Thursday, December 25, 2014

Our Christmas Decorations

One of my favourite things to do at Christmas is to decorate our tree. For many years now, Deborah and I have been collecting Christmas decorations from all over the world. We have two trees, one in Abbotsford and another in Ballarat. This one is our tree in Abbotsford. It's just under a metre tall, but when it has a been decked out its Christmas glory it looks great. Here are some of our decorations. We usually have our trees out for nearly two months, and sometimes I wish they could left on permanent display!

Maitland Regional Art Gallery Acquisitions

 Existential Self Portrait, 2006, charcoal on paper, 136 x 92 cm

Dance in Delirium, 2014, pencil, pastel and ink on paper, 71 x 22 cm

The Maitland Regional Art Gallery has just added these two drawings to their collection. The top drawing was in an exhibition at the Maroondah Art Gallery in 2011 called WHO AM I? Self Portraits in the Contemporary World. The bottom drawing is to be in an exhibition inspired by a Tom Waites song called The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me), 1977. The exhibition will run from 24 April - 21 June 2015. But I'll give more details closer to the date.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Miriam Margolyes in I'll Eat You Last

Miriam Margolyes as Sue Mengers

It was recently that Deborah and I went to see Miriam Margolyes in the John Logan play I'll Eat You Last. It was about Holywood agent Sue Mengers, a dynamic personality with a passion for movies and the stars who shone on the screen. Mengers represented many important actors throughout the 60s, 70s and early 80s, eventually losing many of her stars to a changing Hollywood that was very different to the one she knew. To learn more about Sue Mengers click SUE

Margolyes' performance was a powerhouse achievement, seemingly at ease with her character, and her American accent was faultless. She is certainly the complete actor, being able to transform herself into the person she is portraying, and someone who regards every detail with loving attention. I don't think I would have recognised her if I didn't already know she was the performer.

This play would have to be one of my favourite theatre going experiences.

The real Miriam Margolyes

The real Sue Mengers

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Deborah and I in the Green Room at the ABC

Deborah and I had an interview with Sheridan Stewart at the ABC in Mildura which coincided with our exhibitions at the Art Vault. It was my first time being on a radio arts program, Deborah had done this before, but Sheridan is one of those people who put you at ease instantly which made the whole experience a real pleasure. It's great there is still radio time devoted to the arts which is noticeably absent on free to air TV.

Our interview is on Thursday morning, 4 Dec, between 7 - 7.30am. Tune into 104.3 ABC FM

The photos above were taken in the Green Room. For some reason I always thought the Green Room would be just that - green, but as you can see there's no hint of green anywhere. Just out of curiosity, I looked it up and it's interesting to read more about its origins. Click Green Room

Thursday, November 27, 2014

In the Pages of the Sunraysia Daily

Deborah and I had an interview with Megan Frankel Vaughen from the Sunraysia Daily, so here's the article. Neither of us like getting our picture taken but I think the photo shoot worked out OK, and Megan was such a lovely person to deal with. Perhaps I should point out a mention is made that I was a track driver, but it should be track rider. Just to avoid any confusion! and how funny! 

Q&A at The Art Vault

Helen Healy, Deborah Klein and Shane Jones at the Art Vault

Last night was the opening of our exhibitions at the Art Vault in Mildura. Helen Healy made the introductions and asked Deborah and I questions about our work. She also asked us to comment on the demise of drawing in art schools and why drawing is important. One of my previous blogs goes into depth about the importance of drawing so I won't elaborate again. But I think everyone really liked what Deborah and I had to say!

It was a fun night and best of all was when Helen realised from reading my blog that a good friend of mine, Sue Verney, wrote a poem about one of the paintings in the exhibition. Helen asked me if it would be alright to read it out aloud to the audience and what a pity Sue was not there to hear a reading of her work. This very poem appears in a previous blog and coincidently it happened to be the painting hanging directly behind me in the picture above. Helen was very moved that a writer would compose a poem about an artist's work, and said how special that must make an artist feel. I couldn't agree more! We only wish that next time Sue will be present. Here is Sue's poem again.


After the silent gas cloud came
the empty racecourse looked the same.
But if not galloped upon or mown
how soon will it be overgrown?
Or without refreshment slake to dust
with shades of bone and sunburnt rust.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Deborah and I at the Art Vault

Deborah and I are about to depart for the Art Vault in Mildura. We're sharing a residency there as well as having solo exhibitions. If you're in Mildura on Wednesday evening the 26th Nov, then come to our opening. If not, the exhibitions are on until 15th Dec.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Horse Play


After adulation of crowds
the peace and quiet of clouds:
having won every race
on earth, the champion mare
dreamed of dressage in the air-
with her jockey riding high
on a tightrope in the sky.

- Sue Verney

Into the Clouds, 2014, linocut, 15 x 20 cm

This post features a poem by Sue Verney as a response to my print Into the Clouds. Horses have inspired artists and writers for centuries and their magic has certainly moved Sue and I.

I'm also participating in an exhibition and fundraiser at the Australian Print Workshop from 28 Nov - 28 Feb. and this is the print they'll be showing and offering for sale. See the previous post for more details.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


The Australian Print Workshop is having its biennial fundraising project and exhibition. Comprising of 153 artists whose work has been donated to the APW at a special price, the exhibition will run from 28 Nov - 28 Feb. All the prints have the same dimensions of 20 x 15 cm (image size) with an edition of 10, 2 APW proofs and 1 artist's proof.

My contribution is a linocut titled Into the Clouds, and is an extension of the horse and rider imagery I have been exploring for the last 4 years. See post above.

The Australian Print Workshop
210 Gertrude Street 
Fitzroy, 3065

Tel: 03-94195466

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Is Art Its Idea, Or Are They Two Different Things?

One of the most important characteristics that give meaning to art is radiance. Anyone can have ideas, but it's how well made something is that counts, and something is well made when it reflects the radiance of quality.

Great artists create great art when they transfer the light and space of the imagination through their medium. When this happens an idea is given a life of its own. This is the moment when something is well made, when the head, the heart and the hands work as one.

An author has to find the right words to turn an idea into life so it can become literature and if a song is badly performed then the sounds will not collect into music. If a sculpture is poorly constructed then its presence will not vibrate to the sculptor's vision. Painting and drawing have many forms of expression, but their lasting value is that light and space are present within the image.

What about an emotional response to an image regardless of how well made it is? A crucifix for example can inspire such a response to a devout Christian, even if it is crudely made, but is the cross art? A team banner can inspire sports fans but is the banner art or a slogan that has an emotional impact? Is an emotional impact enough?

If subject matter is the art, then the films of Alfred Hitchcock would be automatically bad because his films are primarily concerned with murder - a bad idea. Horror would also fit into the same category but there are great films and stories about murder and horror because they are well made, and others that lack quality because they are poorly made.

When we are engaged with a great work of art the sensation that we are looking at something amazing can be experienced. The quality of excellence imbues the work, but this is because what we are experiencing is well made and not because the idea or subject matter is noble or fascinating.

The radiance of light and space goes beyond ideas, techniques, narratives and materials, it is the reality of things. It's why a small radiant work of art can have more art in it than works that address important subject matter but be lacking in life

Shane Jones

Friday, October 31, 2014

Some Installation Shots of my Exhibition

Here are some installation shots of my current exhibition at Charles Nodrum Gallery taken by Tim Gresham. Check out the exhibition online HERE

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Opening

It was yesterday afternoon that the official opening of my exhibition was launched. What a great turn out and a big thank you to everyone who attended because it's the people who make an opening a success. Deborah took some shots of the occasion and here they are - 

 Me outside Charles Nodrum Gallery

 Vanessa Taylor

 Megan Backhouse and Jim Pavlidis

Doreen Jones, Dean Bowen, MichaelVale, Diane Soumilas, Me

 Richard Morrison, Ewan Barker, Louise Jennison, Gracia Haby

 Richard Harding, Donna McRae, Michael Vale, Dean Bowen

 Brian Pieper, Me, Nathan Moshinsky, Adam, Diane Soumilas, 
Tim Jones, Jim Pavlidis, Megan Backhouse

 Dean Bowen, John, Me, Ewan Barker, Teri Brooks, Adriane Strampp

 Diane Soumilas, Catherine Heng, Lisa Barmby

 Bonnie Gillard, Me, Dean Bowen, Terry Matassoni, Kari Henriksen, Euan Heng

 Marianna, Natalie Nodrum, Dean Bowen, Frank Jones, Rosemarie Jones

 Kari Henriksen, Heather Shimmen, Angie Black, Me, Duro Jovicic

Julie Keating, Adriane Strampp

Friday, October 10, 2014

Some Paintings in my Next Exhibition

Grey Day at the Races, 2012, oil on canvas, 91.5 x 112 cm

Flemington Racecourse from the Old Grandstand, 2014, oil on linen, 213.5 x 81 cm

Black Caviar at Night, 2014, oil on linen, 2014, oil on linen, 91.5 x 122 cm

Unsaddling, 2014, oil on linen, 46 x 61.5 cm

Trackwork at Flemington #5, 2014, oil on MDF, 23.5 x 33.5 cm

Trackwork at Flemington #4, oil on MDF, 22.5 x 33.5 cm

Here is a small preview for my up-coming exhibition at Charles Nodrum Gallery from 16 Oct - 8 Nov. Four years in the making, it's my first show that features outdoor light and air. The whole exhibition and details of each work can be seen HERE

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Visit to Carrick House

Robin Rogers and myself approaching Carrick Hill

Inside Carrick Hill

A view from the stairs.of the 

On a recent visit to Adelaide, Deborah's uncle, Robin Rogers, took us to Carrick Hill, the former home of Sir Edward and Lady Ursula Hayward. The Haywards were very wealthy people, and fortunately, they were great art lovers. British and Australian art were their main passions and formed the most part of their collection. They acquired paintings, drawings, prints, furniture, ceramics, glass and etc, just to give you an idea of the breadth of their interests. The British sixteenth-century Jacobean styled house is magnificent and is set amongst a most beautiful garden and a generous acreage of land.

For more information about this amazing property visit HERE

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dorrit Black

Dorrit Black

Deborah and I spent a short time in Adelaide recently and one of the main reasons we went there was to see an exhibition of paintings, prints and drawings by Dorrit Black at the Art Gallery of South Australia, and it was fantastic work. She was one of the first Australian artists to embrace Moderism and her main centres of study were Sydney, where she was interested in late Impressionism, and a little later on in Europe where she embraced a more stylised and geometric form of Moderism. She returned to Australia determined to introduce modernism into our culture and was a strong influence on the Sydney art scene where she formed the Modern Art Centre, becoming the first woman in Australia to run an art gallery. She eventually settled in Adelaide where she not only worked on her art but had a number of students as well. There is a superb catalogue of the exhibition published by the Art Gallery of South Australia and researched and written by Tracy Lock-Weir and Elle Freak. Here are a few examples of her work, but it is worth while to explore further to appreciate the art of Dorrit Black. Just google Dorrit Black artist to view more images and HERE to find out more about her biographical details.

Mirmande, 1928, oil on canvas, 71.5 x 85.7 cm

The Bridge, 1930, oil on canvas board, 75 x 96.5 cm

The Olive Plantation, 1946, oil on canvas, 77 x 100.5 cm

The Double Basses, 1950, oil on canvas, 61 x 40.5 cm

Coast Road, 1942, oil on composition board, 45.5 x 55 cm

Music, 1927-28, colour linocut, 24.1 x 21.2 cm