Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas for 2016

Wishing everyone all the best for Christmas and the new year. Decorating the tree is one of my favourite things to do at Christmas and it would be good to have the tree out all year. Many of the decorations are collected from all over the world and bring back wonderful memories of our trips. 

Deborah found a wonderful App which created the snow effect over my painting of lake Wendouree. Just in case you were wondering, on occasions, it has snowed in Ballarat.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Celebrating Deborah's Birthday

Deborah had a birthday recently and we spent a night at Queenscliff, a beautiful coastal town on the Bellarine Peninsula. We stayed at the Vue Grand Hotel, built in the Victorian era and one of the most magnificent buildings in Victoria. The weather was perfect, and we certainly tried the local cuisine with gusto.

 Vue Grand Hotel

 Deborah relaxing in the courtyard

 View out into the courtyard

 Another view of the courtyard

 The architecture was like revisiting another era

Breakfast served in the Grand Dining Room

 Deborah and I having a delicious birthday meal at the nearby Athelstane House Hotel. 

Birthday wishes for Deb, and her nickname

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Winter Moon

Winter Moon, 2016, oil on linen, 36 x 46 cm

This painting is based on a view over Lake Wendouree at Ballarat and it's one of a series I'm doing where moonlight is the main subject matter. These paintings are constructed mainly from memory and imagination and it's a very different approach to the way I've been working in the past, where I've preferred to work mainly in front of whatever I've been painting. Occasionally I've taken notes, quick line drawings with words added to help my memory. As the painting progresses, I sometimes feel the need to revisit the site to make sure the picture reflects the nature and mood of the moon spreading it's light upon the scene.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Balance, 2016, linocut, 15 x 10cm (image size)

The Australian Print Workshop is having its biennial fund raising sale and exhibition from 25 Nov 2016 - 25 February 2017. All the artists involved donate a limited edition print at set prices to the APW which are offered for sale to the public. 

The above image is my print donation in an edition of 10.

The APW has an artists' party in early December, and along with good food and drink, there's a musical performance put on by printmakers who play musical instruments, and they're really good.

To see a list of the artists in the exhibition and a link to the APW click HERE

The Australian Print Workshop Gallery
210 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy 3065

Friday, November 11, 2016

Meeting Cadel Evans

The evening of the 10th November was an exciting time, as Deborah and I attended an In Conversation with Cadel Evans, and a book signing of his biography, CADEL EVANS, THE ART OF CYCLING. What an interesting, funny and eloquent speaker Cadel is, not only as an interviewee but also during the Q&A afterwards. The event was hosted by Dymocks books and it took place at the magnificent Werner Brodbeck Hall on Collins Street Melbourne.

At the end of the talks, Cadel not only signed books, but as you can see, generously allowed many people to have a chat and a photo session with him. We sometimes hear it said that certain athletes transcend their sport, and Cadel is certainly one of those.  

Signing of his book

I've always wanted to shake Cadel's hand, and now I have!

Cadel, Deborah and I

Monday, October 17, 2016

Painting and Technology

Here are two paintings influenced by technology, but instead of using it as a medium, I've reversed the norm and used technology as subject matter.

 Website, 2010, oil on MDF, 23 x 28 x 32.5 cm (hxwxd)

Ipad, 2016, oil on MDF, 4.5 x 24.75 x 37.25 cm (hxwxd)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

From the Life Class

I've been to many life classes over the years and it's a good way to practice drawing the figure. Here are two more selections in different mediums. The top drawing was done in four twenty minute poses, and from memory, the other one was done in two twenty minute poses. One of the problems with many life classes is that a twenty minute pose is considered enough, but much longer poses are essential to construct a figure with more structure. One often hears it said that a quick pose captures the essence of the model, but essence is really the life force, and drawings that are done from long or short poses have the same amount of essence within, if they're alive.

White conte and pastel on black paper, 75 x 54.75 cm

Oil wash on oil sketch paper, 53 x 42 cm

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize

I've just received confirmation that my self portrait has been selected as a finalist for the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. The final selection was narrowed down to 30 portraits, chosen from over 700 entries. It's the third time I've been a finalist in the DMNPP, and a list of all the finalists can be seen on the Moran website -  

Selected works will feature on the Moran Prizes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages - 

Self Portrait in a Blue Sweater, 2015, oil on linen, 46 x 36 cm

Monday, October 3, 2016

Life Drawing

Over the years I've attended many life drawing classes. Here are a few of these drawings. The oil wash medium was inspired by Degas and his use of oil paint as a wash in the many studies he did of dancers. 

These poses were generally 4 sessions of 20 minutes each, which are relatively short poses. 

 Oil wash on oil sketch paper

Dry pastel on paper

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Opening Night of Deborah's Exhibition

Last night was a busy and exciting time at Tacit Contemporary Art with the opening of an exhibition of prints by my partner, Deborah Klein. Titled PRINTS 1987 - 2016, the exhibition showcases a number of works made over the last 29 tears. Late next year Deborah will have a major survey show at Tacit, so you could say that this show is a sampler of things to come.

Below is a taste of some of Deborah's linocut prints, some in black and white and others hand coloured.

The exhibition runs until October 2. 

Tacit Contemporary Art
312 Johnston Street
Abbotsford, Vic, 3067
Phone: 0423 323 188
Hours: Wednesday - Friday 11am - 6 pm
Saturday - Sunday 11 - 5 pm

Hand coloured linocut prints

Linocut prints

Deborah and I

Deborah, Lisa Sassella and Bill Reid

Me, Tim Gresham, Julie Keating, Debora Klein and Louise Blyton

Bill and I

Bill and Deborah Bradbury. Deborah owns a portrait I did of Bill many years ago.

It can get crowded at an opening!

Monday, August 29, 2016

En Plein Air

Over the last five years I've done a lot of painting out of doors, so I had the idea of doing a self portrait doing just that. Most of the painting was done in my backyard at Ballarat but the distant background was painted in another location on the outskirts of Ballarat. The aim was to catch the condition of being outside in the open air rather than portraying an artist painting a specific location. 

When I first started studying art seriously in my 20s, I thought art was a mater of exactitude, but it's really about understanding that one's imagination can take precedence over the facts.

Just after I took the top two backyard shots, the wind blew everything over, so I had to scrape off the paint, which contained strands of grassI, and redo everything I had done that day. Luckily there wasn't a substantial area to repaint.

 En Plein Air, 2016, oil on canvas, 71.25 x 51 cm

Friday, August 19, 2016

602 Art Fair

Since the Melbourne Art Fair was cancelled this year, the City of Melbourne offered a number of galleries some of their own spaces to show artwork. It was a busy opening night and a showcase for the diversity of art made by a number of Melbourne and Sydney artists.


Through support from the City of Melbourne, nine leading art galleries from Melbourne and Sydney will join together to present the works of more than 40 artists in a former substation at 602 Little Bourke St between 17-21 August.

Charles Nodrum Gallery will be presenting work by

In front of my painting After Dawn at the Track

With Adriane Strampp in front of her painting at Gallery Smith space

With Adriane, Natalie and Charles Nodrum at Charles Nodrum Gallery space

After Dawn at the Track, 2015, oil on linen, 46 x 61.5 cm

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Illusions around the House

A few years ago I did this painting of a door, and apart from seeing it in some exhibitions, it's been usually in storage most of the time. Recently, Deborah thought it would be a good idea to have it placed where it would be shown to its best effect, as the bottom image shows.

Bottom image - Our good friend, Dmetri Kakmi, was over for dinner one night and he took this pic on his phone. It does show how the art of illusion can be used around the house, adding possible dimensions that are not really there. 

Sometimes visitors feel the surface to make sure it's a painting, which is a good thing for me to experience because I always hope the illusion is convincing enough to fool people.

Entrance, 2008, oil on canvas, 207.5 x 96 cm

View of the painting installed on the stairwell

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Terence Davies at MIFF

Terence Davies, left, and David Stratton

The Melbourne International Film Festival is in it's early days and yet the highlight of the festival has been, and will be, seeing Terence Davies and his newly released film, Sunset Song.

There was a Q&A session after the screening of Sunset Song, and Davies' answers to questions were both enlightening and entertaining. On another occasion he was interviewed by David Stratton about his personal life and his career (pictured above by Deborah Klein), called IN CONVERSATION with Terence Davies.

While much of the film industry aims to entertain audiences with the intention of making a profit, Terence Davies is the opposite, intent on capturing the emotional reality his characters bring to a space. In his answers to questions, emotion is often a word he uses to indicate what is important to him as a film maker and his films find a reflective place within ourselves, something that transcends entertainment. Yet it's his philosophy that has made it difficult for him to get funding for projects and is the reason why there have been long gaps between films. Ironically, this current period in his life has probably been his most productive since he has just released another film about the American poet, Emily Dickinson, titled A Quiet Passion.

One inspiring quality Terence Davies has is his passion for writing and film making and this has kept him boyishly young all his life. He always answers questions with stories and his enthusiasm in the telling bubbles through and effects the audience in such a positive way.

It was great to see David Stratton doing the interview, and how fitting, because his opening remarks were about the way Davies' film Distant Voices, Still Lives effected him in such a profound way.

As Deborah and I were leaving the hall, we were able to stop and have a chat with Terence. We wished we could have stayed for hours, but those moments with him will stay with us as a wonderful memory of this year's film festival.