Exercise Three - Round Two // Elizabeth Stewart

May 17 2020

Exercise One

Practice - What is giving your life meaning this week?

I got the sewing machine out and finally made some masks for family and friends. I feel like  it was a meaningful thing to do…being proactive to actually make a form of protection from the dreaded Covid 19.


What do you see as the most important and the most overlooked aspect of your work?

Most importantly my practice must satisfy a need in me. And for those who look at it, my hope is that is satisfies something in them.  Overlooked aspect? Nothing of any consequence, it’s often misunderstood but that’s ok.


Do you think your work would be different if you knew no one was ever going to see it except you?

I’d like to think it wouldn’t change much though I probably wouldn’t spend so much money on materials.


Describe your dream studio situation and what is the biggest thing you think you took for granted about working in your studio ?

Tall ceilings with loads of wall space, the perfect light, and storage.  Plenty of scope to be messy and get paint on the floor. A balcony (or equivalent) with view and a chair.  I really can’t complain about my home studio, it serves my current working process and looks out onto fields and sky. I feel blessed to be here. 


What is your best time of the day or night to work and why? 

The best time is whenever I enter into the ‘zone’ and am able to stay there uninterrupted , no matter what time of day or night.  Saying that, it seems I can get into that space quite late at night and not be able to stop until the early hours.  This is not always ideal but I’ll take it.   


What is your studio staple snack?

I don’t normally snack while working, but I usually sip on something, like water or coconut water. I’ll take a break for an afternoon coffee or green tea. Ok, if there is a chocolate covered ginger biscuit hanging around I’ll have it.  


Tell us about something you saw on your one walk of the day

An ancient lilac by the roadside about to burst into full bloom.  The anticipation of the scent is enough to fill me with joy. The gorse is in full yellow and coconut scented wonderfulness right now.  Making the most of it daily while it lasts.  


 If you had to live with one vice for the rest of your life what would it be?

I had to look up if chocolate was a vice and the computer said yes, but maybe not dark chocolate.  Vice or not, I’m sticking with it


 Exercise Two

What is your favourite podcast?

I don’t listen to many podcasts, but recently I really enjoyed tuning into Mary Beard interviewing Anthony Gormley, Katie Patterson, Jackie Kay, Olafur Eliasson and Derek Jacobi.  Lockdown Culture Episode 2


What is the best gift you've ever given or been given, vs the worst?

All gifts are the best. But one that stands out as questionable was a christmas gift from beloved Mary, who was like a grandmother to me.  She gave me a pair of Granny knickers 5 sizes too big, possibly a pair she decided she didn’t need.   She and Earl liked to recycle gifts and we often got back what we had given to them the year before, I remember a hand warmer in particular.  But all was given with great love so I really feel bad even bringing it up.  


What is the best film you've ever seen vs the worst?

I’ve seen lots of both, hard to narrow it down.  I can usually count on being moved by something by Terrance Malik.   Entertained and charmed by a Wes Anderson film … like the delightful Moonrise Kingdom  and recently revisited The Royal Tennanbaums.  Cohen Brother’s films usually keep me in my seat.  Too much effort to think about the worst.


What's the most inspirational place you've been?

Home, wherever that is or has been. Because I spend most of my time there, I must find something that inspires me and usually that’s no problem.   The woods behind my childhood home in Possum Hollow, or an endlessly uplifting view from a window. The light that enters the dining room in the evening as summer approaches.  If I can’t find inspiration at home it would be a sad existence. 


Which era would you like to have experienced /experience again?

No need to revisit the eras I’ve already experienced.  As for the others,  I do feel that I time travel with my art, spending a lot of time with old family photographs, many taken before I was born.  So I’m happy to do it in this way.


What are three trivial things you are missing since lockdown and three things you are enjoying?

Hmmm…I’m not really missing any trivial things, it’s not worth it.  Only the important things like travelling to see family, spending time with my grandson and friends come to mind. Three trivial things I’m enjoying? Perhaps some television programmes I might not normally watch? 


What is your favourite hour of the day now? Are you aware of each hour/time more or less now?

I think it would be 10 am, just after a gentle start to the day, some coffee in the sun, dog walk next on the ‘schedule’ and a whole day stretched out in front of me with endless possibilities (within the boundaries of lockdown of course). Time seems to moving slow and fast at the same time. 


What have you learnt, what are you consuming, what are you now expert in - since lockdown?

Time.      Patience.       Will never an expert, but working on it, acceptance.


Exercise Three

Please pick one of the three following prompts as a starting point to make some work using an A5 piece of paper/cloth/whatever you like. There is no restriction on media and feel free to try something different and new. 


  • Draw the last dream that you remember

    I’ve really been trying to remember my dreams.  And it’s difficult even though I know they have been quite vivid involving travelling and trying to find somewhere.  I’ve done a self portrait.  
  • Draw a self portrait as a favourite animal doing your favourite daily thing

    I’m a Zebra taking my dog for a walk.       
  • Draw the last text you received  

    My Mom sent me a text asking if I’d received the photo of ‘William Spencer’, my Grandpa.  I did. 


Check out Elizabeth's Exercise Three pieces here!