The Ups and Downs of Drawing

IMG_4071A shag and a pig went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat lined, with red-lead”

Sometimes I feel very connected to where I live and other times I want to get the hell out.  A while back I saw a submission for sculpture installation at the lake.  The lake was my childhood home, the boatshed my happy days. Somehow I feel as an artist I have a deep connection and I sort of owe it to me and the lake to produce something worthwhile.  I have done plenty of research and have my own motifs that appear in paintings and drawings.  I didn’t do the submission – no time, no confidence, no excuse really. This week while driving to work I passed the sculpture that has been erected where I thought I should do something.  I was prepared for the worst. I’m really happy with it. I didn’t do it but someone put their hand up and it feels very right.

Ghost Trees

Ghost Trees

Drawing on stories from the community there is a strength of connection behind the work. I had my own plans and a work that really was about me more than the area, so I am glad there is a work that will tell lots of other stories.

Anyway the drawing is improving. Once again the cormorants surfaced, the boatshed and my struggle to get it out. I may not have built a huge black shaped wing on the foreshore but I feel at peace with a story in art there for others.


Meanwhile I am still drawing more stories from my childhood on the lake.



Torpedo the pig

Torpedo the pig




The Logistics of Bigness

23032010 001I have been in a state of continual poor, poor, pitiful me. No studio. No room. No paint.  Over the past few weeks I have been trying to organise my artself- what’s sold, what’s stored, what’s donated, given away, torn up and lost. It feels never-ending. I’m up to entry 72 and it is one huge drawing – 1.5 m x 2.950 m.  I loved doing this drawing – the setting up. I had a studio then, but it still meant getting an old door across a trestle, rolling out the paper to the length of the door surface. I can’t remember when I last saw it – it must be rolled up in the garage somewhere. It was part of the Roadside Series and looking back one I feel I can come back to.  Each time I drive I see something that could be translated by a piece of dusky charcoal and a fence-painting brush full of gouache.

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Reading sculptor Anne Truitt’s Daybook has resonated with me over the last week. She found herself in the same pitiful spiral of no room. A sculptor must feel this restriction of space so much more, however she decided rather than cry over space deprivation she would use what space she had- the kitchen table- to draw.  I think this is an admiral decision, and good advice to follow – I’ve been doing small kitchen-appropriate drawings and paintings but really they don’t cut the mustard for me.

Here’s a look at a few shots – process and finished works.

Studio Roadside

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.



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)

Oil up that Saddle!





No excuses, the oils are unpacked. I threw in a small set, gouache in case I chickened out and charcoal – because it’s charcoal. We met on the north side of the river this week. God I love that river! It flows oil colour, this photo is cow poo floating downstream at Bundanon- even shit can look good in that river. Surely I can paint it? Once again a lot of talking, Sue even managed to ice a cake on site-she handles icing like paint. We exchanged fruit and veg from the gardens – a fresh apple from the other Sue’s tree!

My first oily experience back in the saddle resulted in something that you would find floating down the river.