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.”

carment

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A Big Pink Painting & Bare Bones

Sydney is alive with Elisabeth pink.  Luminous Landscapes at the SH Ervin and Monotypes at King St on William.  Her monotypes are the skeletons ,the bare bones  of her work. We get to see her paintings in a state of undress.  As a celebration I have edited this post that I originally wrote a long time ago. It goes like this……..

My first Elisabeth Cummings was a huge pink job.  I walked into an exhibition of works held by the Shoalhaven City Council; the odd local landmarks, a few portraits and then wham! The Wedderburn Bush.  A Cummings completed in the 70’s.  Not only was I drawn by the size and colour, it was the clarity of the bush that I had seen in Fred Williams.  A simplicity that captured the essence- Whiteley called it Quiditass.

Since then I have delved further looking for her influences in the effort to understand what I want– try and follow the path in the hope that the paint comes off and I find her primer- what has driven her to that point.  It turned out to be not a path but a bit of crazy paving.  One artist led to the next –Whisson, Fairweather, Bonnard & Cezanne until I’m back where I started.    Cumming’s Arakoola Landscape at the AGNSW has allowed me to study the technical process in the same way I’ve looked at De Kooning, Olsen and Tony Tuckson at the NGA.  Studying slashes of thick seemingly unpredicted colour over delicately built glazes.  Unexpected marks in response to an observation. I feel that there is an advantage being a regional artist, the limited exposure to these important artists means that I have to work harder at finding my own way through paint.  My influences are my own environment and the subject at hand.  My paintings are the result of intuition and bravery and willingness to accept a loss.  By studying Cumming’s works I will still never know whether that shard of Bonnardish colour was a confident knowledgable action or an instinctive reaction.

Pens,Pencils & Men with Moustaches

There is a secret society of Pens & Pencils, famous artists that meet at the SH Ervin Gallery. We can only hazard a guess at who they may be -the pencils are the younger members and the pens the elders of the group.  I recently read another wonderful article Palettes Loaded and Lines Drawn by Nick O’Malley regarding another meeting of creative minds, Book Club.  One of the members,  Noel McKenna has been a long time favourite artist of mine and I am a proud owner of a small sketch of his that was made in a swap at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney. I was drawn to this article due to my recent visit to the Ken Done Gallery in the Rocks. Ken Done, another member has long been poo-pooed by the art world but his recent  paintings screamed light and colour and looking at them made me happy.  That’s what it’s about. I’m all for angst and there is nothing better than a Kathe Kollowitz sketch but I’ve snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef and to capture that is pure joy. There is nothing wrong with happiness in art.

Their meetings sound like pure joy as well. I wanted to share this article, my own little bit of show and tell.

A Very Carfull study of Euan MacLeod

When I found out Euan MacLeod was to talk with John McDonald at AGNSW I knew it would be worth the drive. It heralded the launch of a new book “Painter in the Painting”. I spread the word around and mustered up 6 of us. It was an appetizer and we were keen to hoe down on a main serve of oil at the Ervin Gallery. We crammed into my wagon to venture across town – the adolescent days of cramming body parts together and opportunities for groping gave way to arthritic cramps and moaning but we made it across town, a little lost but fine free.

Definitely worth the intrusive bruises. Great paintings once again. More books once again…..

A Big Pink Painting

Sydney is alive with Elisabeth pink.  Luminous Landscapes at the SH Ervin and Monotypes at King St on William.  Her monotypes are the skeletons ,the bare bones  of her work. We get to see her paintings in a state of undress.  As a celebration I have edited this post that I originally wrote a long time ago. It goes like this……..

My first Elisabeth Cummings was a huge pink job.  I walked into an exhibition of works held by the Shoalhaven City Council; the odd local landmarks, a few portraits and then wham! The Wedderburn Bush.  A Cummings completed in the 70’s.  Not only was I drawn by the size and colour, it was the clarity of the bush that I had seen in Fred Williams.  A simplicity that captured the essence- Whiteley called it Quiditass.

Since then I have delved further looking for her influences in the effort to understand what I want– try and follow the path in the hope that the paint comes off and I find her primer- what has driven her to that point.  It turned out to be not a path but a bit of crazy paving.  One artist led to the next –Whisson, Fairweather, Bonnard & Cezanne until I’m back where I started.    Cumming’s Arakoola Landscape at the AGNSW has allowed me to study the technical process in the same way I’ve looked at De Kooning, Olsen and Tony Tuckson at the NGA.  Studying slashes of thick seemingly unpredicted colour over delicately built glazes.  Unexpected marks in response to an observation. I feel that there is an advantage being a regional artist, the limited exposure to these important artists means that I have to work harder at finding my own way through paint.  My influences are my own environment and the subject at hand.  My paintings are the result of intuition and bravery and willingness to accept a loss.  By studying Cumming’s works I will still never know whether that shard of Bonnardish colour was a confident knowledgable action or an instinctive reaction.