It’s been an age since I posted a new painting here, and it seems that my objective of creating 100 paintings for the year is going to be impossible. I’ve been doing two units of a visual arts degree with Curtin University these past twelve weeks, and these studies have taken up virtually all my time. However, a few paintings are now coming out of that study which I feel able to post.
This painting is of a lovely patient man called John who sat for a group of keen painters at the Gold Coast Art Society for a portrait painting workshop under the tutelage of the wonderful portrait artist, Robert Hannaford this last weekend. The essence of the Master’s wisdom: follow nature, learn how to see, keep it loose, keep revising, don’t work from photographs.
This is my tongue-in-cheek take on the Genesis story. I think it fits into my mythological series. I guess some people won’t like it because they feel that mythological stories from the Abrahamic tradition should be privileged. Obviously, I don’t think that.
The fact that the fruit of the tree of knowledge (of good and evil) is traditionally depicted as an apple strikes me as odd. It seemed to me it should be a book. Books are where we get our most dangerous and exciting ideas. And there’s nothing more dangerous than letting women get their hands on books, is there? Next thing, they start getting uppity.
The coastline around Hat Head National Park is very impressive. It’s just across the bay from South West Rocks, and has the same honey coloured granite boulders. There’s a well preserved colonial gaol there, crafted from the same local stone by the convicts. I doubt they enjoyed the project much, or the surroundings.
From Sunday 24th February the Royal Queensland Art Society is hosting an exhibition of work done in their life drawing sessions. These are my contributions. This is in addition to their usual monthly show, this time themed “Fakes and Frauds”. The gallery is at 25 Broadbeach Boulevard, Broadbeach (next to the Broadbeach Surf Lifesaving Club) and it’s open from 11-3 weekdays and 9-5 weekends. If you are wondering why I have three naked ladies and only one man, it’s because we very rarely get a male model. Nothing to do with my preferences.
All the works are for sale, by the way — a very reasonable $40.00 each for the graphite sketches (mounted on black matt board) and $80.00 each for the pen sketches, which are attractively framed.
This is another painting I’ve done for the local art society show themed “Fakes and Frauds”. I love the serene, enigmatic nudes of Alex Basanoff and his work just cried out to me – “paint me again!”. I feel there is a lot to take away from his work. The sharply defined shadow, the glowing light areas and the black background remind me of Georges de la Tour. Influence flows like a river from one artist to another, enriching as it goes.
I had another productive Sunday painting with Erna last weekend. This painting is from a photograph I took on an early morning walk at Port Macquarie. Looking into the sun doesn’t make for a very good photograph, but in paint the light and sea mist look more convincing, I think.
Here is painting 15/100 for 2013. The story of Leucothea is a very interesting one. She was once a mortal woman named Ino, sister of Semele who became a lover of Zeus. Semele died when Zeus revealed his true nature to her, (at Hera’s hidden instigation, but that’s another story). The baby Semele was carrying, who was to become the god Dionysus, was saved by Zeus, who completed the infant’s gestation by sewing him up in his thigh. The baby was given to Ino to raise, but Hera was still on the case and sent Ino’s husband into a murderous rage. Ino’s husband killed their elder son and Ino fled with her younger child, leaping off a cliff into the sea. There she became Leucothea, a sea goddess, who aided sailors in times of distress. She saved Odysseus after Poseidon had destroyed his raft by wrapping him in her bouyant white shawl.
This is painting 14/100 for the year. It’s a large one – 1m square – so it’s taken a while. It may not be quite finished yet, but it’s getting close. The painting draws on William McGregor Paxton’s painting, Nausica, with various additions, modifications, omissions and re-interpretations according to my whim.
The original painting, attached below, is about a comparatively unexciting incident in the tale of Odysseus, when he arrives back in Greece without ship, shipmates or even a loincloth to call his own. He runs into the princess of the place who happens to be doing the laundry in the nude, together with her companions (as you do). In my re-interpretation the ladies are getting excited about a ship approaching their idyllic cove. I am imagining it more as Medea sighting Jason’s ship, the Argo, approaching her home town of Colchis, hence my title.
My painting buddy, Erna, and I had a great time at the USQ McGregor Summer School from 9th to 19th January. Toowoomba turned on exceptional weather for us again, with temperatures of around 40c in our classroom, but as you can see, Max Wilks kept us painting non-stop and struggled manfully with our various bad painting habits. I think his instructions might be summed up as – observe, think, paint loosely, keep it bright and clean. I’m interested to see how his instruction will play out in my paintings over the next few months.
By the way, all the workshop paintings are for sale – $100 for the smaller ones, $150 for the larger ones, unframed. Plus postage. Send me an email if you would like one.