Archives for category: abstract

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.

I visited the Geelong Contemporary Art Prize recently. Forty-two painters make up a diverse show ranging from figurative and photorealistic painting to text-based and abstract work. I love painting and I enjoyed the wide range of styles and techniques used.

Adam Pyett’s Flowering Gum had deliciously thick paint and brushstrokes, scrapes and roughly applied patches of colour showing some of the underpainted canvas. I loved the sketchy and spontaneous quality of the work.

flowering_gum_detail

Flowering_gum_Pyett
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Niki de Saint PhalleBorn at Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1930, the painter and sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle grew up in New York. At 18 she eloped with writer and childhood friend Harry Matthews, and they had two children together. Niki didn’t fit the domesticated wife mould, and after a nervous breakdown she started painting as therapy. In 1960 Niki left her husband and children to devote herself to her art. She lived with sculptor Jean Tinguely, and became a member of the Paris group of artists the ‘Nouveaux Réalistes’.
shooting_painting
In their group exhibition Niki presented her “shooting” paintings for the first time. She filled polythene bags with paint and enclosed them within plaster on a board backing. She, or spectators, then shot at the painting, releasing the paint in random explosions of colour.
I Shot Against
From 1964 came her monumental goddess sculptures, the Nanas (‘nana’ is French for ‘chick’). The buxom, colorful female figures, inspired by a friend’s pregnancy, and first made of yarn, paper-maché and wire and later made of polyester, represent happy, freed women and harbingers of a new matriarchic age.
She_a_cathedral_1966
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Yarraville park
Yarraville park, watercolour on paper, 2014

At long last I’ve opened a shop on Etsy, prompted by a lack of cash flow at the moment.

Please take the time to have a look. I’ll be adding more work in the next few days…

I’ve been really busy with my day job and study lately, but have finally added two more watercolours to the Palimpsest series. Sorry about the poor photo quality, these were taken with my iphone. By the way, I’m officially addicted to iphone. Darn it.

Water colour on paper

Palimpsest III, water colour on paper

Water colour on paper

Palimpsest IV, water colour on paper

Last year I took photos on my way home from the studio. I’ve been meaning to post them as a series for a while now, so here they are…

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palimpsest_iPalimpsest i (Disco Raiders), water colour on paper

palimpsest_iiPalimpsest ii, water colour on paper

This is the beginning of a new series based on a ‘poster wall’ in Yarraville I pass every day walking home from the train station. I’ve photographed it several times and now I’m working from my photos, painting small watercolours.

Palimpsest
1. A manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing.
2. Something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

I’m twenty-five days into my goal of doing some art every day for 30 days, and I’ve missed a few days, but I think I’m doing ok… here’s some more work.

From my first printmaking assignment for 2013 – chine collé. The image is based on photos of tree bark – it became quite abstract. I coloured the rice paper with water colour. I’m not that much into printmaking, but I quite like these.

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