Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Well, I am on the down hill run to my art show - I have about five weeks to go. I have a couple of more drawings to frame, lots of didactic wall sheets to write and post to 'as', two paintings to complete, a blog workshop to write, most of the large paintings to frame, and a video to complete. below is another excerpt from the future 'as' video.

This video demonstrates the type of multi-tasking, synchronicity I will have to perform to get to my opening night.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


The Bird Proofer - 1999 - 81x57cm

The 'The Bird Proofer' is drawn in pencil and painted in acrylic on paper. Turpentine was used to dissolve the 8B pencil, which was then rubbed into the surface of the paint. The work was then re-defined using the 8B black pencil and a white conte' pencil.

A 'Bird Proofer' is a title I made up to describe someone who uses nets to stop birds eating fruit. The nets that are covering trees, can be seen in the drawing behind the man The figure represents a simple greedy man who is so greedy that he even stops the birds feeding. Obviously, farmers need to stop the birds eating too much of their crop, but I am using this image as a metaphor for greed and ignorance.

The figure was drawn at night in my studio: I was using my reflection in a studio window as a guide - the only accurate thing about the figure, is the checkered shorts which I was wearing at the time. The person described in the drawing is a brutish, simple and confrontational man, who is likely to shoot you for trespassing.

In the banner of my blog it mentions 'the black locust'. This is a phrase from an unfinished song of mine - here are the lyrics so far.

The black locust flies at night, and I walk in it's shadow.
I know I am not a good man, and need to live in some shame.
Can anybody save me from myself.
Almost repentance and I am down on the floor.
Songs of experience, songs of innocence.
Coming down on me, coming down on me, coming down on me.

So there you have it - some of the mystery explained.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


For all those baby lovers out there, here's a photo of my daughter's baby - Imogen.

Today, I was innocently minding my own business - when I hear these taunts coming from the local Library car park, "Grand Pappy" or "Grand Dad", or something like that. Then I was told that I must be getting more wrinkles due to my new Grand Father status. But they were friendly taunts from friendly people. The 'not so failed painter', Loretta , her resourceful partner, Hew Che Fong and there son Nic (Yi). It was nice to have a chat in real life - as most of our communication recently has been by blogophone.

Another scribbly nude from the pile of odd and unfinished nudes accumulated on my drawing desk. This one is called 'Buxom' - it may never be finished, because I sort of like it in this raw and unfinished state. Besides, I am running out of time to finish my other stuff for my next Art Show.
During my Art show I will be running a workshop at the art gallery on 'Blogging for artists' - it should be a fairly easy workshop to run, as there are plenty of skills to learn and many potential benefits to be had. I have already planned the structure of the workshop and I believe there has been some interest already. Those who are receptive to this blogging workshop, should get quite a bit out of it. As others have said, on other blogs recently, there seems to be those want to utilise this newish technology and those who shun it. I suppose, some are scared of over exposure, but for most of us, without having a lot of Art shows and spending a fortune we normally live a life of under exposure.
It does take time and commitment to develop and maintain a blog but any sort of promotional activity takes effort. Fortunately at this stage the cost is very low - just above free. The trick is to allow the blogosphere to inspire and promote, instead of it becoming a substitute for producing artworks. But, most artists have to battle with the paintbrushes or chisels etc. to produce work - I don't need a blog to stop me working, I have plenty of other ways to do that.

So with that last comment, I better stop procrastinating and finish a few paintings!

Sunday, December 2, 2007


My daughter had her first baby on Thursday the 29th of November. Her name is Imogen and she weighed 7lbs at birth: so officially, I am now a grandfather at the ripe old age of 46. My daughter was the basis for this character from one of my paintings.

She really doesn't have hands like baseball mits or such a slicked bouffant hair style. She was still in high school when I painted this. The shirt she is wearing is sort of a sports outfit with a bit of a blurred logo on the front. At least there is plenty of room for air flow up through the sleeves.

I suppose now I will have to have a baby in one of my paintings - sort of a family suite with a discourse on the meaning of the name Imogen. Imogen is Gaelic and means maiden or daughter and came from Shakespeare's Cymbeline - originally as Innogen. Another meaning is, "innocent: last born", but in this case she is the first born, so I think Innocent daughter is the best fit.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


After much tossing around of ideas in my head, I started on the 'as' painting this morning. At this stage it is just a mass of confused lines and unrelated images. I have been working hard at trying to break the picture plane, with objects intruding from strange angles, multiple perspectives and different layers. The images have been chosen randomly and quickly and drawn roughly and quickly. The paint has been applied thick and sloppy because I am trying to maintain spontaneity and develop composition on the fly - stare into the lines looking for the best shapes. At the bottom of the painting on either side are two winged angels, loosely lifted from a Fra Angelico painting. As the painting tightens up I am going to add more detail and hopefully the separate images will connect with each other. So far there is a monkey with a space helmet, a medieval building, an antique glass jar, a man with arms stretched above his head, a lighthouse, a ball in a bowl, a ballooned headed man holding a manuscript, rocks, leaves, mountains, blue sky, a collection of offset circles and a factory chimney. Oh, well you gotta make a start somewhere.

After messing around with the painting for a few hours I took a few photos around the place. The shot below is from our front yard looking south - weeds and all.

Typing this while listening to Dylan's song, 'Everything is Broken'. Seems quite fitting looking at my old fence and my almost bust gate. Parts of the house and yard are really looking broken, but at times I see a glimpse of how much better they could be. The stairs and front deck are looking better repaired and painted.

The posts and railings on the landing and going down the stairs have all been replaced as they were pretty well rotted through. Another coat of paint on the deck and a few touch ups here and there and the front deck will be finished - might add a few pots and plants as well... hmmm

Saturday, November 17, 2007


It's been a very busy period the last ten days or so. My youngest daughter has been going through the rigors of her final two weeks of High School: last assignments, graduation functions, and a few hectic social functions. My eldest daughter is due to have a baby and is becoming very uncomfortable in this humid weather. My wife has been very busy at work, also at a few conferences and sitting for an exam. I have been running around all over the place getting caught in traffic, mowing lawns, picking up kids, servicing cars, painting doors, catching up with old friends etc. etc. My right eye has been twitching for about five days - too many events in too short a time - so time for a few blog posts and replies to emails etc.

After removing some trees a month or so a go, our Brazilian Cherry tree (pictured above) has decided to bear some fruit. The fruit is about an inch in diameter and tastes best when deep red and easily falls from the tree. Below is a few more fruit trees from the garden.

Fig Tree

Macadamia Nut


Well, hopefully I can get back on course now: I have quite a few deadlines and jobs to do before my January show, and time is running out. I managed to rearrange part of my studio in the last week as well, making room for a more productive space. I find that I work better if I can clear and organise my space. The photo belows shows two desks I moved into a corner. One computer is being set up to record and edit music on while the other is a spare that maybe used for writing lyrics. Also, as I promised Corrine from Jafabrit's Art; a photo of my childhood Teddy Bear: which can be seen on the bookshelf.

Studio 07

Monday, November 5, 2007


The Great Wave off Kanagawa - Hokusai

I have always thought that the Great Wave painting was a very modern looking artwork. The original was done by colour woodcut print ca. 1830, then copied and reprinted in 1930. The above work is the 1930 print. The wave is drawn in a dramatic and stylised way, easily being the main focus of the picture. The people on the boats seem small and weak in comparison. In the distance can be seen Mount Fuji, standing tall and strong - strong and eternal compared to the temporal life of the wave. Even the small people on their boats seem like they will weather the wave and pass through to the other side.
I am not sure why this painting seems so modern to me, but it could be the stylised way it is executed, the flat outlines of the mountain, wave and curious cloud formation. It could also be the juxtaposition of ideas represented by these different elements. The cloud has form but is temporal and gas like. The wave is powerful with a definite shape, yet is still temporal and passing. The mountain has form and strength, but silent and wise. But, the mountain has a hidden anger as the volcano, that could erupt, or has erupted in a different time. The men on boats of invention, designed to conquer the forces of nature, are strong for a season then blow away as dried grass, so are really temporal.

Below is a more stylised wave painting that I did after Hokusai's masterpiece. My wave has a funny attitude: part silly, part angry. The personified organic objects in the wave are being swept along, which smooths and transforms them on their journey. The flat sand planes show the marks of other journeys. The mountains are standing back untouched as wise old viewers of these events. The wave is singular in my artwork, a moving, ever breaking, cobra like being that travels back and forth, sucking up and carrying along everything in it's path. Yet it cannot touch the mountains, for it's power has been limited.

As I was painting, 'The Big Wave', my mind was turning over these ideas and endowing these simple images with all those meanings and more. I suppose art in someway is a non-literal, consolidated expression of feeling and thought, communicated through a tangible medium.

The Big Wave - 1991 - Acrylic and pencil on paper - 73x54cm

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Been working in the studio today trying to finish or destroy the big blue painting. Hopefully I can revive this painting so that it can be included in my art show. Which would be good because it will take up some wall space, especially if I run out of work to hang.
The red version in the middle is the original, before it was blueyfied. Just looking at the top photo, compared to the bottom, I am starting to think it needs to go a bit darker. But then again..............

I have been trying not to radically change the composition, thats why I have been focusing on colour change. Maybe I'll just keep on redefining the edges, adding darker tones here and there and lighter ones elsewhere. When I put some cadmium red in the flames, above the lamb, I had to add red all over the canvas to balance it up. The same happened when adding a light bluey/green to the palm fronds. But with the fronds I just toned them down, with a transparent paynes gray.

Over all I think I am liking it better than the original - but tomorrow is another day. But then again it's a bit contrived - but whats not.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The Clay Worker

Just started a new blog especially to post and print my wall sheets for my January 2008 art show , 'as'. 'The Bird Proofer', three column template and design is not really suitable for printing on A4 or A3 sheets. So 'as' uses the most basic blog design, simple II, which has only one column. It's actually a relief to have a simple fast loading, easily manageable layout to work with.

The art show blog can be found here.

Spent 2 or 3 hours outside a shopping centre today waiting for my daughter, who was in the hairdresser. I thought I would only be there for an hour at the most, but alas, being male I have no idea how long these things take. Anyway, an artist friend happened to come along, and we chatted until she was finished. We talked about art, politics (we have a looming national election in Australia in November) and much else.

He has given himself a 5 year break from art - he is in year 4 of his purgatory. After putting quite a bit of effort into his art, he found that his obsessional focus was making him unwell. He is starting to get the feeling back and the itch to have another go. I basically told him to diversify and do other activities as well, like stick at one job for 18 years, and produce art on the side.

The woman in the picture above is doing a bit of clay work on the side, while watching a bit of telly. Stuck in a transfixed state between, creativity and passivity. Sometimes after being very busy at work or university etc., we desire a creative release, a way out from our obsessive life styles. For some people television manages to ease the stress, but for others it dulls the senses.

The clay worker (someone I know), is normally never creating art, but once during a very busy period of study, during her holidays, created a series of small clay figures. After this release, she has never really, pursued art in any form, since.

Maybe, art should be made mandatory for all politicians, army leaders, and business men.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The Visitor

One night I sat down with a pile of drawing paper , some sloppy paint mixed in polystyrene cups, and a few rough old brushes. The idea was to whip out 15 or so drawings in one sitting by freely expressing without too many constraints. Two of these drawings are 'The Visitor' and 'Joe Looking at the Space Between His Hands' . Each of the drawings focuses on a different idea, and some have already been used as starting points for other larger works.

Drawings worked quickly have a quality that is hard to translate to bigger works. When I start a bigger work, I generally work spontaneously and quickly, but slowly I pull back and refine the original marks and composition. This works well, but at times can bring a deadness, a reworking of the original life, obliterating the seminal life of the work. One challenge is to maintain freedom in the larger works through the whole process - difficult indeed.

The visitor or stranger idea has now become an idea that has occurred in a number of paintings and drawings. The idea of a figure and a door way, harks back to early Sci-fi and Noir films. In the case of the drawing above, the figure has a space helmet on, which to me revokes the film 'Space Odyssey 2001'. The intruder, or intruding idea, the event at your door, the surprise, the confrontational stranger or idea. These are all wound up in this idea, which is slowly becoming a personal iconic device.

This next rough drawing is a about chasing the wind. The man in Ecclesiastes, vanity of vanities, like chasing the wind that blows wherever. Joe in the drawing is obsessed about staring at the space between his hands. It's a state of futility, a product of nihilism, a jangle of meaningless sound, striving for meaning where meaning has moved on. The answer my friend is blowing in the wind. The idea is to stop looking at the wind, or the gap between your hands and frame your mind on things of substance.

I think it's time to do some more rough drawings, so I can stop staring at the space between my hands and worrying about the stranger at the door.

Joe Looking at the Space Between His Hands

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Falling Leaves - 1997 - Acrylic and pencil on paper - 73x54cm

Pattern, decoration, movement, colour, texture, shape, marks, pretty, beauty, sombre, bright, composition, shade, meaning, abstraction, figurative, conceptual, all these things and many more are aspects of making art. One should not limit what is possible in art, by preempting creative output, through worrying what the "Art establishment" may think. In fact the "Art establishment" are not all in agreement. The Avant-garde changes hands on a regular basis, like wet paint changing hands between handshakes at an art symposium.
It may be hard to crack the market or get noticed and make a few waves, but those that do, only burn for a short while. The important thing is to remember that the structure that supports the high flyers is prone to move or crumble. Aim high but keep a level head and if you want to produce art then go for it. Don't be robbed of the joy or challenge of making art, by an imaginary foe. En- garde to the Avant-garde whoever you are - or trying to be for that matter.

On Friday I went to the ARC ART, CRAFT & DESIGN BIENNIAL 2007. They ran a series of panel discussions through the day and a concurrent Art Exhibition. The two discussions that I attended had different speakers from different parts of the Art establishment. To me it was obvious by listening to the different speakers that the Art establishment is multi faceted, composed of many different opinions. Art is in a constant state of flux, and those who try to play the Avante-garde game have to constantly adjust and re-adjust, to maintain their credibility. It may be said that I have no credibility in saying this, but no one owns Art or can possibly have a monopoly on all Art.

This is the title and description of the first discussions I went to.

Is it enough for an artwork just to be pleasing to the eye? Can anything truly be just that, or do we bring to art our own feelings and experiences, always making it something more. In a global culture that increasingly conditions us to not look below the surface, is the contemporary art world, curators and artists, accepting or challenging this reality or are they moving towards shallow water. What is the position of design and craft practice in this debate? Is there room for anything more than contentless art, or is the ever-shifting ‘fad’ mentality of popular culture forcing artists to meet the very surface expectations of a consumer society? Curators and artists discuss this proposition, and through their own experiences and insights, endeavour to shine the light on where art is, what’s its potential and what it would take to make it happen.

The discussion was interesting, but searching. I found the speakers had trouble communicating fully there response to the discussion topic. There did however seem to be a vague concession that "Pretty" did matter. But I feel in the end it doesn't matter what the experts say, because Art will probably do it's own thing and rise up from some unexpected area and defy those who would judge it. But then again, it is still fun to talk about it.

Triangles - 1981

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Well, I have removed all the large trees from our property and have dragged all of the logs and cuttings to the tip. This photo was taken on the final day of dumping. One of our little dogs can be seen in the foreground, helping me out. She couldn't carry much, so I tied a few logs to her back. The other dog got smart and shot through, watching the proceedings from upstairs. Just when I was going to draw up a Work choice agreement with them. Little beggars.

In the next photo, the logs in the foreground were given to a guy who just happened to be in the vicinity when I was about to dump them. He took the lot - he has a hydraulic log splitter made in Italy for all his fireplace needs, and his neighbours needs too I bet.
I am going to spend quite a bit of time painting, repairing and renovatiing this humble little home. I have already pulled parts of the front stairs down and started to replace the timbers that were rotten. This Photo was taken a few days before I started pulling things apart.
The garden will take some time to work out. I must have about 20 stumps to remove, then level the ground and redesign with a variety of different smaller plants.

This totally unrealistic drawing, depicts the other side of the house. Most of the details are right, but grossly exaggerated and distorted. I did have a picture of Elvis stuck in one of the windows at one stage, but had to remove it because I could not take my own humour.
The mountains can be seen from my backyard, but the one on the right is partially blocked by a neighbours house and shed. The round shape on the right is a swimming pool. The pointy object at the bottom is a clothes hoist. And thats the water tank on the left, that gave me a nose bleed.

Yeates Rd - Acrylic and pencil on paper - sometime in the past.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


After many years of working in a small town, I think I have finally become accepted by a few, as a local. It is quite amazing when you move to a rural town, how long it takes for some people to accept you. This has never been a real issue for me , but just an observation of how resistant to change some folk are. A few customers commented to me that I was one of the last of the old faces to leave the hardware store. As this community that I live in changes, due to land development and urban sprawl stretching its way up our highway from our major city to our doorstop, the original (if there is such a thing) people are selling up and moving or just growing old and dying. Here is a tree drawing/painting from the local area. This is the tree that blocked the view of the Glasshouse Mountains, from the Mary Cairncross Park at Maleny. I don't know if it is still there but I decided to make it the subject instead of the mountains. Possibly a very non-local thing to do.

On Sunday I threw the push bike in the back of the work ute, and drove up to Caloundra, which is on the beach. This was last day that I had the use of the ute so I made the most of it. I rode along the boardwalk (which is a path that meanders along the coastline) from Bulcock beach to Moffat beach. One of the beaches I passed through was King Beach, which has recently been renovated, refurbished, and re-worked. Below is a drawing/painting done before any of the work had commenced. This local work looks north from Kings Beach on an overcast day. On the rocky point can be seen Norfolk Pine trees that feature quite prominently along the shoreline in this area. There have been many whales traveling along this coastline over the last week, maybe as many as 80 or so. I saw a few frolicking in the choppy waves as I rode on by.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Sense of Spirituality 2000 Acrylic on board 91x122cm

Through the sliding door, out from our back deck can be seen a few trees along our fence line.
Yesterday I cut two of those trees down with a chainsaw. In the painting above, those trees can be seen, one has yellow flowers the other bluish leaves hanging down. In fact the big gum tree, behind the figures head, was cut down as well, but a few years ago.

I cut quite a few trees down that day and loaded them on the back of the work truck. As I was carrying the limbs to the truck I felt a bit guilty, as if I had done something cruel and heartless to these trees. Their bright green leaves and intricate branch structure looked so full of life, and then wasted as they lay there on the cold aluminum tray. It crossed my mind to glue them back on to the roots, but then I thought about the second life these trees were to have. At the local dump the trees are converted into mulch, then all the dumpers collect the mulch to put back on there gardens.

A few years back this mild guilt feeling would not have crossed my mind. How many of us today feel guilty when using the garden hose or wasting water? The anti-logging campaigns, the climate change, water restrictions, etc. This media pounding seems to have an influence on our thinking. How much? I'm not sure. How much do we know about a given subject? Do we have a sense of something, or do we have a more intimate and well supported knowledge? Can some of our presuppositions be trusted or are we just going along with our chosen peer group?
The figure in the above painting looks at us with a mildly defiant look. But he is contorted, and bulbous, without arms. At the same time he is somewhat comical, and cartoon like before an open door looking out onto a more natural world. Does he know himself or does he just know what he wants to discriminate against?

A few months ago we cut down a large gum tree that was filling our gutters and water tank with leaves. The stump still stands about head height. Yesterday after finishing my killing fields I noticed new growth on the stump. Delicate little leaves and branches sprouting up from this rough sawn hardwood. So after a moment of studying the new growth, I promptly broke them off. Heres a photo of that tree, down and lying in pieces.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Sunday afternoon is a great time to wander down to the studio,
play the guitar, read the Australian, watch Sunday Arts, fiddle
with some paint and pencils, drink coffee, flick through the archives,
put my feet up, see the sun go down, pat the dog, dream a little,
listen to some music, read a book, make some art, and wear daggy clothes.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


The Striped Shirt - 2002 - Acrylic on board - 90 x 120 cm

Another odd painting from the abyss.

Which reminds of an artist who kept on saying
abscess instead of abyss.
The sad part was, it was during a lecture, where he was talking on very
weighty stuff in a room full of art students.
Almost as bad as the title of student film I made called Memaroid.
Very messy stuff this art business.

The striped shirt painting has links to different places at different times.

The beak, head man standing like an Egyptian is taken from
a slide of my father pulling down the internal walls
at a farm house at Yeepoon.

The man sitting in the front is one of my brothers.
The photo was taken at night in front of a campfire at Narangba.

The Striped shirt person is my wife. This photo was taken when
she was dressed as a mummy all wrapped up in toilet paper.
At the time we were running a kids holiday program at Cannon Hill.

The man with the camera is myself.
The photo was taken while attending Miami High School.
I took the photo pointing at a mirror, that was in a clothes shop,
at Nobby's Beach.

The upside down, simple man is a reference to the Red Man
series of paintings I did in the early eighties.

The mountains in the window refer to the Glasshouse Mountains.

The window above the door refers to the student house
I lived in at Vulture St East Brisbane.

The meaning I will leave up to you.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Twin Vortex Pile Driver

I have no idea what this weird painting is about, yet! Maybe, it's just a collection of vague ideas left over from other works.

Today I had a conversation with another artist out in the car park of where I work. We spoke about artistic habits and career progression. I argued that as an artist, I could choose the task, and produce the result. The challenge is to break away from the preset ideas of career and style development and embrace a broader less restrictive approach to art.Good art I argued, was not just imitation or pretty picture making. For example , if an artist wanted to portray beauty as opposed to pretty and nice, then beauty could be shown to be something quite profound and disturbing.

As an artist your style will develop without conscious effort. Who you are will manifest over time through the various artworks you produce.To predicate style is a sure way to kill motivation and creativity. Style will come of it's own accord. To copy or follow a given style and pretend it is yours is a shallow way of creating and produces lame art. For me art is an extension of my thought life, so I normally try to paint whatever I can with whatever meager ability I have.

By the way I quit my Job last Monday after almost 18 years. The business will be put on the market soon and I need to do a few other things, and enjoy my Long Service funds. Hopefully, I can focus a bit more on the different strands of my art and take up new challenges to produce a bit more. The Twin vortex painting above is one of those strands.

P.S. That is my foot appearing on the bottom right of the painting.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


On Three Trees 1994 73x54cm

Above is an acrylic painting on paper.
Bright colours and stylised scenery.
Black outlines and chunky shapes.
This is as close as I get to Mambo.

Not normally being satisfied with the art of
repeating myself, I did repeat myself.

Below is an acrylic painting on masonite.
Bright colours and stylised scenery.
Black outlines and chunky shapes.
This is as close as I get to Mambo.

Big Orange Tree 1995 136x104cm

The leaves are like clouds, but hanging like
marshmallows on the branches.
Especially like marshmallows that have
been heated in a campfire and begin to slip
down the dirty stick that was found
on the ground in the bush.

Also, the leaves are like birds sitting and watching
as you walk underneath.
Or like banksia cones blended with clouds
and hanging like gum leaves.

The branches are limbs strong and sure
against a symbolic blue sky.
The blue sky being a welcome symbol
through the bush as you clear your
way home.

I spent much of my childhood living on the
edge of an enormous abandoned nursery.
This nursery created by Nobelius was
at the time the largest in the
southern hemisphere. The nursery became
a national park, and until this day, has
a huge variety of trees and bushes.

As a kid, I lived for the bush, spending many
hours with my brothers, cousins and friends
investigating every secret area.

I think the enormous exposure I had as a kid
to the bush has impacted my work in some ways.
When looking at my own work I sometimes
have flashbacks to those glory days.
When we ran free with our mates and dogs and built
cubby huts and got up to all sorts of naughtiness.

I think, that as time goes on, my art will draw more and more,
from the experiences of the past, and create conduits
for the feelings and thoughts that I have today.

These paintings being strong in complimentary
colours work well with 3D glasses.
When Big Orange Tree was put on show,
I provided a pair of 3d glasses for the public to use.

This combination of bush, bright colours, and 3D glasses
has strong connections for me. It reminds me of
the Melbourne show, Luna park, Martin Sharpe, Mambo,
rural Victoria, the sixties and seventies, jeans, skivvies,
tie dyeing, flares, and long hair.

In the Bible the Israelites were told,
"Thou shall not make a graven image"
In this context the warning was against worshiping
an image or idol.
But, also it makes a strong point about the
power of created images and objects.

Monday, August 20, 2007


This is my Grandfather on my mothers side.
He dabbled with art most of his life.
This picture was taken on the Gold Coast in the seventies.
He had various jobs in his life. He once had a Milk Bar in a
Melbourne suburb and ran a Guest House on Phillip Island.
All this he did with the companionship of my Grandmother.
They were very close. My Grandfather was primarily a
carpenter, and my Grandmother a dressmaker.

Below is a mixed media work I did on paper around 1981.

The photo was taken from an old slide which is the only record
I have of this artwork. I had given it to him before he moved back to
Victoria and it was subsequently lost or destroyed
by others others before he died.
When he was a young man he went to a commercial art college.
I have his original training books, which are getting rather old
and musty. Here are a few pages from the old school.

This is the front cover of lesson one.
It has a stylish little Art Deco design on the cover.

Lesson 11 Plate D

A few character studies.

And this one, with the fashions of the past.

I used the above girls in a painting a few years back.
I set them in a window in a shop in the main street of Twin Towns.
My Grandparents use to visit Twin Towns to play the pokies
when they lived on the Gold Coast.

It's interesting to look back over your own work and discover
the links and connections with the past.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


This is Squarescape One.
The original idea was to do a series of square paintings,
using various natural shapes laid out in different configurations.
Stylised leaves, branches, rocks, mountains, clouds would
be arranged like cut out flat shapes on a flat surface.
Each painting would be similar to the previous except for
subtle composition and colour changes.
The exercise would allow me to focus on colour and composition
instead of meaning and mark making.
Also, I thought that cutting these collection of shapes out in thick
MDF board, painting, and slotting them together to make free standing
sculptures would work well with the paintings
in a gallery setting.
By the time I finished the second painting I had changed my mind,
and decided to make a perpetual
series of ever changing squarescapes.
The first idea still has merit but will be done as a once-off,
some day in the future, when I have more time.
I have just finished Squarescape Six (posted below) and
sent it off with two other Squarescapes to be framed for my next show.
Squarescape Seven is all white as a blank canvas sitting on my easel.
Tonight I spent some time staring at the square tempting
myself with new challenges.
Also, I dabbled with limited colour pallets - Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber,
Red Oxide,Phalo Blue and Titanium white.
One idea is a series of straight lines defining the landscape, without
allowing curves or gestural marks. This would then have vertical
calligraphic marks overlaid simply in black ink.
Another idea is to do a series of scummbled lines from left to right,
following a very freely drawn contour line,
that covers the entire surface from top to bottom.
The colour would be graduated in various ways, to create an
undulating visual sensation.
Sort of a poor mans op-art , or a scruffy Bridget Riley.
Also, starting to work on a painting from the title down.
The painting will be called, 'As'. The canvas is blank and ready, but
I have no idea what will be on it.
At least I have the title to give me a clue.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


This is, 'Squarescape 6' or loosely called, 'Floaters'.
I have been finishing it off this last week.
By working, on it again I have revived my interest
in this work and the precise aspects of creating it.
Below are a few zoom shots of parts of the work,
with a few explanations.

This close-up shows one end of a small
slither of dried sugar cane leaf.

The real leaf is about 50mm long and
was subsequently blown up too about 600mm
when painted. Most of these objects were
collected from just outside my back door.

This next one shows a length of green grass,
part of a banksia flower, and a hollow roll of bark.
All are expanded in size, and are not
proportional to each other.

The third one is a weed pulled up roots and all.
The close-up shows the roots, while the full painting
shows the flower and leaves at the bottom.

The final close up is meant to show the
water in the background.

This part of the painting was designed
in a computer drawing program.
A group of circles were drawn evenly spaced,
then slightly tilted on a receding like plane.
The image was printed out, then pin pricked
and cut in such a way to create registration guides.
Charcoal was crushed to powder, then applied
with a brush to make a print on the painting.
This was done by forcing the charcoal through
the pin holes, then moving the paper along until
the painting was covered.

The most tedious part of the exercise was the
colouring in, which needed a few coats.
But thats all most finished now and the painting
is mostly complete.

I am already thinking about Squarescape 7 and have
the MDF support primed, ready and waiting.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Faces From Time

This is a drawing idea I have been working on for a while.
The challenge is to draw each face in a different way.
Here a few close ups.



Office worker

Pop Star


This type of working appeals to me sometimes.
Set a challenge, set some rules and let the artwork
develop over time without many prescribed meanings.

One of the eleven faces is me.

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