I’m a Sticky Beak

“I’m a sticky beak…” Angus Nivison

My stuff to get distracted by....

My stuff to get distracted by….

I can never get enough art.  I have proven this by the use of my time.  I listen to podcasts whilst driving, on the train and now even peeling vegetables.  There is always a backlog of something to listen to and this week I chose a great podcast by Angus Nivison, Wendy Sharpe and R. Ian Lloyd. It was recorded at the State Library of NSW to coincide with the launch of one of my favourite books, Studio by John McDonald and R. Ian Lloyd.  They were talking about the photo shots of their studios and listening over freshly de-strung beans, I tried to remember what they were like.  All I remembered was that I identified with Angus Nivison the most when I first bought the book back in 2007.

Angus Nivison

Today I pulled the book out and was keen to have another look after so long.  I’m not as Baconesque as Nivison’s studio but it was the similar materials, looking at the same books such as Bonnard, Giacometti, Indigenous art and open art mags that made it feel familiar.  It’s the studio I would have if there was more room leaving empty cans, stiffened brushes and empty tape rolls behind me in my wake.  In contrast Wendy Sharpe’s studio feels like a workplace. It appears to have the ability to perform without too much distraction or threat of injury, surrounded by working paintings. There are no tempting paint stained books open to trip over and cause loss of focus.  Shes does mention in the interview a central table where the books can be safely ogled.  I have tried this in the past but as you can see from the last photo, the table was close to the point of collapse after a short while.

Wendy Sharpe 1In the podcast the photographer talks about his experiences of first impressions.  The photos in this book are simply brilliant and the photo of Nivison’s studio taken while hanging from open rafters captures what I would love to do, flying overhead taking in the experience of studio-envy. In Angus Nivison’s words “I’m a sticky beak….”

Just another note, I also bought the DVD at the same time. I have loaned this to someone and cannot remember who. If it’s you please PLEASE give it back I love it and miss it. I can assure you it’s not in this mess.

My old studio table.

My old studio table.


The Burning Bush

David Hawkes: Study for a Beautiful Day 2

David Hawkes: Study for a Beautiful Day 2

Wedderburn is a small place, just out of Campbelltown west of Sydney.  You would expect with the concentration of most of Australia’s best abstract artists that it would be a remarkable place.  It’s not, it’s the bush and a gully and like most of the Australian landscape, scrappy gums,scrubby undergrowth and patchy pinkish rock.  Beautiful but not exceptional.  It’s the translation to art that makes it remarkable.E Cummings Crossing the Gully

"I could spend the rest of my life just painting this bit of bush." Elisabeth Cummings Wedderburn

“I could spend the rest of my life just painting this bit of bush.” Elisabeth Cummings Wedderburn

E Cummings Journey through the Studio 2004Elisabeth Cummings is the humble queen of the Wedderburn bush and her current exhibition at King Street Gallery is testament to her rights to that crown.  Regular readers of my blog will know already of the influence of her work on mine.  This exhibition has some truly notable pieces, especially Crossing the Gully and Small Billabong.

Looking at her work I am inspired to get back painting in oil and at the same time insecure in that I feel I would never be able to produce anything so exquisitely complete and complex.

Outside Watters

Watters Gallery SydneyJust down the road in Watters Gallery, David Hawkes also paints the Wedderburn Bush. Like Cummings, Hawkes takes the essence of that landscape and pours a rhythm of the bush into his work in slathers of paint. His 49 studies for a beautiful day seems to indicate every day is a beautiful day in Wedderburn.

A beautiful day in Sydney too.

Sydney Harbour Ferry stop