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


Bedroom


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.  

Friday, August 24, 2018

A view from Mount Warrenheip

This painting took around a dozen sittings to complete. Fortunately, the canvas size fitted perfectly into the rear of the car. I was also able to tie it to the back seats, which eliminated any problems with the wind. It's a simplified version because my aim was to give a sense of vastness and light more so than the topographical documentation of a place. 

I've always admired the distances in an Arthur Streeton painting, combining detail and atmosphere in a miraculous way. Streeton's painting, The Purple Noons Transparent Might, featured below, is one of my favourite paintings. When I first saw it I was astounded because it was as if nature itself reemerged onto the canvas. I still find it hard to believe he did this in two days!

Painting in the open air is a great experience, and a challenge. I was complimented on the painting because it looked so much like a photograph, but I replied that my aim is always to capture nature in miniature, with its aerial movement, rather than the look of an inert photograph.



Autumn Haze, 2018, oil on linen, 71.5 x 102 cm


Early stages


The Purple Noons Transparent Might, 1896, oil on canvas, 123 x 123 cm

Friday, August 17, 2018

Drawing Rona

 Rona Green, 2018, pencil, 43.75 x 31.5 cm



Rona Green is an artist, and her practice embraces both printmaking and painting. But she has another side to her too, and that is, she is a boxer. When I finished this drawing, I thought something of the boxer came through, though if you didn't know this about Rona, you probably couldn't tell. Sometimes we are influenced by what we know of people when we see their portrait.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Crescent Light

Crescent Light, 2016, oil on pdf, 22.5 x 33 cm


This is a small painting I did directly from life. I painted the moon and its light on the dark night background first, as I often do, wait for it to dry and a week or two later paint the cloud formations. In this way, if the clouds aren't working, it's easier to rub it off and redo a passage instead of repainting the sky as well. Painting on the spot doesn't necessarily mean in one sitting.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

MIFF 2018

Deborah and I go to the Melbourne International Film Festival every year. Deborah has booked to see 64 films in 16 days! and I've booked 15. We visit the Festival Lounge whenever we can, which is at the Forum on Flinders and Russell Streets. You can get a drink and a snack and talk about what you've seen. This year the Festival Lounge is so streamlined it's a bit bare looking, but the surrounding decor is amazing, and since MIFF only occurs for two and a half weeks during the year, it's still nice to visit there.

So far, my favourite film has been The Eyes of Orson Welles, a documentary about  Welles' drawings and the idea proposed by the film's writer and director, Mark Cousins, that Welles' films are an extension of his love of drawing. Welles wanted to be a painter at an early age, and there are examples of his sketches as a 12 year-old boy. His talent shone mostly in his quick line sketches rather than in painting, and there's something alive within his lines, which is more than manual dexterity.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that this film is a love letter from Cousins to Welles in appreciation of his achievements, not only as an artist, but as a humanitarian.

To find out more about Orson Welles, visit IlianFilm.com at and look under the heading film canon. The last three drawings reproduced by permission of ilianFilm






Deborah at the Festival Lounge



and me too


Movie set study

Costume design







Sketch for the set of Macbeth







Friday, August 3, 2018

Drawing Eugene

Eugene Barillo von Reisberg, 2018, pencil, 53.25 x 41 25 cm


This drawing is more linear than most of the other profile portraits I've done, mainly because the light wasn't very intense the day Eugene sat. The pose itself is so interesting, and it was Eugene who suggested it. I wanted to include the hands in some of my profile portraits so Eugene's pose was just perfect. The photograph of the sitting was done at the end of the sitting, but it shows the work I did when Eugene left. It's rare for me not to do extra work without the sitter, but not too much, or else there is a danger of losing the spirit of the time the portrait was done.



Friday, July 20, 2018

Profiling Simon

Simon Storey, 2018, pencil, 39.5 x 27cm 


I've known Simon for many years and at the back of my mind, I always wanted to do a portrait of him. Although this is a black and white drawing, I loved the colours he wore when he sat for his portrait. 

Simon is a valuer, and he's been commissioned to value a number of our major State and regional galleries.





Monday, July 9, 2018

The Drift of Memories



On occasion I change mediums, and this sculpture is the fourth one I've made that is primarily a model construction. I've always loved looking at models, whether they are of cities, stage sets or doll's houses. In a sense, it's like viewing life in miniature.

At first I was a little apprehensive at calling it sculpture, the reason being that I've always considered sculpture as a carving or a casting from a clay model. But so much Modernist and contemporary sculpture is a construction, but on a massive scale, this one is simply the same thing on a small scale. I've included some examples of the work in progress. The hardest thing to do was the camera, and it took days to figure out how to bring the three legs together and keep the perpendicularl centre pole in a vertical position. I ended up making a miniature scaffolding that held the pole in the right position then angled the legs carefully to join them all up.

Most small models are about what the eye sees, by that I mean they tell you what a real stage set will look like, or the type of dwelling a small doll would inhabit, or the look of a town that once existed, but what I'm aiming for is to make something that suggests what isn't present. 

The title is about the way memories can be so important, something we need to capture and retain, but in time they begin to drift until they all fade.




The Drift of Memories, 2018, balsa wood, MDF, polymer clay,
 40.5 x 28.5 x 23.75 cm (hxwxd)

























Thursday, July 5, 2018

Moonrise

Moonrise, 2018, oil on canvas, 30.5 x 30.5 cm


With this painting I aimed to contrast the calm in the background against some agitation of the foreground water. It's also done from my memory of a twilight sky over Lake Wendouree in Ballarat. 

It took a while to do, because although there is not much detail, sometimes I added one or two small lights in the background and a few more ripples in the water. I find that my pictures advance in waves, but over time. Some artists can make work as if it was done in a single wave, and it probably was, but I can't do that myself.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Drawing Tim


As the photo shows, Tim posed with his camera for around three hours, and returned for a short while on another day so I could finish the drawing. I love hands, and so I appreciate the effort Tim put in so I could draw them. Tim is a photographer and tapestry weaver, to see Tim's art. click HERE




Tim Gresham, 2018, pencil on paper, 39 x 31 cm



Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Exquisite Palette Exhibition


Deborah and I have a fabulous kitten named Alice. A few months ago she was sitting on Deborah's knee just looking at me for awhile so I decided to have a sketchbook and biro ready the next day. There she sat again and looked on, long enough to be able to sketch her eyes and a bit around them. From then on I was able to add a bit here and there over time and ended with a complete sketch of her face. Since I had to hurry, the features are a bit out, but it didn't matter that much because I had enough information to be able to redo her face and make the necessary adjustments.

Sometimes I continue with tromp l'oeil painting when the occasion arises. A page from the sketchbook and sticky tape are painted but the grain is the real thing. I realised that the page would not fit nicely within the palette so I added a small piece of wood which allowed me to extend the painting beyond the edge. I also curved the wood so that it would look like the page is bent at its corner when I added a shadow.

The reason it's painted on an artist's palette is in connection to an exhibition called The Exquisite Palette. It's the fourth exhibition of its kind and is open to any artist who desires to participate. The exhibition is organised by David Coles and Louise Blyton, who are artists and have an arts supply shop called St Luke Artist Colourman, but this year the palettes will be shown at Tacit Galleries from 6 June until 1 July.

This is the second image I've done of Alice. I've already made a drypoint from the same biro sketch which will be posted soon.




Sketch of Alice, 2018, oil on wood





 Added wood on back