Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A Pale Moon

Pale Moon, 2018, oil on linen, 66 x 71.5 cm

This painting is a variation on the moonlight series in that it has the moon appearing faintly in the sky rather than having the full luminosity of moonlight within the darkness. It's fascinating to see the changing light colours, of day into night, and that's what makes dusk so magical. The problem is that it lasts but a short time!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Moonlight and the Wind

Moonlight and the Wind, 2018, oil on linen,

I've always liked paintings that capture the wind, especially in the work of Winslow Homer, and the watercolour of his, below, certainly captures a gale force wind. Hopefully there is some wind in my painting. Throughout this series I've tried to express the natural forces but perhaps Romanticism has been an influence too and yet I don't know for certain because sometimes your influences can be subliminal.
Palm Tree, Nassau, 1898, watercolour and graphite, 54.3 x 37.8 cm. 
Collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Monday, January 28, 2019

Drawing Ken

This portrait took about three hours to draw. I've completed 22 portrait in this series so far, and Ken is the only artist who wanted to draw me too. Ken is a fantastic artist and some of his work can be found HERE, on the website of Flinders Lane Gallery. As usual I like to leave the drawing unfinished, or should I say, finished up to a certain point. I find that an image develops in waves, and that when you add something to the work, it often follows that more details are needed to complete the next wave. Although this is not a complete drawing in regard to putting everything in, for me this is a finished stage of a drawing because the wave is complete.

Ken Smith, 2018, pencil, 52,25 x 42 cm

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Drawing Aaron

Aaron sat under a skylight for this portrait. It's good to change the lighting, the medium and the direction of the sitter from time to time, or else everything seems formulaic. It become a little tedious as well if every approach to a portrait drawing is repetitious. Sometimes I add touches to a drawing when the sitter has left, but I only added a couple of small strokes to the bottom hand. The rest is how it looked when Aaron left.

Aaron teaches animation at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne. He also makes films, and has a very inquisitive mind

Aaron McLoughlin, 2018, charcoal, conte and white pastel 
on fawn paper, 53.25 x 38 cm

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Lily Mae Martin, 2018, charcoal, conte and white pastel on 
fawn paper, 52.75 x 36.75 cm

Lily Mae is an excellent artist who specialises in drawings, mainly in ink. As I was drawing her, I concentrated on the head only, but her arms and hands looked so good I turned the paper over and started again. I drew her head much smaller this time, to allow for the inclusion of her hands. But I had to ask her to come back for a second time to do them. Of course, as usual, it's impossible to hold a pose and not have some slight movement, so you need to be able to invent a little as the fingers slightly shift from their initial position. Of always loved the red chalk drawings on coloured papers by artists from the Renaissance, and this has inspired me to adopt their approach to mediums in this series of profile portraits.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Flinders Contemporary

Deborah Klein and I payed a visit to the coastal region of Flinders, along the Mornington Peninsula. A new gallery has just opened there called Flinders Contemporary, and one of my works is on show, marking the first exhibition for the gallery. Some of the other artists represented in the exhibition are David Aspden, Godfrey Miller, James Gleeson, Roger Kemp, David Rankin, Michael Shannon, Guy Stuart, Min Woo Bang, Liz Coats, Henryk Szydlowski, Steve Harris, Alison Coulthurst, Ken Blum and Natasha Barnes. 

The area has a strong presence of thoroughbred racehorses, wineries and the Point Leo Sculpture Park, and of course, great views of the sea.

In front of Flinders Contemporary

Grey Day at the Races, the work of mine on display.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Return, 2018, oil on linen, 61 x 61 cm

Sometimes I like to deviate within my usual moonlight paintings and create a realistic situation that could be read as a metaphor as well. This painting took awhile to do, and as I mentioned in the previous post about adding a brushstroke or two over a long period of time, this is an example of such an occurrence. There is a deliberate curve in the horizon, which I did because it felt right to do this, but the world is full of curves and if we stood back far enough, the horizon would not be a straight line.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Pale Moon

Pale Moon, 2018, oil on linen, 30.75 x 46 cm

One of the main aims in this painting is to capture a sense of repose, primarily through a soft glow and the lazy movement of the lake. You often hear people comment about viewing static paintings on walls, but paintings can have an interior motion, which is a quality that separates them from the inert quality of a photograph. This interior motion is different from the movement of things we see in the physical world, it's more like the motion of the imagination or the soul.

Some of the moonlight paintings can take a while to do, sometimes months, and even a year or two can go by before I might add a few brushstrokes of colour here and there. It might not seem much, but every small addition to a painting can make a big difference. That's why I like to live with the work for awhile before exhibiting them. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Graeme in Profile

 Graeme Drendel, 2018, red and brown conte, charcoal pencil and white pastel

It's good to draw with different mediums as it can keep the brain fresh. Of course I've been influenced by the red chalk drawings from the Renaissance. Sometimes I wish I could do a painting from a drawing, but whenever I've attempted it, the results are never to my satisfaction.

As usual, this drawing took just over 3 hours, and at the end I asked Graeme to re-pose for a photograph of his sitting, which is why his hands are in a different position to the drawing.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Drawing Andi

Andi Simpkin, 2018, red and brown conte, black charcoal pencil, white pastel on fawn paper, 

Andi sat for about three hours for this drawing. I wanted to include hands but not resting on the lap. Sometimes the most interesting hand positions are hard to hold for extendedperiods of time, so for this pose Andi rested her elbow on the side of the chair. It was done in the sunroom, so the light was diffuse and bright, a bit different to what I usually do, but sometimes it's a challenge to try something you haven't done before.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Judging at the Royal Melbourne Show

From Left - Shane Jones, Helen O'Neill, Christine Mackaness and Deborah Klein.

At this year's Royal Melbourne Show, Deborah and I were judges for the Arts and Craft Section. More specifically, for paintings, drawings and prints, though there were a few mosaics as well. This was my second time as a judge, and Deborah's third.

The judging was quite rigorous because the work of primary and secondary school students were submitted for exhibition too, and every artwork had to be marked with the addition of a comment. The judging was made easier with our two terrific stewards, Helen O'Neill and Christine Mackaness. They submitted our marks and comments onto an iPad and also it was good to get their feedback on the work as well. Sometimes you come across a gem, and it will be interesting to see if some of the school kids will go on to pursue art in the future.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Drawing the Drawer

Self Portrait, 2018, terracotta conte, charcoal pencil and white pastel 
on fawn paper, 35 x 26 cm

This drawing was inspired by the red chalk drawings of the Renaissance artists. I've always thought the hands give physical form to feelings, as if they are mediators between the visible and the invisible. I had the idea of me drawing a profile self portrait since it's how my profile portrait series is being made - by thought and feel.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Eclipse

On July 28, I set the alarm for 4.30am and set myself up to paint the lunar eclipse. From a visual point of view, it was mainly a dull sight. The moon lacked shine and the sky was a blank darkness, with one bright star at the upper left of the moon. Later that morning when the moon had faded, although it was still dark, some clouds appeared with an almost imperceptible presence. I gave the moon a brighter glow than it had at the time and added the clouds later from memory.

When I began my moonlight series, I had no thought of painting a lunar eclipse. In fact it was when I heard it on the news the night before that I decided I had to paint it. 

There were many photographs of the eclipse from all over the world, but I wonder how many paintings were done from it on the spot?!

 Eclipse, 28 July 2018

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Duldig Studio

Recently my partner Deborah Klein was invited to give a talk at the Duldig Studio in East Malvern as part of a series of talks called Creative Women in Focus. The studio is really an intimate museum that was once the home and studio of sculptors, painters, and art teachers, Karl and Slawa Horowitz-Duldig. It has been established as a museum by their daughter Ewa de Jong-Duldig, who retained her parents' artworks and much of their furniture, in fact, Slawa designed some of the pieces. Karl's studio is still there in the backyard, and what makes it all so special is that the art is seen in its true context, since much of it was made on the property and is displayed in a domestic environment, where most art is destined to be viewed.

An interesting historical fact is that Slawa was also an inventor and she introduced to the world the folding umbrella. She had the patent for 10 years, but was forced to hand it over to the Nazi regime when she and Karl left Europe to escape the horrors that were coming.

Much of the work at the museum is done by volunteers, though at the time Deborah was giving her talk, Melinda Mockridge, who is involved Public Programs, co-curated an exhibition of the Duldig's work. Occasionally there are concerts throughout the year, so it's quite a magical place to be.

For a greater understanding of what the museum is about, and to have a more in depth introduction to Karl, Slawa and Eva Duldig, visit the Duldig Studio website.

As a bit of Trivia. In the mid to late 80s I drove taxis, and two of my passengers were Karl and, I presume, his second wife, Rosia Ida Dorin.

Front gate at 92 Burke Road, East Malvern, the Duldig Studio

Karl's studio

Living Room

Dining Room


Museum extension

Slawa's design for the collapsable umbrella

Deborah and Eva 

Deborah and her presentation

 Deborah, curator Melinda Mockridge and Eva

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Winter Glow

Winter Glow, 2018, oil on linen, 91.5 x 61 cm

This painting took awhile to complete. Although there isn't much detail, sometimes it takes time to add a brushstroke or two when and where needed. I would love to be able to just put the paint down at once, but I find that progress comes in waves and is not linear. That's why it's hard to say when something will be completed. 

It's an entirely invented picture, but inspired by the many moonlit nights I've seen.