Geelong Contemporary Art Prize

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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Art show

2_art_show_sign4A 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

Charles Blackman

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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The way home – water colours

I’ve just finished painting a series of water colours of my train trip home from Flinders Street Station to Yarraville. It’s a trip I’ve taken many times, and when I arrived home it was ‘the blue hour’ – twilight.

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Monet’s Garden

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.

My art is for sale on Etsy!

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…

Albury Art Gallery

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!

Frank Hinder, Silver – white, 1968, luminal kinetic

More water colours

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

Palimpsest

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.

A forgotten Melbourne painter

The red hat, William Frater, 1937, oil on canvas
The red hat, William Frater, 1937, oil on canvas

This is a portrait of Lina Bryans (1909–2000) by her friend and fellow artist William Frater. Lina Bryans was an important part of the modern movement and a member of literary and artistic circles in Melbourne during the late 1930s and 1940s. Her vibrant paintings are characterised by bold brushwork and the expressive use of colour which is applied directly onto the canvas. In 1937 Bryans began painting portraits of her friends. Her most famous work, The babe is wise, is a portrait of the writer Jean Campbell who had recently published a novel of the same name.  (NGV blurb)