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


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.”


The Artist’s Chair

Reverse Graffiti Chairs NewcastleMost artists who have a studio have a studio chair. This all important item compares to a brush.  Most artists need time to mull over what comes next. The painting gets to the stage where it’s close to breaking through and that sit and look time can be just what it needs to get to the next level.  I haven’t had a lot of different studios so I haven’t exactly been Goldilocks and tried them all.

Arthurs StudioThe closest to best was the chair in the studio at Bundanon. An old cane chair with a slouchy cushion, just right. I think it may have even featured in a couple of Arthur Boyd drawings or paintings.

The pink chair looked something like this....

The pink chair looked something like this….



Another of my faves was an old salmony pink chair. A sad case that was passed endlessly through the ex’s family who had no room for it and never quite fitted in with their decor. Funnily enough they wanted it back when we parted ways. Maybe they re-painted.

Thirroul studio

Thirroul studio

The Thirroul studio had the good old waiting room chair circa 80’s wrapped in vinyl and made a good double as an easel when not being sat upon and it could easily be wiped over.  Not being too comfy meant I spent more time off my butt.

My current chair is a bridge chair. It has a swing back and is good for procrastinating, leaning back and staring at the ceiling (and the top of the bookshelf) for inspiration.



I think the king of all studio chairs would have to be Willem De Kooning’s.  This photo from Architectural Digest shows that there were two, one for Elaine too. It appears to be a rocker and would be perfect with a rug for winter, drifting off  and dreaming of pink fleshy glazes and how the painting might end.



“For his installation for the German representation at the French Pavilion, Ai Weiwei has assembled 886 three-legged wooden stools. In today’s China, the three-legged stool is an antique. Manufactured by a uniform method, it was in use throughout China and in all sectors of society for centuries.”

“For his installation for the German representation at the French Pavilion, Ai Weiwei has assembled 886 three-legged wooden stools. In today’s China, the three-legged stool is an antique. Manufactured by a uniform method, it was in use throughout China and in all sectors of society for centuries.”


Roadside Studio

Posting a view of Grayson Perry’s studio reminded me of my old studio. This morning I found a small box of drawings, cards and stuff I had pinned up in my temporary studios.  The bits and pieces inside a studio give you an idea of where you’ve been and how you work.This shot was during the work for the Roadside Exhibition.  I had rigged up a door over two trestle tables for a drawing.  On the floor I had discovered the benefits of gadgets so that I had a constant source of music or podcasts.  I can’t work without music.  I have an eclectic taste which includes blues, jazz, punk, classical and even disco. At one stage I remember saying there was only two types of music I disliked, country and western but I really like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson so I guess there’s not much I dislike apart from Mariah Carey and Celine Dion type divas.

I loved this studio for the breeze I would get from the beach down the hill.  It was also the home for possums and lizards. It also backed on to the train tracks and I would love to sit on the step outside and watch the carriages flashing past.

There was also the drive to and from the studio each day, about 15 mins that also influenced how I was working and part of the impetus for this exhibition.

I always have a collection of photos and sketches for works I produce and I love these shots I took leading up to this exhibition. The by-pass was new and the colours of the concrete were inspirational in these works.