Friday, May 28, 2010


NASA 15 : NASA and the not so Shuttle, is blasting off and marks the halfway point for the NASA series. Here are a few progress photos.


I did a bit more on this SquareScape painting – it’s been a long haul with this one – but I am getting closer to finishing it off – must be a few years old by now, which is not unusual for me.


And a few Studio shots from May 2010 – the painting with the yellow paint blobs is just a bit of board I had lying around – I am just using up excess paint – might as well make a painting as I go.

Studio May A Studio May B

Wednesday, May 26, 2010



16x9 Blur16:9 Close up blur.

Well, the next project in art, after or during the NASA series is the 16:9 series. 16:9 being the HDTV aspect ratio, that has now become very common. This next series of art works, will be based on 10-160x90cm paintings and 10-80x45cm collage paintings (mixed media). The smaller works will be the launching platforms (studies) for the bigger works. I haven’t decided on the subject matter yet, but I am leaning towards semi-abstract samples of real life, based on video stills and photos, mixed in a collage way.

16x9 Squarescape

16:9 Squarescape crop.

The 16:9 images here are just quick experiments with the format - photo and paintings altered and cropped to the 16:9 ratio, abstracted with various filters and colour settings using a variety of art programs. The smaller paintings, most likely will have a variety of sampled stuff plastered onto the work. The emphasis will be on sampling, especially as aspect ratio is about cropping, formatting, presenting, limiting, windowing, editing – everything in the 16:9 world. This article in Wikipedia explains how the 16:9 format was developed – basically the format encapsulates all other formats – TV, Photo, and all the other different movie film formats.

16x9 video still

16:9 Video still altered.

The above video still is from an old movie camera film – Single 8 – I converted the film to video using my 16:9 digital Video camera, then dumped a single frame as a .jpg image. A few alterations were made in an art program. The sampled images I am hoping to push towards abstraction – just as the 16:9 is a form of sampled abstraction.

16x9 Photo Blur

16:9 Photo crop altered.

In the process  of cleaning up around the house, I decided to use some of these MDF boards below as supports for the 16:9 series. Both sizes can be seen here – so far I have enough free materials to build six of each – these are old packing sheets – some had broken corners and marks here and there, but fortunately they are now in a useable condition. I normally use 3mm MDF or 3mm hardboard, glued to a 31x19mm FJ pine frame, painted and sealed all round with acrylic primer/sealer/undercoat. The timber in the photo, I ripped into 31x19mm lengths on my table saw, used to be a an old water bed frame – nothing like free and recyclable.

16x9 boards

16:9 The cutting boards.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Woody sml alt

I drew this on my first computer, using the mouse, and then printed it on a 9 pin dot matrix printer – things have changed in the last 20 years.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Polka Dot Fantasay

Polka Dot Fantasy – Thoughts in a Tank

Well, I had a garage sale last weekend, and so, yesterday I dumped the residue down at the local re-cycle centre. I bumped into a lady who was also dumping stuff and gave her a few picture frames and things – another artist from down south who has moved to the Sunny Coast. Today, I have been catching up with all my cleaning and re-organising, getting ready to plan my next steps.

The above drawing was worked on today as well - it’s almost finished. When I was cleaning up, I had a radical idea , so,  I just had to fiddle with the nearest available incomplete drawing. I had some sticky dots left over, that I had used to add prices to garage sale items, and so stuck them all over the place. It reminds me of being in a rusty tank, where the light shines through pin holes and creates dots everywhere. Once, when I  had just started High School, down at Monbulk in Victoria, I got inside a rusty tank with a friend and rolled down a hill. Unfortunately, the tank got away on us, and we got swept up in the motion, flipping upside down and all around. I remember seeing the landscape rotating at all angle as I viewed it through the small tank opening, which was also rotating. We were tumbling around like clothes in a dryer, rust was flying around like bread crumbs – it was in our ears, eyes, clothes and hair. When we had stopped at the bottom of the hill,  our stuffing had been knocked out of us and we suffered a few cuts and bruises as well. We laughed our heads off – but didn’t do it twice. The following weekend the same boy, came to school with his big toe cut in half – down the centre – he had been cutting fire wood and slipped – I am glad I was not with him that time.

Studio May 2010

The painting trolley is now clean and ready for action – the scribbles for NASA #15 are now being scribbled, and to mark the occasion of the mid point in the NASA series of 30, I will use the same colour scheme as NASA #1. Oh, how appropriate, Neil Youngs,  “My My, Hey Hey” has just kicked in on the CD player – Rust Never Sleeps – the acoustic version of the song.

Monday, May 17, 2010


It’s not a question of whether painting is dead or painting is alive, but rather, it’s about our sense of experience. In some ways, it could be said that painting is dead, because it cannot hold our experience for very long.  But on the other hand, it is one of those essential, expressions as experience that one should find time to enter into.

Furry Head phones

Furry Headphones

Is the electronic image the height of artistic expression as experience, or an example of the narrowing capacity of ones ability to truly enter into a substantial experience? In some ways those who are learning to paint or beginning to experience any art form, are entering in to the experience at a slower rate, and therefore are having a substantial experience. But generally those who have had greater art exposure can experience more broadly and with greater understanding. It’s not that painting is dead, but our sophistication, knowledge and ability to see so much art now, is fragmenting our experience.

Scrath my Eyeball

Scratch my Eyeball

The proliferation of images, sounds and words via electronic media are distorting our sense of time and experience. We search for more and more, which wearies the flesh, and leaves the soul wanting more and more experience. Maybe, the stillness of a painting will become the resting place for a generation, who has exponentially hurled their souls on to the burning heap of electronic collective experience - just as many people feel the comfort and stillness of a paper book – compared to the fleeting knowledge pipeline of an Ipad or computer screen.

Glasshouse Knose Glasshouse Knose

What is materialism? What is an object that you keep? What is information? What is experience?  Collectors, collect  things that give them a sense of joy. The objects embody for them, an experience they want to return to – they want to prolong the experience. Too many material possessions can bind us up, which in turn, limits our experience. Throwing things away, normally leads to a great sense of relief. Too much information can also limit our ability to enter into our experience. Instead we lose control, and begin to fret - due to the fact that we cannot hold onto our experiences long enough to make any sense of them.

Painting is secure because, an art form solely based on oblique and intangible ideas that flirt with art, can only lead to a superficial experience. Painting is still, it is us that is moving. The problem for us now, is that the art is now moving, and moving very quickly.

All this makes me wonder about music…..

Tuesday, May 11, 2010



NASA 14 – NASA and the Time of the Rockets  - 2010

I think by the time I finish this series, I will want to paint some paintings a little less spontaneous, and maybe, also a bit more realistic. But then again, by the time I get to NASA #30, I might have totally destroyed myself and become like one of these little astronauts or worse yet like the larger more nefarious figure. Anyway, NASA 14 is finished and is posted in the Blogosphere for all 6 billion of you to see.

For those who care, or don’t know, or have an incurable desire to explore links (like some sort of itch, buried deep at the base of your cerebral cortex) NASA  is a  series of like looking paintings – a series of 30 paintings loosely rotating that sovereign  and extra earth fixed planet called NASA – all this of course is a metaphor and smudgy allegory for our own journey as survivors of the 20th century, traversing through time like wandering sheep following the shepherd of the west.

Each little painting (90x70cm) is one sector of a larger grid – with the right device one can ascertain ones position in this grid and delve into the mysterious of the last 50 years – it’s sort of like a painters talisman – NASA roulette for the spooky.

This NASA painting has a interesting double exposure thing happening on the left side – like a roll of film caught between two slides. Another cosmic happening in this painting is the reference to the water canopy theory and the weird behavior of the clouds.

Oh, well back to NASA 15 – NASA and the not so Shuttle.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Suburban LandscapeBefore I left Brisbane in the mid eighties, I was painting  the Brisbane Suburban landscape. The work above was from around 1988 (just before I left to move to the Sunshine Coast) and describes  the red, corrugated, steel roofing, dotted amongst the treed hills - typical of Brisbane's old Queenslander house style. It is drawn in acrylic and EE pencil on paper.

house 1This one is another old Queenslander house, that some friends of mine lived in at Morningside – they have the painting and this is the only surviving image I have – I am not sure if it still exists.This would have been painted around 1984 – I think by memory it was acrylic on canvas.

dancer 014eAfter moving to the Glasshouse Mountains region in the late eighties, I started experimenting with bigger canvas’s again – the above work, was one of the  first . Up to that time I had been, producing works on paper for around 5 years straight. At the time I was trying to reproduce what I had done on paper onto a larger format in paint only, sans pencil . The work is executed in acrylic on hardboard.

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All Images Copyright D.Howard 2010