Sunday, November 30, 2008

Canberra Exhibition 2009

I'm really excited to be having an exhibition of my new work in 2009 at Beaver Galleries, Canberra. It will run from the 15 October - 3 November 2009. I plan to blog about each piece as I work on it, the aim of which is to provide a work in progress series of posts leading up to the show.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hugo Michell Gallery opens and other ramblings

New Gallery, Hugo Michell opened in Adelaide's Beulah Park a couple of weeks ago. A gorgeous space, with bad acoustics, that made it impossible to talk to anyone on opening night...

The opening show features works by Janet Laurence, Colin Duncan, Troy Innocent, Tim Sterling and Ildiko Kovacs. Laurence's work for me was the standout of the show which can be seen until 14 December 2008. As an aside note, I am most amused at the galleries attitude of secrecy...hmmm! One would think in this economic climate snobbery would not be the profitable way to proceed.

Onto other matters and I've had a really bad month, been sick most of it with a virus thingy but have managed to get out and take a few photos..This one, Jim took of me in my well travelled and much loved car, whilst I waiting for him to take some shots of the amazing sunset as we were coming home from the country one day.

This was taken on another days' journey in a small town, it is pretty rare to find old stations these days, and whenever I do, I just have to leap out of the car and take a photo.

On another occasion, when I needed to get away from it all and I couldn't paint, I drove along the dirt road which clings to the ridge above Kapunda in South Australia and came across this old abandoned home. It is certainly very isolated but at the same time, it is just the most beautiful and peaceful place, I soaked it all up for as long as I could.

Monday, October 20, 2008

James Gleeson DEAD at 92

"Sentinels of a late season", 1987, oil on linen 182x274cm

Australia's greatest Surrealist Painter, James Gleeson has died in Sydney, aged 92. He remains one of my sole inspirations as I follow the path of an artist. He never strayed from his path, he had a single vision which he painted and wrote about his whole life and continued to paint almost every day until the end, regardless of money, fashion or any other distraction. Any time, I think what I'm doing is pointless and no-one cares for what I do, I always think of Gleeson and his single vision, his need like mine to paint. The quality of his painted surface, the paint is so luscious that you want to eat it, the images so organic and primordial, they are the stuff of life.

These two paintings were from his last show on exhibition last month at Charles Nodrum Gallery. I spent quite some time devouring the qualities in these works I so admire, my only regret is that I never got to meet him. I tried several times but there was always a reason either his or mine that it did not happen. I want all Australian painters to study the work of this great man and realise what a great legacy he has left for us.

Detail "Depot for used shadows", 1999 oil on linen, 133x178cm

Following the announcement, I ran up stairs to pay homage to the work of Gleeson that I have in my home, I feel so privileged to own one of these truly great works of art.

James Gleeson "Headland", 1998, oil on canvas, 134 x 200 cm

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Things that go bump in the night....

For awhile now, I've been hearing the odd clanking sound in the studio late at night, the odd thing where it shouldn't be and the alarm has been going off in the early hours of the morning. So, something was crawling about but I could never find it. Then, I was greeted by the neighbour holding a mouse trap cage in a bid to help me catch the rodent, so she could get some sleep, rather than be awoken at 2am by the alarm sounding. So, setting the trap day after day, the alarm still going off at really early hours of the day, no luck, no rodent in the cage...and so when arriving at the studio around midday on Sunday, I couldn't believe my eyes, but yes, there was a rather large blue tongued lizard peering at me from behind the couch! Out with the gardening gloves, and into the bucket! Deciding to share the exciting news with the neighbour, it was decided that she would keep it in her back yard that is full of native plants and rockeries...a perfect haven for the little guy....its now really, quiet again in the studio and the alarm is quiet! I so wanted to keep him, as I just adore lizards, oh well, at least I know he is just across the road if I need to visit.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Ray Caesar Publication by Mark Murphy Designs

Its taken a very, very long time, however, the wait has been worth the torment! I adore Ray Caesar's work, and the wonderful specialist art publishers, Mark Murphy Designs, have put together the most beautiful book. the quality of the reproductions are outstanding, I believe Outre Gallery, in Melbourne will be getting some copies soon! Note that this is Volume there will be more to come! It also has some fabulous limited edition cards that come with the publication, just to make it extra special.



I was torn when coming out of art school and knowing that I needed a secondary profession to pay the bills along the way as I walked the path of an artist, between becoming a graphic artist and a Librarian. I made a choice to become a Corporate Specialist Librarian. However, if I had to make the same choice now, I would chose instead, to learn how to use Visual Effect Software using programs like Apple's Shake...I guess this is why I appreciate Caesar's work even more than just straight admiration. It is so great to see the amazing effects that Caesar obtains in his work, I'm sure that they are paintable but to generate such original works via a computer is equally mind blowing.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Exquisite Palette Exhibition 2008

Here is my work for the Exquisite Palette Show 2008:

"He heard the clicking of her stilettos and then, the faint knock on the door...." 2008 Oil on wood.

Its on again, for the second year and after great success the first time round, St Lukes' call for artists to create a work of art using a standard wooden artist palette as the starting point. Its a really exciting project because all stage of career artists participate, using a variety of mediums and thus its a very eclectic and extraordinary collection of works. The opening night is sure to be a huge party, so get along if you can and have your chance to own an affordable work of art.

The Exhibition includes 120 artists and runs from 3rd October to 8th November @ St. Luke Artist Colourmen 32 Smith St Collingwood, Melbourne.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Visiting Civilisation

After wanting to get to Melbourne all year, I finally made it last week for six days of culture and excitement. The occasion, apart from needing to partake in big city life was to be there with Jim for his exhibition at Charles Nodrum Gallery and you can read about it on his blog here

I feel so isolated in my home town, hiding in the studio, just going to my day job in the burbs, that I was quite desperate to talk to some practising artists about common ground. We were lucky enough to be able to spend a lunch with Rick Amor and it was just such a relief to share like minded views with a mid-career artist and reassure myself that my ideas are not crazy!

The day of the opening we spent doing my favourite thing, wandering around the city, I had the best time ambling around, with no deadline, stopping in a laneway for coffee...., checking out the odd shop or two...just BLISS! The Olympic parade was going on in the distance in Swanston Street, and the sky buzzed to the sound of helicopters and was like snow with falling ticker tape. The day was blue sky and perfect....just perfect.

Often take photos from the moving car, Jim drove and I clicked away, got some interesting shots off around the city and docklands area.

We decided to head down to Geelong where the Director of the Geelong Art Gallery, Geoffrey Edwards, kindly offered to show us around the collection and exhibiting space. The Fletcher Jones Art Prize was on too, which was an added bonus. I was so impressed with Geoffrey's energy to promote the collection, the local heritage as well as contemporary art...Some state based galleries could do well to follow his example.

The next day it was time to go to the National Gallery of Victoria and see the Art Deco Exhibition. There were some real gems in the show, unfortunately wasn't allowed to take photos, other than this one... My favourite piece was a metal four crowned serpent vase.

It was so wonderful to catch up with friends, have wonderful food and relax in the cultural capital of Australia.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rick Amor at Liverpool Street Gallery

Rick Amor
" Journey", 2007, oil on canvas, 117 x 130cm

Excitedly ripped open the envelope encasing the forthcoming exhibition catalogue at Sydney's Liverpool Street Gallery, why, because, inside I knew was waiting a Rick Amor catalogue for my eyes to devour. It is a big call, but I've seen hundreds of Rick's paintings, I own one, I love his work, but the image #5 "Journey" is a show stopper, it immediately reminded me of Arnold Böcklin's, "The Isle of the Dead" or "L'ile des morts".

I think others have tackled this imagery, the most obvious other person is Australian artist, James Gleeson, our greatest and oldest living practising artist. I'm sure Gustave Moreau painted something of this subject too but I'm just trying to place that and cannot at this point.

Amor's, "Journey", is a beautifully sinister painting and the emotion the work imbues could hold my attention for hours. So if you are in Sydney, the exhibition opens on Wednesday September 3 6-8pm at Liverpool Street Gallery, 243a Liverpool Street, East Sydney.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Trapped in Adelaide

Feeling a little trapped in Adelaide at the moment. The above empty scene, from a recent photo shoot, is from the old Wool Stores around Port Adelaide, it seems to reflect my state of mind! The Melbourne Art Fair 2008 has come and gone and I wasn't able to get there, which has not made me the happiest little squidgit on the planet. I do enjoy seeing which artists have been selected as the 'push' at the Fair. Meaning, the artists that are hot one Fair are not necessarily those that are the following Fair.

It is also South Australian Living Artists Week in Adelaide until the 17th August. I haven't found a lot to interest me this year and am disappointed that local artists are actually supporting SALA on SALE, which is akin to a jumble sale at the local markets for whatever you can sell your work for. I just think its demeaning and downgrades the integrity of the having a festival celebrating the artistic talent of the state.

Meanwhile, I am parking myself by the heater, closing the studio door and painting when I can, which does help to keep me sane.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kewpie Sparks

I've just had a lot of fun with some porcelain painting materials that I've never used before from a company called Pebeo. The paints take a bit of layering of thin coats and also allowing thorough drying times in between but what a fabulous idea!

Now, I didn't just wake up one morning and think, I'm going to paint on porcelain today and what do I use??! I was asked if I would paint a platter to be auctioned for great cause that helps brighten up the lives of sick children, The Starlight Foundation. I chose the Kewpie Doll with her little wand, sprinkling sparks around for good wishes as the theme...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

"Metal Pencil"

This is the sort of imagery I'm working with for my new paintings, it reflects the way I am feeling and also the way I feel about the world around me. I am conflicted and troubled and I am unhappy about many things. I don't want to paint ugly and violent paintings but I do want to convey a sense of the way I feel in modern society and the way I perceive others are beginning to feel.

I have been under a lot of stress lately and have been making some really strange word associations. Last night, I decided it was time to bake a cake and as I was mixing the ingriedients, I was thinking about my art. So, it came that I needed a metal spoon and my partner was in the way of the cuttlery draw and do you think I could think of a name for spoon so I could ask him to get one out of the drawer??? Nope! So, I stumbled and spluttered and eventually came up with "Metal Pencil" there is a strange word association, the mind works in very mysterious ways.

Friday, May 30, 2008

My small paintings site

After a short break from my little works, I'm back and I'll be painting my toy paintings but also studies for my new major monochrome and occassionally heightened coloured works. It will be a good way for my collectors to be introduced to some of my new themes which focus more on people than I have before, as well as buildings and cars. This work continues on my retro theme but has a modern focus to it. CLICK HERE to see the lastest on my small paintings blog, This Small Painting Life.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Postcards from Port Lincoln

Feeling a little down and in need of inspiration, I headed of this week for three days to Port Lincoln, the home of the Tuna Farms and great open spaces or what I call BIG SKY Country! It was very relaxing and inspiring and am looking forward to doing some small works from the information that I collected along the way.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Tony Lloyd Exhibition opens in Adelaide

One of the highlights of the Adelaide exhibition calendar this year is the work of Melbourne Artist, Tony Lloyd. His work evokes a retro film noir with post apocalyptic images that were around in the 1950's, other images in the show highlight the romance of driving the night road to somewhere more promising. I'm a big fan of Tony's work and have two of his works in my collection, the show presented at Hill Smith Gallery is both consistent, and accomplished.

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Gallery Space opens in Adelaide

A bit of excitement in Adelaide this week as the doors on a new exhibiting space opened. Gallery 139 has been set up to show emerging contemporary artists by art dealer, Tony Bond. After several years running his contemporary Aboriginal Artworks Gallery, Bond has expanded and opened a fabulous and diverse space that will give many of the states younger artists an opportunity to show paintings, sculpture, video and installations in a beautiful old character laden building. The inaugural exhibiting artist is Thom Buchanan whose works you can see in the installation photo as above. There are also stock works in the downstairs galleries and it was great to see many sales throughout the gallery, I hope the enterprise continues to be successful and becomes a mainstay of the Adelaide Art Scene for many years to come.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My new and fabulous compact camera!

My old digital camera started flashing magenta and violet at me intermittently and was taking forever to take a shot so a bit the bullet and went out and purchased a new camera yesterday... its a Panasonic 9.1-megapixel 10x Zoom DMC-TZ15 Lumix compact camera, I still have the studio Digital SLR but need a camera to carry with me all times and this one is perfect. I went out last night to try some moody black and white shots and was pleased with the results. I'm just having a ball with my new piece of equipment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rick Amor Exhibits in Adelaide:New Jeffrey Smart Book

Rick Amor "The Hour", 2007 oil on canvas 117 cm x 130 cm

It was a delight to go to the opening of Rick Amor's Adelaide show a few days ago, although containing only a few works, each provided a thought provoking reminder of the artists unique view of the world. He made the trip over for the opening, so it was great to see him again and to talk about the mutual love of painting. He was accompanied by his long time supporter and dealer, Bill Nuttall, director of Niagara Galleries, Melbourne (or Uncle Bill as I like to call him!) I was lucky enough to get a personalised signed copy of the Gavin Fry tome that has just been published on Rick's work and was doubly pleased to see that the work I own of Ricks is reproduced in the book as well. The painting has been in my collection since the mid 90's and it is one of my most treasured possessions, I'll never sell it, I look at it every day and its a part of my life. Last Sunday was another treat with ABC Sunday Arts story on Rick which was a preview to his current survey exhibition "A Single Mind" being held at Heide.

While I'm mentoning books, be sure to check out the latesst book on painter Jeffrey Smart by Christopher Allen, which looks at his "Unpublished Paintings, 1940-2007"....Its been launched by Australian Galleries this week and coincides with an exhibition of his paintings at Philip Bacon. I've also heard that the ABC program, Talking Heads are looking at a profile on Jeffrey, so watch out for that in the TV promos.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Voodoo Night

"Voodoo Night" 112x107cm Oil on Linen 2008

A few finishing touches left to do but I haven't posted a large painting on my blog for sometime, I wanted you to see what I've been working on. You may remember I put up an image of this last year at the first stage. I am enjoying painting in monochromatic colours after painting with an intensified bright palette for so many years I just feel a great need to knock everything back. The question of how much information do you need in a painting is very much on my mind.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Snap Freeze Review in current issue of Artichoke

Absolutely delighted when I picked up the latest issue of Artichoke magazine (number 22) on the weekend and found an article in SCAN with photos on "Snap Freeze" a survey of Still Life as a genre in contemporary Australian Art exhibition that I was curated into last year. There is a photo of my work and a discussion by the writer about my painting which is fantastic to see.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

2008 Adelaide Festival of Arts

Adelaide is a BUZZ with art openings, fringe performers, writers week, street performers and WOMAD...its exciting! I've been to all the major visual arts openings that started last Thursday with EAF, Jam & Samstag galleries. I was most entertained by a suitably bemused Ray Hughes wandering about going quite unoticed by most of the insular Adelaide Art Crowd...I, of course couldn't resist going up and bothering him whilst he sat smoking a cigarette and watching the crowd ebb and flow. He was there at the invitation of one of his artists Tom Moore, who had the star works of the night for me at his exhibition "Autogenic" @ the Jam Factory.

Samstag Museum is hosting Penumbra: Contemporary Art from Taiwan which I was a little disppointed in, mainly because I thought it would be more challenging. However, having said that I went on opening night and the work probably has more impact when you are not talking to people and drinking wine...I'll have to go back. Meanwhile, the 2008 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art "Handle with Care" opened on Friday night and I was impressed with this show. I thought it was a huge improvement on the last Biennial and I particularly liked the fantasy world created by Kate Rohde's sculptures.

Of the commerical galleries I very much enjoyed (although I've seen most of it before in Melbourne at Diane Tanzer Gallery)...the photographic works of Marian Drew. They are beautifully sinister and reference still life paintings of animals, food and vanitas. I particularly liked this work "Possum with five birds" in Drew's exhibition " Every Living Thing".

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Australian Art World comes of age

All smiles are Editor, Claire Amrstrong and Editor in Chief Steve Bush of Art World Magazine, here snapped by Vogue Australia at their Launch party at the Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst on 5th February 2008. Its the latest symbol that Australia’s Art Market has come of Age. The second new magazine in almost as many months, the previous being, Artist Profile Magazine (it does have a website...where I ask is Art Worlds???) This new bi-monthly glossy is dedicated to the contemporary art scene, but not just to the local market but more places Australia in the international art scene by how it relates to it. There are wonderful articles like Germaine Greers look at Louise Bourgois's long standing art carrer. The magazine spans the market, a look at 10 artists per issue, general gallery news and meaty feature articles.

In this time of information being at your fingrtips and the validity of hardcopy magazines being questioned, it is hard to justify putting a new hardcopy only magazine on the market. At the first issue I have found that I have read information that I've not been able to find anywhere else, so I would have to congratulate the editors and contributers on their research. I am curious at why the magazine doesn't have an online presence, is this a deliberate act and strategy to overcome the trend towards electronic information only? Will it survive in only this format in years to come?

I've named this post 'coming of age' which I call because we now have a range of Contemporary Art Auction Houses that deal in the secondary Art market, so there is a place for investors to sell and buy which didn't exist 10 years ago. We have so many more galleries opening all over the country, the Brisbane scene has completely exploded in the last three years or so enhanced by the opening of GOMA and the determination of the older stalwart, Philip Bacon. We have magazines like Australian Art Market Report, Artist Profile, Art Almanac, Australian Art Collector, Australian Art Review, Artlink, Eyeline and now Art World. Each offers a different angle and also because of the variety overcomes perhaps some of the previous bias that existed in the publications. To counteract the big end of town, we also see the young artists around the country showing in artist run spaces, and also a range of emerging artists prizes. NONE of this existed when I came out of art school. So its real progress in twenty years. I wait with enthusiasm as to what is next!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

First steps for the new work

Last weekend I began collecting information for the new series of works that I have planned...So, I headed off to the beach in to take shots of a architectually designed house from the 50's (you'll get to see this later!!!), and I hoped for the Saturday night classic cars out for a cruise, I found a couple and also these that were parked for a wedding...flicked the camera to black and white and yes I was on a roll...Now, I've just got to find someone to model a fifties bikini in front of the house and I'm there...Rome was not built in a day as they say...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Well is beautiful and warm and lovely sunshiny long days and my current obsession is to visit the Adelaide Botanical Gardens and the refurbished Amazon Water Lily display...its just the most amazing flower.

Meanwhile, I've been painting my small works and drawing up new ideas for very large paintings. I spent pretty much the whole of last year tortured with wanting to paint new subject matter. I thought I had it and still may paint my other idea for work in the future but right now its not what I need. I've re-looked at what my interests are, who I am and looked at historical contexts and come up with something more like where I am in my life now. Thankfully I have my small works to get the other things out of my system but really I don't want to paint in such bright colours, rather more monochrome and the subject matter is strong women who display their feminine side and sexuality not in an avert way but rather more in a controlled and knowing way. Large 6 foot black and white paintings of women is where I'm headed...I know its going to be a slow process but I'd rather put out around 6-10 well resolved large paintings and accompanying preparatory studies each year, rather than many medium sized works.

I put this painting up by Otto Dix 1926, Portrait of the Journalist because it influenced me as a young painter and I've realised it is still important to me and am keeping it nearby to remind me about where I'm at...Its going to be an interesting year and am looking forward to making new work.