Friday, November 29, 2013

Sketchy Portraits

I had a moment this week. Well a bit more than a moment actually. I looked around at all the work I've been doing, paintings, sculptures, pig things and barrels and splashes and all of it, and I just couldn't see any good in it. I felt dissociated from it and really couldn't understand what it was all about. And that feeling has lingered somewhat.
I recognise it as a spell of self doubt. The kind of event that encourages you to quit. And I'm pretty sure it will pass. So to combat it, I'm going back to basics and knocking out some quick portraits. Practice, Practice, Practice. I bring a picture up on the monitor, I set up my easel next to it with my brushes and some white paint, some black paint and my grey mud jar. And I pretend I'm painting a sitting subject. Speed is critical and I'm trying not to be fussy.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Aspirational Homes Revisited

I found I was really not liking that mass of dark blue sky so I ripped out the masking tape and laid in a few stripes. To my surprise, for something so simple, I like this painting a whole lot more now.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Aspirational Homes

This painting has been quicker, and a lot more fun than the last one. Referencing a photo from the local real estate pages, I drew directly onto a prepared canvas with a small squirrel hair brush, then laid washes over the top and blocked in colours. 
While I'm sure anyone is free to advertise in the pages where this image was found, the majority of homes on display, represent the higher end of the market. Aspirational properties in desirable suburbs. You can imagine the owners sitting down with their Architects and declaring "Money's no object!" But I've no real right to criticize. We've all been swept along with the "Home Beatiful" road show of recent decades.
Over that I have drawn some men dragging a pig off to be slaughtered. It's from the Romanian celebration of "Ignat" which happens every year in December. A religious ceremony and apparently, according to custom, the pigs dream of knives the night before.
Anyway, there's been a good mix of sloppy painting, scratching, masking, drawing and troweling so I'm happyish. I'll just keep moving on I guess.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Some Kind of Goodbye - Love love Studio

Love Love Studio is closing down at the end of the year. Final show opens tomorrow night. Yesterday I set-up my concrete life preservers with rocks in a fish tank filled with water. It's amongst some great art by great local artists. Should be a massive night.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Truth of Leadership

Painting's a funny thing. I'm sure there's something in it for me, but I can't quite find it. Subject aside, there are lots of things I like in this painting. A brush stroke, a highlight, contrasting tones and colour complements, many of the elements work quite well. Still I'm left with a mild feeling of dissatisfaction. Then I look again and it seems alright. I'll just leave it alone for a time I think. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Piggy in the Mirror - Revisited

So after some crazy shaping with a sanding disk, the pig mirror is finished. I cut a backing board and decided it was an opportunity for a secret painting. And it's great, I love it! 
It's funny, I've been agonising about how to paint, and what sort of paintings I want to make, then I quickly knocked out this little pigs head based on a sketch of something else I've been working on and it's spot on. Just the right mix of drawing and shading. A limited pallet of analogous colours. Makes me feel like I've been trying too hard. Did I mention that I've also had a couple of beers.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sculpture for the Senses

Sculptors Queensland are holding an exhibition in the foyer of Waterfront Place, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane CBD opening tonight and running for the next two weeks. My little Split Pig sculpture is showing alongside around 40 other pieces by the members of SQ. All up it is quite an amazing display of craftsmanship.
I can't make it to the opening night but I will be manning the exhibition on the morning of Monday 11th and again in the afternoon of Thursday the 14th. So if you're in the city, stop by and say hello.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Painting Again

I started a painting this week. I've been thinking about getting back to painting for a while. I had this plan of combining abstract backgrounds with figurative elements while also including some drawing and collage and anything that struck me as fun that did not include a brush. I've been spending time looking at paintings by artists that I like who do the sorts of things I've been thinking maybe I might like to do....and then I did this.

I assembled a collection of objects, including a number of my own sculptures, some toys, a painting and a piece by Karl de Waal, took a photo, gridded it up and transferred the outline to a canvas. This is the first layer of paint and now I will go back and add more layers, maybe change a few colours and fix some of the drawing.
It's a long way from what I'd planned to do but I had the idea I should try making a painting this way before I did those other things. A lot of artists make paintings this way. I wanted to see how I felt about making a painting this way. 

It's still hard work. The acrylic paint dry quickly so you have to work fast and small. There are things about i t I like and things I like less. I'm mindful of my earlier painting tutor Nameer Davis suggesting that most paintings look ugly before they start to look good. In an interview, Australian sculptor Ken Unsworth tells of how he came to realise he would never be a painter and how, as an artist, he struggled with the idea that he just couldn't paint. When I'm feeling not so great about painting, I'm try to block the ear that Ken's talking into and only listen with the ear closest to Nameer.