Christine Onward’s MAGICAL JOURNEYS, exhibition at Gloucester Gallery
NIGHTS OF MAGIC, a story from Transylvania 0
The story of NIGHTS OF MAGIC happened a long, long time ago in the mountains of far away Transylvania.
It begins with the uncle, who asks his son to watch for the boar and chase it away in case it comes too close to the sheep during the night.
I want to go too but they laugh. The night is long and dark in the mountains. The boars have to be chased away, sometimes through thick shrubbery and tall grass. But even so, I still join the uncle's son, my cousin, into the conquest of the dark.
We sit out there in the night, in the tall grass, watching the huge moon above and the clouds sliding slowly on her pale face.
Cousin tells stories about devils, cursing wanderers in the woods and calling out their names, and stories about dark shadows eating your dreams while still alive...
In the middle of this storytelling the boar arrives. It draws close, rustling through the corn field. Closer, closer... it is now almost in sight. The heaving monster breathes out in fog...
Cousin starts shouting. I start shouting too, mostly to scare the shadows praying on my hidden dreams.
And all around us on peaks of other hills, other cousins, other 'me's' start shouting too. It works, the boar is now out of everyone's sight!
And then we sleep in a hut covered in branches. We sleep on hay, still smelling of summer flowers. The sheepskins keep us warm in the cold night until the morning light.
.......... When I woke up the next day, the dreams were still there...and so was the moon from the previous night.
And even now, if I close my eyes, the moon is still there ... as it is in all my paintings from then on.
WITH NO DEGREE OF SEPARATION, self-portrait touched by magics of the sea 0
Sometimes I think myself as a continuation of the ocean.
I feel as if a part of me has decided to pour endlessly toward the calling of waves, and in response, the waves return to me in colours and ethereal energy.
And in all these, the inner someone, perhaps still me:
The happy me, the little me, the dreaming me, the one whose roads have not yet been darkened by the sadness of the world is coming out in songs of summer flowers, daring boats and dancing fish.
WITH NO DEGREE OF SEPARATION is about me. I painted the little girl, hidden inside, dressed in the golden colours of the sun. And the sea is a part of her, flowing with the tide. And with her smile, she wants to bring the joy back to the world.
Should you perhaps allow your soul to smile too?
About THE OTHER ME, story and the making 0
The story of THE OTHER ME started with the idea of a portrait I wanted to create for Newcastle's Kilgour Prize. I imagined painting a goddess of the sea with a peaceful, dreamy look. In the background she is guarded by the ghostly presence of a school of fish, an impression of the dreams she bears or a flutter of her thoughts.
When it felt finished, I hung the painting on a wall and glanced at it from time to time. The feeling that there was more to this portrait than I could explain grew every day. She was somehow talking to me and there was no way I could understand what she was saying.
Image: THE OTHER ME, original art by Christine Onward
But one day, from the corner of my eye, I saw my mother's face watching me from the painting.
And I remembered then a night from my childhood in Romania. It was a cold room, with frosted windows. My sister's face rests on one side of the pillow, and my mother's on the other side. She pulls us closer to her and covers us in so many blankets, and on top of all that she adds her fur coat.
Mother's eyes are closed. We should sleep too.
The fur tickles my nose. The moonlight shines through the frozen flowers on the windows. Its rays rest for a while on my mother's face. I want to grab them, catch them in my hand..., but maybe she is already asleep.
We shouldn't wake up goddesses at night...they might start, again, to shiver.
From this collection you can also see:
A story of "Our Magnificent Travels", how the world turned into gold one night 0
OUR MAGNIFICENT TRAVELS came to life one night with a full golden moon. Golden moons in Old Bar have this magical power of turning the ocean into a veil of dim and mysterious light.
I took the magic of such moment and thought to give it a chance to live longer, to live endlessly.
I thought of the sailor men who, mesmerized by the beauty of the night, asked the moon to give them the chance to see her closely.
They climbed aboard their boats, and sailed farther and farther from the shore. With every gust of wind, their hearts would beat faster... maybe this time, this moment, they will get a little bit closer to the magical moon...
The moon watched them all through the night and thought for awhile how impossible to fulfill the sailor men's wish would be.
And hours passed. The night was almost finished. The sailors were still there, battling the waves and the gusts of wind, with the exhilarating hope of being close to the moon.
The moon thought of the nearing dawn... her face will soon fade away in the light of the first sun... and the sailors? The sailors will return home with a story that never even begun.
So the moon tread the path towards the ocean and the closer she got, the higher and higher the waves rose, closer and closer to caress her golden face. The sails of the boats turned to gold. The waves too, were glittering. And fish came rushing to the surface, dancing in the golden light, hoping to see a glance of the shimmering moon.
I was in the lighthouse that night. I saw the ocean turn into gold too.
And I put this moment in OUR MAGNIFICENT TRAVELS for you to remember that it's never too late and it is never impossible to make a dream come true, as far and unreachable as it may seem.
My MAGICAL JOURNEYS - some sort of artist statement in questions and answers 0
*Can you tell us a few words about your exhibition. Is this the first one at the Gloucester gallery? Have you exhibited before and where?
“Magical Journeys” is probably the first large step I am taking in the world of arts.
Over the last years I have been exhibiting a number of works at the Hastings Fine Art Gallery in Port Macquarie as well as at the Forster Art Gallery. Gloucester Gallery however is the first venue that gave me the honour of hosting a solo exhibition of my own art.
*Where did the inspiration for this exhibition come from?
I have been dreaming about journeys under huge moons, starry nights or across stormy oceans ever since I was a child, but what inspired me the most for this particular collection is my recent moving to Old Bar NSW.
Living so close to the ocean, being absorbed in its colours, motion, and energies has helped me immensely. The stories I depict in my paintings are usually stories of the sea, and they are all related to living in Old Bar.
Art by Christine Onward: OUR MAGNIFICENT TRAVELS at the Gloucester Gallery from February 2022
*How long have you been a practising artist?
I can say that my first “artistic endeavours” started about four years ago. While studying for my post-graduate degree in psychology, I found that doing a little bit of painting (on rocks!) every day was helping me considerably to relax and take a break from all worries of school work.
Painting on canvas however started maybe two or three years ago. The collection of painted rocks was getting a bit out of control so I had to find a medium to paint on that was easier to store or display.
Art by Christine Onward: THE LAST HOUSE IN ZEEHAN, to be exhibited at the Gloucester Gallery from February 2022
*Why did you choose to become and artist?
Life takes us on journeys that are sometimes impossible to envision or explain in simple words. What was supposed to be an exercise of painting for relaxation before becoming a psychologist has turned into a passion for arts and self discovery through arts that I am grateful for every day.
I found my career as a full time artist a better fit for me. It allows me to express myself in better, more comprehensive ways than before. I can build new perspectives on the world, hopefully make a difference, and inspire others to take the courage to follow their dreams at any point in life they find possible.
Art by Christine Onward: HAPPY NOW, exhibited at Gloucester Gallery, February 2022
Art can help you create your own story of hope, courage, gratitude and love. That’s what “Magical Journeys” is about: a collection of magic that each and every one of us can identify with at any point in life.
Photo: In my studio, me with The Other Me
MAGICAL JOURNEYS, opening day and exhibition information 14
Starting with the 3rd of February 2022 Gloucester Art gallery hosts my first solo exhibition called MAGICAL JOURNEYS.
MAGICAL JOURNEYS is about connecting yourself with the inner you, with the innocent voice of the child inside who still has a lot of stories to tell, songs to sing and dreams to paint.
MAGICAL JOURNEYS includes a collection of canvas works as well as painted rocks all created in a unique folk-naif style.
Photo: collage of some of the works on rock and canvas to be exhibited during the exhibition
"MAGICAL JOURNEYS is about connecting yourself with the inner you, with the innocent voice of the child inside who still has a lot of stories to tell, songs to sing and dreams to paint".
The opening day for this event is 5th of February 2022 12 pm at Gloucester Art Gallery. There will be light snacks and drinks as well as small gifts with painted rocks for everyone attending.
You are also invited to take part into creating a common work of art that will be displayed in the gallery all throughout the event.
Looking forward to meeting you there,