Subject: Demonstration of landscape painting in oils
Venue: McClelland Guild of Artists
Miodrag doesn’t do demonstrations as a rule so I was impressed with his professionalism by dividing his presentation into an electronic show of previous work to enable him to talk about where he has come from with his art, his progress as he has worked on is method and style and a little about where he was born and how it has influenced his art.
He also spoke about how he has worked in other industries over the years to support his family. Sometimes it allowed him to paint at the same time, but as the art bubble of the 1990s hit Australia, it prevented him from painting for several years. He was able to return to it full time around the year 2000.
One job which he said kept him close to practising artists and able to look at art close up, was working in a framing business. One thing that artists do if we need to bring in extra income is to find an associated job, where we can still keep our finger on the pulse, as it were, so that when we are able to get back to what we prefer to do, we are mentally prepared.
Miodrag enjoys calling on the imagery of his homeland, with memories of Roman ruins often coming into his work in some form or another. He has also learnt to love and adopt the seascapes and scenes of Australia. He now lives on the Peninsula and has now produced a big body of work centred around the beaches in Victoria.
Miodrag uses vivid colours and since he stretches his own canvasses, can produce works on any size he likes. With the horizon lines dropped for drama, Miodrag paints in big skies with loads of atmospheric cloud and splashes of colour. With little detail and large and bold shapes, beautiful blends and thick application of paint, sometimes straight out of the tube, the paintings are creative and inviting.
Using only an hour of the two hour demonstration, it was interesting to see that a beautiful painting can be produced without pain or complicated design and composition. It is a case of less is more. Colour can bring out emotions, a well designed painting can be calming, or exciting, make you happy or be thought provoking, facing a social issue.
Miodrag emphasised that we, as artists need to be confident in our creativity. We need to not be pushed into following fad or fashion in a desire to sell or be accepted. If you want to paint minimal and beautiful paintings, and that is your passion, that is what you should follow. Some of us may do that as our personal passion, with other methods for commercial application, but we usually do not neglect one for the other.
Miodrag also tries to draw and paint on site, as well as from photos and also paints a lot from his head, with no reference. Sometimes painting freely from your mind with not special reference to copy can leave you free to come up with ideas and compositions you may not come up with a photo in front of you. The painting done today at the demo was from a memory of beaches on the Peninsula, so was very loose and creative.
We had another enjoyable demonstration at McClelland today. Mostly artists who give these sessions, even thought paid, are very generous with their time and understanding of the production of artworks. Most are very approachable and I always come away with at least one important thing that I learnt. Even when you have seen an artist demonstrate before, you can learn something new, as practising artists are always learning, so they will always have something new to pass on. For me, as an artist who wants to teach, it is also an opportunity to see how presentations are done by a lot of different artists. What I like and can use for myself or what I can modify to suit my style of teaching.
The meetings are also a chance to meet with other artists and talk about what everyone is doing. Sometimes being an artist can be a solitary profession with many hours spent alone in the studio. I have come to like getting out and mingling with like-minded artists. It’s great not being the “strange” person in the room. You can also find encouragement from other artists when you are a bit down, or talk to others about issues or problems you may have with a project. At this demonstration we all had a good day doing all of the above and it was good to see the work of an artist that I have never seen work before.