Monday, May 1, 2023

Autumn Fades

This painting was mostly invented although I painted it on the spot. As usual, my aim was to capture the mood of the last of Autumn and with it, a certain melancholy. Autumn is my favourite time of year and it's often over far too soon. Ballarat has a long Winter and it often intrudes into the Autumn.

I chose a dark mass of cloud for the background as it symbolises the coming Winter. The colours, orange and green, suggested themselves as colours of this time in the year when Autumn and Winter near each other. I also suggested some falling leaves as there is poetry in the scattered carpets of colour that fallen leaves spread over the land.

Autumn Fades, 2023, oil on panel, 40 x 40 cm.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

100 Hundred Faces

This is the 4th year Trudy McLauchlan has had One Hundred Faces exhibition in her shop, Playing in the Attic, in the Victorian regional town of Talbot. There are 100 canvases of the size 10.2 x 10.2 cm, the actual size of my painting in this post. As the pics explain, the exhibition is displayed in the shop window so it can be viewed 24 hours a day!

My image is of course based on a film still of Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief. It was meant to be a trompe l'oeil painting as an etching or a drypoint but it's more like my biro drawings in a previous post of mine.

I've always loved the idea of the kiss, especially in the paintings of Gustave Klimt and Edvard Munch. This was an opportunity to try it out in a small scale and now I've started another larger painting of the kiss which will be posted soon.

Kiss, 2023, oil on canvas, 10.2 x 10.2 cm

The 100 Faces display in the window of Trudy's shop called Playing in the Attic.

Street view of the exhibition.

Sunsets on Lake Wendouree

These two paintings were done in about 8-10 sittings at Lake Wendouree with minimum touches in the studio. As I've pointed out before, when you visit a site on numerous occasions, it is never the same, so these 2 painted sunsets never actually existed. Being on sight helps to feel the image, which is mainly how an image forms itself. 

Sunset, Pink and Blue, 2023, oil on canvas, 50.75 x 50.5 cm

Sunset, Blue and Gold, 2023, oil on linen, 60 x 40 cm

Friday, April 21, 2023

More Surrealsim

I thought I would continue on from the last post and have a few more surrealist paintings.  

Surrealism can be about dreams or something from the unconscious mind, well, this is the theory anyway! These paintings are not about dreams but they do come from an inner suggestion or impulse, so surreal is probably an appropriate terminology to use here.

The top one is a small sketch painting and in due course I did a much larger version, but I have always preferred the sketch. Sometimes a small scale can feel more intimate as if you are holding an idea in your hand.

Shadow, 1999, oil on MDF, 16.75 x 12 cm

Untitled #95, 2002, oil on canvas, 152 x 83.5 cm

Untitled #22, 1998, oil on canvas, 183 x 91.5 cm

Untitled #6, oil on canvas, 1997, 183.25 x 25.5 cm

Untitled #109, 2003, oil on canvas, 30.5 x 35.5 cm

Untitled #102, 2002, oil on canvas, 110 x 91.5 cm

Untitled #105, 2003, oil on linen, 35.5 x 30 cm


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The Surreal

Recently I was arranging my paintings in storage when I came across some paintings that are unusual. Unusual because I have no idea what they mean. There are a few more works like these and they seem to exist from an impulse to paint an image that is suggested by one's imagination even though its meaning is not clear, so they could be called surrealist pictures. All these years later I'm still not able to even guess as to what they might mean. 

Untitled #120, 2003, oil on canvas, 152 x 65.75 cm

Untitled #16, 1997, oil on canvas, 91 x 77 cm

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

Sunday, March 26, 2023

More Drawings

The drawings below were done 3 decades ago and they were a different approach to how I was drawing previously. They were drawn with white conte and white dry pastel. The strongest lines were applied with the conte while the softer tones were added by rubbing a soft pastel onto a paper towel and then rubbing that where needed.

All the drawings were done from life. It's a quick way to do a drawing which can be useful in a life class as the poses at that time were rarely sustained. The top one was a longer than usual pose but the other two life drawings would have been either a 20 minute or a 40 minute pose. I can't remember how long the still life bust drawing took but in a way it's irrelevant as time wasn't an issue.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Mist After the Rain

The idea for this painting occurred while driving around Lake Wendouree. It was an amazing sight with a mist almost erasing the view and yet, here and there, certain features appeared as if drawn with lines. 

There are many sights that offer good ideas for paintings, but they last for only a few minutes. This means that I have to paint the picture from a general memory of what I saw. This painting is an example of how it came about - edited memories.

Mist After the Rain, 2022, oil on canvas, 30.75 x 41 cm

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Short Poses from Life Classes

These drawings were done about 30 years ago. So many poses in life classes are too short, as if there becomes a problem when the model takes a break and resumes the pose. While quick poses are good, sustained poses are more important because the complexities and subtleties of the human form can be explored even more. 

I can't remember which of these drawings was a 10 minute or 20 minute pose. The black and white ones are drawn with ink and the last two are oil paint wash.

David Hockney's line drawings and Degas' essence drawings (oil paint thinned with turps) were always an inspiration.


Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Drawing from Life

In my early 20s, when I started out to be an artist, drawing from art books was fine for a while but it couldn't be limited to this practice since you need to explore other avenues of making images in order to find your own voice. With this in mind, I began going to life classes and asking friends to sit for a portrait drawing. The face was important as I wanted to create a person and not just a 'model', as if he or she was just an object to draw. There is not much background in most of the drawings as time was extremely limited and my aim was to capture the figure. 

These are some of the drawings I did from life. The life drawings were done from 4 x 20 minute poses and the portraits perhaps 2 hours each. The aim was to develop a fairly accurate observation from life and explore different mediums and papers, such as pencil, pastel, conte and oil paint wash.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Early Drawings

These drawings were done during my early 20s. I had to set my own course when I started to take up art seriously, so drawing from books was a way to train my eye to be accurate. They were generally done in biro, but occasionally I introduced pencils or gouache. It was the only way to practice figure drawing over a sustained period of time, apart from self portraiture, as life classes offered only short poses. At that time, people thought a 40 minute pose was long enough - with a 10 minute break in the middle!