Another Art Quiz

Boonerah Gouache

This is one of my paintings, not a gelato accident.

My kid could that!  What a mess! Who gave the monkey a brush? I don’t know what it is but I like it!

All comments abstract artists hear. Here’s a quiz to test your art gut.

Is That Abstract Art, Or Did Someone Spill Food?

If you like this one, maybe you can try some of these art quizzes I made up. Or have a look under Art Quiz Category. No judgement- all attempts are anonymous. Good luck!

A Good Painting Works Anywhere

Detail: Ann Thomson

Detail: Ann Thomson

“Once or twice in my student days I was known to say, de Kooning, can you please leave my studio now!” Ann Thomson Monograph 2012.

I think at some point in art school we were discussing art made for living rooms. I had bought a small painting and it didn’t matter where it was hung, it worked. It was a good painting. The same applies for Ann Thomson. Her exhibition in the Drill Hall at ANU last year had the same affect on me as the one in the National Art School in Sydney. Her work is fabulous.  This exhibition was titled Ann Thomson & Contemporaries so it had even more bang for the buck. The exhibition was spread over two floors of the magnificent old National Art School.

 

IMG_3883

The lower level comprising teachers and contemporaries gave a clue as to the vibe of art during her time as a student and teacher and provided an understanding of the strength in her work.  Moving upstairs, the old building provided a lofty open space large enough to take her slashes of paint and freedom of marks.

 

IMG_3892

IMG_3877

IMG_3896

IMG_3907

IMG_3881IMG_3902

Anne Truitt: Wanting What I Can’t Have

HirshornTruitt

“Artists are thrust straight up against the wave of their ambition in the world as well as their ambition for their work. Unless they like being rolled over and over on the sharp pebbles of their inconsistencies, they have to dive through this wave into understanding” Anne Truitt: Daybook The Journal of an Artist.

 

I have curly hair, I always wanted straight brown hair and I can still hear my mother’s words – “you always want what you can’t have” as she yanked the brush through wayward tangles, snapping my neck backwards.  Not only do I still want smooth, brown, tangle-free hair, but I also want my art to be as sleek and ordered as a brunette on a still day. Having just finished reading Anne Truitt’s Daybook I couldn’t help but feel it doesn’t matter what we want, we find comfort in others like us. She found that moment in the work of Barnett Newman and I, in her words. Despite the comfort of knowing other artists feel the same insecurities, the pebbles of inconsistencies still roll around my work.

3 De Koonings, Olsen and Paella at the Beach

Happy Holidays, may your stockings bulge with art.

Happy Holidays, may your stockings bulge with art.

“…a surrealist scene of saffron coloured chickens…” John Olsen

Olsen's Culinaria Cuisine of the Sun

Olsen’s Culinaria Cuisine of the Sun

Christmas arrived early for me this year in three parcel post satchels. Not exactly Santa down the chute but those puffy square bags make me squeal like a little girl at Xmas. The benefits of being old is that I don’t have to wait for the big day to arrive.

IMG_2619

The first parcel was the biggest De Kooning book I’ve ever seen – the Malvern star of art books. Ensconced in a hard slip case and full of perfect coloured reproductions of his best.

FullSizeRender(1)

The second satchel held two De Kooning second hand treasures, one cloth bound with the library card still in slipped in the back pocket time-travelled from the sixties. The other professing to be the first De Kooning publication.

De Kooning Smith College Museum of Art 1965.

De Kooning Smith College Museum of Art 1965.

Willem De Kooning by Thomas Hess 1959.

Willem De Kooning by Thomas Hess 1959.

Borrowed by Shelley Rose on Feb 10 1966.

Borrowed by Shelley Rose on Feb 10 1966.

The third satchel held Culinaria by John Olsen. Cuisine of the Sun. This book was to be our Christmas dinner – drawing, painting and cooking in the sun – sand, saffron, cadmiums, paprika, burnt orange and paella.

The Hamptons 1953

The Hamptons 1953

Two great artists, De Kooning from the northern hemisphere where he spent Christmas in the Hamptons, and Olsen in the southern hemisphere comparing Watsons Bay to an Iberian fishing village, seem very relevant to this years sunny seafood xmas by the beach…with books.

The World Wide Scribble Pad


The One that started it all….

OK Enough is enough!  It’s been too long since my last post. I’ve had a few changes lately which has meant pulling out some old paintings, organising art stuff and documents etc. The tacky unglamorous side of art.  It was then that I realised what the original purpose of this blog was  – someone wanted to buy a painting, I had no website and my storage system was pretty much non-existent.

So I began the laborious task of putting each painting up, making notes on series but then I got a little excited.  Instead of scribbling notes about exhibitions in my sketchbooks, I began blogging. It was a huge worldwide scribble pad that visitors could like.

I helped friends set up their blogs, began making art quizzes and photographing.  In the sorting I have come across paintings I had forgotten and sketches that brought back memories of places and people.

Rocks Day 65- memories of places...

Rocks Day 65- memories of places…

I haven’t blogged for a while, my life has taken a turn recently. I miss blogging, I miss painting and yesterday I could feel the desperate need for drawing returning. I don’t know if that means I am getting better or trying to fill a need. Either way – charcoal and gouache is a good remedy and a nice way to scribble on my world-wide sketchbook.

 

 

Paint and Smoke

Capstan Reds

Capstan Reds

I tend to think of myself as a landscape painter, I don’t know why. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit. I love the stuff in the landscape as much as the setting itself, even when it’s dirty fag packets.  The last post was about Motherwell’s fabulous prints based on smoke packets.  So after a dig in the past I’ve unearthed a few more images thanks to Double Whirler’s interest.  These were done some time ago and after a while they all blur together. I take close up photos sometimes when I think certain crops of paintings will work on a larger scale.

I often do not title my works and when I stumbled across this work in my photo storage “system”(a very loose term),  I had called it “Capstan Reds” so I guess it was one too, but can’t even remember painting this now and really had thought it was based on something completely different. I painted direct from John’s scrapbook collection and photographed them before returning them so I could source them later on.

Unknown

Unknown

Part of John's marvellous collection

Part of John’s marvellous collection

Alpine? Woodbine? Peter Stuyvestant??

Alpine? Woodbine? Peter Stuyvestant??

I’d Rather Go by Motherwell than a Stairwell…

“The wind carried away the cottonwool

At five in the afternoon.

And the oxide scattered crystal and nickel

At five in the afternoon”.  Garcia Lorca: Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias.

Motherwell 1

Burning elegy artists proof

Canberra in winter is bitingly cold, a stark blue sky and cool grey concrete of the National Gallery seems like a world away from Spain and New York but the last couple of days I’ve felt the intensity of bullfights and the pain in painting.

 

 

photo(91)Robert Motherwell : At Five in the Afternoon currently at the National Gallery is a selection of prints from the Gallery’s collection and the curator Jane Kinsman gave a talk and some insight into Motherwells practice of printmaking.  The works spread across three rooms were brilliantly curated and each work was fabulous but a selection of small lithographs were simple and exquisite and captured the same emotions of the larger striking painterly works.

Lament for Lorca:

Lament for Lorca:

 

Some of the larger prints utilising graphics from cigarette packets reinforced that peculiar artist habit of finding inspiration in the mundane.  I remember as a child enamoured with the cigarette packets we used to sell in the boat hire business, Camel and Fiesta were my favourites but later I photographed old packets a friend had in their scrapbook for painted works not realising Motherwell too was drawn by the colour and shape.  Up until stumbling across John’s curious arty collection, I had tried to draw a camel packet from memory.

 

Motherwell: Hermitage

Motherwell: Hermitage

John's cigarette scrapbookMotherwell’s prints incorporating imagery and my painted works, now capture a lost period.  Smoking was acceptable and a filthy dangerous habit that I (for a short time) and Motherwell embraced.  Packets were bright and engaging. Cigarette packaging in Australia is now a dark, dull, khaki green and the only images gangrenous limbs and health warnings.  And I guess like any image, even cancerous body parts and minimalist packaging will provide some sort of inspiration for other artists down the line.

 

 

 

After the talk, we hit the wine and felt glad Motherwell had chosen drinking and painting over suicide. We are so much richer for his work and his immersion in the poetry of Lorca. We went back again the next day for another hit before heading home, did a swing by the Indigenous and Australian gallery and we had a choice – down the stairs or back through the exhibition?

 

I’D RATHER GO BY MOTHERWELL THAN A STAIRWELL.

Peter Stuyvesant

Detail from my Peter Stuyvesant painting

Im-pressed

Michael in the studio

Michael in the studio

My friend Michael invited me to see his new baby, it was shiny, new and rolled like a dream.  Instead of that overriding smell of oil in his studio, a faint waft of fine etching ink.  Paintbrushes gave way to rollers and the floor tiled with sepia clad editions.  Printing to me feels like pulling wild hair into a ponytail.  That wild unkempt expressionist feelings are still there but they are under temporary control. The steps to prepare, dampen paper, ink the plate and roll, tie the wild into place but the output at the end, when the hair tie is released, produces the same expressionist marks, the abandon usually felt in the paint marks transferred to a print.

Drawing on the copper plate

Drawing on the copper plate

Michael has been prolific, monotypes, drypoints and a beautiful hand coloured book.  The new press has provided a tool for more drawing. We gave it a whirl and Michael did a monotype and I did a smudgy mess. Here’s a selection of his work. You can check out more of his work here.

The finished plate

The finished plate

Ready to roll

Out the other side

Out the other side

All important floor inspection

All important floor inspection

One of the Kosciusko series

One of the Kosciusko series

Another from that series, one of my favourites.

Another from that series, one of my favourites.

Beautiful hand coloured etchings made into a book.

Beautiful hand coloured etchings made into a book.

The Better Boatshed, Royal National Park Sydney

Royal National Park SydneyPlein-air painting can be difficult but when the weather is perfect, the location is devoid of onlookers, wildlife is abundant and the landscape is stunningly beautiful nothing is better.

Black cockatoos.

Black cockatoos.

DSC05265Michael Ambriano, my painting pal, took me to his local. The Royal National Park just south of Sydney is beautiful. Setting up our painting gear, a flock of black cockatoos screeched overhead and I knew it was going to be right.  We were soon joined by ducks, magpies and sulphur crested cockatoos.

I remembered coming here as a child. My family had a boat hire business further down the coast and we would visit another member of the family who had the old boat shed here in the National Park.

DSC05227

This cockatoo came in for a closer look at my work. The magpie had told him about it.

As much as I loved the lake and our home at Windang, I always felt Uncle Ralph’s was the “better boat” shed and yesterday I could see why I envied this place so much.  I remembered ducks gliding by on still water and grassy lawns falling into the banks. Plus Uncle Ralph had an eye-patch.

Michaels Studio

Michael’s Studio

DSC05273

The "Better" Boatshed

The “Better” Boatshed

Bright Lights, Big Names and Ordinary Lives

Vivid2-croppedThe bright lights of Sydney’s Vivid festival drew moths to flaming landmarks around the city. It is spectacular, the harbour dark and cold brought to life reflecting the hyper flickering.  The Museum of Contemporary Art was perfectly packaged in light on the outside by Gemma Smith and the Spinifex Group. Inside two major exhibitions made the lights seem frivolous somehow.

Exhuming Gluttony: Another Requiem 2011

Exhuming Gluttony: Another Requiem 2011

The first show was Wangechi Mutu, an American based Kenyan artist whose work felt dark and heavy behind the facade of lights. A reminder that not all the world is beautiful.

The other show was Jeff Wall: Photographs. This was a remarkable exhibition and once again proves that visiting a gallery with no specific purpose can sometimes be for the best.  I don’t know a lot about photography but was curious to find out more from his work. There was an overriding feeling for me that I could use these works as a basis for a painting, especially so with Diagonal Composition. A simple photo but so right in all aspects.  It reminded me of photographs I have taken prior to developing a painting, the subject almost irrelevant and the focus more about the shapes within that area and how or whether the colour could be used at all.

One of my photos for Garage Sale series.

One of my photos for Garage Sale series.

Study for a Sudden Gust of Wind

Study for a Sudden Gust of Wind

A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai)

A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

His larger  highly staged works such as After the Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai) feel effortless.  Once again the lights outside seemed a flash outside of reality compared to the world of Jeff Wall.

Diagonal Composition 1993

Diagonal Composition 1993