Monday, August 20, 2007

Connections

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

Shapes


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.
But....
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

Zoom

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.


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