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Maker of forms, images and poems, hopefully with deep meaning

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Picasso Rules, OK?

On Twitter, I pointed out that Pablo Picasso did NOT say 
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Apart from the fact that no-one on the Internet ever cites a source for the supposed quote, the phrasing is so unlike Picasso (a turn-of-the-last-century Spaniard). It is, however, very much the sort of pithy one-liner favoured by motivational speakers from the united States.

In replying to my tweet, @revrvpark tweeted

You are saying it is a bogus quote. Would you also, as an artist, say it is bad advice? Isn't it better to have a deeper well to draw from?

That provoked me to think some more about the matter and here is an extended version of my reply.
It essential to understand thoroughly the methodology of your art form, but not to be constrained by established practice. As for rules, rules are made when people have lost sense of the essence of the practice. Rules are irrelevant to good art. A good artist will make art regardless of the "rules". The rules may be broken or not, but the artist doesn't care either way. What matters is the art. If the artist tries to just follow the rules, the art work will probably end up deadly dull and predictable, if perhaps technically competent. If the artist breaks the rules just for the sake of it or for the sake of controversy, the work will probably end up being a mess, without any depth to it. In both cases, the problem is that the artist has focused on the rules, rather than on the essence of art making.
In any case, I don’t think that whoever said this was actually giving advice to artists. Rather, I think that what was intended by this is something like: learn the rules thoroughly, so that you can break them with elegance and skill when and if you need to.
Personally, my inclination is toward the Taoist approach. Understand the essence and forget the rules.
And just to round things off, here is the master Pablo Picasso In His Own Words 

(from Picasso: In His Words  Hiro Clark, Editor)

“A picture is not thought out and settled beforehand. While it is being done it changes as one's thoughts change. And when it is finished, it still goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it. A picture lives a life like a living creature, undergoing the changes imposed on us by our life from day to day. This is natural enough, as the picture lives only through the man who is looking at it.”
"Painting isn't an aesthetic operation; it's a form of magic designed as mediator between this strange hostile world and us."

And my favourite 
"Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird?"

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

New Gouache Paintings

I've been very busy making torn paper collages and getting an assemblage ready for the Art From Trash Show (more on this later).

I've been missing the pleasure of working in paint, particularly gouache. I really enjoy its luscious velvety quality, the way it interacts with water, how you can use it impasto, how you can lift colours and, if careful, use it in glazes. It's a remarkably versatile type of paint, much under-used and under-appreciated, in my view.

Having a small window of opportunity (30 minutes!) I whipped up these three simple semi-abstract landscapes. I can see a vague connection with the scenery observed on my recent trip to the South Island of New Zealand. There are similarities to the Canterbury Plains area which we traveled through on the TransAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth. The website is not hyperbole. It is one of the world's great train journeys.

While I was painting these, I felt awed by the miracle of paint. How the texture, colours, marks and "accidents" suddenly conjure an image.It never ceases to amaze me.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Recent Sales

Two of my  A4 size gouaches were sold at the recent National Exhibition of A4 Sized Artworks, curated by the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria. This was held as part of the Herring Island Summer Festival in Melbourne.

Edge of the Heartlands 1 (gouache)

" Edge of the Heartlands 1" is an intuitively developed painting. The image of the edge of a salt plain with the vestiges of man-made structures and the owlish bird has implicit layers of psychological meaning. 

Henderson's Place (gouache and watercolour)
"Henderson's Place" is a composite painting, made up of discrete, intersecting vignettes. It combines aerial views with conventional views and distant perspectives with close-ups. It draws on my memories of western Queensland, Australia.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Twitter Art Exhibit TAE17

Very pleased that my contribution to the Twitter Art Exhibit for 2017 was sold, raising money for Molly Olly's Wishes.

City Dawn (gouache on paper)

You can find out more about the Twitter Art Exhibit phenomenon here.

Basically, artists on Twitter donate a postcard size art work and the proceeds from the sale are given to charity. This year the Exhibit was held in Stratford upon Avon (as at the time of writing, still showing 2-19 April).

The recipient of this year's exhibit was Molly Olly's Wishes who support children with terminal and life threatening illnesses across the UK by providing wishes and therapeutic toys and books. . and on Twitter @MollyOllys 

The opening was a smash hit (Periscope footage)

I've been participating in the Twitter Art Exhibit since it was started up by David Sandum  @DavidSandum in 2010 as one the 260 artists from 24 countries who answered David's call to help raise funds for children's book for the Moss public library.

If you are an artist on Twitter, I would encourage you to get involved next year. As David said

Through art we can change the world.

 If you are not an artist, I suggest you get along to Canberra, Australia next year for TAE18 and buy big for Pegasus Riding for the Disabled.  who provides horse and farm activities for people with a disability in the Canberra region.

For more information on the Twitter Art Exhibit

Twitter:          @twitrartexhibit 
Instagram:      Please find us on Instagram by searching: TwitterArtExhibit
Hashtags:     #TwitterArtExhibit #TAE17

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Paintings for sale on Blue Thumb

I have recently added this series of moody semi-abstract landscapes to my Blue Thumb site for sale.

The paintings were developed intuitively over a three week period. For me, an unapologetic Romantic, they evoke the drama of a storm in the highlands of Tasmania.

Makes me want to declaim Shakespeare:

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,

Singe my white head!   (King Lear Act 3 Scene 2)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Paintings accepted for show

The Art Society of Tasmania have just accepted two of my painting for the upcoming "Water ways" show to be held in conjunction with the wooden boat festival here in Hobart, Tasmania.

Surge 1 (A surge 2 is awaiting varnishing and Surge 3 is on the easel) and Bicheno Blowhole.

Surge 1

Bicheno Blowhole

The show will be at the Long Gallery, Salamanca and run from 10 to 19 February.

Update: 14 February "Bicheno Blowhole" is sold.