So apparently I have my days wrong and we are currently on Day 6 here at Bundanon. My God it's a beautiful place. I tied myself in lots of knots with my writing today and yesterday and this afternoon I HOPE I have turned a corner. Writing is so hard. It's glorious when it's fun but at certain points, it's so hard. It doesn't matter where you are. When you're here, though, it's easy to go for a walk and come back with a new head on your shoulders (not literally obviously, they're into sculpture here but they can't work miracles).


Today, finally, we went on an official tour of Yvonne and Arthur Boyd's house and of Arthur's studio. The house is a big sandstone house built in 1868. It has stuff like this lying around in it:

... Painted by Arthur and featuring this awesome little animal he invented called a Ramox, which is usually perving at him from the hinterland in all his paintings. Apparently he and Yvonne were busted with torchlights doing something not very military when he was in the army, so he reckoned "You're never alone", which is certainly true around here (see wombat, below).


I also found what I'd been looking for - a painting by Yvonne Boyd, who apparently gave up painting when she had kids. I really like this (excuse the reflection) and not only because it's set in Fitzroy!

Then we went to Arthur's studio.

Check out the colours (and imagine the smells!):

The studio is left as it was when he died. These paints were used by him and mixed in larger containers. The top of this desk is clear glass. You wouldn't know it. The larger containers look like this:

Some of the paintbrushes were put on extenders that he made from bits of the surrounding bush so he didn't have to reach so high or bend down so low. A few of the smaller paintbrushes were made by him. For the brush parts, he used his daughter's hair.

As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, Arthur (as they all call him around here) was painting an enormous canvas once and the guy came to collect it. Arthur revealed he had no idea how he was going to get the canvas out of the studio. He told the guy to go and have a cup of coffee and he'd figure it out. The guy came back and Arthur was hacking this long rectangular hole in the side of the studio with a chainsaw. Problem solved.

The painting below was painted at the Shoalhaven river, which is one of the most beautiful places on earth. We saw a video of Arthur painting it. He had three fish on a hook nailed into the wall. It was great to watch and was interpreted by our guide today as a comment on how contemporary Christian religion (the cross, the trinity, the fish) doesn't quite fit in the Australian landscape. Note his old jumper on the chair.


As I said, everything remains untouched. His slippers under his chair:

His final painting:

And several CDs and records left near his record player. Chopin is the only one I remember.

And here's my favourite photograph from the tour of Arthur Boyd's studio. See if you can spot the subliminal Standing There Productions Extremely Sensible Person in this shot:

By the way, you like how Arthur has cut a square out of his desk so he can chuck old rags in there? Apparently "some artists like a bit of mess" according to the tour. Oh reeheeally?

Anyway, that was this morning. This afternoon I went back to my own studio to go cross-eyed over this thing I'm writing. I've decided to completely re-write it and compare the two results when I've done them. It's risky, terrifying, depressing and liberating all at the same time. I spoke to another writer doing a residency here and she told me she was going stir crazy too. Maybe artists also need mental instability?

Lastly, here's the latest Womby update. This was on my walk back from the homestead: