Sunday, July 9, 2017

In Conversation with the Artists

The 2016 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize finalists exhibition has now arrived at its final destination at the Belconnen Arts Centre in Canberra. The opening was a wonderful experience, giving some of the artists an opportunity to meet each other and also a number of the staff at the Centre. Angus Trumble, director of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, gave an insightful speech about portraiture and painting in general.

The following morning, artists Ross Townsend, Megan Seres and myself, took part in a talk called In Conversation with the Artists, hosted by Creative Programs Director, Monika McInerney. Monika got the ball rolling with questions about, which gave us a number of avenues to pursue. As Ross said, we could have talked all day.

Photo credit - Deborah Klein

Monika giving her opening address, with CEO Daniel Ballantyne

Having my picture taken in front of my portrait

        In Conversation with the Artists. From left: Me, Monika McInerney, 
Ross Townsend and winner of the portrait award, Megan Seres

Standing in front of Meagan Seres winning painting titled Scarlet as Colonial Girl.
(left-right) Monika McInerney, Megan and Angus Trumble

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Some Roses

I've always loved flower paintings. Perhaps it's because they have a delicacy that suggests the transience of things. It's almost as if they are made from something that's not quite physical. These two small pictures are life-size and it was a pleasure to paint them

White Rose, 2017, oil on MDF, 22.75 x 10cm

Pink Rose, 2017, oil on MDF, 22.75 x 10cm

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Gracia and Louise

This charcoal drawing is my first double portrait. The sitters are Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison. Gracialoiuse

Gracia and Louise work together on most of their projects, so I thought it was a good idea to have them on the same paper. I worked on this for some time, constantly making decisions and rubbing bits out. I like unfinished drawings, because people are a work in progress and the unfinished state of the image reflects the same condition as a human being.

They both sat so still, and posed one at a time, as the pics show. Neither Gracia nor Louise had sat for a portrait before, so it was a nice experience for all of us.

Gracia and Louise, 2017, charcoal and pastel on paper, 53 x 70 cm

Drawing Louise

Gracia sitting still.

Tools of trade

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Night Glow

Night Glow, 2017, oil on wood, 50 x 50 cm

This is a variation on one of my earlier paintings, The Still of the Night. I was aiming at making the white horse into a kind of glow, like the moonlight; perhaps aspiring to create an apparition that slightly removes the scene from being just a horse in a field at night.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Journey, 2017, oil on canvas, 61.5 x 92 cm

This painting continues my interest in light as the main subject matter within a picture. At first I had the horizon as a straight edge but I think that by bending it slightly it creates a sense of moving across, and towards, eternity. Most of the stars are painted with two or three dots of colour and occasionally only with one colour. But colour vibrates more when there is an interplay between them, acting in the same way as chords on a guitar.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Come to the Cabaret

The set of Cabaret at the Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne

Last night was a treat. Deborah Klein, Paul Compton and I saw a production of Cabaret at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne. Deborah caught the atmosphere perfectly in this photograph, taken from our seats close to the action. Characters in this stage production are missing in the film, but in this performance we are seeing a truer version of its source material - Christopher Isherwood's Mr. Norris Changes Trains.

Paul Capsis played the role of Emcee and he lit up the stage with his magic, but all the performances were magnificent. Sally Bowles was played by Chelsea Gibb and she made the role her own. The mixture of faded glamour, the bizarre and prevalent seediness were perfectly realised and the songs of Kander and Ebb were at times poignant, funny or sinister. John O'May played Herr Shulz and Kate Fitzpatrick played Fraulein Schneider, both wonderful performances. I mention these actors because after the show we had a drink at the bar and most of the cast turned up too. We had a chat with Paul Capsis, Kate Fitzpatrick, John O'May and Chelsea Gibb, so that made it a double highlight for the night.

 Deborah Klein, Paul Capsis, Shane Jones

The two Pauls, Compton and Capsis

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Land, Rain & Sun forms part of ART+CLIMATE+CHANGE 2017

At the opening of LAND, RAIN & SUN exhibition with a selection of my small cloud paintings.


The Charles Nodrum Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition of Australian and European landscape painting and works on paper dating from the 19th century to today, presented in collaboration with Climarte.

Land, Rain & Sun forms part of ART+CLIMATE+CHANGE 2017 - a program of specially curated exhibitions across Melbourne and Regional Victoria, with related public programs, events and speakers that broadcast Climarte's advocacy for action through the arts to restore a sustainable environment.

Selected works will be accompanied by analysis and comments from participating climate scientists Penny Whetton and Joelle Gergis, shedding light on how changing environments approach hopes to produce new readings of the works beyond the purely aesthetic, and extend this vision in the direction of Climate's mission.

Over 100 works, this exhibition will be the largest and most broad ranging in the program.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Moonlight Paintings

Glow, 2017, oil on 56 x 46 cm

Another oil painting in my series of moonlight as the subject matter. This is a completely made up composition, but inspired by what I see at night when I'm driving back and forth between Melbourne and Ballarat. There are no actual hills this high but taking the eye into the sky works well with an exaggerated viewpoint.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Paintings of Moonlight

Continuing with my series of moonlight paintings, this one is a view of the lights of Melbourne coming down the Pentland Hills, about 50 Kilometres outside of Ballarat. It's also a variation on this view, the other similar work is titled City Lights and the Moon, 2016.  Again these works are a combination of memory and invention, because this observational point can only be seen going down the hill in a car. Every time I travel this road at night, I take particular notice of the night lights so that my memory becomes my sketchbook.

Midnight Glow, 2016, oil on linen, 61 x 91.5 cm

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Portrait of Paul Compton

This is another portrait in an ongoing series of profile portraits of artists, and Paul Compton was the terrific sitter. The session lasted about 3-4 hours and was done in charcoal on grey paper with touches of white pastel.

Portrait of Paul Compton, 2016, charcoal and white pastel, 47.5 x 35.25 cm

Sunday, March 19, 2017

White Horses and the Night

These two paintings are an extension of my horse racing series and the moonlight series. Although these scenes could occur in real life, the aim is to create a mood rather than a horse in the landscape. 

The Still of the Night, 2016, oil on linen, 35.5 x 41 cm

Flight, 2016, oil on linen, 29.5 x 36.25 cm

Friday, March 10, 2017

Portrait of Aimee Board

Aimee is the fourth profile portrait I've completed recently. My aim is to do a number of such portraits and form a collection of people in the arts.

I met Aimee recently at Warrnambool Art Gallery where I had an exhibition, but when we got talking it turned out we were in the same drawing class space at RMIT but in different years, so we didn't mix as students. So in fact, it was a meeting up again after so many years.

Aimee ia an artist and is currently doing photography as an extension to her curatorial studies at Melbourne University.

Aimee, charcoal and white pastel, 2017

Aimee sitting for her portrait

Monday, March 6, 2017

Arthur Streeton Prints

Last week at the Queenscliff Gallery and Workshop, an exhibition of Arthur Streeton prints was introduced to the public. I had no idea that that he had created any prints at all, but last year, William Streeton, the grandson of the artist, called in to the gallery with some plates under his arm which turned out to be the work of Arthur Streeton. They had not been preserved well so there was a question over whether they could be printed with satisfactory results. He presented them to Theo and Soula Mantalvanos, who run the gallery, and this exhibition is the result of this historic meeting and Theo's brilliance as a printer.

Photo credits - Deborah Klein

Some of the Streeton prints on view.

One of my favourite etchings 

Looking at the work of Joel Wolter, artist in residence 
during the Streeton exhibition.

 Theo and Should Mantalvanos opening the exhibition with Marguerite Brown.

 Marguerite Brown, General Manger of the Print Council of Australia, 
adding some insights to the Streeton exhibition.

 Taking advantage of the Queenscliff weather, Deborah and 
I took a stroll along the beach.

Deborah's pet name drawn with a wonderful feather 
found amongst the seaweed.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Portrait of Peter Wegner

Last year Peter Wegner and I agree to draw each other and this is my version of him, I was going to say sitting, but he actually stood for his portrait. It's a charcoal drawing with touches of white pastel. I don't fix these drawings because I've found that if you use a white pastel with the charcoal, the white darkens when the drawing is fixed. 

Peter is yet to draw me!

Portrait of Peter Wegner, 2016, charcoal and white pastel, 68.5 x 46.75 cm

Monday, February 6, 2017


Tacit Contemporary Art kicks of the year with its Editions 17 exhibition of prints, and below are my two works. The attendance at these exhibitions, which are held at the beginning of each year, are amazing.

Profile, 2016, etching, 12.75 x 7.25 cm

The Little Nude, 2016, drypoint, 15 x 9.5cm

Tacit's annual print exhibition, with more than 150 works by 45 Victorian printmakers

Artists include Elizabeth Banfield, T J Bateson, Louise Blyton, Peter Brown, Craig Daniels, Kevin Foley, Peter Garnick, Janet Goldman, Jackie Gorring, Carolyn Hawkins, Jodi Heffernan, Kate Hudson, Clare Humphries, Hyun Ju Kim, Kyoko Imazu, Lana de Jager, Shane Jones, Myra Kaufman, Marita Kelly, Michele Kershaw, Deborah Klein, Damon Kowarsky, Marion Manifold, Jane Marriott, Marie Mason, Malini Maunsell, Paula McLoughlin, Karen Neal, Marte Newcombe, Sharron Okines, Helen Oliver-Skuse, Diana Orinda Burns, James Pasakos, Catherine Pilgrim, Stephanie Jane Rampton, Libby Schreiber, Gwen Scott, Lisa Sewards, Beata Slifierz, Jennifer Smyth, Jan Stickland, Anne-Maree Taylor, Steven Tester, Yvonne Torrico and Joel Wolter.

Exhibition continues until 26 February

Tacit Contemporary Art
312 Johnston St
Abbotsford, Vic 3067

Wednesday to Friday 11 to 6
Saturday and Sunday 11 to 5