of paper and, so now you’re just going to glue them to the canvas? (Jennifer) I have a little bit of Flow Promoter (Sophia) And that’s from Hydrocryl? (Jennifer) Hydrocryl. (Sophia) And you’re just going over one little spot or the whole canvas? (Jennifer) Well it will dry on me, so I don’t want to put too much there. And what I’ve got is I put some matt medium on the back of this. You get a lovely bond between using your various mediums as binders. So the Flow Promoter is also a medium (Sophia) Okay. (Jennifer) and they should together. (Jennifer) What I’m really trying to get here is these beautiful lines that are in the etching. And I have to say here, that there is nothing quite like an etched line. Because to get an etched line you have a grove that has been worked into the plate, the zinc plate, or a copper plate. And so therefore when it goes through the press and it is printed under pressure, the paper is squished down into every little crevice and every little line. And so every line is actually sitting proud of the paper. (Sophia) Aha. (Jennifer) It is full of ink and it sits up, and it actually, is actually proud of the paper. So every time you see an etched line, or an etched mark it has so much more guts, (Sophia) Yes. (Jennifer) so much more oomph than just a drawn line. (Sophia) So, Jennifer, you actually grew up in the New England Ranges, and you’ve got a series that was inspired by living out in the country called High Country. (Jennifer) Aha. I was playing around with a stone Lithograph, and I did a landscape with the High Country mountains. They’re very delicate in the background and the interceding hills, and so over the top of that I’ve painted, I’ve painted forest and trees – abstract of course. (Sophia) And you’ve got four in the series is that right? (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) And you’ve also dabbled in sculpture as well, and we’ve got a couple of pieces here. One is Tenderness, and you’ve got another one, The Lovers, which is also a very sensual piece. (Jennifer) And I did enjoy that, I would like to do more. (Sophia) You’ve got another series the Twelve Apostles, well actually it’s a tryptic. And can you describe to us about how you put those ones together cause they’re quite different to what you’re doing now? (Jennifer) Now, yeah. I used to do a great deal of silk screening with oil based inks, but it made me ill because it was, everything you used was toxic. Hence the beauty of Hydrocryl paints which are not toxic. I had a big exhibition happening in Canberra, and I did a lot of silk screen images for the exhibition in Canberra. And part way through I used to work at night after the family were in bed and one night I just realised I was so out of it from all the fumes, even though I did wear a big mask and I had ventilation and windows open. It’s so pervasive that you can’t escape it. I think your skin just drinks it in. And I was climbing back up the steps to go into the house and I was oh, this is really bad for me. So I finished that exhibition and I did all the work for it, but I never ever touched silk screen again. And I did miss it, I really missed it as a medium which is why I’ve gone on and developed my other way of working with layers of print, and different media and paint. (Sophia) And the nontoxic paint. (Jennifer) And nontoxic – definitely aiming for nontoxic everywhere. Not that long ago people weren’t aware on toxicity and a lot of products that we are all used to dealing with in our houses and working like turps, turpentine is horrendously toxic, and yet we throw it around, wash our hands with it. As silk screen Artist you’d be washing your arms and you know, it was absolutely crazy. Well now they know it’s one of the worst things because it penetrates the skin. You really have to be super aware of the toxic elements of your materials. It’s really, really important. Hydrocryl do the most fabulous single pigment paints, and they have a clarity that is quite astonishing. (Sophia) Give it a bit of spray of water. (Jennifer) Oh, and I always use filtered water. (Sophia) Here we go, so you’re just wanting to get some colour, colour on the canvas to start with? (Jennifer) Yes. Now we need another colour, this luscious, yummy turquoise. (Sophia) And some more of the flow medium. (Jennifer) So now you can see this beautiful colour. I’m literally blending this on the canvas. There’s a trueness to the pigment, and a trueness to the colour. And I love to work very thinly. I like texture and thickness at times, but there’s something quite magical about the over, see how the turquoise has gone over violet? (Sophia) Yeah, and it just (Jennifer) Just sings. (Sophia) and making all those different colours. (Jennifer) Yeah. (Sophia) As we mentioned earlier you have the pleasure of living in Italy for six months of the year. (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) And you have a couple of pieces you’ve painted while you were over there, (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) and there’s one called Seeds of Wisdom which is quite a different style altogether to what you’re doing now. (Jennifer) Yeah, I did a lot of research and investigation into Goddesses, and ancient history, and antiquity while I was there. That’s really were I got my inspiration, I wasn’t interested in going out and painting Tuscan sunflowers. That had no interest to me what so ever, but the history and the Tuscans and the various things that had gone on and the layers of earth – it’s just extraordinary. You know, you walk around your village and there’s a wall that was built four thousand years ago, or the plumbing is still there from three and a half thousand years go, or they’re still draining the field in the same way. Or there’s the remains of the Roman bridge you know, it’s quite fantastic. So my exhibition in Italy, I was really interested in how woman had been portrayed in Art and history down through the ages. (Sophia) And you’ve also done quite a bit of life drawing. (Jennifer) Yes, I’ve always done that. I’ve always found that one of the great disciplines of Art, is to draw the human body, cause it is one of the hardest things you can draw. You can draw a pear, and an apple, and a still life, and a landscape and they can actually look quite good. But you draw a human body and you don’t get it right, you may not even get it in proportion, but you can abstract it out, but it still has to look right. You’ve still got to know how the bones work, and the joints move and there’s nothing, there’s nothing like it as a discipline for making you see, to make you actually see and take in what you’re looking at. (Sophia) And Jennifer, you actually do painting tours in Italy. Can you tell the viewers a little bit more about what they can expect on the experience? (Jennifer) I absolutely love Italy, and it is to go to Italy is a soul experience. It’s not just the Art, it’s not just the history, it’s not just the wonderful food, or the landscape, or the antiquity, it’s the whole thing. You immerse yourself in Italy. (Sophia) You show them techniques of painting, but it’s also a bigger experience. (Jennifer) Yes, exactly. (Sophia) And so if people want to come and find out more about these trips, (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) they can contact you via your website which is? (Jennifer) Jennifer Fletcher dot com dot au. We’ve fallen in love with the Italy that’s off the tourist trail. And the little little villages and wall towns are just amazing, just absolutely amazing. And for every tiny little place that you’ve never heard of, there are masterpieces in every church, around every corner, a little museum, every museo, it’s just very special. Where we were living, Michelangelo was born in the village just up the road. (Sophia) And so all of these things that you have such a passion for (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) you can pass on with other people, but also have this painting experience as well. (Jennifer) And it’s all the stories, the stories behind the places, the stories behind what you’re looking at that – to me anyway – are so absolutely fascinating. (Sophia) But you also do workshops back here in Mount Martha as well, (Jennifer) Yes, I do. (Sophia) so people can once again go to your website and find out about those as well. (Jennifer) Yes, I can introduce people to the basics of printmaking, and mixed media, and painting and drawing in ways that they’ve probably never thought of before. (Sophia) So have you got, is that some Inca Gold you’ve got there? (Jennifer) Yeah, there’s some Inca Gold here which is actually a really such a delicious colour. It’s a type of Yellow Ocher, but it’s brighter than Yellow Ocher. (Sophia) And you’ve had many exhibitions but you’re actually an internationally collected Artist (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) and you have your work in numerous private collections in Australia, Italy, France, Denmark, Sweden, the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Hong Kong. (Jennifer) Yes. That’s amazing, yes, it’s quite extraordinary. (Sophia) Another interesting thing that’s happened with your work is that it’s gone on to wine labels. (Jennifer) Yes, a beautiful wine actually. The Lillypilly Winery, which is a boutique winery in New South Wales. (Sophia) A lot of people buy their wines just simply for the labels to. (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) That’s a great thing for Artists to be part of. (Jennifer) Well I think it is. It’s a beautiful alchemy to have wine and Art. (Sophia) And a great way to get your Art out and quite a different audience. (Jennifer) Exactly. Yes, everyone looks at wine labels and you know, it’s nice to know that it’s in a practical, public sphere really helping people. (Sophia) You are, yeah, you are. And I’m sure that’ll put some colour in peoples lives too. (Jennifer) I’m sure it will put some colour in peoples lives. (Sophia) Well, Jennifer, you like to ponder on your paintings, and we’ve come about as far as you want to go today. But you want to take a little bit more time, and to reflect on where you want to go from here. (Jennifer) I do. I think Art is like wine, they take a while to mature. (Sophia) Lovely, but as you can see, we’re screening up the final piece right now for you viewers. And you can see all the textures, and from where we started this morning with the tearing of the paper, to this beautiful piece now. Well done, Jennifer, it’s been an absolute joy being with you today. (Jennifer) Oh, thank you very much. It’s been wonderful; I’ve really enjoyed having you all here. (Sophia) Okay, viewers, another wonderful day. Jennifer, thank you so much for having us in your studio. It’s been great. (Jennifer) Oh, its been wonderful for me too. (Sophia) Oh, give us a hug. Oh, look she’s so much fun viewers, we really have have had a great day. (Jennifer) We have. (Sophia) And look, if you want to come on these tours to Italy, or even the workshops in Mount Martha, you go to Jennifer’s website, which is again? (Jennifer) Jennifer Fletcher dot com dot au. (Sophia) Great, and we also want to thank Alex, from Hydrocryl, (Jennifer) Yes. (Sophia) and with his support for these Artists, and the great paints that they make. (Jennifer) Oh, wonderful paint, they are a joy to use. (Sophia) And last but not least, as we always say: make sure you put some colour in your life. We’ll see you next time. (Jennifer) Bye. (Sophia) Bye.