Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Classical Guitar

Trying out the Esteve GR08 guitar 

I've always loved listening to classical guitar music and I greatly admire a great classical guitarist. I had guitar lessons for three years from when I was 12 years old, but rarely touched the instrument until recently. I also had a desire to compose a tune one day, any tune, so long as it was something one could play. Over the last twelve months I've been attempting to write small, and simple, compositions. This one, titled FAREWELL, was the first one I kept. The other day I bought a classical guitar, an Esteve GR08, and it sounds fantastic, especially on the 4th, 5th and 6th strings, and a good guitar does make a difference when one practices.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Drawing Margeurite

The next profile portrait in my series is of Margeurite Brown, manager of the Print Council of Australia. After a number of charcoal drawings, I decided to change mediums, so this is the first portrait of the series drawn in pencil. Mediums can effect the way you think, so the pencil portraits emphasise line perhaps more so than charcoal, which lends itself more to chiaroscuro. Of course each medium can achieve both kinds of rendering, but I get a more linear feel for a portrait through pencil, and a more light and shade feel through charcoal. Margeurite sat for about three hours with a very short break in between.

 Portrait of Margeurite Brown, 2018, pencil on paper, 36 x 25 cm

Friday, March 2, 2018


My painting below, titled Track Record, has been included in an exhibiton at Charles Nodrum Gallery until March 17th. The exhibition is called HEADS AND BODIES, and explores the theme of human and animal bodies, sometimes in relation to each other and at other times as a self contained entity.

An online catalogue may be viewed HERE. There is also a 32 page catalogue available which is displayed below. The cover is a painting by Russell Drysdale.


Charles Nodrum Gallery
267 Church Street
Richmond 3121
(61 3) 94270140

Half Caste Woman, 1960, oil on canvas, 91.5 x 71 cm

Track Record, 2016, oil on canvas, 111.5 x 83.5 cm

Friday, February 23, 2018

Drawing Tom

Tom sat for about four hours. Sometimes it's tricky to stop a drawing, but I wanted it to remain unfinished. I love Hockney's unfinished approach to drawing, perhaps it plays on the mind, as the viewer might imagine what has been left out. But also, the state of the unfinished is what a person is too - we're all works in progress.

Portrait of Tom Alberts, 2017, charcoal and white pastel on paper,

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Moon Rising

Moon Rising, 2018, oil on linen, 46 x 28cm

This painting is a continuation in the series where moonlight features as the main subject matter. It's a variation on my painting titled Winter Moon from the previous post. I was looking at that painting and got the idea of doing another version of it, but cut in half. A vertical format seems to reach up, which expresses the feeling of height and expansion, which a moon in the sky conveys. The vertical compositions of Arthur Streeton were also an inspiration as he in turn was inspired by Whistler. Whistler was influenced by the compositions of Japanese ukiyo-e artists, especially Utagawa Hiroshige at a time when Japanese prints made their way into Western culture after the mid-19th Centry, also known as Japonism.

Arthur Streeton - Pacific Blue, 1890, oil on canvas, 91.4 x 50.8 cm

James Whistler - Variations in Violet and Green, 1871, 61 x 35.5 cm

Utagawa Hiroshige - Six Jewel Rivers, 1857, ink and colours on paper, 36.2 x 24.4 cm

Although I'm aiming to catch a mood rather than a location, I often visit the sight in the evening and start the painting the next morning, based on my general memory of what I saw. I find that if I just make things up too much, it looks as if the picture has lost that touch of reality which I like to get into the paintings, even though my aim is not the details of a scene.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Winter Moon

Winter Moon, 2016, oil on linen, 36 x 46 cm

A painting based on my viewing of Lake Wendouree at night. Then moon wasn't really in that position, but I incorporated it into the picture based on sketches from life, make believe and the dictates of the composition. It's almost impossible to paint a picture like this from life because this time of day only lasts a few minutes - too light to be really dark, but too dark to be twilight.

click on image to enlarge it

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Portrait of Julie

My next profile portrait in the series is of Julie McLaren, curator at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Sometimes the drawing turns out a little larger than I planned, but I go with it as the portrait unfolds. Charcoal is a medium I love to use but I don't feel the same sense of precision as I do with pencil. Each medium has its advantages, and I do like the impact charcoal has from a distance. I often work on the portrait after the sitter has gone as it's easier to think about the drawing when there is no-one around.  I also like a drawing to look as if it's been made by hand, that is, the marks of the charcoal have not been smoothed out too much.

Portrait of Julie McLaren, 2017, charcoal and white pastel on paper, 37.25 x 29 cm