Fully immersed: inside artist Martine Emdur's water-filled universe
Artist Martine Emdur paints from the bottom of the sea. Well almost, if you count the boat ramp at North Bondi. I've always been a huge fan of her amazing large-scale underwater paintings. I caught up with her via email, where she was in Japan celebrating the end of another successful show at the Tim Olsen gallery in Sydney.
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What's your creative process?
A photo shoot is the first thing. There's usually hundreds of photos to sort through, so I'll pour over them looking for interesting details. Once I've got enough information, I determine a composition. There's no set starting point with the painting. Sometimes roughing in the background comes first and other times I'll feel drawn to mapping out the figures. Then it's back and forth with form, colour and light until I feel the image flows harmoniously.
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What inspires you?
Everything about the ocean inspires me, also the human form. The two work beautifully together on so many levels.
What's a typical day for you?
It requires lots of coffee. Contemplating how to approach the day's work takes a big chunk of the morning and the momentum needs to build before I pick up the brush and start mixing colours. It's sometimes challenging to get into the zone but it usually happens an hour or so into painting and then the whole process finds its own rhythm and everything starts to make sense. Yoga keeps me sane, so I'll stop for that and then evenings are set aside for my son, Asher.
Name your three all-time favourite artists.
Lucian Freud, Eric Fischl and Juz Kitson.
What's your best piece of advice for emerging artists?
Consistency and practise matter. Be obsessive - the hours dedicated to your art define your work. Develop a style that's your own and set yourself apart. Opinions are tricky and more often than not they have no bearing on your artistic journey. What others think shouldn't impact on your work so find one or two people whose opinions matter to you and take what you need from their feedback.
Exposure is also good so enter prizes and be involved in group shows. While approaching galleries is a grind, rejections are part and parcel of the process so a thick skin is essential.
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What's next for you?
More coffee! I've just had a much-needed break after the last show, which nearly killed me. Now I'm finally feeling happy to get back into the studio and throw some paint around - I want to get messy with some green and blue.
A collaboration with Fairfax & Roberts jewellers is also underway and that's exciting for me as it's my first collaboration. Olsen Irwin (my Sydney representation) and I are working on a proposal for a possible project this year and beyond that, my next exhibition will be in Melbourne sometime in 2016.
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And last, but definitely not least - jaffle or toasty?
I dream of jaffles. My mum was a jaffle connoisseur. I asked my local cafe to introduce them to their menu - actually I begged, unsuccessfully. I'll tolerate a toasty if the edges are joined, the middle is high and the insides are melted and messy. But that's a jaffle.
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