I had four months in isolation this year when I found it impossible to lift a pencil or brush, despite having time on my hands. A combination of anxiety, depression and brain fog due to being locked down during the covid pandemic made it very hard to focus or concentrate. I could barely get out of bed in the morning and despite feeling lonely, I found it hard to talk to friends, even through social media.
Three weeks ago, I escaped to rural Victoria on a care visit to my Mum and sister, who had fractured a wrist and fibula respectively. I had a covid test when I arrived and isolated for three nights in a hotel. Then… I was free! I feel for my Melbourne friends who are still under a curfew, although a bubble for single people living alone has been introduced. We will get through this, but it has been tough on everyone in different ways, according to their living situation.
For the first time in months I was able to do some quick sketches on paint colour swatches. I can feel my artistic motivation returning 🙂
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.
Untitled (I will show the world how brilliant I am), 2014, David Shrigley
David Shrigley’s black humour is on display at NGV International until 1 March and I highly recommend the show for those who like a bit of absurdity in art. You will LOL (I did). His crude cartoon-y drawings comment on the everyday banality of modern life.
I particularly enjoyed the ‘general store’ and merchandise, including several wonderful books explaining his dystopian world view. Just reading the titles was amusing. Unfortunately, the tshirts were not for sale.
Charles Blackman (1928–) is regarded as one of the most important Australian figurative artists of the late 20th century. Stylised images of children, women, flowers, butterflies and cats recur in his work.
Blackman is a prolific artist and has produced hundreds of paintings, etchings, lithographs and drawings each year. In the 1950s he painted his famous schoolgirl series, followed by the Alice in Wonderland series. In 1951 Blackman married poet Barbara Patterson, who became his muse and inspired many of his works.
On my last trip to my home town of Wangaratta, I visited the Albury Art Gallery for the first time.
A few things caught my eye: a lovely crayon and ink drawing by Charles Blackman from the Alice in Wonderland series, an early Fred Williams watercolour of the You Yangs, and some sumptous photographs by Richard Janson.
But my favourite work was really unusual and 3D. I’d not heard of the artist Frank Hinder (1906 – 1992) before, and he made this ‘luminal kinetic’ in 1968 using timber, glass, metal, and electric motor and lamp. The parts inside slowly moved, giving a hypnotic effect. It reminded me a bit of watching a lava lamp. Beautiful!
Today I visited I thought I was where I wasn’t at C3 gallery at Abbotsford Convent – paintings by Shannon Smiley and pen and ink drawings by Helen Nodding. Shannon’s paintings are of fragments and forgotten corners of vegetation in the urban landscape that demonstrate the power of nature to reclaim our city environment. I find his paintings inspiring and powerful.
Helen’s meticulous pen and ink drawings are detailed examinations of everyday scenes – tree branches reflected in a ditch or a weed breaking through a footpath – beautifully recorded.