Friday, February 23, 2018

Drawing Tom

Tom sat for about four hours. Sometimes it's tricky to stop a drawing, but I wanted it to remain unfinished. I love Hockney's unfinished approach to drawing, perhaps it plays on the mind, as the viewer might imagine what has been left out. But also, the state of the unfinished is what a person is too - we're all works in progress.

Portrait of Tom Alberts, 2017, charcoal and white pastel on paper, 49.75 x 29.75 cm

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Moon Rising

Moon Rising, 2018, oil on linen, 46 x 28cm

This painting is a continuation in the series where moonlight features as the main subject matter. It's a variation on my painting titled Winter Moon from the previous post. I was looking at that painting and got the idea of doing another version of it, but cut in half. A vertical format seems to reach up, which expresses the feeling of height and expansion, which a moon in the sky conveys. The vertical compositions of Arthur Streeton were also an inspiration as he in turn was inspired by Whistler. Whistler was influenced by the compositions of Japanese ukiyo-e artists, especially Utagawa Hiroshige at a time when Japanese prints made their way into Western culture after the mid-19th Centry, also known as Japonism.

Arthur Streeton - Pacific Blue, 1890, oil on canvas, 91.4 x 50.8 cm

James Whistler - Variations in Violet and Green, 1871, 61 x 35.5 cm

Utagawa Hiroshige - Six Jewel Rivers, 1857, ink and colours on paper, 36.2 x 24.4 cm

Although I'm aiming to catch a mood rather than a location, I often visit the sight in the evening and start the painting the next morning, based on my general memory of what I saw. I find that if I just make things up too much, it looks as if the picture has lost that touch of reality which I like to get into the paintings, even though my aim is not the details of a scene.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Winter Moon

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

This painting was inspired by viewing Lake Wendouree at night. The moon wasn't really in that position, but I incorporated it into the picture for the sake of the composition. This painting is mainly make believe since it's almost impossible to paint a picture like this from life as this time of day only lasts a few minutes - too light to be really dark, but too dark to be twilight. It's also a simplification of the scene, since the line of the landform and the position of the lights were not like this in real life

click on image to enlarge it

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Portrait of Julie

My next profile portrait in the series is of Julie McLaren, curator at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Sometimes the drawing turns out a little larger than I planned, but I go with it as the portrait unfolds. Charcoal is a medium I love to use but I don't feel the same sense of precision as I do with pencil. Each medium has its advantages, and I do like the impact charcoal has from a distance. I often work on the portrait after the sitter has gone as it's easier to think about the drawing when there is no-one around.  I also like a drawing to look as if it's been made by hand, that is, the marks of the charcoal have not been smoothed out too much.

Portrait of Julie McLaren, 2017, charcoal and white pastel on paper, 37.25 x 29 cm