Musicians Love Dogs and Writers Love Cats

I am reposting this art quiz I created years ago. Time flies! Just click on the How much is that doggie in the window link below and give it a try. It anonymous and if you took the quiz all that time ago- how’s the memory?

The inspiration for it came from this article by Emily Temple that recently linked from one of my blogs about David Hockney.

I’m a dog person so I think that means I can’t write (or perhaps shouldn’t).

This week my library pick up was wonderful Dogs in Australian Art by Steven Miller. Does it get any better – art and puppies in one book, and it’s not heavy! But wait it gets better. My favourite artist Noel McKenna has my breed of dog -SNAP! (here’s a work he did based on lost dog posters)

Tim Storrier brought his dog Smudge to share in his glory of the win at the  Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery NSW so I have decided to share the love and do another quiz – I know about time! This time it centres around doggies and artists. Don’t worry I have another quiz especially for cat-lovers here

Take a stab: How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

Kevin Connor, a charcoal crush.

Kevin Connor’s work in the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW reminded me of charcoal. Glimpses underneath his paint.

These charcoal sketches show the hullaballoo that is the Archibald Prize -the delivery of artwork, the parade of work in front of trustees, the hang.

On the train home, reading an article of his commission by Art & Australia to document the process of  the Archibald Prize, I was feeling the pangs of that first love affair with an artist. When you get that spark of connection.

It was however, his portrait of  sculptor Robert Klippel that I refer to as my “lightning bolt moment”. The realisation that space within a painting was paint itself, that drawing and paint were one and that drawing didn’t end when painting began.

From that moment in art school I read more on his work and found that the spark did not dull and his figurative works that had initially drawn me now led to his city-scapes in oil.

Portrait of Robert Klippel 1977He has been an unending influence on my work. I noticed how in this early clumsy figurative study. I was already exploring space as a direct result from looking at his work (as per notes on the back).

His landscapes are just as fresh, they are quintessentially Australian in their use of light and space and his current work in the Wynne (as pictured in my blog I Am Not an Island)

His city scenes of Haymarket in ink are legendary but I love this oily early work,   Morning Near Taylor Square 1983. (from Paintings & Drawings AGNSW Catalogue 1947-1988)

Painting a New World

After digesting the yearly dose of Archibalds at the Art Gallery of NSW, I strolled across the park to the State Library of NSW to see the John Lewin exhibition.

I really didn’t know that much about Lewin apart from his delicate paintings of birds but the exhibition was like a trip to a new land through paint.

I couldn’t imagine the excitement for an artist to confront new and wonderous plants and animals and a landscape so different from the lush greens of England. His soft grey greens of the Australian bush were outstanding and I wondered about his choice of palette before he left.

The works were delicate and light and his studies of moths and caterpillars were inspirational.

In a room adjoined to the exhibition, a room of stuffed birds and animals perched on tables with pencils and paper ready for new explorers. The walls were hung with brightly coloured parrots, stuffed feathery owls and spiky echidnas drawn by visitors from around the world. Scribbly signatures with their country of origin at the bottom of each drawing gave some clue as to where they had come from. I guess the explorer-artists felt much like Lewin looking at these strange animals up close, taking in detail that you would never get from books.

The State Library is full of books with plates and illustrations but countless artists but nothing substitutes for the real thing -stuffed or not.

I Am Not an Island

The Island“A painting has to speak for itself…..” Kevin Connor

Yesterdays visit to the Art Gallery of NSW was beautiful. Sydney was warm, bright and crisp. I was at the gallery before the droves of school children with books and pencils. I envied them sitting on the cool morning grass opposite in the Botanic Gardens, eager to see the portraits.

I never did that as a child and I wondered how different my life would have been had I seen this painting when I was 10.

Dane Lovett‘s work “The Island” (pictured above) spoke to me as Kevin Connor ‘s quote, next to his Wynne entry.  Lovett’s  was a finalist in the Sulman Prize for genre painting and I guess initially it was his handling of paint that drew me in. Beautiful deft loose brushwork, purposeful yet an ease.  The more I studied it, the more it spoke. Lost technologies and change were the greater issues and his still life arrangement of past ephemera was composed to resemble an island. It tugged my heart-strings. Perhaps it was looking at the children with their books open, excited. Maybe it was the smell of oil paint, the Dylan album or the video itself The Island. From memory it was movie based on the Island of Dr Moreau, a haunting story that had always felt macabre but close to reality. I couldn’t help but think we are producing Moreau-type monsters with paint in the Archibald, large soulless heads bearing down on us.

Kevin Connor’s large looming work also had that element of mystery, paradise swathed in dark lit only by the moon. A wonderful work in restraint with a myriad of underdrawing that feeds his work and gives it strength. I was impressed with many works in the Wynne this year and the Archibald held the usual shock and awe.

 

 

The beautifully sad self-portrait of Jenny Sages “After Jack” but for me it was another mysterious painting by Melissa Egan of Charles Blackman that held my attention.  Once again beautiful handling of paint and that Moreau-ish intrusion of nature -a portrait hanging in the landscape.

I guess the unexpected warmth of May yesterday may have led to some disquiet in my choice of works and my yearning for earlier times.  Maybe it was reading Patti Smith’s biography on the train or I wanted to be a crossed-leg school girl in a dark blue hat, an exercise book to draw in and a cool floor to sit on surrounded by looming faces made of paint.

 

Musicians Love Dogs and Writers Love Cats

I am reposting this art quiz I created almost 4 years ago. Time flies! Just click on the How much is that doggie in the window link below and give it a try. It anonymous and if you took the quiz 4 years back- how’s the memory?

The inspiration for it came from this article by Emily Temple that recently linked from one of my blogs about David Hockney.

I’m a dog person so I think that means I can’t write (or perhaps shouldn’t).

This week my library pick up was wonderful Dogs in Australian Art by Steven Miller. Does it get any better – art and puppies in one book, and it’s not heavy! But wait it gets better. My favourite artist Noel McKenna has my breed of dog -SNAP! (here’s a work he did based on lost dog posters)

Tim Storrier brought his dog Smudge to share in his glory of the win at the  Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery NSW so I have decided to share the love and do another quiz – I know about time! This time it centres around doggies and artists.

Take a stab: How Much is that Doggie in the Window?