Plein-air & Plain Good

Tom Carment

Tom Carment

Tom Carment has taken out this years Parliament House Plein Air Painting Prize.  About time, I say.  He is just simply a good painter.  His work gets wall space in my studio and that is my measure of paint-worthiness.




Here is my blog from four years ago.

“A Random Sparkle”

Each time I visit the SH Ervin gallery, I seem to be drawn to the work of Tom Carment -I bought I wonderful book CH2.  Carla promptly told me I had bought her the same one. I had also bought a card of his work that was pinned on the wall in the Thirroul Studio. This afternoon I opened Artist Profile art mag for a well deserved read time only to find Tom Carment once again. Is it his plein-air-i-ness? The essence of subject? Maybe it’s what he describes as “the random sparkle.”



Legs like a thoroughbred racehorse

Yesterday was a remarkable day.  It began with listening to an interview on the radio about lifesaving.  My ears tweaked..Dad was a beach inspector and the historian was looking for information. After a flurry of emails and phone calls I related my Dad’s story.

I always saw him as special but to hear of his reputation as a “Waterman” was delightful.  A term dubbed by the South Africans of Derban Beach for men that could take on any surf. A term of respect by lifesavers around the world.

I painted this work quite some years ago. It was an important painting to me, the beginning of my Windang series, my look back that is still yet to be completed. Dad was a huge man 6ft 3, legs like a thoroughbred racehouse. As a small child I was always running behind, viewing the world between two long neverending pink legs or propped from above, perched on shoulders riding the surf.

Trolling through Dad’s photos, clippings and ephemera his world encompassed the beach, stockman at Carpentaria Downs, shearer, Kokoda, steelworker, businessman and boatsman.   I’m sure Dad would think that this is an ordinary life, I think more like an extraordinary man.

The Results are In..Artist or Housewife.

Well you all did pretty good on this one- ARTIST OR HOUSEWIFE QUIZ quite a few topping the 100%. USA & Australia topping the polls. I didn’t get anyone that took the chance to name the artists or housewives so no bonus points. I’m sure Martha Stewart would rather have been called an artist but she was indeed one of the housewives.


And those of you who picked my daughter as a housewife -you know who you are!- deduct 50% off your score.

If you still want to take a punt don’t read any further, NO PEEKING. Click on the link. If you want to take a stab at who they are make a comment. Remember it’s anonymous if you want.**** SPOILER ALERT READ NO FURTHER****



ARTIST : Margaret Olley


HOUSEWIFE: Margaret Fulton (Chef/Cook)


ARTIST: My beautiful daughter (Graphic Artist/Zinester)


HOUSEWIFE: Martha Stewart


ARTIST: Alice Neel (Painter)


ARTIST: Helen Frankenthaler (innovating painter, RIP)

Pricasso, Death & Taxes

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Picasso exhibition at AGNSW. I also witnessed the abilities of another artist – Pricasso who paints not with a brush but another tool.  I’ve blogged previously on Brush Envy but I’m afraid Pricasso despite his adaptability and bright pink cowboy hat wasn’t particularly a good artist and an embarrassment to the general artistic population of Australia.

Picasso however was truly amazing. I was impressed with how the exhibition came about from the Musee de Picasso and it was the direct result of death and taxes.   I guess Pricasso may leave us a collection of penis-painted portraits- we can only hope that he has never reproduced to leave an heir.  Thankfully Picasso died in France and we are able to see some of the best of his works. I will leave a collection of stiffened brushes, copious art books and ephemera and my humongous roll of bubble wrap.

Thanks for the Cezanne, Ms Olley.

The art world moaned when we heard the news of Margaret Olley’s death. She didn’t wait and cling to her world here, she shared art with all of us for so long. I remember her giving us a Cezanne because she knew of it’s importance for artists. She knew that we had to study works in a gallery in order to pick up the subtleties that never happen in books. This weekend at the Art Gallery of New South Wales we were able to connect with her subtleties, a wall of beautiful paintings: still lives, oozing influences from Cezanne, Bonnard, Matisse. I remember catching a glimpse of her in the bookshop there a few years ago, being excited, nervous. Should I go over and say “Thanks for the Cezanne Ms Olley”. Of course. But I didn’t and wrote a letter and of course never sent it.

I love this photo from Margaret Olley “A Life’s Journey” a book of used on my blog before. Here she is arriving in Port Swettenham Kuala Lumpar Malaysia in 1969. A paintbox in hand, what a wonderful life.

Sue-pa Doopa Painters & the Vengeful God

The 3 Sue’s came from 3 points of the compass, Sue 1 from the south, Sue 2 from the north and Sue 3 from the west. We gathered at the shore to the east and displayed our tools of worship. We donned our headdresses, gathered rocks.  The art-god replied with howling gusts of salty breath. We feasted on golden fingers of oily potato and plump red melon, spoke in tongues for great length and left in fleeting white chariots back to our 3 corners. Our devotion was rewarded with humble examples of art.

We were reminded that picknick painters should gather in greater numbers, names other than Sue were accepted in the eyes of art-god and we should continue to paint more than eat and talk.

Winter Wimps

Who said you had to suffer for your art? Winter sets in and the “picknick painters” have turned to interiors, heaters and coffee.  Only last week I was admiring Euan MacLeod for trapsing the glacial wilds, slathering canvas in oil, wet, robust – it’s romantic -man vs nature but you have to admit that a pen, a well-loved home and a sketchbook can yield the same atmosphere -only warmer. The same warmth found in Julia’s cake fresh from her oven swathed in lime juice.

Once again our sufferance was minimal.