Archives for category: inspiration

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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

Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. Andy Warhol

I love this quote from one of my favourite artists. Lately I haven’t been doing any art, and I’ve been thinking about that elusive thing ‘inspiration’.

Pablo Picasso said, and I agree:

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

He was a very prolific artist, constantly drawing and painting, and I think this is a great artistic method. But what if you don’t ‘feel like’ doing art?

In my second year of art school I realised that some of my fellow students were too scared to actually start a painting. That blank canvas or sheet of paper is intimidating. And we rarely, if ever, make a painting that is as good as we imagine.

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. Sylvia Plath
We have to allow ourselves to make bad paintings, terrible drawings, stifle our inner critics, and keep going.

Sometimes, just going to the studio, ‘showing up’, and starting to play around with colour, scribbling something, flicking through books and images I’ve collected, will give me an idea for a painting. And sometimes I will just start painting without have a clear idea of where I’m going. This can lead to an unexpectedly good painting, and also to a shit painting that I’ll turn to the wall, to maybe paint over another day.

I believe Charles Baudelaire was right when he said Inspiration comes of working every day. Unfortunately, there’s no quick or magical solution to not being inspired. I think you just have to keep working.

And I love this quote from Banksy: Think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a f**king sharp knife to it.

Postscript

I came across a wonderful commencement speech that talks about gaps in your resumé, fallow periods in creativity, and life not going according to plan.

How can we learn not to panic as future ministers or scholars or mothers when we are “not getting any work done” or when we lose direction altogether, when there is no plan, when the manuscript is delayed or the child is ill, when the love affair sours and there is no point in getting up, … Or when the sheer cruelty, racism, and blindness of the world can be kept at bay no longer, but storm our inner barriers, making normal productive life impossible? Yet in these … career detours, lie gestation and receptivity, what the Japanese call “hollowness” to the divine. In these nonproductive times, new things are hatching, being born in the darkness…

The full text is here.

I will show the worldUntitled (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.

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I did, however, buy a postcard:

your artwork is terrible
© David Shrigley 2013

mona selfie warhol styleYou don’t know me, but I recently visited MONA for the first time.

Everything I’ve read and heard made me very curious to see this ‘maverick’ gambling millionaire’s folly/art extravanganza.

I spent Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday wandering around in awe (with breaks for food and drink, obvs) and I’m writing to offer my services to MONA. I’m an artist, graphic designer, proofreader/writer, and I’m convinced that working at MONA is my dream job! I’m happy to relocate to Hobart.

I feel we would get on well; the thing is most admire about you is the way you’ve got up the noses of the Art Establishment. Yay! I think art should be for the people, not the elite. And I agree that you don’t need a degree or specialist knowledge to appreciate art.

Love your work!

Yours sincerely
Keryn

p.s. I loved the Ultimate Suicide Machine.
p.s. I hated the poo machine. I know humans are sophisticated poo machines. But we also have souls. Some of us are looking at the stars…
egyptian tablet

infinite

lights installation

Lifesong 2010

Lifesong, 2010 (collagraph)

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.

Always tea time 2001

Always tea time, 2001


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Interior in Yellow, oil, 1964

‘My chief interest, I think, has always been colour, but not flat crude colour, it must be colour within colour, it has to shine; light must be in it… The room is in my own home here, and the sunlight did not come in a definite way but the whole room seemed to be full of light, which is what I want to do more than the actual sunlight. I feel that even the shadows are subdued light and they must have light in them as well.’ 

Grace Cossington Smith (1892–1984) was one of the most innovative Australian artists of the twentieth century. An early modernist, her fascination with light and colour and her  interest in what she saw around her developed throughout the many phases of her work, culminating in the luminous interiors she painted in the 1950s and 1960s. Members of her family’s comfortable suburban milieu might have perceived her as a ladylike amateur; her fellow modernist painters, especially Roland Wakelin and Roy de Maistre, who were also students of Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo in Sydney, greatly respected her art. Dattilo-Rubbo was a passionate enthusiast of modernism and post-impressionism, introducing his students to the work of Cezanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh.

Interior with Wardrobe Mirror, oil, 1955I saw her Interior with Wardrobe Mirror, 1955, at the Art Gallery of NSW a couple of years ago and was struck by the vibrant colours and large rectangular flat brushstrokes that gave the work a mosaic quality. The juxaposition of pure colour is absolutely stunning in real life. I admire the way she uses colour fearlessly and the strong brushstrokes that seem to ‘dance’ on the canvas. Read the rest of this entry »

A few weeks ago now I visited the Monet exhibition at NGV. Absolutely loved it. I remembered seeing some of his paintings in Paris years ago at the Musée d’Orsay and L’Orangerie, but it was lovely to see so many of his paintings here in Melbourne.

The cafe was appropriately decked out with orchids…

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It was interesting to see some works I hadn’t seen before, like the landscape ‘Field of Yellow Irises at Giverny’ which had a freshness in the bright yellow, green and pale blues, and a beautiful sketchy roughness. There were also paintings of weeping willow trees in reds, browns and greens that I’d never seen before.

Field of Yellow Irises near Giverny - Claude Monet

One of my favourites was a large painting of water lilies and agapanthus in greens, purples, yellows and pinks. I loved the unfinished section in the in the bottom corner that showed bare canvas. When you look at his large almost abstract portrayals of reflections on water and lilies, you can see he was a forerunner of abstraction.

Agapanthus and Waterlilies - Claude Monet

There was also a beautiful video of Monet’s garden. At the end of his life Monet had cataracts and after being operated on, his colour perception changed dramatically – what a terrible thing to happen to a master of colour! The notes said he wanted to destroy some of his earlier paintings, but fortunately he didn’t. His round wire-framed glasses are displayed in a case along with a wooden palette and a pipe. The exhibition runs until 8 September.

traces of time_M_PowellTraces of time, 2012, pigment ink on cotton rag

Today I visited Vestige II by Melissa Powell at Anita Traverso Gallery.

I met Melissa last year when visiting my artist friend Mars in Natimuk, so I was curious to see her work. It was absolutely amazing! Beautiful aerial photography of the landscape, mainly in the Wimmera. Paddocks of canola embellished with curving plough lines like a yellow plush carpet. The mineral colours and abstract shapes of a salt lake. The traces left on the earth by farming, mining, erosion, fire and flood. And Droughtbreaker, a dark photograph of the delicate tracery of dead trees contrasting with dark flood water. Her photographs have a beautiful meditative quality and give us a bird’s eye view of the land.

Droughtbreaker_M_PowellDroughtbreaker, 2011, pigment ink on cotton rag

Untitled, Shannon SmileyToday 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.

I visited the NGV St Kilda Road today with a friend from Adelaide and we spent some time lying on the couches in the Great Hall admiring the leadlight ceiling by Leonard French. The hall is a beautiful cathedral-like space bathed with light and the coloured glass mosaic reminds me of a kaleidoscope. It’s the largest stained glass ceiling in the world (according to Wikipedia).

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