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 🙂
The first artwork I saw of street artist Vexta was the dramatic Orb Rising wall art facing the subway entrance to Flinders Street Station on Degraves Street. I was immediately smitten with the fluoro colours, bold geometric triangular shapes inside a arch, and strategic dripping, which adds a looseness to the composition. It’s stunning!
Vexta is a self taught artist from Sydney, Australia. She mainly paints geometric shapes, birds, humans and animals. She is very successful and has completed street art commissions all over the world, and lives in New York city and Tulum, Mexico. I’m saving up to buy one of her circular orb prints.
Her website has more information about her work and practice.
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.
I’m excited to announce my first solo exhibition! Colour Bomb! will open on November 20. I think I’m almost ready, but we’ll see how the last 10 days go. I’ve done almost all the paintings and pieces, and I’m framing them at the moment (and working on a special 3D piece).
Here are some samples to whet your appetite…
Colour Bomb! opens on Tuesday 20 November from 6pm at ARB Gallery, Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park. I’d love it if you could come and celebrate with me!
If you can’t make opening night, the show runs until December 9. I’ll be sitting the gallery on the weekends of 24/25 November, 1/2 and 8/9 December from 12 until 4pm. Hope to see you there 🙂
Born 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’.
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.
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 matriarchal age. Continue reading “Niki de Saint Phalle”
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)