Friday, June 29, 2012

Oils and inks

I have been doing some paintings lately using inks as an initial grounding on the canvas and then overglazing with oil colours. I had done quite a few experiments with the ink on paper first, trying to find a dispersing agent for the ink. Some success with water and detergent but when transferred the process to canvas, it no longer works. I think the absorbent quality of paper renders the results quite different to the smooth canvas surface.
Ink and oil on canvas..90 x 90cm
 The paintings below are destined for a decorator market..florals were requested.
 Inspiration came from photos I had taken, as well as from the repetition of motifs in fabric and wall paper patterning. I particularly love the wall papers of Florence Broadhurst..haven't utilized any direct motifs from her but have maintained a very deliberate 2d look on the canvases.
These have been lots of fun to paint, and quite a holiday from the more cerebral engagement with oils. Now the sun is out again, I am on a quest to photo beautiful flowers, bugs and birds. and oil on canvas..90 x 90cm

Ink and oils..90 x 90cm

Ink an oils..1m x 70cm

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Holiday snaps

I haven't been blogging latey as we have had a month in Europe..a wonderful time but I am not going to bore you with all my holiday photos (I went a bit serserk with my i phone)  so am going to list a few  that for one reason or another, I still find appealing. Here goes...
Spices, dried flowers, scent, indigo etc in a Dubai souk. 

Armani and other "designer"bags in the delapidated tenement windows of Indian Dubai.

Roses trailing in Chieti..a very pretty little walled town in Abruzzo of the oldest towns in Italy.

Love the window boxes and buttenut paint...Chieti.

     Italian fruit stalls sell direct from the farmer, and I really have to admit
that the taste is phenomenal...and the colours...wonderful

Whilst dining at a sidewalk cafe in Ravenna, there was a bit of a commotion in the piazza opposite..a demonstration against the mafia.
(I am  presently reading the book Gomorrah, an indictment against the present day Camorra in Naples. The author Roberto Saviano subsequently had to go into hiding in his own country, and is under constant police protection...he never sleeps more than two nights in the same place...he is a wanted man by the mafia. This has been his life since the book was published in 2007 when he was only 28...high price to pay for his journalism.)

One of the trabocchi along the Pescara coastline..these are very antiquated fishing houses that
 are found no where else.

Pretty poppies on the way to Venice.

We are all so familiar with the images of Venice, but I caught the bleaker side of this city with
this shot taken a bit down from San Marco's plaza...shades of my local creek.

The walled city of Dubrovnik and the wonderful waters
 of the Adriatic.

The red roofs of Dubrovnik taken through one of the gun openings
 in the rampart walls. feet in a tank of bacteria eating fish..supposed
 to destroy odours and other unwanted matter from feet.

Katakolon colours..gorgeous.

A Katakolon fishing boat up on land having a new coat of colours.


Acropolis...Lots of dogs, big ones..supposedly to protect the ancient site.

Very lazy and well fed Parthenon pooches!

Mykonos..I love the Cycladic architecture..all white
 washed including patterning on the concrete floors and

This was a prayer wall in Mary's resting place (?) in Ephesus, where the passerby can write their prayer on a piece of paper, tie it to the wall, and after one month, the priest comes along  and blesses them. The papers are then destroyed and the wall made bare for more pleas. My daughter read one prayer which said "I want an ipad"..consumerism collides with spirituality.
Thought this wall would make a great interactive art installation.

Sublime texture on an Ephesus pediment.

Temple wall at Ephesus.
What can I say here..the sign says it all!! Outside Ephesus in Turkey.

Doorway to heaven..Santorini..what an
amazing green..and who said "blue and green
should never be seen"....
Oh old nun in one of my primary school art classes.

Picture postcard Santorini.

Pompeii...hard to imagine that the intensity of these colours
 have lasted nearly 2,000 years.

These three dogs had great fun lolloping up and down
 the streets of Pompeii..then stopped here for refreshments.

The grandeur of Naples.

Legacy of an illustrious Neopolitan past

Photo taken around the corner from the two above
 photos..rubbish caught between a couple of
 traffic barricades.Naples really does have a garbage problem.
Singapore on the other hand is so pristine and immaculate.

Well what then? Chinatown in Singapore.

And what were these..I think dried grubs of some
 sort..didn't have time to ask the store
 owner inside as our bus was coming.

Ending on a final "pretty" note..a delicate
 orchid in at Raffles Hotel.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Richard Dunlop; Ghost Net basketry.

I took a stroll into the valley the other day to see the latest exhibition  at the Jan Murphy gallery. Richard Dunlop has his new works up and they are wonderful...full rich luscious colours against  dark black voids. The works are large and exciting and his glazing technique employed throughout the exhibition recalls the old masters. The subject matter is varied..from violins to fish to flowers, but there is a sense of the old vanitas theme running thoughout ...this is especially evident with the smaller works of the hanging birds..the birds are cropped out of the picture frame for a contemporary take on the subject, but death and finality are overwhelming. Some of the other works such as Reef Arrangement recall early natural history investigations...collection, selection, display. It also raises the environmental question of how soon will the 'mundane' flora/fauna of our times be objects for modern Wunderkammer, the ornate display cabinets housing curios of scientific and natural history enquiry.
Richard Dunlop

Richard Dunlop
Further along Brunswick street, I dropped into Artisan to have a look at the exhibition "The Long Tide"...Ghost net basketry made by 22 indigenous communities in the north of Australia.
Aly de Groot, Basket grouping, 2011.(from Artisan website)

Last year we were at the Laura indigenous dance festival, and many of the local peoples there were also utilizing marine fishing debris to make a wonderful mural as a backdrop to one of their stands.
Ghost nets are huge floating nets which have been abandoned by the original users; these nets become entangled with each other, and carry on their task of "fishing" with horrendous results on marine fauna.

On a final note closer to home, I tried to reduce the fussiness of my latest painting..not a great photo with flash bouncing off the wet paint.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Painting, gifts and handmade cards.

So far, this year has been defined by "family".. with celebrations and commiserations, connections and partings...endearing but sometimes depleting. I  need a lot of "me" time..the quiet, the let the waters settle. I have two ways of finding the balance in my life..I walk by my creek, and I paint. Today and yesterday I painted in between the usual interruptions of life.
Two unfinished and rather sad looking attempts in my ongoing "Ponderings" series were  laying around my studio floor, and it was one of these that I took my brush to. Just enjoying the tactility of the paint without much cerebral interchange with the medium, was so enjoyable.
I love gestural markmaking and despite looking at so many expressionist images, I still find my brushstrokes tight and exact. I  haven't been able to let loose and paint with the shoulder nearly  often enough..but today I did make some larger marks than usual which was good...always so far to go!
Oil on stretched canvas 120 x 90cm
We all love little surprises and the other day I came home and there was a sweet little gift with a handmade card sitting on the table on my front veranda.  I can't wait to wear my tree! Will keep the bunny swing ticket and recycle for someone elses gift.

Yesterday another friend brought over a beautiful bunch of bush flowers, with yet another handmade card. The cards are not only lovely to read, but very special to know that people have actually put thought and time into them. In this day and age of fast consumerism, the gift of time is very special.
The flowers are beautiful and I will dry them when they are past their prime.
Handmade card in front of flowers.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Colours and chairs

Just a little note to show you my results of yesterday's efforts.
My daughter and I painted some old chairs and a table which live downstairs in the garden area..they were rather tired looking, and the white had become dark and drab. It was so exciting splashing these bright colours on and seeing the transformation.
In the background is my old painting table and easel..I paint here on fine days otherwise I am in my studio. Animals having their breakfast.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The March of time

When I began this blog I had the very good intention of posting once a week..but somehow I have found that I am hard pushed to post once a month. Where did March go?
Most of that month was taken up with the community mural over at the N4C hq in Greenslopes, an environmental group dedicated to the preservation of the Norman Creek catchment area. The mural is just about finished now and I think its looking fabulous...thanks to the team of talented artists who have donated their time for this cause..Regina Dolan, Sophie Munns and Michelle Goodchild. I have a bit of a photo story in my other blog, Mud and Silt and you may like to check it out here.

Another smaller event which took place one Saturday in March was a basket weaving workshop. This was a charity event and participants of the workshop were shown the rudiments of how to make a coil sewn basket using found twigs and grasses, remnant wools and cottons, and anything else that takes ones fancy. So easy to do that we even had a couple of clever children making beautiful artifacts.
Beginning the base of the basket by coiling the twigs around in a
 spiral and sewing them together.

Diagram of above method

                       Christine and daughter Molly creating..I apologise for the blurred photo but  I it
with my phone (no excuse nowadays)
Molly completed a wonderful piece of basketry that could be placed either on a table
or hung as a 3d artwork, whilst Christine took up the challenge of weaving a palm seed already had the unmistakable qualities of a vessel but it needed love and attention
to bring forth a piece of art. Can't wait to see it finished.
Min and son Anshu making a beautiful basket with a shell bottom..this will be taken to "show and tell" at kindy!

Yesterday, whilst browsing the net I came across a French artist whose work, studio interior and exterior location merges into one..truly an artist who immerses heself in her subject matter. She is Claire Basler.  I was particularly taken with the delicacy of her florals..reminiscant of oriental works with the negative spaces and calligraphic lines, yet still decidedly within the oeuvre of traditional European oil painting.