Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Flinders Contemporary

Deborah Klein and I payed a visit to the coastal region of Flinders, along the Mornington Peninsula. A new gallery has just opened there called Flinders Contemporary, and one of my works is on show, marking the first exhibition for the gallery. Some of the other artists represented in the exhibition are David Aspden, Godfrey Miller, James Gleeson, Roger Kemp, David Rankin, Michael Shannon, Guy Stuart, Min Woo Bang, Liz Coats, Henryk Szydlowski, Steve Harris, Alison Coulthurst, Ken Blum and Natasha Barnes. 

The area has a strong presence of thoroughbred racehorses, wineries and the Point Leo Sculpture Park, and of course, great views of the sea.

In front of Flinders Contemporary

Grey Day at the Races, the work of mine on display.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Return, 2018, oil on linen, 61 x 61 cm

Sometimes I like to deviate within my usual moonlight paintings and create a realistic situation that could be read as a metaphor as well. This painting took awhile to do, and as I mentioned in the previous post about adding a brushstroke or two over a long period of time, this is an example of such an occurrence. There is a deliberate curve in the horizon, which I did because it felt right to do this, but the world is full of curves and if we stood back far enough, the horizon would not be a straight line.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Pale Moon

Pale Moon, 2018, oil on linen, 30.75 x 46 cm

One of the main aims in this painting is to capture a sense of repose, primarily through a soft glow and the lazy movement of the lake. You often hear people comment about viewing static paintings on walls, but paintings can have an interior motion, which is a quality that separates them from the inert quality of a photograph. This interior motion is different from the movement of things we see in the physical world, it's more like the motion of the imagination or the soul.

Some of the moonlight paintings can take a while to do, sometimes months, and even a year or two can go by before I might add a few brushstrokes of colour here and there. It might not seem much, but every small addition to a painting can make a big difference. That's why I like to live with the work for awhile before exhibiting them. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Graeme in Profile

 Graeme Drendel, 2018, red and brown conte, charcoal pencil and white pastel

It's good to draw with different mediums as it can keep the brain fresh. Of course I've been influenced by the red chalk drawings from the Renaissance. Sometimes I wish I could do a painting from a drawing, but whenever I've attempted it, the results are never to my satisfaction.

As usual, this drawing took just over 3 hours, and at the end I asked Graeme to re-pose for a photograph of his sitting, which is why his hands are in a different position to the drawing.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Drawing Andi

Andi Simpkin, 2018, red and brown conte, black charcoal pencil, white pastel on fawn paper, 

Andi sat for about three hours for this drawing. I wanted to include hands but not resting on the lap. Sometimes the most interesting hand positions are hard to hold for extendedperiods of time, so for this pose Andi rested her elbow on the side of the chair. It was done in the sunroom, so the light was diffuse and bright, a bit different to what I usually do, but sometimes it's a challenge to try something you haven't done before.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Judging at the Royal Melbourne Show

From Left - Shane Jones, Helen O'Neill, Christine Mackaness and Deborah Klein.

At this year's Royal Melbourne Show, Deborah and I were judges for the Arts and Craft Section. More specifically, for paintings, drawings and prints, though there were a few mosaics as well. This was my second time as a judge, and Deborah's third.

The judging was quite rigorous because the work of primary and secondary school students were submitted for exhibition too, and every artwork had to be marked with the addition of a comment. The judging was made easier with our two terrific stewards, Helen O'Neill and Christine Mackaness. They submitted our marks and comments onto an iPad and also it was good to get their feedback on the work as well. Sometimes you come across a gem, and it will be interesting to see if some of the school kids will go on to pursue art in the future.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Drawing the Drawer

Self Portrait, 2018, terracotta conte, charcoal pencil and white pastel 
on fawn paper, 35 x 26 cm

This drawing was inspired by the red chalk drawings of the Renaissance artists. I've always thought the hands give physical form to feelings, as if they are mediators between the visible and the invisible. I had the idea of me drawing a profile self portrait since it's how my profile portrait series is being made - by thought and feel.

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


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 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)