LOMPAGNI AND THE FLOATING SKY
Artist Belinda Rogers of “Lompagni and the Floating Sky”
Words – Karla O’Connor
Photos courtesy of Belinda Rogers
Upon a visit to the studio of Yarra Valley Artist Belinda Rogers, I understand the inspiration, which rests in the mountains within which she paints and lives. Autumn trees are beginning to swell into a golden hue and the river here twists untamed through her Warburton village. It is alongside this river that a collection of works begins to emerge, and delicate Oil on linen finds its last stokes and emerges as ‘Lompagni Tree.’ Upon completion, Belinda offers the piece to the Upper Yarra Arts, during an exhibition showcasing a collection of works imitating the delicate balance of our local forests.
On the back of three solo exhibitions and an opening of a Richmond gallery last year, Belinda attempts to explain her works to me with hands that mimic the carving of her unique style of painting. She speaks with a deliberateness that denotes her devotion and belief in her work, which she explains as a symptom of prayer.
“The creative process is a private pilgrimage,” she explains. “My works attempt to reveal the fragility and persistence of mind. I have had a beautiful relationship with oil paint and I have come to understand its rhythm and timing. The nature of my work demands a patience, which did not come naturally to me. I endured in my early years, an immediate, explosive attitude of my world. Now my work demands that when I hold a vision of my canvas, I pause, walk back ten thousand steps, and paint each one into my mind, watching as they appear, as a student watches its teacher. It’s challenging because understanding the timing of creating different textures and blending colours within that texture is essential, and most of my pieces only come to completion after many months. I discovered this technique much like I discovered my own inner landscapes. What I strip away and what it is I reveal. The extensive time in front of one piece pulls me into a meditation, a kind of watching. I paint a thought, the thought must exist with the final vision, and a middle path arises somewhere between my canvass and I. It is this way with life, nor here, nor there, we float in the in-betweens seeking the only the thing that ceases our seeking.”
Belinda’s collection of painting and poetry are now mostly condensed into her illustrative work within the ‘Tales of the Lompagni Tree,’ and eighteen part children’s book that attempts to expose children to their relationship with nature in a way that draws their mind from the protagonist and present instead, a dream in which they may find their own footprints embedded in the pages. Her paintings expose the writings of ‘Pico,’ weaving worlds around his words in a mutual love of dreams and prayer. ‘Pico and The Dreaming Seed’ will release the first of these books early in 2014 and will coincide with a series of exhibitions revealing the world of Lompagni.
“This particular exhibition was timely,” she whispered. “I knew it was time for my Lompagni Tree painting to leave the studio, and what better way for it to find its place than on the winds of generosity. I love our Upper Yarra Arts community. I donated it to them as a symbol of my gratitude for their kindness. And as I stood in the gallery hanging the first of my paintings, we received the news of the Tarkine forest, which had just been signed and released for mining. As I later sat in disbelief reading the news, my heart sank deeper into those places where you feel hope is lost. The darkness of these places is often mirrored by the magnitude of grace which is to come, but neither can see the other, and so we sit, silent in the in between. As I sat sobbing into my morning teacup, my five-year-old boy awoke and upon inquiring if my tears were happy or sad tears, I explained the state of affairs. He thought for some time, then left, disappearing into the dark. A few minutes later he arrived holding a small felt white bird, hanging from an old piece of bamboo, which had sat assumedly untouched and unnoticed on the top of his bookshelf for years. He arrived with gentle feet and tender words and told me not to worry, to hold out my hand, into which he placed the bird with utmost care.”
“Don’t cry mummy,” he said. “Don’t cry, believe in the bird, mum. Believe in the bird.”
“Where once the Lompagni Tree carved itself through my mind and onto my canvas, where once I watched it leave as gently as it arrived. It has gone now, setting seeds in someone else’s heart, that they may stare at her and know what it is to dream and live. Form and non-form drift into their own quiet understanding of the other and finds life, for the money raised from her now rests in the form of the gallery ottoman, and empty chair, waiting only for the deliverance of a silent, watching mind, where the imagination will retrace the steps of self, and a new world will begin.”
Belinda’s work can be viewed thought her private website www.thedreamingseed.com