Sunday, July 5, 2020

One Hundred Faces

Trudy McLauchlan has a small shop in Sturt Street Ballarat called Playing in the Attic. She invited a number of local artists to make an image of a face on a canvas board measuring 10.2 x 10.2 cm. Trudy's aim was then to exhibit 100 small canvases in her shop window, leading to the title of the exhibition - One Hundred Faces. There was a maximum of 5 boards per artist and the faces did not have to be human! My two works are below and although they are small, each oil painting took about the same time as it does for a much larger canvas.

The jigsaw painting was a little tricky. I painted the entire face and traced a jigsaw pattern from my iPad onto tracing paper, blown up to the same size as the panel. Then I traced the tracing over the painted face. The next problem was which pieces do I eliminate? So I traced the same jigsaw pattern onto a white piece of paper, cut up the pieces and placed them over the corresponding part in the painting to see if eliminating that section would work. What I wanted to avoid at all costs was not to repaint any of the face.



  Work in Progress



Mirror Mirror








Deborah Klein viewing the One Hundred Faces exhibition











Trudy McLauchlan outside her shop, Playing in the Attic

Thursday, April 9, 2020

In the Gallery ... with Deborah Klein and Shane Jones

Earlier this year Deborah and myself were interviewed by Amanda McGraw for the Autumn issue of the Ballarat Art Gallery Association magazine. We were taped in conversation and the article is the edited version. 





In the Gallery with ... Deborah Klein and Shane Jones
Interview by Amanda McGraw
21 January 2020

Amanda: Let’s talk about your connection to Ballarat and to the Art Gallery.
Shane: We were half-Ballarat and half-Melbourne for about 10 years. Recently we bought an Art Deco house together in Ballarat, so we’re now permanent Ballaratians. It was like a chapter in a book. We knew our time in Melbourne was over.
Deborah: We found ourselves starting to spend more time here. The development going on in Melbourne was making the city unrecognisable. Ballarat has everything we love. It’s got a great cinema – we both love film – and the Art Gallery of Ballarat has a superb collection. My connection with the Gallery started at art school in the early 1980s. After graduation, I worked at the Print Council of Australia, then located in a basement in Collins Street. One day a man came down the stairs and we started talking. His name was Roger Butler and it was only after he left that I realised he had written the catalogue for Melbourne woodcuts and linocuts of the 1920s and 1930s, published in 1981 by the Art Gallery of Ballarat, which was my bible. I taught myself relief printmaking from it because at art school linocutting wasn’t considered sophisticated enough and we received very little instruction. 
Shane: My connection to the Gallery began in 2009 when I had a solo show here. I think it has the best collection outside the State galleries, with some of my favourite works. I’ve always been inspired by Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton, by the Heidelberg School era – at the moment I’m doing a series of profile portrait drawings inspired by Tom Roberts’s profile portraits. You’ve had a solo show here too, Deborah.
Deborah: Yes, I had a survey show here in 2008 that originated in Castlemaine, called Out of the Past.
Amanda: Do you classify yourselves as mid-career artists?
Shane: Assuming I live for another 20 years, this is my mid-career, if it’s all about time, but it’s an interesting concept. Raphael died at 37, so his mid-career was in his twenties. Late Basquiat artworks were painted in his mid-twenties. Artists develop at different rates and some artists do their best work in their youth, so by the time they get to ‘mid-career’ their best work is behind them. 
Deborah: And then you have artists like Rosalie Gascoigne, who had her first exhibition when she was 57.
Shane: Having a career and what you do in the studio can be two separate things. What you do in the studio is up to the artist – your career is given to you by others. You can’t give yourself art prizes, or make someone buy your work, or make reviewers write about you. All you can do is your best work in the way you think it should be done – you can’t control anything else. 
Deborah: It’s a title that’s superimposed afterwards by others. I think for any artist, if you’re still working after many years then that’s a measure of success. I do feel that I’m at a stage in my life where I’m gathering pieces together and seeing the aspects of my work that are most important to me. For example, I’ve been painting ‘non-portraits’ – the backs of women’s heads – for many years, and I’ve also used the iconography of tattooing in my work. Now I’m drawing those aspects together, revisiting and combining elements to take them somewhere else.
Shane: Because of this house we’ve bought in Ballarat we’ve been getting our work out of storage, which forces us to look back. It’s great to put those earlier works out because it’s where you’ve come from, where you started.
Deborah: Sometimes old work should stay buried, but I’ve been looking at a self-portrait I did in art school that’s interesting because it shows where some of the later work sprang from. 
Amanda: Do you have a favourite artwork in the Gallery collection?
Deborah: I admire Clarice Beckett and Margaret Preston, but I have a lot of favourites. Anything from last year’s Becoming Modern show – I’ve always loved that period. I think it comes from growing up as an only child in St Kilda and my aunt, who lived next door, would play Fats Waller and Bing Crosby recordings for me, so I grew up loving that era and its music. The Modernist period has definitely influenced my own work, including my palette. 
Shane: I love Tom Roberts’ Charcoal Burners, which is as much about the artist as the artwork. Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton are the two artists who inspired me most in my early 20s when I started painting, even to the brush work and what colours to choose. When I looked at their work it was a revelation – they led me to look more closely at nature. 
Deborah: Many of my favourite pictures are in the salon hang on the stairs. It’s been exciting seeing this and other new directions of the Gallery unfold.
Amanda: What about a favourite colour?
Shane: I don’t have a favourite colour, although I do have favourite combinations of colour like red, white and black; blue and yellow; brown, white and blue; black, white, green and pink; green, white and purple. I was a jockey when I was in my late teens and I always loved the colour combinations on the jockeys’ outfits. When I see certain colours together they do something to me – they stir something and set it alight.
Deborah: It’s intuitive. My colour is red, somewhere between crimson and scarlet – that’s the colour I use a lot in my work. Red is visually arresting and its meanings are many-layered and sometimes contradictory. It can indicate danger but also be joyous. Its connection with both the human body and the natural world is often reflected in my imagery.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Drawing Michael

Michael Nichols, 2020, pencil, 50 x 40 cm


Michael is the 30th drawing in my series of profile portraits. There were two sessions which amounted  to around 7 hours of siting. There first was the head and a week later Michael sat for the hands. It's the first portrait I've done in my new studio and I'm looking forward to continuing the series in a space that has a fantastic natural light. I added a couple of lines after Michael had finished posing but not too much as it might spoil the reason for having a sitter - to engage with someone over a period of time and transfer that experience to paper.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Tacit Presents 20(2020)

20 [2020]

2020 sees Tacit Galleries celebrating its 20th anniversary. Artists working with paint, pigment, ink, charcoal, pencil, collage, photography, ceramic, wood and metal were challenged to create work on a 20 x 20 inch substrate. This exhibition celebrates past, present and future as 130 artists from the first twenty years of Tacit come together for this unique exhibition.

Opening Wednesday 4 March from 630 to 8pm

Exhibiting artists include Helen Anderson, Jan Atyeo, TJ Bateson, Dave Behrens, Elena Berkovich, Cate Blackmore (Tas), Joe Blundell, Louise Blyton, Celia Bridle, Peter Brook, Terri Brooks, Jennifer Buntine, Robyn Burgess, Raymond Carter, Magda Cebokli, Jane Chandler, Elizabeth Colbert, David Coles, Helen Connell, Tim Craker, Sally D’Orsogna, Craig Daniels, Lana de Jager, Denise de Keyzer, Merrian Dennis, Lesley Dickman, Helen Edwards, Sharman Feinberg, Louise Foletta, Betsy Forster, Andrew Foster, Anne Forwood, David Gatiss, Christine Gibbs,  Jackie Gorring, Keiko Goto (Qld), Pete Gurrie, Julie Hall, Rosemary Harris-Arnott, Geoff Harrison, Jodi Heffernan, Barb Henderson, Beth Hulme, Anita Iacovella, Susan Illingworth, Ilona Jetmar, Shane Jones, Dinusha Joseph, Jessie Yvette Journoud-Ryan, Julie Keating, Wendy Kelly, Caroline Kennedy, Michele Kershaw (Qld), Hyun Ju Kim, Robyn Kinsela (NSW), Deborah Klein, Vietta Korren-Steele, Damon Kowarsky, Jo Lane, Nadeen Lovell (WA), Jennifer Marshall (Tas), Marina Mason, Mark McCarthy,  Janine McGuinness, Helen McInnis, Ruth McIntosh, David McLeod, Paula McLoughlin, Milan Milojevic (Tas), Mark Minty, Jesslyn Moss, Karen Neal, Elizabeth Nicholls, Kerrilee Ninnis, Lisa O’Keefe, Veronica O’Leary (NSW), Theo Papathomas, Yeonjoo Park, Gaye Paterson, Jim Pavlidis, Milos Pelikan, David Lee Pereira, Linda Pickering, Shirley Ploog, Cat Poljski, Belinda Pringle, Julie Puchalski, John Rabling, Bronwyn Rees, Nina Ryan, Virginia Ryan, Mark Seabrook, Lisa Sewards, Christopher Shelton, Bevan Shepherd, Trish Sidway, Rat Simpson, Beata Slifierz, Jennifer Smyth, Kristen Solury, Kerry Spokes, Susan Stevenson, Ali Stoner, Mary Sullivan, Liz Sullivan, Peter Summers, Annemarie Szeleczky, Trevor Tagliabue, Elizabeth Tarrant, Anna Taylor, Heather Telford, Jenani Therone, Lena Torikov, Eugene von Nagy, Susan Wald, Jenni Walker, Brenda Walsh, Steve Warburton, Andrew Weatherill, Michael Wedd, Linda Weil, Irene Wellm, and Katherine Westfold.

Below is the painting I'm exhibiting for this exhibition.







Blue Depths, 2020, oil on linen, 50.8 x 50.8 cm

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