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

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