Saturday, February 15, 2020

Drawing Godwin

Godwin Bradbeer, 2019, charcoal and white pastel, 41 x 31.75 cm

Drawing Godwin was a challenge. He would suddenly turn towards me for awhile as we conversed or he would get out of his chair and show me something on the computer or get a book from his library. But I decided to go along with this rather than ask him to remain still because I was reading about the Italian Renaissance artist, Bernini, and how he would encourage his sitter to talk and move around the studio. After reading this I couldn't imagine how you could capture a person under these circumstances but after allowing myself to experience these same conditions, I don't think I could have made a better drawing if Godwin sat still.

Cezanne demanded of his sitters that they remain as still as an apple but people are not objects and it perhaps makes for a better or livelier portrait if some kind of animation from the sitter occurs.

Godwin uses a lot of black in his work and as I thought about the portrait session I felt that drawing him in silhouette would create a type of darkness that would connect to his work.

Friday, January 31, 2020

ART AID FOR GIPPSLAND - Fundraising Exhibition and Auction for Bushfire Relief

The whole of Australia experienced catastrophic bushfires from late 2019 and this has continued into the summer of 2020. Many organisations have raised money to aid those who have suffered great loss as a consequence of the fires. 

Simon Gregg, director of Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale, has organised an art auction to raise money to help those who are in need. He invited artists to donate one or two works to be auctioned on 15th March after an exhibition of selected works from 15 Feb - 15 March at the gallery, an undertaking that is both inspiring and enormous. For more information about the auction, see HERE

The generosity from artists has been so great that no more donations can be accepted! What a  remarkable response. 

The two paintings below are my donations to the cause and let's hope the auction yields something beyond our imagination.

Untitled #53, 1999. oil on canvas, 91 x 61 cm

Untitled #96, 2002, oil on canvas, 91 x 61 cm

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Great Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris

Notre Dame, Paris, 1993, oil on paper

This oil wash drawing was done in Paris in 1993. My partner, Deborah Klein, had a residency at the Cite des Internationale and I stayed with her for six weeks. It was a fantastic experience because it has been the only time when I have been overseas that I was able to work at my art. We had a number of excellent views of Paris from the window and this drawing was done from there. 

The technique was inspired by Degas' oil wash sketches, applied so thinly it looks almost like an ink or water colour sketch. 

The tragedy of the 2019 fire still lingers since Notre Dame is one of the greatest art works ever created. Fortunately it has not been lost and much was saved that might have been turned to ashes.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Drawing Gaye

Gaye Britt, 2019, pencil, 52.25 x 41 cm

It's not often that you get to draw someone with closed eyes, but it's a great subject to do. For me it's like Gaye has removed herself from the world and dwells in a region unknown to others. 

I thought about how I would draw Gaye sometime before the sitting but when she arrived she suggested she could listen to music and I thought it was a great idea. Sometimes the sitter can make a suggestion that gives a drawing a different and refreshing perspective.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Music at Yandoit

Every year during Summer there is a music festival throughout Ballarat and the surrounding townships. Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields features many musicians but not necessarily organists only. The diversity of musicianship bought two great international musicians to the town of Yandoit - Massimo Scattolin on classical guitar and Paolo Tagliamento on violin. They performed at the local Uniting Church and presented a program of music by Paganini, Giuliani, Sarasate and Monti. What amazing players they are and the wonderful thing about it is that although they come from different generations, age is of no consequence where music is performed. Massimo is the older of the two but when you see them perform, the respect they have for each other is obvious. 

It was also great to be able to purchase a CD of the same music they performed at the concert and have each musician autograph the disc.

 The poster says it all

Paolo signing the disc and Massimo looking on

Friday, November 22, 2019

Bradshaw Street

Deborah's house in Bradshaw Street, Golden Point has been sold. It was such a joy living there and we both did a lot of artwork over a 10 year period. Actually, we alternated between Abbotsford and Ballarat over that time but now both of our houses are sold and we are living in a much larger house in Eureka Street, Ballarat East. 

The main reason for this change was that we needed a bigger space to put our artwork and our art collection of other artists work, so this new abode is a welcome new chapter in our life. Alice, our magnificent cat. also thinks highly of her new premises. 

Most of this year has been taken up with houses, so it will be good when things settle down to a better normalacy

Shane holding Alice and Deborah

7 Bradshaw Street, Golden Point. So many good memories there.

Our new house in Ballarat East

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Rick Amor Self Portrait Prize 2019

On Thursday, 14 November, was the finalists' exhibition of the Rick Amor Self Portrait Prize. There were 35 finalists and many wonderful and strong self portraits. Hats off to Rick Amor for hosting this art prize, and what excellent self portraits he's painted also. Michelle Zuccolo took out first prize with a work titled  Augury.

The exhibition is on at Montsalvat, Eltham, Victoria and finishes on 6 January, 2020.

Self Portrait with Mirror, 2019, oil on linen, 60 x 40 cm

Thursday, September 12, 2019

At the State Library of Victoria

I recently had an email from Allison O'Connell, exhibitions curator at the State Library of Victoria, letting me know that my painting, Flemington Racecourse, has just gone on public display. What a thrill it is to have a work showing in the North Rotunda. 

There are a number of works around the rotunda by Rick Amor, Louise Forthum, Josie Petyarre, Tony Lloyd and William Mackinnon in a selection from the library's 21st Century paintings based on the theme of Melbourne cityscapes.

The State Library of Victoria is a magnificent institution and it is indeed a privilege to have had their support over the years, and especially from Madeleine Say, with eight of my paintings now in the Library's picture collection.

The caption for the painting reads - 

Shane Jones
(born 1955)

Flemington Racecourse 2012
oil on linen 

This painting brings together two enduring themes for the artist:
horse racing (Jones was an apprentice jockey in his youth) and the
vast expanses of sporting fields, such as football grounds and 
racecourses. Of the latter, Jones writes in his art blog: 'An arena is like
a void where the mind can imagine what might happen'. In this painting, 
the viewer is invited to imagine or recall their own racing scene - perhaps
prompted by the statue in the foreground of the famous Australian-trained 
mare Maybe Diva, which won a historic three consecutive Melbourne Cups 
at Flemington in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

The Rick Amor paintings next to my work are, Melbourne from Dundonald Ruins, Gelibrand Hill, 1996 and Across the City, 1995

Photo credits - Deborah Klein

Monday, September 9, 2019


In 1989 I was given a small lawn mowing round which was two days a week and 31 years later I've officially retired from this enjoyable profession. This modest job was invaluable to me as an artist. It gave me enough money to cover expenses and a job that did not occupy my mind at the end of the day. 

Sometimes I've been asked if I would like to teach art, but having had the occasion where I've filled in for teachers, I would rather mow lawns. For me, being an artist means you think about your art most of the time, even when you're not actually in front of the easel. A teacher's job demands that you think of the work of many people and not just your own and I found that very conflicting. Some teachers can handle this very well, but I found it was a distraction. 

I love being outside in the air, especially when the sun is shining and it was always a pleasure to work in those conditions, and of course, it was a bit of exercise. Over time, I was in a position to let a few of the lawns go, to the point where I was only doing two large units every fortnight and painting the rest of the time.

The pics below show the residents of one of the lawns I did in Hampton. I got to know all the residents and would often have a quick chat from time to time. They gave me a card with their appreciation and a farewell morning tea, which was a very special occasion indeed.

Thankyou to all the residents at 18 Fewster Road Hampton.

From left right  - 

 Barry, Lorraine, Mal, Pat, Eleanor, Rick and 
Michael, the manager of the units.

 Charles, standing

Robyn and Barry

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Dmetri and the Door

A few years ago, Dmetri Kakmi was visiting our former residence in Abbotsford. During the evening he was intrigued by my life-size trompe l'oeil painting of a door, so much so, that it inspired him to write a supernatural story as a novella. Dmetri recently let me know that he had just signed the publishing contract for this novella, not yet officially titled The Door - and Other Uncanny Stories. The publication includes two novellas and five stories, and it will also be presented to the public as an ebook, a remarkable publishing outcome but even better, it displays the range of Dmetri's writing. 

It will surface early next year, so this post will have a later update when we receive this fabulous publication.

Congratulations Dmetri!

Dmetri Kakmi and myself, celebrating the news

Entrance, 2008, oil on linen, 207..5 x 96 cm

Dmetri's photograph of the door painting the night he was around for dinner.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Double Portrait

One of my favourite paintings is Dame Laura Knight's Self Portrait with Nude. It's such a rich and powerful painting and on the occasions I've be able to visit the National Portrait Gallery in London, it's this painting that I look forward to seeing the most. The composition is fabulous and the drawing monumental, and it's extraordinary that when it was shown during her lifetime it was met with such negative criticism. Though sexism was the cause of such criticism, since its obvious qualities as a painting shine out like the sun.

I've just completed a self portrait called Double Portrait inspired by Laura Knight's painting. For the last 3 years I've been doing profile portrait drawings of people in the arts and this has influenced my choice of composition.

On the easel is a work in progress, a portrait of Deborah Klein, which was taken from a brown oil paint wash drawing. Turning it into a pencil drawing has associations with my profile portrait series which features many pencil portraits. 

The painting is also about the act of drawing as well as a double portrait, so my aim was to capture the thought that precedes the mark making.

Double Portrait, 2019, oil on canvas, 107 x 84 cm

Self Portrait with Nude, 1913, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 127.6 cm

Monday, July 29, 2019

Goodbye to Abbotsford

Last week Deborah and I spent our final hours in our Abbotsford home of 21 years. What a lot of memories we take with us to our new home in Ballarat. So much art making and living was achieved in that two storey warehouse conversion but the the area has changed dramatically and it's obvious to us that it's time to go. We leave without regret and look forward to the next chapter in our life, whatever that will be. 

Deborah took these final interior shots and when we have the time to look at them, no doubt the memories will be vivid and poignant. 

Our neighbour, Kristen Tassone, took this shot of us 
outside the front of 147 Park Street, Abbotsford. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Radio Interview on Voice FM Ballarat

I was recently invited to be interviewed by Pauline O'Shannessy-Dowling and Lynden Nicholls on The Arts Program last Wednesday night in Ballarat. It was a very enjoyable evening and the time flew by. Mostly we talked about the nature of seeing and my approach to painting. Pauline is such a good presenter and having Lynden there added an extra something to the conversation. Pauline's comments and her short summary of the night are below.

Pauline O'Shannessy-Dowling, presenting The Arts Program (TAP), 99.9 Voice FM

Tonight on The Arts Program - TAP:
1. Judy Turner & Neil Adam, from The Robert Louis Stevenson Show
2. Fiona Sweet, Director, Ballarat International Foto Biennale
3. Shane Jones, Visual Artist
4.Noeleen McKeag, Photograpphy teacher from Oxygen College
5. Lisa Anderson, Guest Presenter, with her "Creativity half hour"

What a line up!

That's tonight, 6.00 - 8.00pm, 99.9 Voice FM. Hope you can join us :-)

It was quite a show tonight - srsly!
First in the studio Judy Turner & Neil Adam, musicians, storytellers, composers, writers, & lovers of all things Robert Louis Stevenson. They're off to the Edinburgh Fringe soon with their "Robert Louis Stevenson Show". Such a talented & interesting couple - we'll have them back in the studio soon. Our second guest was the effervescent, Fiona Sweet. Director of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. Only about 60 days til opening day here in Ballarat, 23 Aug - 20 Oct. A superb program - including Liu Bolin, Fiona Foley, Robbie Rowlands & so much more - check out the program online. Our third guest was Shane Jones, Visual Artist & terribly interesting person. Shane's most recent exhibition of paintings, "Glow", explores his fascination with the moon & the play of light on the landscape. Too late to see this show now, but check out Shane's work on the Charles Nodrum Gallery website. Shane has some interesting views on the importance of learning to really "see" before you can really make art. Next in the studio was Noeleen McKeag from Oxygen College, which operates from the George Farmer Building in Eureka St. The photography & visual arts students have their mid-year exhibition opening this Friday, 6.00-8.00pm at the George Farmer. Oxygen college run Certificate level photography & visual arts classes here in Ballarat, & hope to be running diploma Classes soon too. Check them out & make your way to the exhibition opening this Friday night - all welcome. Our final segment tonight was hosted by Guest Presenter, Lisa Anderson, who was in conversation with Michelle Smith, who is the Senior Curator & Manager at the Gold Museum. Michelle has had a very interesting & varied Curatorial career, working in Museums & Galleries in the Northern Territory, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, & as Senior Curator at the National Wool Museum in Geelong. Wonderful to have you in the studio Michelle. That's all for tonight - we'll be back next Wednesday - same bat time, same bat channel. Ciao <3

Deborah Klein

Art blog:
Book blog:

Friday, June 7, 2019

Cats Come to Creswick

Alice, 2018, drypoint, 41.5 x 37.5 cm

Cats Come to Creswick is an exhibition presented by Sandy Campbell with the theme of the cat. The John Curtain Aged Care at Creswick is the venue where this exhibition may be viewed. It's a fund-raising endeavour so let's hope many works will not be returning to the artists.

Above is my drypoint print of Alice, a member of our family for over a year and a half. There is a variety of mediums, with three dimensional work as well, so the cat has inspired artists to explore the theme with experimentation and enthusiasm.

Cats Come to Creswick is on from 7-10 June

Monday, June 3, 2019

Exhibition Opening

Last Saturday afternoon was the official opening to my exhibition titled GLOW. It was a great occasion with lots of people mingling and talking and relaxing with a drink. It's the people who make the occasion so I really appreciated those who made it a memorable afternoon.

 An early shot by Jill Kellett. from left - Rona Green, me and Deborah Klein

Chatting to Kate Nodrum, the gallery manager. 

from left of me, Tim Gresham, Rona Green and Gaye Britt