March 14th, 2012

(no subject)

No spiders today. A friend has advised me (from experience) taht the first few weeks with this can be surprisingly tiring. I do not understand this - after all - it's just an eye that's a bit detached and funky. It seems he's right, though. I'm so tired!

I did teach this morning, but I'll have a mostly-quiet rest-of-day. There will be a WHM guest blogger later. And now I ought to eat lunch - I was too tired before - I came home and pulled the bedspread across and slept for an hour and a half.

Women's History Month - Marty Young

When Gillian asked me to contribute to her feature on Women’s History Month, the person who first sprung to mind was Kim Sassen. I doubt many folks out there have heard of Kim (this will soon change!), but she’s an artist. Not completely Australian but plenty Australian enough (she was born in The Netherlands but we’ll let her off this oversight).

I met Kim a few years ago when she moved in next door to me with her husband. One of the first paintings of hers I saw was this abstract landscape in vibrant colours of blues and yellows and oranges and purples; to me it was set on an alien world, one starkly different to our dear old Earth. It blew me away, captivated me, and transported me to this other planet. I was stranded there, but that was okay. Something would soon come into view to welcome me. My imagination was drunk with excitement, trying to envision what this thing would look like.

I’ve been a big fan ever since.

Moving from Holland to Australia in 2003, Kim said she found herself overwhelmed by the Australian landscape; the stark scenery and odd wildlife, the harsh lighting cast upon hardy mountainous trees, and even the cities clinging to the coastline in fear of the desert forever encroaching upon them. The move and the new surroundings evoked a lot of emotions and Kim began capturing these feelings upon canvas.

She is a very emotive painter, so her paintings are never the same. For instance, a trip to China resulted in some dark pieces that captured her view of the hectic country. After her outback trip, her paintings were expansive, almost sedate but still richly alive. In other paintings, heavy brushstrokes present stark anger and aggression, while softer colours mixing together show off her gentler side. The textures and variations are extraordinary, so much so that my wife and I recently commissioned Kim to paint a huge painting for our reading room; we (meaning me) asked for something set on a different world, thinking back to the very first piece I saw, and what she painted was better than we’d hoped for; a picturesque view of an alien landscape, looking out over a lake or ocean of some kind as the sun (or suns) set. I have no idea what fish or marine life exists in these waters, or what might fly over it, but I’m content to sit there and wait to find out. There was such depth to the piece that I think I lost part of my cantankerous muse there. He’ll return one day, and when he does, I imagine he’ll have all sorts of spectacular stories to guide me in writing.

Kim’s paintings have been shown in diverse group and solo exhibitions in NSW, in private collections, and for the past couple of years, she has been painting commissions. A few years ago, Kim had the opportunity to take on a position as an art therapist teaching art to adults with intellectual disabilities. It’s a position she said she has found immensely satisfying and rewarding, and it will be interesting to see how this transpires onto her canvasses.

I’m by no means an art expert, but what captures me most about Kim’s paintings is the emotion within them, emotions that guide and help build the view itself. There is a whole world of sights within each picture, changing with the light or the viewing angle, or even with the mood of the viewer. The paintings are alive with imagination, and are a pure source of inspiration.

You can find out more about Kim and her work at her website.

BIO: Marty Young is a Bram Stoker nominated and Australian Shadows award winning editor, fiction and non-fiction writer, and sometimes ghost hunter. He was the founding President of the Australian Horror Writers Association from 2005-2010, and one of the creative minds behind the internationally acclaimed Midnight Echo magazine.
His horror fiction has been reprinted in Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror (‘the best of 2008’), repeatedly included in Ellen Datlow’s year’s best recommended reading list, and nominated for both the Australian Shadows and Ditmar awards. Marty’s essays on horror literature have been published in journals and university textbooks in Australia and India, and he is also co-editor of the award winning Macabre; a Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears, a landmark anthology showcasing the best Australian horror stories from 1836 to the present.
As of October 2011, he is the Executive Editor of Midnight Echo magazine (again), and is also the Associate Editor of the HWA’s Dark Whispers blog.