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!


We Are All the Flocking Same



Killalea Headland sketch

My sketch Killalea headland




Killalea pan


The Farm was a familiar term growing up with a surfer brother. When we arrived at our painting site today there were two guys, greying, with boards on their racks checking out the surf. They never lose their love of surfing -any conditions, any age. Today was the first time I saw The Farm up close. I hadn’t realised that Killalea State Park held this sacred surf spot on the coast.

I love that trot that surfers break into – board clenched under their arm, leg-rope dangling, hair dripping, their sleek wet-suit uniform dense against the green. They canter, the cold from their wrinkled wet feet protection against the gravel.

We cooked sausages and onions on a wood bbq at lunch time- it felt like summer today. There were so many different flocks and types of birds -black cockatoos against the blue blue blue sky. I painted with gouache on paper with memories of my brother Michael. I wondered if any of those greying surfers were Little Mick, or Tightarse, or Brooksy – all those older surfers who I use to lust after as a teenager, who called me Grub.

As a final note when we left later a parade of older vintage cars rolled along the road where the surfer had run back to his car earlier. The vintage Jag and MG had no roof racks for boards, no dusty wagons for paints and easels but glistening rims and chromish mirrors.

We’re all different flocks

This was a re-post of an earlier blog, after a recent sketch trip back to The Farm.

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

Velasquez and I Cook Eggs

IMG_3214Inspiration comes in packages of all shapes, sizes and compositions.  Recently I was gobsmacked by Velasquez Old Woman Cooking Eggs. There was a dynamism in the figures and objects and how they related to each other both in colour and shape.  As a result a new series of small works in gouache provided impetus for bigger and better things.  The serendipity of reading John Olsen’s biography whilst working on the series, also laid another level.

The egg, a symbol of hope and regeneration that he saw in Velasquez, carried into his work and as a result into mine. I could see a jelly-fish-like symbol in the slithery par-cooked egg whites that could transfer into compositions for my boatshed works.


Velasquez: Old Woman Cooking Eggs.

Velasquez: Old Woman Cooking Eggs.

IMG_3201IMG_3213 IMG_3210

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.



Fairweather, All Dry No Rain

Ian Fairweather: War and Peace 1959

Ian Fairweather: War and Peace 1959

IMG_0632 IMG_0687 IMG_0688 Painting (detail) 1961Yes, I know Fairweather is an important artist in Australian abstraction.  Yes, I do like his work. Yes, I would go out of my way to see an exhibition of his work…and I did. But he has never been one of my great influences, not on the list of  draw-card artists.  So I was curious whether a roomful of works might  change my view of his oeuvre. It did.

Queensland Art Gallery was host to an exhibition by Ian Fairweather – Late Works 1953-1974. My trip to Brisbane was primarily to see this exhibition it was just a bonus that the APT7 was on at the same time. Following the vibrancy and colour of the Asia Pacific Triennial at first the paintings seemed flat and muted. The longer I looked the more subtle they became.

A lot of Fairweather’s works were painted on cardboard. His gallery would send canvas or linen to his remote home on Bribie Island and he would use the canvas on his make-shift home and paint on the cardboard it arrived in.  I wonder how different these works would be on canvas.

Their appeal to me has always been the dryness of the paint. There was also a letter from an art supplier giving Fairweather student paints to trial. Perhaps the intensity of pigment also is an added attraction. I love colour but these muted earthy colours exaggerate the feel of the arid surfaces.

I came away feeling greater admiration for his work. I feel I understand his work better, I think I was caught up in his fascinating personal story but seeing his works all together changed the focus rightfully back to his painting.


It has made me feel like squeezing the wet from the oil maybe that’s why I love gouache, that opaque dryness.

Ian Fairweather: Composition I 1961

Ian Fairweather: Composition I 1961

Photo: Hut (detail) by Robert Walker 1966 Fairweathers home on Bribie Island Qld

Photo: Hut (detail) by Robert Walker 1966 Fairweathers home on Bribie Island QED

I Wish the Helper Monkeys Would Review My Life

today 001WordPress sent me the annual run down on the health of my blog. I love fireworks and I love the analogies those little monkeys use but how good if I got fireworks over my life for the year.  I think if they saw what I did for the year in paint, it wouldn’t be the Cannes Film Fest firing up, more like a YouTube snippet of watching paint dry.

As usual I vowed this year to be more productive with paint. I have turned the dining table into a gouache station in hope. I have a fresh accumulation of tins. Squeezed tubes and a jar full of brushes in place of place mats. So far?….3 small works and fewer pistachio nuts in the centrepiece. I already feel as though the year is running out in the first week.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 17,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals


The Bare Bones of Winter

I smelt John R Walker’s paintings before I ever saw them.  I have a feeling it was the Wynne and whatever else was there that year was eclipsed by his work for me.  Luscious, precarious oil seemingly hanging from the canvas.  Later at a group show in Hazelhurst Gallery I saw his gouaches and scribbled in my sketchbook “JR Walkers Bare bones of a painting.”, a reminder to myself to consider my subject before being seduced by the oil.

Little did I think I would be at Bundanon in a studio adjoining where JR Walker had given thanks to Arthur Boyd in paint.  When given access to the wonderful Boyd archives, I had carefully slid a painting out to reveal Gary’s (the caretaker and great guy) thonged feet and lower limbs akin to a great white fleshy twisted gum left by Walker.

Years later I still find his work gives me the same thrill. This current exhibition at Utopia Gallery: Winter in the Fire Forest feels like his gouache and oil have collided. The bare bones are now the oils. His titles indicate that his East has met West and there is definitely a paring down to the essence of landscape and the familiarity of the subject.  Small delicate twists of lavenderish oil over grey-green feel tenuous but confident. I imagined myself back in Braidwood, in the landscape, back in Bundanon by the Shoalhaven a grey green wash of oily history in paint.

Pink Rocks and Green Ponds

The painting trip to Braidwood fed the painting habit a little more. Rosalie Gascoigne said that she was “visually hungry” and reading an article on David Hockney he got excited about drops in puddles.

I love colour – it’s what the landscape feeds me. For the past 3 years I have had this screen saver from a photo I took down there. It was the colour of this stagnant pond that drew me back. 




From this trip it was the colour of the rocks – that dull fleshy pink. I did some small gouache works and know that these will in turn feed larger works and that from those initial colours, more colours develop.

The Banksia from Boonerah Point

Yesterday I set up my paint box in the effort to paint something constructive toward the Lake Series. What I ended up with was a small banksia painting. 

There was a mass of cormorants on the edge of the lake – black shapes against the ochre of the bank and blue.  Perfect. I sketched for a while, took down some notes on the form of the birds- especially those airing their wings. They flew off in a round-about way when disturbed by a couple of lakeshore dogs. It was quiet and no-one else about, just one guy practising his reel casting technique in the park.  I guess he was a self-conscious of his habit as I am in mine.

I sat at the picnic table in the sun and the view was through the barbecue shelter toward the industrial north. Great shapes. I painted till I felt I was fiddling without giving anything more to what I was doing.

I loaded the car and was about to hop in when I was distracted by the banksia tree I was in front of, I decided to grab a bit to take back home and paint or sketch.

A great afternoon of bits and pieces, banksia, cormorants, lake and pink gouache.