I have two Still Life paintings in this exhibition that is on NOW.
....with the ingredients for Mary's Chocolate Brownies.
My trials with simpler compositions and flatter colours has continued. I have moved back to the stretched canvas's and oils after exploring the many and various possibilities with acrylic paint on paper.
The acrylics do have some advantages over the use of oils especially where drying time is concerned. For me they work well in smaller works on paper, but they don't appeal to me for use in larger works.
The very feel of oil paint moving across a freshly primed canvas still seems luxurious by comparison to acrylic paint. It allows for subtleties of tone and texture that are not as evident in acrylic, as it dries too quickly to be able to work into the paint at later stages.
Impasto areas of acrylics also seem a little too plastic for my liking whereas oil paint often maintains a natural lustre and sheen that create their own stories within the surface of the medium.
Domestic Scene with the Ingredients for Mary's Chocolate Brownies is the last in a small series of domestic scenes on canvas measuring 60cmW x 50cmH.
My next plan is to take what I have been doing here and hopefully apply to some new and larger figurative works on canvas.
Mary's Chocolate Brownies:
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
150g plain flour
90g pecan nuts
Grease 25cm square baking dish, and preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Melt chocolate and butter together over a double saucepan. Remove from stove and stir in sugar, vanilla, eggs, flour and nuts.
Stir until mixture just comes together. Pour into baking dish and level off.
Bake until the mixture is set but not dry, about 25 minutes.
DON'T OVERCOOK.......the top should be soft to touch, the brownies will firm as they cool but should remain moist and fudgy.
Cool in the pan and then cut into squares.
*Serve after school with a chocolate milkshake and a plate of fruit.
It is Monday the 6th of March. I'm at home.
I have had a good break from the desktop over the holidays. So here I am cleaning up 99 unread emails, paying bills and booking seats to the Richmond v Carlton game on the 23rd March.
And baking... The never fail Custard Powder Sponge Cake for afternoon Tea...here it is...
And back to painting... I am finally coming to the end of the Doggies work. Most of it has been A4 acrylic on canvas paper. Over the last month I have added to the collection with, at this stage about five paintings; oil on canvas. (I will put them up shortly, either here, on my shop or on Instagram. Instagram is much easier to load images than it is here. It is a lot quicker as it can all be done easily from the phone. Details will follow when they are up.)
After having worked on the smaller A4 acrylic pieces it has been good to go back to using oil on canvas. The acrylics are great for speed and quick drying time. They are a great back up if I am stuck at home due to school holidays or sickness. The acrylics are bright and vibrant and work really well when diluted with a medium. Given they are on paper they frame up well in either a simple black or white frame.
The oils on the other hand are much slower to work with in terms of drying time but this can be beneficial in that compositions can be changed and altered and scraped back as required.
The oils also have a capacity that enables you to work into them and build upon layers that can become quite sculptural, and almost velvet like in texture and lustre.
For a while now I have been wanting to paint in a way that is less dependant on either what I see directly in front of me, or on a reference photograph. So, I began by going back to my domestic scenes that I began with years ago and have worked at bringing in a newer approach that incorporates memory and imagination too, and a method that is hopefully freer and less academic in style.
Domestic Scene with the new Kitchen Aid above is the very first one I did. I have taken a similar approach with my bulldog footy images too, where the reality is diminished, the colours have been heightened and flattened; and the emphasis is on both narrative and expression.
We shall see how this progresses throughout the year. It is a process, undoubtedly.
Back soon, it's time for cake.
Things are a bit all over the place.
I participated in the Cityscape en plain air painting day with the Glen Eira Artists Society earlier this month. I found a spot at the back of the chemist that fronts on to Glen Huntly Rd. Tucked away it was, but I was able to park my car and not have to lug stuff too far.
Here are some progress shots:
The weather was excellent. Warm and sunny with some shade. The Elsternwick Traders put on a mini carnival down in the newly designed Elsternwick plaza so there was a great response and atmosphere on what was a leisurely Sunday afternoon.
I did a quick ink sketch to familiarise myself with the important elements of the composition; sketched up in chalk, a layer of thin paint to block in certain colour areas and then a finale of thicker paint applied quickly, in part because my back was sore, and in part to capture the sunlight and its shadows before they shifted.
I spent about 2 -3 hours between set up and pack up on the piece. It was covered insects at the end, attracted to the yellows, I think.
Exhibition: Cityscape currently on in the Annexe gallery at Glen Eira Town Hall, Glen Eira Rd, Caulfield.
26/11/2016 - 11/12/2016
Ok, it's on again The Annual Footy Art Show at the Artists Garden, Fitzroy Nursery, 390 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, although on a smaller scale than in previous years.
This years theme is 'Women in Football'.
For the last year or so I have been experimenting somewhat. I am always attracted to the graphic quality of an image for its simplicity. The problem for me is that it can take away the painterliness of a painting if I let it become too graphic and too stylised. And at the same time, I am also drawn to the loose lines that seem to come in a freer way when I draw.
My goal is to somehow bring the two together, comfortably.
With this painting, I feel as though I have had some success at marrying the two.
To see the whole painting and make your own judgement call down and visit the nursery during this 2016 finals season.
I've put up some images of this painting of the stand at Punt Road. And some of the quick sketches I did at the ground. The Tigers were training (well....they appeared to be) on this particular day so I could only get a distant view from Punt Rd.
Walking around the ground I discovered the museum was open. As it turned out, I had a fabulous tour with the curator, Roland, I think his name was, who undoubtedly is an expert in all things Yellow and Black. His own personal collections, many of which are in the museum, have been accumulated over his lifetime. Team photos, footy trinkets from cereal packets, swap cards and the rest, are just some of the items he has bought at Camberwell market or had donated to him.
Punt Road Oval is beautifully located with a backdrop of gum trees and open space in the area behind the stand. The stand has a curved footprint and the upper deck really embraces the shape of the oval.
At the Punt Road end of the stand, The Jack Dyer Stand, an old sign remains intact. It reads clearly Vickers Gin over a space that must have been the bar. With crowds that on occasions exceeded 40,000 people in the 1940's, one can only imagine what this area would have been like for a spectator.
In fact, it is probably difficult to imagine in these relatively affluent times. Without modern sanitation and facilities to accomodate so many, these spaces must surely have had an atmosphere, all of their own.
For the painting I had a look at some old photos. At some stage there was clearly a traditionally white picket fence, possibly up until the 1950's. The painting is not of one year in particular, rather a reimagining of the ground as it has been.
I came across a player I hadn't heard of Billy Barrot, prominent it seems in the mid to late 1960's. He was a dual premiership player and the 1965 Best and Fairest player of the year.
He was also known as Bustling Billy for the way he could work through the pack on the field. The genesis of players names is an interesting quirk in the establishment of personalities in the game of Australian Rules football.
I scouted through some old You Tube footage of him playing at the MCG. Even though I have no living memory of Billy, something about it all sounded familiar, in both sound and vision, that I wonder if it was the backing lullaby of my infancy.
The Jack Dyer stand is magnificent in its restored glory, particularly in its' yellow and black trimmings on the fretwork. Looking at bits of missed paint work and the old pictures I came across it seems the fretwork in the 1960's would have been a more traditional Brunswick or bottle Green and Cream combination.
I plan to go back to Punt Road on a day that I can hopefully access the ground and have another look around.
The finished work is Oil on canvas, 76cmW x 61cmH and is available $725
A couple of new pieces done over this season, not yet over.
I'm curious and intrigued by the old footy ground, no longer in use for AFL games. There is something about a disused stand that echoes with the faint whispers from eras and lives gone by.
Together with the people, the players, the crowd and the geography of its suburban back lay, something within this mix is, I find, compelling.
Exhibition of Footy Art in Mildura opens end of August
and an article in the Stonnington leader
It is 7:30 am and I am lying in bed with a cup of tea, thinking about how best to bring my artwork to some sort of resolution.
Today is the last day of Art Town's two live art weekends. I will be back in Maddock Street, near Windsor station.
(Background: Art Town is an open call to artists by the people at Chapel Street Precinct to create a work that encapsulates the life, spirit, history....of the area. As artists we are given two Live Art Weekends in which we are required to work out in public, along Chapel Street, Greville Street, or any other hub pertinent to our work. Art Town invites the public to watch the process of creating; thereby creating an audience that can engage with an artist, their working space and at times, the work itself. The works are then installed at the Chapel Off Chapel Gallery for an exhibition from the 26/4/2016. It is a unique project in Melbourne. Here is a link to my interview and background in last weeks Stonnington Leader here)
After mucking around with my painting yesterday for the first hour or so, I finally gained some traction when I went back into the portrait. It takes a little time to settle into a working 'zone'.
My goal with this painting was to capture the spirit of Chapel Street life within the public space of the no. 78 tram.
The painting subject and composition is set to reflect an image on a digital device. Hence, yesterday morning I had set out to place icons within the white space below the cropped painting in the middle.
After laying out or blocking in shapes and colours to represent social media icons, I decided the piece had become unnecessarily detailed, busy and somewhat too "lollly" in its look.
I rubbed out theses icons (the beauty of oils) and left three simpler icons instead. Happier, I then decided to work up the central image and portrait itself. I had been procrastinating and obfuscating my way around the canvas.
As I am not working from any one image in particular, rather a collective memory, from experience and, of course, the ink sketches, I photographed my daughter to use as reference for the face. ( I spent last Saturday on the 78 tram between Chapel Street and North Richmond doing some ink works on paper, a terrific day)
It can be awkward enough when you are noticed drawing in the public sphere, more so on a tram as people are so close and watch your progress. When I work in a small sketchbook, it much easier to be discreet, in fact, people are generally so engrossed on their phones, iPods, iPads and laptops, that most often the public are oblivious.... So taking photos of people on trams was not something I could do. (There is quite possibly a law against it too, but I'm not sure).
I am much happier painting this way as it forces me to be more creative and imaginative. Using memory and feeling helps me to condense and simplify forms and focus on expression.
Yesterdays weather was perfect. Hopefully today, Sunday, will be similar.
Before heading out though, I need to attack the kitchen. I have been neglectful of some housekeeping in the last few days. The dishwasher smells, as no one, myself included, thought to turn it on....and so the benches are littered with dirty dishes. The small saucepan has the remnants of last nights SPC alphaghetti, the larger saucepan, pumpkin soup. Both have dried crusts around the edges and the insides, so they badly need scraping.
Toast crumbs dot the timber bench surface.
Being busy with Art Town yesterday, Saturday 9/4/2016, meant that I could not watch or listen to the footy. I missed the Coodabeens, my favourite radio show and wasn't really in a position to don my headphones whilst painting in public. People come up and like to chat, which I love.
Richmond's game against the Adelaide Crows seems to have been a good game to have missed. I will do catch up footy with Gerard (Whately) on 774 on Monday.
Time to get moving.
(I also rubbed out the last remaining icons on the bottom section of painting. Back to a white space, for now)
Exhibition will be at the Chapel Off Chapel Gallery from 26/4/2016 - 14/5/2016
@ 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
P.S. Thinking later about the tin of alphaghetti ..... unless I bought it accidentally, it could well have been quite a few years old, the youngest is 10....anyway, bottulism doesn't seem to have taken hold in the days since. All is good.
Beds are made.
The kitchen is clean.
Yesterday was fairly productive. Finished off the portrait, worked a little bit on the hands... they still need a little bit of tidying up and definition.
There are probably figurative anomalies. I will consider which to fix and which to leave alone. I'm not keen to lose imperfections at a cost to overall expressionistic feeling.
As a whole I am reasonably satisfied that the work is coming to a conclusion... for now.
This painting will be the first in which I have painted a portrait in public. Usually, I prefer to focus on portraits without any distraction in the safety of the studio. Anyway, good, bad or otherwise, it captures the mood that I wished to create.
From a painting point of view, it was interesting to consider the effect that the outdoor light may have had. When I got the painting back into my studio on Saturday, I had planned to finish off the face there. However, the indoor lighting was too difficult to work with...I couldn't see the face the way I could see it outside. I'm wondering if the outdoor light creates a softer image?...or is my eyesight failing me?@?
I finished the day off with GB, a beer and a burrito at Fonda in Chapel Street.
I will post the finished image after the exhibition.
And, many thanks to all the people who stopped by to talk, compliment, critique, discuss, photograph and to just give their two bobs worth; to the yr 7 boy curious about my use of one point perspective, the lady with red lipstick and chihuahua who said she 'can't even draw a stick figure" and the islander man with the bomber scarf who barracks for Essendon because he likes their colours and knows '"nothing about football"!@ it was great to meet and talk with you all. Without you, there would be no inspiration to create. Thanks.