Friday, February 26, 2010

if I was in Sydney this weekend...

I'd have to stop at the fabulous Bourke St Bakery on route to Paddington.

Once in Paddington there would be endless galleries and favourite book shops to wander into.... Berkelouw, Ariel, Gertrude and Alice... its been a while...hope they are all still there...! The Paddington markets are always fun, and the galleries... where to start.

This weekend though if I was in Sydney I would definitely be going to see my blogging friend Undercover Painter at the Harris Courtin Gallery. Inga's work I have posted on before as I am am a fan of her painterly gems and would line up to buy one in a flash. 

Tandem  Oil on canvas   12.5 x 17.5 cm

See more work at Inga Dalrymple and if you are going to be in Sydney this weekend....expecially over Paddington way...please drop in on my behalf and say hello to Inga if she happens to be there!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

message to curators

A February 14th article in the New York Times Post Minimal to the Max by Roberta Smith came to my attention through two posts by painter Deborah Barlow at Slow Muse. Its a strong article which painters may well be drawn to read at length...and certainly a visit to the two Slow Muse posts takes the discussion further. Deborah reports in the 2nd one on the intense discussion and blog activity this article generated among artists and others.
Smith concludes her provocative and what I feel is timely article with a plea to curators: Whatever your'e doing right now, do something else next. She argues painting has been largely ignored in the Art Museums of New York, unless its that of a older master such as Kandinsky.
The paragraph "what's missing is art that seems made by one person out of intense personal necessity, often by hand. A lot but not all of this kind of work is painting, which seems to be becoming the art medium which dares not speak its name where art museums are concerned."
Worth reading Slow Muse here  firstly and here if your interest is sparked.

Terry Winters Knotted Graphs 6 2008 Oil on linen 77 x 98 inches.
Terry Winters Double Gravity, 1984, Oil on linen 

Terry Winters is one of the artists Smiths names as deserving of a major museum show and still overlooked. Phillip Taaffe is another artist I particulary like who she names on her 'list'. 
Philip Taaffe's New York studio photographed in 1993
Philip Taaffe's New York studio photographed in 1993
Philip Taaffe,  Radient Study (1988,89) Encaustic, relief print, silkscreen on linen

Saturday, February 20, 2010

something you just have to do

Ngurrara: The Great Sandy Desert  Canvas 10 metres x 8 metres
Found at Read more on this art work here.
George Peterson at

Robyn at Art Propelled has quite a following and tonight I discovered a series of works and posts I was interested to learn more about. Wise words from Robyn via Maslow here. Work by robyn Gordon below.

a certain mood

Nicholas Wilton - read here.
The artist's studio
Read a great post about the artist's involvement in The Redford Centre here - Robert Redford's inspiring not for profit enterprise - some people with funds have all the good about the 6th grade class story!
house 1
Another project of Nicholas Wilton - designing a home in aid of an appeal to fund an organisation helping the homeless and low income families. Read more here.

Artist's website:  found at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"caviar lime" - citrus australasica

I happened to ask J, the permaculture gardener (see new studio post following this post), what she knew about finger limes."just a minute!" said she "come... look...I have some in my freezer!"

Out came these frozen limes and I took 3 back to my studio with the idea of drawing them. Just before dark J suggested i look at her tree in the front garden where she had grown these shown below. 
Below are a series of photographs of the limes thawing out. Absolutely delicious! Why have I not thought about growing these before I wondered to myself... my Kaffir lime tree is doing nicely...but these are indigenous to this region and suited to the climate here. They also are excellent with seafood and Asian flavours -perfect here as well! The website includes some wonderful recipes like one for Poached Barramundi Roulade with pearls of Finger Lime Caviar, Macadamia nuts and herbs which features indigenous ingredients. People settling in Australia for a very long time failed to value its native foods and others saw opportunities and took plants elsewhere to cultivate and the macadamia nut which was taken to Hawiai.

a temporary but wonderful new studio

About 10 days ago I put the word out I was seeking a studio and was delighted to be offered an excellent temporary space at the home of a wonderful couple with a permaculture garden to die for and something else in their back garden which made me really smile. often hard to come by...I got lucky here and was able to unpack straight on to these great  shelves. Settled in no time I worked on paper and in journals as I am doing research at this stage and developing ideas for work to come.

Yes...its a naturally landscaped pool...and given the humidity of late its been such a tonic to swim about for a while to cool down. I was able to spend 4 solid days getting back onto work after my recent NZ break. Its also a bonus to have on hand  someone with a green thumb with a background in organic and permaculture gardening who is actually growing many edible plants including some indigenous species of great interest to me at present due to the project I'm doing on seeds* - presently concentrating on what is native to this region.

Being Queensland of course there are pineapples growing in this garden.

HOMAGE TO THE SEED* is the title of my project this year as Artist-in-Residence at Brisbane Botanic Gardens.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

fresh off the press...

Just before I packed my bags for New Zealand a few weeks back, in the midst of a painting spree, a phone call came to invite me to take up the artist-in-residence position for 2010 at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coo-tha. can see what my answer was here!
I have spent the past few nights conceiving this new web-journal to accompany the Residency. Last year putting together the proposal involved extensive thought and research, so there was no need this week at least to search for a title and scratch around for ideas. I wont say any more here, but instead invite you to click on and be transported to 'HOMAGE TO THE SEED' where you will be kept posted over the course of the year on the experiences around this project I am very much looking forward to generating.
I do hope my lovely friends in the blogosphere will still visit from time to time ... and if this blog is looking slightly lonely you will at least know where I am and jump over and say Hello I hope! 
I also hope to not be so way-laid that I cant keep visiting you also... so a little patience may be called for whilst I adjust to these changes... including a new temporary studio!!!
I started this blog in May last year after being shown the basics in April. It took me 3 weeks to get over my fear of the unknown cosmos that I was night around 2am I could not that was my first toe in the water! Really I had no idea how to do half the operations on the computer...I am amazed how much I learnt about using a computer from blogging - let alone what else was learnt along the way. Its been an incredible odyssey - so thankyou for meeting up here and there along the way!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

what's hidden away in your art supply cupboard?


I think many of us rather like to have a little supply of special art materials sitting in the cupboard for some moment when we are inspired to break them out and experiment. Or maybe you are the sort to race home with your new found treasure and get stuck in straight away. There's an element of childlike eagerness that can accompany a new box of colour pencils or a unexpected find. The japanese crayons above got me thinking about this. Found at the curious (worth a visit if you're keen on colour) via Design Fetish where I also found the pencils below by Finish artist Jonna Pohjalainen, created during a workshop in environmental art at the Open-Air Museum in Pedvale.

Monday, February 8, 2010

my new workspace

Aha! You are wondering about my new workspace? Not as cluttered and busy as my usual space. And your wondering about my choice of colours and furniture? So minimal you say! No... this cosy corner is in my favourite Brisbane building  - the State Library in fact. It is full of alcoves and secret rooms and tucked away spaces. It was so humid last thursday I packed myself off to this Library for a good 7 hours -  with lunch, water, pens and paper as I had a whole lot of planning and writing I wanted to do. Enough of the computer and wonky old fan... I opted for air conditioning in the best building I know! Caught up with the latest art magazines, found some great new books in the collection and did get my work done too... all so quietly and calmly. Even when I decided to decamp 3 floors down for a strong coffee I came back to find no-one in my room!
On my round table you might you may notice a large open book. The following images were from this I think newly published title: Herbarium by Robyn Stacey and Ashley Hay. The red images are sea-weeds. Below are pages on ferns.
the 2 images below are from a book on Philip Taaffe who has an excellent website listed on the sidebar of this blog close to the bottom. For me he is such a complex and rich artist with a unique take on art that is very much of his time but so not driven by externals. Interviews, books, written material I find always prompts reflection... and visually there is so much going on to spend time exploring.

As I introduced you to the State library I will share a photo I took of an amazing glass box jutting out as if over the river - its an excellent reading/computer room. Below is an image from when the building was nearing completion of that same room. And below that is a visual of the entire building designed by Brisbane architects Donovan Hill Peddle Thorpe. Read more here about this great building and its many functions and collections. In 2007 it was voted 'building of the year' in Australia by RAIA judges who described it as "culturally and climatically a Queenslander - partly grand library and part community hall with its interiors opening like the chapters of a good book" I'm totally smitten and given it is near the Qld Art Gallery and GoMA and the rest of the whole cultural precinct what's not to like!
New State Library - the Red Box on the river side
The State Library building at night

Thursday, February 4, 2010

conversations at the Christchurch Arts Centre

I am cramming today with posts on the NZ trip.  There are several reasons for this. One is that I met various people whilst visiting and I dont want to lose the connection with those experiences by getting too busy and letting all that go. If things are not written down they are pretty well soon gone. The names of things for example - I could not remember the tree's name in an earlier post today that carpeted the ground with its red blossoms. Also I have some wonderful things coming up that soon will completely absorb my attention - so this is a concerted effort to make sense of the past 2 weeks and complete the experience before all attention goes off in another direction altogether.

Below is a series of photos taken in the studio of artist / tapestry weaver Marilyn Rea-Menzies. On Sunday I was in this lively cultural precinct exploring the Arts centre and nearby Galleries, Museum and Botanical gardens and weekend market. Normally this would simply be too much for one day but the unique thing about Christchurch is that these venues are in a block of each other and by getting to the centre by 9.30am, and taking a good strong coffee, I was able to keep going till dinner at 6.30pm and have a quiet night to recover.
The conversation started with a ceramic artist and led to the studio of Serena McWilliam who works in contemporary textiles and botanical drawings. Whilst there Marilyn came in and the conversation veered to where she was located in the centre before she departed. 
So... later on whilst visiting Marilyn I took the images below. The first image shows Marilyn at work on one of her smaller Tapestries. On her left is the working drawing and below that is a close up of the work in progress. Following that are 2 large pastel drawings from her recent series on native NZ flora. The studio photo only captures one corner of her busy work-space. it was a delight to be able to explore this vibrant studio and discover all kinds of material - the longer one was there - the more there was to find! I was thoroughly engaged in Marilyn's process and her work ethic, her love of what she does and the energy of her work are a true inspiration. 
The large tapestry is something Marilyn has been working on for some time for a relative. Commissioned works and projects vie for her time and this busy artist also attempts to draw every day -  you can see much more of her work at her website and blog! On the blog top right you will see links to Christchurch's gallery and contemporary art gallery. A big thank you to Marilyn for a wonderful exchange!

The next images are from my conversation with artist Serena McWilliam who was most hospitable when I found my way to her studio Sunday morning at the Arts Centre. Her botanical drawings were quite wonderful - a year ago she made a trip with several other artists to Stewart Island where she was able to respond to this unique environment with her studies for botanical drawings. Stewart Island is at latitude 47 degrees south (the infamous "the roaring 40's") and is below the South Island (I must check exactly where) and 85% of the island is now a National Park. No doubt this trip was  very special for an artist given to fine botanical drawing. Thanks to Serena for her engagement on Sunday morning! Below: The work Serena is carrying out here is from the fibre/textiles aspect of her practice.

Photo of Serena in her studio - from Marilyn's blog.