Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Simpsons Gap 2. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas. 2009 122cmx152cm
The fires burnt for weeks and burnt out thousands of hectares of the countryside. Only now rain has eased the situation and the fires are under control again. I am putting here an image of a larger work that I had in my exhibition in Brisbane this year. It is based on Simpson's Gap in the Northern Territory. Next year I am to have an exhibition at the New England Regional Art Gallery and also one at the Dubbo Regional Gallery. I have started working towards them and am finding that my work is becoming both more specific in it's focus but at the same time more abstract in style. I am again working in oils. I am using wax medium a bit now. It gives a richness to the paint but is very slow drying. Over the Christmas/New Year break I should have time to get more long stretches of time in which to work. I have just been to see an exhibition of work by Lloyd Hornsby which I liked very much. It is on at the Armidale Aboriginal Keeping Place. A link to Lloyd's blog is wwwyuinartcom.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This gives an insight into some Aboriginal artists relationship and their expression of their relationship to their country

This is one of my recent works based on the NSW bushfires

Crown fire. Acrylic on canvas. 30cm x 30cm

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Establishing containment lines. Acrylic on canvas. 30cm x 30cm

Thursday, December 3, 2009

NSW fires Acrylic on canvas 30cm x 30cm.

I have continued working on my 30cm x 30cm canvases lately. These are based on the fires in the Inverell area of northern New South Wales. Whilst the people living in the area and the Rural Fire Service were affected the public seemed almost oblivious to the incident. The Rural Fire Service were working around the clock for days in volunteer work that is often not known about by the general public. The fires devastated over 300 hectares of bushland south of Inverell. I will soon go drawing to the blackened areas to see the stark lines of remainding tree skeletons. I think painting a work with form and line but little colour would be interesting. This is one of my latest small canvases

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Storm over the paddock

My house move is finally done although I am now in two places at once. I spend the weekends down at my house on it's lovely hillside. This view I have painted many times but still haven't tired of it and it's endless variation of colour, light and newly discovered shapes and lines. During the week I still work in Armidale as I love my job there. I stay up during the week and consider I have now the best of worlds. I found a lovely YouTube video of Christopher Lee painting a landscape. I wonder how long it really took him to paint it? It is very relaxing and interesting to watch with restful music. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYNy5vIQjHA
I am working on some 30cmx30cm canvases at the moment. I will enter some in the Christmas exhibition at Doggett Street Studio where I had my last exhibition. I will hopefully finish two small works to send to a Melbourne gallery.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I have discovered, possibly ones of the last ones to, Youtube and it's possibilities. I found a link to a Youtube video of an interview by Richard Glover about landscape painting with Euan MacLeod, Imants Tillers and Michelle Hiscocks www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kdr91Phi3Zo It was recorded as part of an Art After Hours session.
I have been occupied with moving house for quite a while now. No matter how much I get rid of I seem to always have an enormous amount of things to pack up and move. After all that is done, of course, the cleaning up starts. I am hoping to be able to start back into my painting before too long but am aiming to have as stressless a year as possible from now on. Ideas should flow freer then. If centered it is easier to work independently being true to ones own inner vision. I am placing here an image of one of the small works that I took up to Brisbane for exhibition. I am including a link to the NSW Country Energy Landscape Painting Exhibition for this year. I didn't enter because I was too busy but some artists from this area have been selected which is great. The Country Energy Prize is open to NSW regional artists and the prize money equals that of the renowned Archibald Prize Australia's premier portrait painting prize.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dangar Lagoon 1 Dangar Lagoon 2

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I haven't been on here for quite a while. I have had health problems and a house move recently. The exhibition In Brisbane at Doggett Street has opened. The opening was well attended and a few friends that I don't get to see very often came for the opening which was great. It was lovely to see old friends and meet new ones. Sales at the exhibition have been disappointing unfortunately and sometimes it is difficult not to see that as an evaluation of the work done. Perhaps, though, it is good to have a sharp reminder that improvement is required to avoid complacency. I regard my own painting as very much in its infancy and requiring a lot more thought and subtlety. The exhibition finishes on October 3rd so hopefully more red dots will mean more of the expenses covered and a smaller load to bring back home. I have had a while away from my painting now so hopefully will get back to doing some drawing in a couple of weeks. After that, when I have unpacked my painting gear yet again I should be able to get back into painting. I may reduce the scale of my work a bit for the immediate future.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I will be having my paintings photographed at the end of next week prior to taking them up to Brisbane for my exhibition. I have had disappointing results when taking them myself and feel it is worth getting high quality images done before “my babies” leave home. I always have a problem with reflection. It is best, so it is said, to photograph the works in the shade, in natural light in the morning without the flash on. Even so, the gloss of oil paint or some acrylic gloss mediums cause reflections for me.
I am including here a link to a blog page that gives information regarding photographing artwork that might be of interest to other artists. http://www.theartistsweb.net/wiki/How_To_Photograph_Artwork

I was reading an article in an old Good Weekend that I came across about the way in which John Olsen views art and the landscape. I always find it fascinating the way artists relate to their environment and the different ways in which they express their relationship with it.

"The space in Australian deserts lure me" Olsen says "because it provides a structure to look at a landscape in a different way. Drysdale's desert pictures are almost like looking at stage machinery, so dramatic and theatrical. Fred Williams is always standing back, with the horizon level slightly up. Nolan is often flying over it." Olsen, too, often takes an aerial perspective, swooping up and down on it like an inquisitive bird "But I'm more intimate, juicy and mucking in with the landscape, getting into bed with it full-on.." Janet Hawley. Good Weekend SMH 2nd Sep '09 p.23.

My own work gives an overall view but while working I am always conscious of the unique and often small features of the landscape that makes that particular area special. I am interested in the geomorphology of an area and in my works that are based on my local area look at the use of the land by farmers. My exhibition in Brisbane will have works based on my local farming and gorge country as well as works based on areas of the outback.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Over the last week I have been sorting out my paintings for my Brisbane exhibition New Horizons - Beyond Landscape at Doggett Street Gallery in Newstead Brisbane. http://www.doggett.com.au/ExhibitionFrame.aspx?ExhibitionId=948
I have made my own selection. I have asked a friend who does not know much about art but "knows what he likes" to select ones he thinks work and ones that don't - for him. I have asked my family also but they are overly diplomatic I find. I will now ask a fellow artist whose judgement is well informed. Finally I will look at each painting and try to see it in the ways in which these people have seen it. It is very interesting seeing how people come raw to a particular work of art and how they see it in terms of their own world and the visual and emotional aspects of their life experiences and history. The final decision as to what to put in the exhibition and what to leave out will be mine and in the end probably based on my own gut instinct. It will probably not differ that much from my initial selection. It will be based on the ideas I am working on at the moment although, saying that, my work is not conceptual but based on a feeling for a place and a consciousness of the earth's history and it's resultant shape and colour. I enjoy landscapes where the rocks and "bones of the earth" are exposed. I am in awe of the ruggedness and uncompromising "otherness" of dry uncultivated landscapes. That was what I loved about the Flinders Ranges. Next year I will be going painting to the MacDonnell Ranges, Kata Tjuta and Simpsons Gap. That will be a real treat for an artist.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Montecastello Landscape http://www.arielchurnin.com/

Was reading an interesting interview by John Tusa with one of my favourite painters Frank Auerbach. A link and an excerpt:

"Don't you ever long for the easy canvas; the one that really does present itself to you comparatively early?

Absolutely. I think I start...every painting I've ever started with the hope that I'd be able to take the brushes and the colour, put all the colours in the right place, get something that is coherent and alive and fresh and new and true, and I'll be able to leave it. And it just hasn't happened yet - it hasn't happened. What I usually find is that I see something that is... reminds me far too much of paintings I've already done or that is just simply wrong in some way. ...

What would you say to a young artist starting off from art school today?

I'd never... it seems to me to be a bit of an impertinence for me to say anything to a young artist, but I'll try and. I think subject is terribly, terribly important and it's implicit, it isn't only the labelled item as it were, the head or the tree or the factory or whatever, or the abstract. I think that one has certain deep feelings which express themselves in a plastic way. I mean, if you were I don't know, perhaps this has to do with what you would do with another person - stroking or grabbing or something, that has something to do with it, but there must be some experience that is your own and to try and record it in an idiom that is your own, and not to give a damn about what anybody else says to you. I think that is important and I think that the key word there's subject - find out what matters most to you and pursue it."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Had a lovely weekend drawing and catching up with friends and family. I went out drawing with a friend to her farm just out of Armidale on Saturday. On Sunday I went to my son's place at Wollomombi. I did some small drawings with pencil, watercolour and oil pastel. I am hoping to go back there next weekend with some canvas and paint. The country is rolling and dry now with lovely greyed-off trees and wonderful dead tree skeletons. The angularity and ruggedness of the landscape is always fascinating.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The weekend has arrived and I will have to get reorganised after the Sydney exhibition. Will have to move things around in my "studio" so that I can have a larger space in which to work. I work in the garage. On one hand it sounds ideal to have a purpose-built studio but on the other hand I like having my work so close. I can walk by it, add to it briefly, in short live with it so that ideas work their way through subconsciously. I haven't sorted out my art things since coming back from Sydney and will only have about six weeks until Brisbane so will commence painting or drawing tomorrow. The weather made sketching outdoors impossible for quite a while but the last few days have been clear and sunny so if that continues I will draw out of town.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Am home again and resting up before commencing work again. I have decided to finish off one large painting and sand down in places one of the large works I am bringing home from Sydney. The new large one will follow on from the Simpson's Gap work and be in oils and mixed media. Have decided to try out water soluble oil pastels. They sound good but the colours aren't at all subtle so am not sure what they will be like to use. Have a few photos from the exhibition opening in Sydney. Had a great but exhausting time there. I loved being in Glebe and might do it again in a few years. Glebe has it's own special character and atmosphere and had a great second-hand bookshop, Sappho's, across the road. Here I found a great, detailed map of Australia. I love maps and love wondering about the roads, tracks and rivers. Glebe has great coffee places and I loved the huge breakfast at Badd Manners where a weak skinny, decaf coffee is called a Why Bother.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Angorichina 152cm

Simpson's Gap 152cmx122cm Oil and mixed media on canvas

I went down again to Sydney last Friday for the last days of the exhibition. Robyn and I were in the gallery during the days and on Monday Robyn and her husband packed it up and drove it back to Armidale in their ute. It was fine weather on the trip until the last hour when it rained from Walcha onwards. Just before packing up Robyn and I sold work which meant our costs were about covered. I took friends and family out to dinner to celebrate a successful exhibition.

Visitors over the weekend were interested in the work and intelligently looking to understand it which is very rewarding. Almost everyone took an invitation and some asked for web addresses and email contacts. Most of the visitors were passing traffic and friends and family who we had invited. Next time it would be good to have it on for a longer period so that people who see the work one weekend have a chance to think about it then come back the following weekend. A couple said that they would have had friends come that were looking to buy but who were away that weekend.

It was great as a learning experience as all exhibitions are and once again reinforced the need to go out and contact people and follow-up contacts in order to get the work viewed and sold. Artists, and I include myself in this, so often are reluctant to push their work. It is not always easy to have confidence in one's work as an artist working alone.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

GIG Gallery Exhibition Sydney

My exhibition opened on Tuesday night. Artist Peter Griffen opened it. He is an interesting speaker and we are grateful to him for doing this. We had a good crowd come and everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable time. My sisters and father came from Armidale, Adelaide and Canberra so it was lovely to have some time together. I will be going back down to Sydney tomorrow for a few days. Am placing some images here taken when we were setting up the exhibition. The lighting at the gallery was great but the old-fashioned hanging wires meant it was a long and exhausting day putting up the exhibition. I have sold two works so far so hopefully will have some others so that my costs are covered.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I have spent the past few weeks preparing for my Sydney exhibition with Robyn Jackson. My paintings are based on the Flinders Ranges. I have works measuring 152cmx122cm. I will take some smaller works down to Sydney and will put some in if they seem to go with the rest. A final decision is usually made at the time of hanging as the interaction of the works themselves and the interaction of the works with the space is hard to judge beforehand. It will be interesting to see how my own work and that of Robyn interact as they are so different. Difficulties in communications with galleries is one of the disadvantages of working in a regional area. In many ways, though, living outside of a city is an advantage, especially for a landscape painter. One is close to nature and to the subject matter and the artist is able to work unhindered and relatively uninfluenced by popular trends and the pressures of shifting tastes. When it comes to exhibitions though issues such as representation by the galleries concerned, distance and transporting works can be difficult. I am looking forward to the trip and the exhibition now that it is all arranged and underway.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Have been getting together an invitation and web page design for my upcoming exhibition in Sydney. Had the help of a friend with great graphic design skills to put it together so we are really happy with it. I'll be going down to Sydney in early July. The exhibition is at GIG Gallery in Glebe and runs from the 7th - 12th July. I am exhibiting with Robyn Jackson who is a very gifted figurative, expressive artist. It will be an interesting and I think complementary combination. The gallery is on Glebe Point Road and is in a great location amongst cafes, bookshops and just down the road from the Glebe Markets. We are hoping to get a big turnout to the opening on the 7th and have organised some music for the event. Family will use this as an opportunity to travel to meet up and stay together which will make it a special time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

For the past few weeks have been working on collages and rather more abstract acrylic paintings. I usually find that the colours in acrylic paints are a lot harsher and less subtle than those in oil paints. Layering, using washes and collage aids in bringing subtlety to the work. I am preparing to place a couple of images in a Sydney exhibition and am still getting a body of work together for a solo show in Armidale. The exhibition in Melbourne that I have a couple of works in will end soon so these works will come home then if not sold. One is promised to a friend so hopefully it will come home safe and sound. I had a problem with a large work that was damaged in transit recently. I will have to travel to repair it. It is difficult arranging for transport of artwork I find. A couple of my small paintings are shown here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Edvard Munch
What is art?
Art grows from joy and sorrow - but mostly sorrow
It grows from man's life -
Is art a description of this life this movement?
Shall one depict the different pleasures - the different misfortunes -
or shall one only see the flower - whose nature, substance and vibration are determined by the joy and pain?

I do not believe in an art which has not forced its way out through man's need to open his heart -
All art, literature as well as music must be brought out with one's heart blood.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I've been working at an increased pace lately and trying to keep to schedule. Hopefully I will produce enough work for an active exhibiting year. The danger is always to produce works of quality and that don't begin to be work by formula.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The drawing trip to Mt Yarrowyck was interesting and inspiring. I saw the cave paintings and drew the landscape view across the valley. From the initial drawing and it's subsequent drawings will come hopefully a deeper more abstract interpretation of the rich cultural and visual nature of the place. I have sent my works down to the Melbourne gallery and have an exhibition lined up for July in Sydney. This exhibition I will be sharing with friend and fellow artist Robyn Jackson. The world situation speaks constantly of violence man against man and the slump in the market which has caused many people to come down from a very affluent position to a less affluent position. It's funny the priorities of the press. It is easy to mistake reports for information, viewpoints from facts. Painting landscapes can seem a little irrelevant at times and yet it is the land that holds true through all the vagaries of time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The first week of January has finished and I start work again tomorrow. The long Christmas/New Year break has been revitalising. It has mainly been taken up with family gatherings, unpacking for the new house, reading and painting. I have gone out in the landscape to draw when I can.

Last week I drew at Dangar Lagoon which was formed glacially first then through sedimentation. It was a picnic area in the late 1800s and early 1900s for people from the Uralla area. Agricultural use of the land and draining for goldpanning has denuded the landscape. It is still a haven for birdlife however and the horizontals of grass, water, scrub are attractive to an artist. A few years ago my painting of the area showed no water at all whereas now it has plenty of water which is great to see.

At the weekend I will draw at Mt Yarrowyck outside of Armidale. Mount Yarrowyck Nature Reserve protects an Aboriginal cave painting site. The artwork is between 150 and 550 years old and the area is part of the traditional land of the Anaiwan people. The natural features of the land and the wildlife in it feature in the Aboriginal culture of the area. They are part of the dreaming stories.

In my days off I completed a few small works based on the Flinders area and the Tablelands area. I also have been preparing two larger canvases by layering textures and colours in preparation for works based on the outback landscape. I like to have a dense background to my painting with colours and textures of different kinds showing through the final work. I find it gives a richness and complexity to the work that I enjoy.