Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A painter celebrates inner Brisbane

Jan Jorgensen: 'Hidden treasures in Paddington, Hazelwood St'

Jan Jorgensen has been inspired to paint her city for many years now. I just received an email invite to attend the opening of this artist's show on Saturday July 4th at a rather fascinating Gallery called KILN based at 'the iconic old Paddington tram substation, a local landmark' in this inner city suburb of wonderful timber homes perched (some precariously) amidst lush vegetation and steep hills running off in every direction. Its an artist's delight to wander around gazing at the views of Paddington and other similar suburbs. A long and very winding road snakes up along the ridge starting right on the edge of the CBD and is dotted here and there with cafes, fine book shops, boutiques and even an antique emporium. Its a curious streetscape that sees commercial shopfronts and domestic dwellings huddled together...but this in itself is part of the charm!
I love that it is a truly australian version of inner city suburb...with buildings that sit well and gracefully in the climate...and look very much at home here. Three images from the artist's exhibition I have included here for the reason that they capture so beautifully the particular light and feeling of this part of the city. For anyone who has never been to brisbane they offer something of the atmosphere that still exists here even though of course the architecture is changing and the way people choose to live also is in flux. Certainly this is a part of Brisbane that always enchanted me.
Kiln also has a blog here and hosts a monthly Chamber Music event with resident ensemble The Brisbane chamber Collective. read more on their website here.

Mario's place, Spring Hill, Hl St  Oil on canvas  100 x 75

Fancy Footwork, Paddington   Oil on Belgian Linen   50 x 50 cm

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hollandaise source- from ( what is this? )

Curious?  then go to the fabulous Angela's latest post dated  6.27.2009  and titled beguilingly Hollandaise source on her endlessly entertaining and informative blog: ( what is this? ) a.k.a. parenthetically // An undisciplined record of passing fancies. Yes...that really is the name and as someone who uses their  very own everyday name for their blog I am so envious! This post is a great read and the images are riveting! Go on, have a look! I wont say any more, except that these images are from Vlisco.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lucy Vanstone ceramics studio at Brunswick Heads

On my recent trip to Byron Bay over the June long weekend to meet up with Carolyn, a vibrant artist friend from Melbourne, we visited the lovely coastal fishing town of Brunswick Heads where I was pleased to discover the ceramic studio of Lucy Vanstone (e: lucyvanstone@hotmail.com) tucked away in the hall behind St Thomas Church.Lucy opened the Wheel of life studios after settling in the area from England around 2005. Whilst holidaying at Byron over Xmas I had trawled the wonderfully colourful Bangalow market, a must see if one's visit coincides with market day, and bought two small bowls made by Lucy in her studio at Brunswick pictured below .

The image below, taken in my studio, includes the small vessels  made by Lucy that would be equally at home on a dining table being used to hold a delicious asian dipping sauce as perhaps they are here surrounded by things I love. A recent fabric print stretched onto a small square frame, seedpods, aboriginal tapping sticks, wooden beads, sea urchin shells, a chinese marble paintbrush...are perfect companions for the earthy oxide exterior of these natural looking bowls with their crackled glazed interiors. I love the absolute simplicity of their forms in the same way I love to pick to seeds and seedpods for their sheer earthiness and humble appearance.

Lucy recently showed with a group of ceramic artists from her region- in a show titled 'Our Most Easterly Edge'- at the new Brisbane Gallery FUSIONS in bustling Fortitude Valley, in close proximity to quite a number of excellent galleries and cultural venues of note. FUSIONS : Australian Network Of Clay + Glass Artists opened late last year in a very well sited converted building that was previously part of a church complex.

happy (5th) birthday Dumbo Feather! + all about Caravan

I was reading the  dumbofeather.com/blog a couple of days ago and noticed a couple of interesting posts on the blog of this magazine which was started up 5 years ago in June, 2004 by Kate Bezar. Last year my wonderful friend Louie from Newcastle sent me a subscription to this quarterly magazine which was the best gift I could have been given at the time! Dumbo feather, pass it on ...a mook- half mag, half book- features 5 'remarkable people' telling you their stories....each quarter brings 5 new stories! Its a non glossy mag with a few ads  ( of the kind you dont mind reading) and such a curious, seemingly low key approach that it actually forces me to stop and sit back a bit and find my way in to it... slowly... thoughtfully. I read Dumbo feather over a few days because I find it provoking musings on all kinds of subjects, yet  always starting with a story. Creativity, passion and integrity are the key elements in each story gathered....and it can vary from a person devoted to human rights in some remote location to one committed to baking the best sourdough bread in the world and everything in between. I find the most valuable characteristic of this wonderfully conceived mook is that much of what one reads tends to linger on the mind for days. More than most things I come across it actually leaves me restless and pondering how to shift various parts of my life around ...both small and large things...and not because of any tone of "10 sure ways to be more successful etc, etc"  which is common currency now. Instead, it is the very absense of hyped up, over-blown cliche story-telling that seems to give rise to the imaginative thinking around one's own choices and direction in a useful and timely way.

Issue 17
The other thing to pass on was found at The Nest by Dumbo feather and it was a post on the 'world's first housing resource just for creative folk' by the lovely Rebecca Wolkenstein called Caravan. Being curious I looked into it straight away and discovered the enterprising Rebecca, pictured below,

has recently soft launched Caravan as a house swap and sublet resource for creatives. Caravan are offering a month's free subscription to the first 20 people to list their properties. The free subscription can can be redeemed at any time. Remember, she says, making a listing is free! I exchanged several emails with Rebecca and she was absolutely charming and helpful. I wish her very well in this project as it provides a really wonderful possibility for interactions and exchanges between likeminded people and great places to stay with the added bonus of the affordability factor...  
Do Pass this on if you wish to see Caravan grow!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Olivia knits up some colour!

This is my mother Olivia in front of a painting of mine that seems to echo the horizontal and vertical timber detailing so prevelant in these older Qld style homes. Below are a few projects of Olivia's which are very colourful. She is primarily passionate about music... singing in particular..... mostly classical music, but has always loved sewing and creating all kinds of things for her home and others.

This is the back verandah, which is rather a pleasant place to paint. The cloth hanging over the rail was made at my studio in Melbourne many years ago when I was doing a lot of textile work. This cloth was something of a collaboration between Olivia and myself from a time long ago when she was holidaying  and looking for a creative project. I had a lot of lino-cut tiles and templates and set her up with paints and went off and came back now and then to add some colour or another layer of print. Built up rather like a patchwork quilt it has been the perfect table cloth for this tropical climate... so is well loved and has been  brought out for a great many special dinners over the years.
These 2 knitted rugs are the colourful result of a past time for Olivia where she uses wool collected here and there, then assembled into some interesting colour combinations, knitted in panels , and finally sewn up and lined. They are then given away to organisations needing donations of blankets and clothing. I had decided to purchase these 2 after falling for the one on the left. However I wasn't quick enough. Once the one on the right was completed they were bundled off as a winter contribution to hopefully someone with a love of colour as well as a need for a lovely new warm blanket. When these knitted works started evolving I could see how the influence of certain abstract paintings had wandered across to these rugs.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

2 new projects

abstracted seedpod form...inspired by living in a relatively lush, green environment for a city ... with a diversity of sub-tropical plants and trees where rainfall has been abundant of late.

from a journal page
When I started  blogging back in May I didn't quite perceive just what I would need to learn to have a well functioning blog. Just now I have finally sorted out the facility to link properly as I write a post. No doubt some have been put off to  find this previously not working. Better late than never I say! Also I have to thank Paul from the totally fabulous BibliOddyssey who gave me some excellent advice this week.
So the blog is the first new project...the second project relates to an ongoing theme in my studio that is finding new life and purpose - the  focus on seeds and seedpods. 
I had been working with a seedpod motif, rather an abstracted form, for some years. It would appear in my paintings like a talisman from who knows where. Then I relocated to Brisbane and everywhere I walked there would be seedpods falling from the trees, some light, fragile and floating in the breeze. Others were almost hefty and you had to avoid being hit on the head as they thudded to the ground. I would pick up whichever pods were around as I walked and in a short space of time I was enraptured with these prolific symbols of the abundance of nature. 
A whole series of concepts and interests began weaving together around this seed theme... a passion for knowing about the food we eat, for good cooking traditions, reverence for farmers who's slog brings this produce to our table (especially those farmers who work extra hard at eco-friendly cultivation methods), the table as a location for true conversation, the crtical political implications of the fact it is said that 6 companies- Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont. Mitsui, Aventis and Dow- now control 98% of the world's seed sales. This figures I quoted from 'ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE- A year of food life' by Barbara Kingsolver. This book was a gift from a dear friend in Newcastle (Aust), Maureen Beckett who is very involved in the timely and valuable Transitions Towns project in Newcastle and the local Permaculture movement. Seed-saving is as crucial now as it ever was, yet for entirely different reasons in many cases.
Schools are sprouting kitchen garden programmes, people are flocking to plant at least a herb garden and where possible a vegetable patch. In Australia recently many were avid watchers of 'Around the world in 80 days', UK gardener Monty Don's wonderful show on gardens around the globe. Quite a few featured gardens were in some way motivated by critical ecological and political issues faced in different communities around the world.
Artist Paul Klee wrote of the seed in his formative Notebook Vol 2: The Nature Of Nature: "despite its primitive smallness, a seed is an energy centre charged to the highest degree". This notebook is an inspiration as I currently work towards unfolding a programme that can be applied in either community and school contexts that brings together the Visual with the realm of Seeds Forms- specifically referring to these larger concerns and values around the overlooked but extraordinary world of seeds. More on this topic at a later date.

                                                                Monument in the fertile country
Paul Klee: 'Monument in the fertile country', 1929

living in the sub-tropics

Since moving to Brisbane a year ago, which is in the sub-tropics, I have enjoyed observing the abundant vegetation. Weve had a particularly wet time in the past 6 or so months...not continuously, but certainly it has broken a very tough period of drought in this region...unfortunately not all over the country though. These huge tree roots are not an uncommon sight around where I live. Perhaps not always as exposed as with this tree above.

Outside my home on either side are massive Fig Trees that provide wonderful summer shade and cool air. The berries on the trees attract bats...so there are periods of high bat activity...when the berries are ripe.

On the left of the house are the local school tennis courts which is very handy for a quick 'hit and giggle'....Wimbledon was never in my sights to say the least!

A lot of houses in the area are timber, many painted white, with others an interesting array of generally not bright colours. There are a lot of timber features in the homes here, timber lattice and decorative details inside and out...and the houses if they are of this older traditional style are known as Queenslanders and likely to be built up off the ground with room underneath for perhaps a garage and open laundry, storage and so on. Many renovations on these older homes have completely rebuilt the entire underneath area adding many rooms. The idea of in the past of having the underneath left quite open and only sheltered by lattice or palings  was that the air flow underneath made for a much cooler house in the long summer months.The green of plants, gardens and trees here is what really stands out for me  after the previous 8 years spent living in less green surrounds.
The Tennis courts do provide an interesting background noise...its not unusual to wake up to that unmistakable sound of the thwack of a racquet hitting a tennis ball. Having a home studio here is a pleasant place to conduct classes...many lessons we use the garden as a resource...one way or the other.

Recent paintings by Susan Dory

These 5 paintings are from work shown by painter Susan Dory who I first discovered on Daily Serving on a June 20, 2007 post and was taken at once by the colour and composition of her work. Daily Serving writes "Dory creates formalist paintings that often investigate memory, private life and the notion of sentimentality through the application of colour. Her paintings are characteristically minimal, employing elements of repetition and restraint.The artist is interested in how colour evokes certain emotions and how colours can be manipulated to elicit certain psychological responses".
I find these works particularly engaging. 'Purlieu' is quite arresting the way the colours are heightened by their relationship to those surrounding them...that particular green band really sings wholeheartedly when a line of red sits so close. Thanks Susan for allowing me to post these wonderful paintings!
Refer to the Daily Serving for an expansive showcase of contemporary art of all genres.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

thinking about colour...

Just before Easter ...a few months ago now...I started offering classes and workshops again after a considerable break due to relocation from one city to another, and all the accompanying readjustments that come with such changes. Things kicked off with a special one-off workshop for 20 participants organised by The Colour Society of Queensland in April conducted at the Qld University of Technology right next to the Botanical gardens in the heart of the City. I could not have asked for a better launch in the new city. It was a wonderful energised 3.5 hour session with much focused discussion between small groups, a series of lively concepts for people to play with on paper, a show and tell segment where people had brought their favourite items from home that could hint at their own colour story...and one task that received great feedback...participants had to employ their least preferred colours all at once in a simple design based on geometric shapes...working with colour pencils and other mediums to hand. This was a very engaging exercise that proved to have very curious results for many. 
Since that day I have had contact with quite a few wonderful people who attended. See my bloglist for Chrissy Foreman's Blog. She came to visit at my studio and was the inspiration for me to get started blogging...Many thanks Chrissy! She has just completed a Mural project which she documented on her blog and you can read about there. Moving to a new city challenges one to find new connections that open doors and that day was a wonderful opening in different directions. Big thanks also to Karin who is a bright, fast moving star connecting people all over to new ideas, people and places. How wonderful that at a  gathering of people to look more closely at colour I should meet so many vibrant people who in some cases are still making gestures of hospitality and connection months later.
I followed this with a 4 hour workshop on textile printing and painting with a small group and then this term i have had 2 different classes start up for school age students once a week. One can learn so much facilitating learning for others. I love this way it seems to work...that in the application to finding those things to stimulate the minds and souls of one's class you discover what you need to think about more yourself. 
Below is a rather unusual find...and it is a wonderful example of how colour found in nature can be quite thrilling and almost shocking at times. When visiting an artist on her bush property north of Sydney sometime ago I noticed this extraordinary piece of electric green moss like funghi growing under a rock ledge in spectacular bushland

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Alice from: we gathered in spring

gatheredinspring.blogspot.com is where you can find the wonderful work of Alice Stevenson, a British freelance Illustrator who graduated in 2005 and has been in demand ever since. Alice kindly offered to allow me to post her work here. (Thank you Alice!)  I looked at her website as well as blog for these images below. Her commission work has been various as are her ideas and images. The colour story is very strong and I enjoyed seeing the plant and figurative forms shifting in and out of abstraction with layered compositions and pattern creating interest. last works are drawings from the blog whereas some earlier work is for commissioned projects.


books--illustrations--science--history--visual--Materia Obscura--eclectic bookart.   From a post on 9th June,  titled  Antipodean Fantasy :  Random Australiana

Australian Fantasy 019

 'the beauty of the garden took her breath away' by Pixie O'Harris in "Pearl pinkie and the Sea Greenie' (1935)

Australian Fantasy 020

"I will not have Cow-fish in my garden" by Pixie O'Harris from the same book as above.

Australian Fantasy 006

Cover image of "the Lone hand" (1909) by DH Souter The Lone Hand began as an ambitious project, an Australian magazine of broad scope and high quality, by the standards of the time.

Australian Fantasy 016

This May Gibbs poster was for the first Infant Welfare campaign by the NSW Health Dept (before 1920)

Australian Fantasy 004

Magazine cover by May Gibbs (1914)

Australian Fantasy 017

"The Florist Shop" by Margaret Clark ( mid 1920's)
On this wonderful weblog you can read more on the illustrators from the 'Golden Age' of Australian book illustration, particularly in the 'fantasy' genre. If this is of interest it will be worth the step of looking up   bibliodyssey.blogspot.com  to find out more.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ruth Gurvich

Ruth Gurvich was born in Argentina in 1961 and has lived and worked in Paris since 1987. I noticed her work on Poppytalk, then went to 
ruth.gurvich.free.fr/#  and found these other works dated from 2000 onwards. I love the construction...so very sculptural and with that quality of stillness that is so arresting.

Furie  2000 acrylic on tyvec paper

Dessins I: Vase 2005 crayon, s/montage en papier



Morandi  2004 papier 


Vases 2007


Pile I,  2007, Porcelaine

October 26,  2007  Poppy talk featured ruth gurvich's work on a post. Click on Poppytalk on my Bloglist to go to this post.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Having used a Moleskin weekly diary for the past 6 years I am quite a fan of the size, feel, style and quality of paper used in moleskins. My front pages were always filled with designs onto which addresses and contact deatils were written. Data pages were full of recipes from magazines read in cafes...and scribbles and odd painterly moments were added at whim. Have a look at these wonderfully diverse images from the pages of Moleskins that people have sent in to www.moleskin.com from around the globe.

singing for love

'singing for love'  contributed by Gizem Vural on 24 May 2009

Deer Migration

Chad Grohman contributed this on 4 May, 2009...quote from this artist: "these deer started off the Migration series that plays out in my different Moleskins".

travel in japan : kyoto+tokyo
travel in japan: kyoto + tokyo  contributed by Boinot Isabelle on 26 April 2009


Carlos Ascensio:  'Lifer" on 10 April, 2009


Steve Loya : 6 April 2009


Constanca Lucas : 'Atlanticos' 6 april, 2009


zyskind isabelle  6 April, 200o


'Russia'    Jenny Meilihove 6 april, 2009

Si sta pi├╣ comodi dentro una poesia.

Maria Pia Erice  2 April, 2009

David Roger Rorimpandey

David Roger Rorimpandey  19 march 2009

Pascal Tessier

Pascal Tessier  19 March, 2009

Paola Zampa

Paola Zampa: 19 March, 2009

zonia szostkiewicz

Zonia Szostkiewicz  19march, 2009

Alejandro Bardas

Alejandro Bardas  19 march, 2009

bai mitsu

Bai Mitsu  19th March, 2009

Stefanie Augustine

Stefanie Augustine  19 March 2009

Lucio Lazzara

Lucio Lazzaro 19 march, 2009

Guilheme Dietrich

Guilheme Dietrich  19 march, 2009

Andrea Musso

Andrea Musso, 19 March, 2009