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.
Tea Garden ruin (detail)
I visited the Bendigo Art Gallery last week to see the Ben Quilty show. I’ve been a fan of his painting since I saw one of his car crash paintings and a documentary about him where he spoke about Australian masculinity and what inspired him. European settlement and the plight of Indigenous Australians are ongoing themes in his work.
What fascinates me is the amount of paint he uses! When I look closely I always wonder how long his work must take to dry. I love his dramatically rough painterly style.
Kuta Rorschach No. 2, 2014, oil on canvas (detail)
Three of his Rorschach series of large landscapes are almost symmetrical mirror images, reflected from a central vertical axis.
Fairy Bower Rorschach, 2012, oil on linen (detail) Continue reading “Ben Quilty”
A couple of weeks ago, I approached a local real estate agent about some empty shops in my local area. I’d been thinking they would be great for a pop-up art show. I was thrilled when he agreed to let me use the space for a reduced rent.
I called my artist friends and said ‘We’re having a show! in Yarraville!!’ One friend immediately asked ‘What’s the theme?’ to which I replied ‘We’re not from the VCA*! We don’t need a theme! We’re having a show! Bring your work!!
The show is opening on Friday night, and about one third of the work is at the space. Now comes the challenge of curating – deciding which works to put together in which rooms. The space is large and there are 18 artists involved, most of whom I met while studying Visual Art at Victoria University. It’s difficult to get a show when you’re an emerging (unknown) artist, so this is a great opportunity to show our work. It’s so exciting!
Lo-fi: new art collective is at 130 Gamon Street, Yarraville from 1–4 August, opening 6pm on Friday 1 August. Everyone is welcome to come and have a glass of wine and celebrate with us at the opening!
*VCA = Victorian College of the Arts
Yarraville park, watercolour on paper, 2014
‘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.
I 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. Continue reading “Grace Cossington Smith”
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…
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.
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.
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, 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, 2011, pigment ink on cotton rag