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
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
Out the other side
All important floor inspection
One of the Kosciusko series
Another from that series, one of my favourites.
Beautiful hand coloured etchings made into a book.
There is nothing like the red dust of Central Australia that makes the blood pump in painters. My painting pal, Michael has been constantly pumping paint since his return.
I know the feeling, you just can’t shake it and everyone that I know who has been there is in the same boat, you have to get back there.
On a trip with World Expeditions to the Larapinta a gaggle of artists took in Mt Sonder, the dust and dingoes. Michaels small studies are fresh and capture the essence but on coming home they proved to also be a source of research material and combined with remembered landscapes was impetus for larger works.
This week some of that red dust falls on Hazelhurst Gallery in Sutherland and another of us that have ventured inland away from the edge will attempt to convey to the unconverted the love of landscape.
I paint the way some people write their autobiography…. I have less and less time and yet I have more and more to say, and what I have to say is, increasingly, something about the movement of my thought.
Alright, alright I know he’s good. I’ll give him a try. It’s just that every Picasso book is sooooo big. Can’t someone make “The Dummies Guide to Picasso”.
This quote sums it up -he has so much to say. Idris Murphy told me….”Look at Picasso….the master of composition…” Michael Ambriano gave me a wonderful collection of plates/illustrations. The AGNSW is bringing out a collection for me and opening coincidentally while I am in Sydney. It’s making my art head hurt because I know there is too much information and too little time. What more can he do? Just look at this image from a young child referencing Picasso. That’s a look of artistic desperation. Perhaps stumbling across the quote at the top of this page this morning.
“I have less and less time and more and more to blog increasingly about what I am not doing. “
Michael and his brother Gino held this exhibition of their recent works at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery. Dedicated to their mother, whose delicate still life hangs beside a heavily oiled landscape. There is a love of paint in Michaels work and I came away angry. Angry that people buy stupid prints of dolphins, decorator art at Clint’s Crazy Bargains or attempt an “abstract” after watching DIY shows. If only there were enough buyers to keep our art-flames alight.