Thursday, June 22, 2017

What's on the Easel

Apart from a large landscape to finish (joining others to go to a July exhibition); my main focus is FLORALS. Some new work for Purple Noon Gallery, and a series of works destined for 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace in September.

'Repose II"
92 x 45cm
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Another exhibition date looms over the horizon - actually the opening is next week so the work is just about done. But before I formally invite you, let me tell you a story behind one of the paintings in the show.

I wanted to paint a work that would sit well with a floral painting that I had completed some time before. I am currently exploring a new direction incorporating enigmatic portraits in my contemporary style. The floral painting is of the boronia flower, a genus of about 160 plants all endemic to Australia, so named after a young assistant botanist named Francesco Borone.

The best account I have found comes from the words of Ian Fraser, click on his name to follow his blog

On 1 November 1794, in Athens, a very talented young field botanist met a tragic death; furthermore it was a death that has become enveloped in mythology and mystery. His name was Francesco Borone, and he was the protegé of the great English patron of botany, Sir James Smith. Four years later Smith fulfilled a promise he made on hearing of Borone's death, and named a genus of very beautiful Australian shrubs for him; the flowering of Boronia is one of the highlights of spring in many parts of southern Australia.

Originally employed by Smith as a domestic servant, Borone soon showed his interest and intelligence and became a valued botanical field assistant. With Smith's recommendation, he accompanied the eminent Swedish botanist Adam Azelius to Sierra Leone then, fatefully, went with the great John Sibthorp to Greece to collect for the monumental Flora Graecae. Recovering from a bout of fever (which may have been something he picked up in west Africa) he appears to have sleep-walked out of a narrow hotel bedroom window high above the street. It sounds an odd tale, but we have Sibthorp's direct account in a letter written the same day to Smith. Unless Sibthorp and at least two assistants and companions of Borone were in some strange conspiracy - and there is no reason to suppose such a thing - the bizarre accident seems to have been just that. (Sibthorp also speculated that it was possible that Borone had mistaken the window; he was used to stepping out of the one across the room to walk on the hotel terrace.)

More versions of his death evolved to touch the imaginations of the tender hearted. But this one is deemed the correct one.

Boronia, a sweet flower, A lovely tribute.

Remembering Francesco
Diptych 65 x 96cm 
Exhibition Time!

If you are in Sydney, you are invited to an exhibition of mine and fellow artist Julie Simmons' works.

Held at the Depot Gallery, 2 Danks Street Waterloo for 2 weeks. opens 15 November.

If you cant make the show and are interested in viewing the work please send me an email and we will send you a catalogue.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spring Sunshine

Thought I'd start the blog with a nice title. Nothing to do with the content. Sorry.
September has been a blur for me in retrospect, I've been kept pretty busy with family matters and have interspersed these moments with bursts of frenzied art making.

Pictured is a commission finished recently and delivered today "The Sound of Jubilee", 92cm X 106cm, acrylic on canvas. Not the best photo, but it suits the season don't you think?

I am feeling pretty excited about future projects coming up - just as well. I counted no less than FIVE rejections from major shows this month. 3 shows of which I've been a finalist in the past. 

Ah well. Move on. 

I did win a 1st prize at the Orange Blossom Art Awards Castle Hill (and a highly commended, and commended). And sales are happening regularly, so I have no right to complain. Certainly doesn't stop me from entering - the competition is of high quality and there's a lot of brilliance out there, which will make it all the sweeter next time I "get in".

Yes, move on.

pictured above "Guardian of My Heart" 76cm square acrylic on canvas.

I also have been printmaking again. I will be one of the artists representing The Hawkesbury Printmakers" in a Community Group show at the Regional Gallery later in the year, so I thought I'd better oil up the press and get to work.


Today I also booked a solo show in Sydney next year that will be all printmaking - the first time I've done that. That's exciting.

Anyhow, I'm going to try and get up early tomorrow and paint so signing off.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Living Dangerously

Well, I am living on the edge. I have taken to setting up the easel in the loungeroom and paint in constant danger of dogs, cats and personal knocks of paint, palette, water and canvas onto carpet.

Reason for this madness? I am cold, I like the company of fellow humans, I am closer to the kettle.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) I cannot bring the larger canvasses up the hill into the house, so I have been a little lax in finishing important commissions and works for upcoming competitions.

This week Springwood Art Show opens, and I am exhibiting two brand new works:

Acrylic on Canvas
60 x 50cm

"The Beauty of Stones"
Acrylic on Canvas
60 x 60cm
For details on the show open just for this weekend see the LINK

Next week, the The Royal Art Society will be having their annual Spring exhibition. Opens Friday 2nd September.

The week after The Orange Blossom Festival Annual Art Awards opens in Castle Hill.

Hope you are all well, and that I continue to keep paint off the carpet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Start Spinning Those Plates

My mind is very full at moment, I have a few extra things in my life to think about and the arts business has filled up my dance card also. All is fabulous, so I shall enjoy the ride...


"The Bush, My Lover" acrylic 65 x 55cm
Not one but 2 notifications came in recently! I am a finalist in the Corangamarah Art Prize with "The Bush, My Lover"

and a finalist in the Flanagan Art Prize with "This Summer Zone".

"This Summer Zone" acrylic 65 x 55cm

I used to live in Ballarat, Victoria. That would be very handy right now - would save me courier fees and I could drive to the openings!

What Have I Been Doing

Patricia Devine (my Mum!) and I at Purple Noon 
I visited an exhibition opening at Purple Noon Gallery. "Memories of Seasons Past" Wonderful textiles by Tony Meskauskas and delightful collagraphs by one of my favourite printmaker - painters Madelaine Szymanski.

An acrylics workshop at Castle Hill Art Society kept me so busy that I was unable to take a photo. You will have to imagine the lovely pieces being created.

Ku-Ring-Gai Art Society show was hung this week and I was honoured to be asked to co - judge the exhibition along with renowned artist Kasey Sealy. What a great space to hang paintings - the ramp to the different levels at St.Ives Shopping Village has been refurbished and lit and there are about 280 paintings to see.

Coming Up

Pirtek Still Life Award, Bowral. 22 - 31 July

Singleton Art Prize 22 - 26 July

"Naked" at The Ferry Artists Gallery, Wisemans Ferry opens this Saturday 23 July

Acrylics Demonstration, Bankstown Art Society Friday 29 July

A little scraperboard
that I did for the "Naked" exhibition,
Wisemans Ferry

Monday, July 04, 2016

Slow and Steady

I haven't picked up all of my work from Purple Noon Gallery yet, but I must say I am very happy with the outcome of the exhibition "Kaleidoscope".

Happiness comes in several forms for a working artist. Three key ones for me are: SALES - yes I had sales enough to pay the bills and more besides.  EXPOSURE - yes good publicity was generated and I had visitors throughout the exhibition, PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT - I produced new work and am excited at the direction I might take in the future, and the show looked fabulous. Another element I look for is - OPPORTUNITY FOR FUTURE INCOME. Happy to say that was covered as well, I have some commissions, and have booked in a couple more exhibitions in the next 12 months.

So, post exhibition I should have cleaned up my studio, evaluated old works and made some sort of plan for the future. I have done some planning.... but my studio is in a woeful state of disarray. My usual procedure is to clean a space before I start a new project/canvas so I had better keep with that!

At KAB Gallery with "Cannonade"

Took a day trip up to Terrigal last week and left some new work with KAB Gallery. I look forward to similar expeditions up the the Gold Coast and down to Melbourne in the next few months. Always nice to visit the galleries that I am a part of.

I finished a few paintings since I wrote last.

From left: "Skull with Gerberas" 53x35cm Mixed Media, "Legacy" Mixed Media 76x55cm ,
"Watchtower" Mixed Media71x49cm

From left: "The Family Thorne" 36x36cm Acrylic, "Secret Garden" 20x15cm Mixed Media,
 "If There Be Any Virture" 92x105cm Acrylic

My PLAN for the coming 8 months is to finish at least one painting a week. So glad we are on the other side of the winter solstice. I need every extra minute of daylight I can get!

Coming up

TERM 3 at The Royal Art School, Lavender Bay North Sydney starts next week. Heres some information

Camberwell Art Show
The Camberwell Art Show celebrates 51 years as one of Australia’s leading art events for established and emerging artists.
Dates: 8 July - Gala opening night (6.30pm to 10.00pm).
Regular opening 9-17 July 2016.
Hours: Weekends 10.00am - 5.00pm, Weekdays 10.00am - 9.00pm.
Venue: Swinburne University Advanced Technologies Centre, 427 Burwood Road, Hawthorn 3122.
One Day Workshop (with me!), Castle Hill 17 July
Im not sure what spaces are left, should be a fun day. Contact Details

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Winter Sunshine

I had to title today's blog that. I've been spending this morning standing on top of a cliff painting a local view of the Hawkesbury River - as yet unfinished, so you wont be seeing it here yet. But I'll give you a glimpse of the view.

Two works completed since I last wrote a blog. Must be slacking off... Na, not really - I have some commissions to work on and I have been distracted by teaching mixed media with acrylics in my Wednesday Class at the Royal Art Society. Charcoal, collage, monotype, fun fun fun!

Visited a fellow artist's show at ArtSHINE Gallery last week. Kristine Ballard's "Paradise". Wonderful colour and a jolly good opening too!

With fellow artists Patricia Devine, Kristine Ballard & Julie Simmons

Thought for the week

I have recently not had work accepted into some juried artshows/prizes. This is a common occurrence. Thankfully, being accepted into juried artshows/prizes also happens, so I am quite happy about that.
I have been listening to other artists complain bitterly, wail and gnash their teeth etc etc. about the unfairness of it all and why oh why did they not get chosen etc.

But here in Australia they are usually a competition are they not? Which means only 1 person gets to win 1st Prize (or a finite number get to be a finalist).

So many reasons I can think of that the entry in question didnt get in (both good and bad). Assuming the art submitted was any good; how about pure logistics. Several hundred entries and only room to hang 50? Too many of the same style/theme and the curators wanted to hang a balanced show. The judges had different tastes and standards. I know there are some dodgy shows out there and sometimes you need to be "known" to get in; but its not worth exploring that. I personally think that there are just so many artists out there and are brave/good/deluded/rich etc. enough to enter. So many fabulous artists I know of dont enter shows either, for various reasons. Often the rejection is so heartfelt it demoralises.

 "What about all that entry money?" some may ask. I'm pretty sure its expensive to run a show, I doubt much profit is being made. But if it is - well, you paid it for the opportunity to have your work seen (even for a few seconds?) and for a possible inclusion in a show.  Ha, you might even call it gambling in a way - Id prefer not to call it that - more like a ticket to a roller coaster that can lift you up to artist bliss or dump you down into the depths of despair..

Dont lament and fall prostrate into a bed of chocolate (well maybe  just a little to make yourself feel better); pick yourself up and keep creating, learning, improving. Never copy the winners work thinking it will make you a winner, dont compare your work to others (unless its to improve yourself), dont get angry.


I will be spending my last Sunday at Purple Noon Gallery this week. My show "Kaleidoscope" will be ending, and I have been more than happy with it. Time to plan the next one!

Come by and say hallo.