My favourite artists on instagram

Instagram is a great platform for visual artists and looking at art. I’ve found some amazing artists there while scrolling around looking for inspiration. Three of my favourite insta artists are:

Melissa McGill is an abstract artist from Las Vegas, Nevada. Her work combines painting, and drawing in a free sketchy way and her use of colour is subtle. She works on canvas and paper and lives in the desert. I love the freedom and the layers of texture and colour in her paintings.

Claire des Jardins, another abstract painter, uses bright juicy colour and often pours and drips paint onto her canvases. She lives in Quebec, Canada and paints full time in her studio. Her work is exuberant and makes me feel happy.

Melbourne artist and illustrator Miranda Costa or ‘McDrawn’ draws and paints realistic and fantasy images, often of birds and flowers. Her work is delicate, painstaking and inspired by nature, and very beautiful.

p.s. Follow me on insta at KerynR_Artist.

Leonora Carrington

 

The kitchen garden on the Eyot, 1946
The kitchen garden on the Eyot, 1942

Born in England to a wealthy family, artist Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) lived most of her life in Mexico and died aged 94 in Mexico City. She was a rebellious girl, expelled from two schools, discouraged from pursuing art by her parents, but finally allowed to attend art school in London.

She became involved in the Surrealist art movement, meeting Max Ernst and moving to France to live with him in 1937. When Ernst was interned as an enemy alien in 1939, Carrington left France for America via Madrid, where she had a spectacular mental breakdown and spent months in an asylum.

Pastoral 1950
Pastoral, 1950

The experience of emotional suffering, painful medical treatment, and forced incarceration profoundly affected her, and despite the trauma of this period, it led Carrington to understand the alchemical potential of the body, an idea that would deeply inform her later work. When she learned that her family had arranged for her to stay in another mental institution in South Africa—presumably for the long term—Carrington hatched an escape plan, enlisting help from a Mexican diplomat she had met through Pablo Picasso. Carrington and the diplomat quickly married in Lisbon, and secured boat passage to Mexico.

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Green Tea, 1942

In Europe, the rise of fascism meant restricted movement and ever-tighter borders, but Mexico flung its doors open to the world. An artistic and intellectual community flourished: European artists like André Breton, Remedios Varo (who became a great friend to Carrington), as well as revolutionaries like Leon Trotsky, encountered Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

Carrington’s paintings explore transformation, with a menangerie of animals, humans, and hybrid creatures. She often painted a white horse or a hyena as a symbol of herself in these magical compositions. In her paintings, bodies are unstable, moving between genders, species, life, and death, but her paintings have a dreamy amorphous quality, they are not macabre or dark. They are like strange dreams or fantastic portals to another reality.

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Figuras fantásticas a caballo, 2011

Vexta, I love you

The first artwork I saw of street artist Vexta was the dramatic Orb Rising wall art facing the subway entrance to Flinders Street Station on Degraves Street. I was immediately smitten with the fluoro colours, bold geometric triangular shapes inside a arch, and strategic dripping, which adds a looseness to the composition. It’s stunning!

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Vexta is a self taught artist from Sydney, Australia. She mainly paints geometric shapes, birds, humans and animals. She is very successful and has completed street art commissions all over the world, and lives in New York city and Tulum, Mexico. I’m saving up to buy one of her circular orb prints.

Her website has more information about her work and practice.

A commission


I recently finished a commission for my mother. She wanted some small works on paper depicting my Dad’s farm as a gift for him. We took some photos of the farm and a ruined cottage there, and she picked out which photos she liked best.

I decided to use pen and ink (or fineliner) with subdued watercolour, after I did a couple of roughs that she didn’t like. I photographed some of the work in progress and she ok’d them so I did some more. Now they just need framing. I hope my Dad likes them; I think they’ve turned out well.

colour bomb! update

I did it!

Thanks to everyone who supported by donating to my fundraising campaign, my fellow artists who inspired and helped me, Tracey and Gasworks, and my friends who encouraged me.

finally, a solo show

I’m excited to announce my first solo exhibition! Colour Bomb! will open on November 20. I think I’m almost ready, but we’ll see how the last 10 days go. I’ve done almost all the paintings and pieces, and I’m framing them at the moment (and working on a special 3D piece).

Here are some samples to whet your appetite…

Colour Bomb! opens on Tuesday 20 November from 6pm at ARB Gallery, Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park. I’d love it if you could come and celebrate with me!

If you can’t make opening night, the show runs until December 9. I’ll be sitting the gallery on the weekends of 24/25 November, 1/2 and 8/9 December from 12 until 4pm. Hope to see you there 🙂

p.s. I also have a favour to ask… I’ve set up a crowd funder to help cover the gallery hire and costs of the exhibition. If you’d like to support an emerging artist, go to http://www.pozible.com/project/first-solo-show

Van Gogh and the seasons

tree trunks and dandelionsI think of Van Gogh primarily as a colourist, although his vivid colourful paintings were mostly painted in the last couple of years of his art career. His detailed descriptions of nature and his paintings can be found in his letters to Theo, his brother. Here he describes a landscape he painted at Arles in 1888:

A meadow full of very yellow buttercups, a ditch with iris plants with green leaves, with purple flowers, the town in the background, some grey willow trees — a strip of blue sky.
If they don’t mow the meadow I’d like to do this study again, because the subject matter was really beautiful…A little town surrounded by countryside entirely covered in yellow and purple flowers. That would really be a Japanese dream, you know.

And a beach at Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer:

I took a walk along the seashore one night, on the deserted beach. It wasn’t cheerful, but not sad either, it was — beautiful.

The sky, a deep blue, was flecked with clouds of a deeper blue than primary blue, an intense cobalt, and with others that were a lighter blue — like the blue whiteness of milky ways. Against the blue background stars twinkled, bright, greenish, white, light pink — brighter, more glittering, more like precious stones than at home — even in Paris. So it seems fair to talk about opals, emeralds, lapis, rubies, sapphires. The sea a very deep ultramarine — the beach a mauvish and pale reddish shade, it seemed to me — with bushes.

At Arles he painted the same subjects over and over — wheat fields, fruit trees, olive trees, flowers, cypresses. One of my favourite paintings from the show is an olive grove. The sky is a delightful pale green with orange, yellow and blue accents, and the ground lavender blue, orange, green and pale brown.

olive grove with 2 olive pickersIt’s hard to imagine how revolutionary these paintings were at the time. They influenced many painters including Matisse and the Fauves. His vision was unique and the bold and surprising way he used colour is still amazing.

Van Gogh and the seasons is at the NGV Melbourne until July 9.

Teshima Art Museum, Japan

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The cafe and shop building

I didn’t know what to expect but was told by a local to see the Teshima Museum. It is one of my favourite places I visited in Japan. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Seto inland sea are two white concrete dome structures. You follow a winding path and wait for your turn to enter. Finally you take off your shoes, put on slippers and walk into a large curved space with two round holes in the roof, open to the sky.

As you enter you notice pools and puddles of water on the floor. Drops of water seep out of tiny holes and join together, continually moving and merging. Long snake-like drops glide towards larger puddles. Small blobs grow larger until they start rolling along the floor and flowing into other blobs and becoming bigger puddles.

Being in the space is hypnotic and calming. You can see sky, clouds and trees through the roof openings. The museum is open to the air, sounds and natural light and when it rains, rain falls inside. I spent over an hour watching the water move and the light change.

The museum is a collaboration between artist Rei Naito and architect Ryue Nishizawa.

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Morning tea in the cafe

The 64th Blake Prize for religious art

A selection of work from the Blake Prize is showing at Wangaratta Art Gallery until 8 January 2017. Highlights for me were 1. a marble sculpture by Robert Hague, ‘The Messenger’ which depicts a severed head veiled in drapery. It is reminiscent of funeral monuments and quite beautiful, and also a bit creepy. A small bird is carved the figure’s throat.
2. ‘Kenosis’ by Yardena Kurulkar, which won the prize. A series of photos showing the disintegration of a terracotta heart. The heart is a replica of a human heart and is shown in stages of weathering until it dissolves. An interesting and powerful concept.
3. ‘Kurtal’ by Tom Putuparri Lawford. I thought this looked like a cross, a traditional looking indigenous object with a black body and white feathers sticking out from the top. It’s made from human hair among other things, and is actually a headdress to be worn during rain bringing ceremonies in the desert.
4. A collaboration between an Australian and a Balinese artist. I didn’t take note of the name of the work or the artists, and I haven’t been able to find it online. The work is dominated by traditional Balinese paintings of the nine gods that protect the island. Small paintings of tourists have been added, basically ‘partying’ and exploiting the native population in their search of a good time. It shows the ugly side of Australian tourism to Bali, but it looks like a beautiful tapestry until you start looking more closely.

The Blake Prize was started in 1950 to encourage religious art, and conversations about faith, spirituality, religion, hope, humanity, social justice, belief and non-belief. The entries are not restricted to works related to any faith or any artistic style, but any work entered must have a recognisable religious or spiritual integrity.

The Messenger -- Robert Hague
The Messenger — Robert Hague

Kenosis -- Yardena Kurulka
Kenosis — Yardena Kurulka

Kenosis -- Yardena Kurulka (detail)
Kenosis — Yardena Kurulka (detail)