Australian Fine Artist

The Death of Fine Art

Personal Expression Versus Classical Training and How Contemporary Art is Killing Every Other Form of Artistic Training and Practice


This editorial has been in the back of my mind for quite a while. It began during several sessions whilst completing my Diploma of Visual Art and has been brewing as I have visited exhibitions, galleries and events during the past three to four years. The whole thing has come to a head as I have been attending interviews for university in the past several weeks.

For those that may not know about my art, I produce paintings and drawings that fall somewhere between Realist and Modern Impressionist genré. I have been called an observational drawer, as I am a believer in the more formal idea of arts training, in that we learn to observe and translate or transcribe via the medium of drawing. We learn to observe, then we learn to translate.

Many of the artists that I admire the most first had formal training in one form or another and gained skills in drawing, colour theory, composition, perspective, materials and practising as a professional artist. The tradition of apprentices training with a master artist, to gain all the skills and training to become masters themselves and in turn pass on their learning to the next generation was where we see the works of artists from history arise. There have also been very respected arts academies in the past where artists of the time taught and encouraged the next generation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Opening Night at Without Pier

I was one of the honoured guests to be invited to the opening night of David Chen’s exhibition at Without Pier Gallery in Bay Road Cheltenham.

For those that know of David, he is a highly qualified and experienced artist and teacher. His formal training in China before moving to Australia in the early 1990s set him up as not only an internationally known painter, but also a teacher qualified to teach at university level. His understanding of the medium of oil paint alone sets him apart from many artists in Australia and overseas.

Read the rest of this entry »

McClelland Survey 2014

Official Opening

Sunday 23rd November was the day for the official opening of the 2014 McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park Survey. This exhibition of open air sculptures showcases some of the most inventive and creative works I have seen in ages. This is only my personal opinion from a first visit, but I felt that on the whole the work this year surpassed those of previous years, which is saying something.

Read the rest of this entry »

Final of Five All Day Workshops With David Chen

The goal of today’s workshop was to paint either from a still life in the studio or from our own reference. We were to keep to the composition but change the colours to follow the theme of purple as the dominant, but not the only colour. As with the other four workshops in this series, the idea is to have a pool or puddle of your dominant colour on the palette and dip into it very lightly to introduce that colour to others you may use in the painting.

Read the rest of this entry »

During my career as both artist and graphic designer/artist I have had experiences concerning copyright that I would like to pass on to impress upon fellow artists the need to be wary of copyright infringement and the various things that it covers.

Many of us use the Internet for information and inspiration, as we study we may also use it for research. Whilst using your computer there are things to keep in mind.

Read the rest of this entry »

Copyright for Artists

Assigning Copyright Versus Licensing – What’s the Difference?

When you exhibit you may be asked to sign a document to allow reproduction of your work for an event. I want to talk about the difference between assigning copyright and licensing copyright.

I will put this in the easiest way to remember, which is what I use. One is like selling something so you don’t own it any more, the other is like leasing or renting something, which you still own and will get back.

Assigning copyright is like selling it off. Once you assign copyright of your image you have given away your rights to it. Whomever you have assigned it to now holds the copyright and you will need to get permission from them to use the image you created. This may sound strange as you created it, but you are in fact selling off ALL your rights to use that image or artwork in any of your material for promoting, advertising, reproduction etc.

Licensing copyright is for a given time or event. You may license it for an exhibition for advertising purposes, but once that show is over your copyright reverts to you and the event organisers can not use it again without your permission.

When you read contracts for events, exhibitions etc, do so carefully to make sure that the wording covers you getting back your copyright for your artworks and prevents further use without your permission, or worse, cuts you off from using your original work for your own business.

Painting Workshop with Artist David Chen

Today’s workshop was was the last for this year painting nudes. For this workshop we painting a seated male model. The main aim in this session was again to understand skin tones and how they include many more colours than the usual reds, yellows and white that many of us may initially use as well as the different proportions and colouring of a male model in contrast to that of a female.

Of course there are issues of race to consider as well when thinking about the colour of skin. We humans come in a beautiful array of skin tones and colours. From the darkest black I have seen on one stunning lady walking around the city to the very palest I have also personally seen on an albino person years ago. So considering all these differences, we worked on the model in front of us, who was a athletic and well toned young man who provided us with some extremely good poses for our initial one minute and three minute sketches.

Read the rest of this entry »

Workshop Number Four of Five In Tonalism

Tutor: David Chen

Similarly to previous workshops in tonals, the goal of this workshop was for students to complete two paintings for the day on a subject they had with them or from the still life that David had arranged in the studio. The dark tonal painting was the morning assignment, and the light tonal painting was to be completed in the afternoon. As with the previous workshops, there is not enough time to attempt the mid-tone painting, and as most people have a better grasp of these, the more difficult dark and light tones are worked on.

Orange can be for many, the most difficult colour to have as your dominant colour in a painting. This is why is was left to late in the series of workshops. Like any other colour however, it isn’t the only colour you use in an orange dominant painting. It is the colour that use dip into to knock back, or tint other colours with to make a harmonious painting. The orange that you get in your paint tubes is not the only colour that can be called orange. When you mix your own colours, a huge range of oranges can be discovered, from the very light yellow-oranges to the very dark red-oranges, they can be cool or warm and the other colours that go along with these are Van Dyke brown, Burnt Sienna and Australian Red Gold and Golden Yellow.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ivan Durrant

Visiting Artist Talk at Chisholm Frankston


Ivan Durrant is an Australian painter, performance artist and writer. Much of his art has had “great shock value”, therefore Durrant is often described as L’enfant terrible of Australian art and is known by many as a controversial and provocative artist. Although known widely for his 1975 “Slaughtered Cow Happening”, the larger proportion of Durrant’s work consists of paintings using a self-developed style of “Super-Realism”.

His painting technique began in a childlike, folksy style, evolving into paintings of extreme photo realism and sculptures of illusionistic still-lives of butchered meats, pigs’ heads (MPRG). Ivan spent a short time working in a prosthetics laboratory at Royal Melbourne Hospital and was able to create lifelike body parts. This skill was carried over into an ability to create convincingly accurate sculptures of ears, hands, pig heads and various cuts of meat. His most recent works explore the colours and action of Australian Rules football and horse racing and work has ranged from paintings to photography, public performance and installations, short films and sculpture.

Read the rest of this entry »

Workshop Number Four for Painting the Nude with Artist and Teacher David Chen

For the second last session with David we were given the task of thinking about how we may crop the view of the model to create an interesting painting that still had a balanced composition.

Many artists of the past and present have cropped their views of not only the full figure but also of the face when painting a portrait. Creative cropping can give a painting drama, a more interesting composition and may even hint at the personality or character of the sitter.

Read the rest of this entry »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 472 other followers