Australian Fine Artist

Archive for the ‘Context and Culture’ Category

Glen Eira Art Collection

A Visit to the Old Caulfield Town Hall

The main entrance to the old Town Hall now leads to a dedicated art space. I haven’t been in the building for over thirty years, so after discovering that art is now within its walls, I had to visit.

Of main interest were the paintings by the Boyd family (or at least parts of it). Only a few paintings on view, but worth the trip. The ceramics were a bonus and a nice addition to the lovely water colours by Arthur Merric and Emma Minnie.


The Ordinary Instant

Clarice Beckett at The Gallery @ BACC

There were other artists represented at the mid-winter exhibition in Brighton this year, but I attended to concentrate on Beckett’s paintings. This was my first opportunity to see a collection of her work in real life, in the one place. It was also the first visit I had made to this gallery space, so I was interested to see how the council had transformed the town hall space for artworks.

Beckett, as many may know was the prize pupil of tonal painter Max Meldrum. She was restricted by family commitments so most of her remaining paintings are based close to her bayside home. Beckett’s work sat in a shed for many years until rediscovered only just over forty years ago. Since then her work has become an integral part of the story of women artists in Australia.


Advanced Seascape Painting

Second in the Series of Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Seascape Using Impressionist Methods – Interpreting Light

How you interpret light and present it in your paintings can be done in a variety of ways. It mostly depends on how and what you want to present your subject. You need to consider the time of day, the season and the weather. The most important thing is what you want to focus on, as you focal point with usually have the highest contrasts and sharpest edges, to draw the eye to it. (more…)

Professional Development Workshop

McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, Victoria

I  volunteer at the McClelland Gallery which in itself is a great experience. Teaching kids to enjoy art in the Education Department of the Gallery has opened up my options for teaching in the future as well as giving me some great times enjoying how creative kids can be.

The Gallery, to help us be better teachers, supplied a professional training session which I did today. It usually costs others to attend but as volunteers, we are supplied the days for free.

Today we had a morning with the exhibiting artist doing observational drawing and in the afternoon, we had an intensive session about special needs kids and taking care of our own needs as teachers. It was very hands on, which I haven’t photographed (sorry) but included painting eyes closed, sculpting in clay (I did photograph that) eyes closed and expressive intuitive drawing eyes closed.

The drawing was of the HUGE nude male sculpture in the gallery, which we were asked to in context to the room, compared to things and people around it. We had 45 minutes during which I did three sketches. I have included all three here, they were done using a fine liner on plain white cartridge paper and all are around A4 in size.

This workshop is certified so another certificate to hang on the studio wall!

So, in case you may be wondering why I am talking about this, it is to express how volunteering can have benefits that you may not think about initially, just as I didn’t. I thought I would just use my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment rather than letting it go to waste, and maybe get out of the studio and network a bit with other artists. I have gained so much more than that, so it is a big win-win for the gallery, the kids and me.

It has put a bit of pressure on me as I am trying to get assessments done and take care of domestic duties, but I feel when it is important, I can make the time.

A nice additional thing for us attending is we have lunch, and morning and afternoon tea supplied, I took a pic of one of those!

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Advanced Tonal Studies – 4

Fifth and final in the Series of Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Landscapes or Still Life Using Tonal Methods

For these workshops with David I will be talking about how I am learning to apply tonal methods when painting landscapes.

For this workshop we were challenged to complete two separate paintings. The first was to be a warm tonal painting, and the second, of possibly the same subject was to be a cool tone painting. I had a lot of reference photos from various trips and workshops we held at TAFE art camps over the past few years with me, so it was just a matter of selecting one that had a good composition and would suit both versions. I selected a scene from the Stony Point Art camp that I took last year. It has a nice trail running into the distance that I could include or delete as I wished, and a good clump of gum trees and bushland to manipulate.


Turner and Delacroix – Romantic Artists: a Comparison

The Romantic period occurred between circa 1750-1850 and was described by the German philosopher, poet, and literary critic Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829) as imaginative and emotional depictions in art and poetry that fuse inspiration and criticism. An alternate theory describing the Romantic was posited by philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), who thought that the duality of the opposing good and darker side of human nature and the notion of the nature of beauty initiated by the Enlightenment could also be attributed to concepts of Romantic art (Vaughan 1978, 29). Also in 1757, Edmund Burke (1927-1979) wrote in his description of the nature of the sublime that it implied terror, pain, or obscurity and vastness, which may be closer to describing the paintings of Romantic artists. These emotional contrivances were used by Romantic artists to communicate their thoughts and feelings rather than the prioritising of duty, sacrifice and classical myth typical of Neoclassical art. Romantic artists like Joseph Mallord William Turner RA (1775-1851) and Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863) were also seeking creative freedom and autarchy from traditional patronage from the aristocracy and churches as their primary sources of income. In England, Turner became a dominant force in Romantic art combining aspects of the Industrial Revolution and contemporary issues with dominant dramatic atmospheric effects. In contrast, his French contemporary Eugene Delacroix used colour and action to create allegorical scenes moved by poetry and a humanist interpretation of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Empire. This article will examine and compare Turner and Delacroix’s interpretations of the Burke’s notions of the sublime and the terrifying in Romantic painting, and the impact of contemporary issues on their paintings during the years circa 1824-1850. By comparing what each artist chose as their main focus of interest, and how it was composed, it will elucidate how each artist responded to social and historic events.


Advanced Tonal Studies – 4

Fourth in the Series of Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Landscapes or Still Life Using Tonal Methods

For these workshops with David I will be talking about how I am learning to apply tonal methods when painting landscapes.

For this workshop we concentrated on cool tones to deepen distance and create atmospheric depth in a painting. Look at a favourite landscape painting and see what attracts you to it. Is it the colours, is it the way the artist has created atmosphere and depth, inviting you to look deeper into the painting? The correct use of colour can help te create multiple levels in a painting, from the foreground, to the mid levels (of which there can be several), to the background.


Paul Poiret Fashion Master

Paul Poiret (1879-1944) was a leading fashion designer during the late 19th and early 20th century. He was significantly influenced by Orientalism, which became evident in his designs in the period prior to World War 1. To understand Orientalism and how it applied it to his designs the definition of Orientalism needs to be addressed. What was Orientalism? It could be argued that it was merely an art movement of the 18th and 19th centuries, confined to mostly France and Britain. Its influence, on the contrary, was far broader, reaching across Europe to as far as the United States and Australia. It also incorporated more than painting, sculpting, or architecture. In light of this how did Orientalism affect the designs of Poiret? Are there similarities in the work of any Orientalist artists evident in Poiret’s designs? In addition to these questions, Haute Couture also needs to be defined. What was it and how does it delineate Poiret’s fashions? This essay will illustrate various artworks, and compare aspects that Orientalist artists have utilised to the designs for the Haute Couture fashions of Paul Poiret. A brief description of Orientalism will be included, as well as an elucidation of Haute Couture and Belle Epoche. These accounts will reinforce the various influences on the innovative designs of Paul Poiret in contrast to contemporary Western styles in the years leading up to World War 1.


Angelica Kaufmann – Neoclassical Artist

The revival in enthusiasm for classical art, literature and architecture that was later to be known as the Neo-classical movement began in Rome during the mid 18th century and it could be argued that it was prompted by the love of antiquity by two friends. Johann Winkelmann (1717-1768), a German archeologist and art critic, was the first to research the differences between ancient Greek and Roman art and implement archeological categories regarding art history. Close friend Anton Mengs (1728-1779) was influenced by Winkelmann’s writing, which is evidenced in his fresco at the Villa Albani in Rome. The sensation that Mengs’ fresco Parnassus (1761), along with the influence of Winkelmann’s book History of Ancient Art circa 1764 would initiate created a movement that would eventually influence architecture, theatre, music, literature and fashion. Supporting this movement was the Age of Enlightenment fed by scientific discoveries, and the Grand Tours of Rome, Greece and the Middle East. Concurrently, Europe was experiencing political and social upheaval, leading to multiple revolutions, and class and wealth redistribution. With so much social change artists had more opportunities for study, travel and wider production including etchings, graphics and print, however, this was not necessarily the case for many women artists. This discussion will consider historic events and social changes, to supply evidence of the difficulties encountered by women artists. It will briefly cover the background of Neo-classical artist, Angelica Kaufmann (1741-1807) and analyse a selection of works to argue her standing as a recognised Neo-classical artist, influences on her work, and her determination to succeed despite substantial obstacles such as gender bias and social upheaval.


Advanced Tonal Studies – 3

Third in the Series of Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Landscapes Using Tonal Methods

For these workshops with David I will be talking about how I am learning to apply tonal methods when painting landscapes.

To recap on the previous session, remember your composition when painting and where you will paint. Your kit to paint plein air should have only what you really need you can always mix colours so you don’t need a ton of tubes with you. Also remember the different formulas for composition, such as the Golden Rule of thirds just because it looks one way in real life, doesn’t mean that you can’t move things around to create a better composition.