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.

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