Australian Fine Artist

Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

Hanging paintings: Dos and donts

It is easy to send off a painting to a framer to get it ready for an exhibition, but not so easy to make sure that you don’t drive the hanging committe crazy. Or worse, have your painting rejected because it has been wired up on the back with inappropriate and unsafe materials.

When you talk to your framer it is important to make sure they understand what you needs are. Often they only frame photographs or similar and do not know the requirements of exhibitions.

Case in point. We were recently hanging the paintings for the Malvern Art Society exhibition. Several of the works were strung with very thin wire, others used weak rings, other had the wire far too loose, and others used materials that would stretch and break considering the weight of the painting.

So, what should you use and how should you wire up a painting?

First. Never use the fabric-based string. It stretches and breaks and for this point I am speaking from experience, which cost me a frame as it broke when it hit the floor of the gallery. I was lucky that it didn’t hit anyone.

Second. Do not allow the wire to be too loosely strung. Galleries do not use picture rails so there is no need to allow for them

Third. Always make sure that the wire is for a painting heavier than yours. Go stronger, thicker and stainless steel – never thin copper or gold wire. This, again, will stretch and break.

Fourth. If you decide not to use clamps on your wire (which ensure it nevercomes undone), make sure that you tie and wind it on sufficiently and then put tape over it to protect the hands of the hanging team from cuts and scrapes.

Below are examples of what I am talking about.

D-rings suitable for a small painting
Stronger D-rings for a small to medium painting (under half a metre across)
Hanging set suitable for a large painting (note the thicker wire and clamps)
Note the correct and incorrect wiring. Note that the wire I have drawn in is pulled tightly to make sure that the painting hangs flush with the wall (in contrast to the usual loose wire placed anywhere from halfway, one fifth to one third from the top).

There are a variety of D-rings and wires on the market for hanging paintings. These are available at most hardward stores. They have hanging weights on them so choose a weight limit ABOVE that of your painting.

Putting your own D-rings and wires on is an easy job so why not make sure that your painting will make it to the wall of the next exhibition you enter. If you don’t think you can do it yourself, take some samples to your framer so that they know what is required. It will make your hanging committee happy, and in the long run, it will keep your hard creative work safer.

Curtin University gives rare artworks by Nyungar children a home

As a Curtin Alumni member, I was recently contact to give my support to a new initiate called “The Carrolup Centre for Truth-Telling”.

The centre will restore and hold as a permanent home artworks created by Aboriginal children who were removed from the Carrolup Native settlement, in Western Australia, during the 1940s.

The collection travelled the world during the 1950s, and was retrieved from overseas galleries’ storage facilities for Curtin to be its custodian.

The collaboration between the Carrolup Elders of the university will mean that the stories of these children will be brought to light through their art, hopefully to help to rid Australia of any remnants of cultural biases or racism.

The financing for this project comes corporations, the community, and staff and alumni of Curtin University.

As an artist, art teacher and arts writer, I am happy to support any venture that that restores and preserves Australia’s cultural history for the future, so that we will always know where we came from, how far we have come, and the work yet to be done to make Australia the amazing country we all know it can be.

If you would like to support this worthy cause, the link to the site for more information is:

The site also has a button to click for donations.

If you have a moment, why not pop in to see what you may be able to contribute.



This paper will examine journalism’s alliances with satirical artists during the French Revolution, and compare them with current day collaborations. It will reveal that it was due to unlicensed (and uncensored) newspapers and pamphlets during such social upheaval that commentary, critique, and satire of and by the government and dissenters, was made available to the public.

Additionally, the following research will respond to the question of the perceived influence the combination of art (EG: ‘high art’, caricatures or cartooning), political satire, and propaganda potentially has on the public’s grasp of the politics of the day. It will also underline the continual need for visual and written journalist practice to communicate
with the public.

This is important to my practice as an artist and arts commentator because in a closed society freedom of expression is suppressed, banned and sometimes outlawed. While in Australia,
we do not have the First Amendment rights of the United States, we do have certain liberties under the law, enabling the prerogative to create and publish critiques addressing social issues. It is because of such freedoms that I can produce illustrative and textual disapproval, objection, or satirical observation of issues I find of personal or public interest. A liberty that has been deficient historically, and currently suppressed in certain other countries.

Similar to current instances in the world such as China and Iran, Pre-revolutionary France was not built on equality, democracy, or meritocracy. The hierarchy of the three ‘Estates’
(the clergy, the nobility, the majority of the people) ensured that those in power, in the first two of these tightly controlled information in the form of propaganda, leaving the majority of the population (the third estate) virtually powerless. A situation that was debated and argued for generations, and disputed by pamphleteers who fought for the rights of the common people (Margerison, 1987, pp. 88-89). It was in this environment that the seeds of the revolution, and the role of the press to challenge and inform grew.


According to Dowd, social status in the art world was also not equal in France, as evidenced by the minority of artists who achieved status in the Salons, or as members of the Royal Academy (1959, pp. 128-129). As a result, artists in general, including those in the Academy, greeted the revolution in 1789 with enthusiasm producing visual criticisms and propaganda in paintings and illustrations for print.

Another group, restricted and censored during the Old Regime, was journalists. Chisick states that periodicals were tightly controlled by the French government with no toleration for “independent political reporting”, forcing many journalists to go underground, or publish from another country (1988, p. 626). Jean Luzac, professor and lawyer, is one example, who edited the Gazette de Leyde from 1772 until 1798 from Leiden in Holland. Luzac, who disliked violence and despots, attempted to appear impartial, but this didn’t prevent certain governments outside France from censoring articles about the French Revolution that undermined their positions (Smith, 2018, p. 2).

Those who remained in France regularly changed the names of their publications to avoid censorship, and risked their lives during the Reign of Terror ( Sept. 5, 1793 to July 27, 1794) as control by the government became worse than under the Old Regime. Camille Desmoulins, pamphleteer and political activist, for example, met his death at the guillotine
in 1794 after being charged with corruption and counter-revolutionary conspiracy (Hartcup, 1975, pp. 244-245). In 21stcentury Australia, while it is extremely doubtful that a critique would attract a violent response, it is important to remember certain legal considerations such as copyright, slander, and liable. In overseas countries, however, certain strongly-held religious and cultural beliefs, and extremism, have proven to be the sources of savage responses, like the example of Charlie Hebdo in 2015.

L’Ami du people (Friend of the people) 6th Edition

Accordingly, as historic examples indicate, despite the French revolution allowing conditions for “true political periodicals appear”, sorting news from opinion became an increasingly dangerous and difficult issue, and alliances quickly changed during a time of “unlimited freedom” tangled with extremist views (1988, p. 627). This is further underpinned by the often perilous collaborations that formed between certain artists and ‘the press’ to support
the various factions prior to Napoleon seizing power in 1899.

Le people sous l’ancien Regime, 18th C.ananymous political cartoon.
© World History Archive

Examples from this period are artist Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), and journalist and politician Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793). Marat virtually ran the L’Ami du people until his death in 1793, and is an example of the propaganda of the time. Marat also wrote for Le Moniteur patriote the predecessor of the L’Ami du people. It was via these publications that a redefinition of the public sphere, and “new identities for workers, women and members of the middle classes” both in France and Europe was able to occur (Witsell, n.d. p. 10). His death (by the hand royalist sympathizer Charlotte Corday) is dramatically rendered, in an effort to romanticize his memory, by friend and artist Jean-Louis David (below) in an effort to raise his eminence in the revolution.

Jacques-Louis David. Detail from The Death of Marat. 1793. ©

David, himself, was a chameleon, prospering during the Old Regime, the revolution of 1789, the reign of Napoleon, and the 1830 revolution. Few examples of his carefully targeted satire can be found, however, the one below indicates his prudent choice of topic, pointed across the channel at England.

Jacques-Louis David. The English Government. 1794.

Another is example of the power of imagery and text during the later ‘July Monarchy’ and 1830 revolution can be seen in the newspaper La Caricature.

Gargantua © Forbes, 2008. Source L’Association Mensuelle, December 1831.

 As Forbes states: “Throughout the early 1830s, satire repeatedly challenged the July Monarchy’s claims to a free press and even legitimacy itself. [La] Gazette, [mouthpiece of the royalist faction, the Legitimists], publicized trials, arrests, and confiscations, and satirists learned of their colleagues’ tribulations in letters and even in shared prison quarters. Such trials made room for audiences to render verdicts on not only the individuals in question, but also the judicial system that appeared to prosecute artists merely for expressing “the truth” as they saw it, a phrase invoked by satirists and their legal representatives that simultaneously appealed to objective truth and protection of mere subjective expression” (Forbes, 2008, p. 45).

Such satire was the basis of trials debating free-speech and artistic rights in the face of perceived public ‘harm’, which in reality was more to do with who retained power to govern. (Jang, 2016, p. 253). As Jang states, this situation was not restricted to France, as the views
of Charles Pigott (unkown-1794) in The Jockey Club and A Sketch of the Manners of the Age in England indicate. Coming from a privileged background, and well-connected, Pigott has been widely overlooked by researchers because he didn’t fit within their narratives, however I would argue that he was in a particularly unique position to expose corruption in the aristocracy (Jang, 2016, p. 252; Rogers, 1993, p. 248). In addition, he was not alone in his attempts to sway public opinion. James Gillray (1756-1815), who studied at the Royal Academy in England, also published scathing illustrations reflecting his fears of the effects of the French revolution in England (Loussouarn, 2016, pp. 328, 331, 334-340). Such was the popularity of the pamphlets (and newspapers) that carried such political rhetoric, that in England alone an approximate four thousand were published from 1790 to 1802 (Goodrich, 2005. p.213).

The Zenith of French Glory – The Pinnacle of Liberty. James Gillray, 1793 © Reaktion Books 2008

Modern practice: Political journalists and cartoonists

The legacy of these activities in France and England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries can be seen in publications such as Charlie Hebdo, a weekly magazine that reflects a tradition of holding the government to account, and blunt criticism of what they see as social inequality, extremism, or injustice. Founded in 1970, it hired most of the staff from Hara-Kiri after it was banned in France for mocking the death of Charles de Gaulle. It has never shied away from controversy, and this has led to criticism from religious groups and politicians, the fire-bombing of offices in 2011, and shootings in their premises in 2015 after critiquing and satirising Islamic beliefs (Gibson, 2015, pp. 4-11).

 Cover that preceded office bombing. © Charlie Hebdo 2011

Cover from 2013 © Charlie Hebdo 2013

Crude or insulting as a publication like this may seem to some, internationally a large amount of support was voiced in support of Charlie Hebdo’s right to produce it in a secular society like France despite an increase in Islamophobic incidents after the attacks (Petrikowski, 2015, p. 10). In response, Australian artist and cartoonist for The Daily Telegraph, Warren Brown drew on an 1830 French revolutionary painting by Eugene Delacroix, Liberty leading the people, to express his feelings to readers.

Despite such extreme examples like Charlie Hebdo, artists, of all genres, should to be able to practice in an environment that encourages ‘free speech’ or put another way, freedom of expression under the law (Steel, 2012, ch.2). This underpins the principles of journalism’s and contemporary cartooning’s codes of practice for social commentary in journalism and visual satire (Australian Press Council, 2011; 2016, pp. 8, 10). As an Australian artist, arts blogger, and journalist I contend that creatives and reporters must operate assuming an enlightened ‘readership’ and broad social tolerance. The examples put forward in this paper typify the importance of critiquing injustices in society, unhindered by fear or intimidation.

© Warren Brown 2015 The Daily Telegraph

In light of the example of Charlie Hebdo, the repercussions of such editorial and satirical cartooning show the power of imagery to support strong opinion and criticism, and the dangers that continue to be involved in a modern society. It isn’t only from a regional legal, academic, or social structure that criticism may arise as has been indicated. In a more ‘globalised’ and connected world, insult can be taken by any number of nations, groups, or individuals.

For example, a cartoon by Bill Leak, based on comments made by Indigenous leaders, in The Australian in 2016 was criticized by the then Indigenous Affairs Minister as racist, leading to widespread condemnation (Patel 2026). Fortunately, criticism was not followed by violence, but encouraged public discussion.

© Bill Leak 2016 The Australian

In Australia, whilst having a history of cartooning and the visual arts tackling current issues, they haven’t been as controversial or to the same level of ‘lewdness’ as Charlie Hebdo in widely distributed newspapers. For example, the current COVID-19 pandemic has been reported by journalists, and visualised by cartoonists like Michael Leunig who are able to mix political satire into current events in the news such as the Federal Government’s refusal to release COVID-19 documents to the press (Knaus, 2020).

Political Pandemic © Michael Leunig

The collaboration between cartoonist Mark David and journalist Grant Turner in Independent Australia in July 2020 is a recent example of how text, satirical illustration, and reader involvement raises the level of political discussion, and how the internet is enabling creative avenues for art and journalists to continue working together (Turner, 2020).

COVID-19 Critique © Mark David

Vashti Fox, writer for the Red Flag, a socialist independent publication, recently used photography and a cartoon from the 1930s to compare the Great Depression with the current COVID-19 crisis, pointing out the social impact of such events on low income families. The inclusion of a ‘cartoon’ by an unknown artist serves to underpin her well-researched story indicating a history of Australian journalism’s dedication to telling stories both textually and visually (Fox, 2020).

Bloody, but unbowed © Red Flag

A recent example from Melbourne is by Wesley Mountain, who holds a Master of Journalism and a BA in literature and visual arts. He also has broad experience in writing and customer service. At present he is multi-media editor for The Conversation Group which involves journalism, illustration, and cartooning. In contrast to the often controversial work by Mark Knight and Bill Leak, Mountain has been described as allowing his “humanity to shine through”. As Mountain says: “It may play against me because people aren’t necessarily looking for humanity in political cartoons, but I really care about that stuff. I think if you don’t, you risk becoming someone like Mark Knight or Bill Leak.

Knight infamously published a controversial cartoon of tennis star Serena Williams, while Leak depicted a neglectful Aboriginal father in a political cartoon for The Australian. Both cartoons were widely called out as being racist.

You see older cartoonists in particular who are there to ‘make the joke’, taking the ‘everyone should be able to be criticised’ approach. That’s totally true, but they start to see freedom of speech as the point rather than the thing that allows you to make good observations. I think about that stuff a lot” (Ogle, 2020. p. 9).

World Leaders Playing a Game of Risk © Wesley Mountain

The refreshing aspect about The Conversation web site for an artist and art journalist, is that the art and culture is not hidden beneath several layers of tabs. In contrast to most major news publishers, a variety of topics are given equal attention, which may indicate a positive direction for arts journalism into the future. In addition, the synthesis of classical philosophy, ‘high’ art, cartooning, and current events by The Conversion’s writers, like Matthew Sharpe, indicates a depth of knowledge and analysis that recalls the writing style of the early 20th century while remaining current. Evidence, I believe, that although print media is currently struggling in the face of the growth of digital media, the alliance between the arts and journalism has a positive future.

A statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome’s Piazza del Campidoglio.
© Jean-Pol Grandmont/Wikimedia Commons


The long-standing alliance between art and journalism reminds us about how together they can tell a more complete story, criticize, analyse, and sway public opinion. In an environment where literacy was poor, critical and satirical cartoons were used for propaganda and political protest. This alliance has continued into the 21st-Century, as independent thought has evolved from the printed pamphlet to independent blogs and web sites on the internet.

Whatever form these commentaries and critiques take, the case of Charlie Hebdo reminds us that even in a modern tolerant society, artists and journalists must be aware of the risks that are involved. The importance, however, is the need to ensure that freedom of speech in all its formats continues to be supported so that artists and journalists can continue to point out what they see as injustices, failures, and trends in society.

How this impacts my practice as an artist and arts commentator is because freedom of expression is still suppressed, banned, and outlawed in certain closed societies in contrast
to Australia where I have the liberty to express my views, based on valid information and research. Australian law protects individuals and groups from slander and liable, but leaves room for criticism, commentary, and pursuit of stories of public interest which is something that needs to be celebrated and protected because, as the French revolution, and years surrounding it indicate, they are liberties that can easily be lost.


Australian Press Council. (2011). Standards of practice. Retrieved from

Australian Press Council. (2016). Media release 6 Sept 2016. Retrieved from

Chisick, H. (1988). Pamphlets and Journalism in the Early French Revolution: The Offices of the Ami du Roi of the Abbé Royou as a Center of Royalist Propaganda. French Historical Studies, 15(4), 623-645. doi:10.2307/286549.

Dowd, D. (1959). The French Revolution and the Painters. French Historical Studies, 1(2), 127-148. doi:10.2307/286252.

Forbes, A. W. (2008). The lithographic conspiracy: How satire framed liberal political debate in nineteenth-century France. French Politics, Culture & Society, 26(2), 16-50, 152. Retrieved from

Fox, V. (2020). The bitter years: Class struggle in depression era Australia. Retrieved from

Gibson, M. (2015). The provocative history of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Retrieved from

Goodrich, A. (2005). Debating England’s aristocracy in the 1790s: Pamphlets, polemics and political ideas. New York: Boydell press.

Gough, H. (1980). Recent Publications on the French Revolution. The Historical Journal, 23(4), 967-983. Retrieved July 14, 2020, from

Hartcup, J. (1975). Camille Desmoulins. History Today25(4), 238-245. Retrieved from

Knaus, C. (2020). Australian PM’s department refuses to release Covid-19 commission documents. Retrieved from

Loussouarn, S. (2016). Gillray and the French Revolution. National Identities, 18(3), 327-343,
doi: 10.1080/14608944.2015.1047333.

Margerison, K. (1987). History, Representative Institutions, and Political Rights in the French Pre-Revolution (1787-1789). French Historical Studies, 15(1), 68-98. doi:10.2307/286504.

Ogle, T. (2020). Wes Mountain’s fearless political cartoons will make you laugh and then wince, the way they should. Retrieved from

Petrikowski, N. (2015). Charlie Hebdo shooting. Retrieved from

Popkin, J. (1989). Pamphlet Journalism at the End of the Old Regime. Eighteenth-Century Studies, 22(3), 351-367. doi:10.2307/2738892.

Rogers, N. (1993). Pigott’s private eye: Radicalism and sexual scandal in eighteenth-century England. Retrieved from

Smith, J. (2018). 18th-Century journalism and notable journalists. Retrieved from

Steel, J. (2012). Journalism and free speech. Oxford: Routledge. Retrieved from

Turner, G. (2020). Coalition government cannot use COViD-19 as an excuse for its failings. Retrieved from,14070.

Witsell, H. Journalism of the French Revolution. Retrieved from

Jang, S. (2016). “The overturning of an arbitrary government”: Pigott’s radical challenge to standard lexicography. Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 58(3), 251-277.

Art and Journalism: the artful skill of swaying human opinion

Truth, according to philosophy, will depend on which philosopher you listen to. Plato thought that an eternal truth, or Form[1], existed that was beyond human ability to reproduce in art, and difficult to explain. We often ask for, or even demand truth, or “the truth” in the legal system, and society in general, but is it subjective and how do we know when it is being manipulated or subverted for various reasons?

I ask this because art, especially fine art has grappled with this concept for thousands of years. Additionally, we expect unbiased truth from our communicators and leaders, and are sadly disappointed at the least when they fail to meet these expectations.

Heidegger claimed that “When truth sets itself in the work, beauty appears. This appearing (as this being of truth in the works and as the work) is beauty.” [2] Which sounds good, but truth in the real world is not always beautiful, sometimes it is ugly and painful. So, how does this relate to journalism? How are the two related, and what comparisons, or contrasts can be drawn between the two?

Let’s look at art from another perspective. Art can connect with people by revealing a story, or narrative, it can be emotive – making you feel joy, sorrow, anger, empathy, it can attempt to tell a truth as interpreted by the artist. However, as we may know from eye witness accounts of crime, ten people witnessing the same event can provide ten different versions, because human attention, memory, and vision is not perfect, and we are influenced by our personal life experiences. The artist, therefore, rarely tries to tell “the truth”, they tell “a truth” for the viewer to see and analyse for themselves. This is subjective, whilst being analytical, and always as a product of the artist’s creative imagination. We are not meant to look at a painting like the charge of the light brigade (Scotland Forever, 1881) by Lady Elizabeth Butler as an historically accurate representation. It is meant to raise the emotions and patriotism of the viewer, to praise heroism, not to report the facts. In 1922, she is quoted as saying as much.

Now let’s look at journalism in the 21st century. What is its purpose? As it can come in a variety of forms, investigative, commentative, feature writing, and opinion piece, for example, how do we separate one type from another, and do they overlap, allowing opinion to bleed into investigative and ‘hard’ news?

Personally, when I watch the 7pm news on ABC for example, I want unbiased facts, and just the facts. There isn’t a lot of time to tell all of the events of the day, so I have little patience for emotive rhetoric padding out stories taking up precious air time. If I want opinions, I will watch or read clearly labelled opinion articles and blogs. Conversely, I know that when I access opinion pieces, in addition to a certain amount of fact, that can be verified if I care to do so, there will be subjective ideas and critique from the author/speaker.

Journalists tell us stories, like artists, they can be interpreted via the fallible senses of a human, but the difference between artists and journalists is that it is the job of the news to as much as is possible, present ‘the facts’ without bias, or favour. Personal and corporate opinion needs to remain in the area of the blog or opinion piece, and not discolour the picture being presented so that fact and bias become so intermingled that one cannot be distinguished from the other.

A small example occurred today. The report was about the impeachment of President Trump. The reporter talked about the only other times presidents had been impeached. The reporter said that Johnson and Clinton had both been impeached, and later acquitted – facts. They then went on to say that Nixon ‘fled’ from office when faced with three articles of impeachment. This is just a small thing, but the addition of emotive language into reporting changes how we hear it. Nixon resigned – fact. Why not state the fact?

Of course, we want journalists to be empathetic when a disaster is being reported, BUT, they must also remain objective. Stephen Ward wrote, “Reporters are not automatons, but emotion in journalism can be manipulated.” That is why there are professional standards, which I think, are being eroded by the infiltration of subtle emotive rhetoric and bias. Ward seems to have a pessimistic outlook for 21st century journalism, when he writes, “Journalism of the early 21st c., irreproachable from outside, differs in essence and is completely reflected on by the realities of the informative era, so that through functional transformation, certain objective pre-conditions of self-destruction arise. Among the symptomatic signs of devaluation of professional standards, the most expressive and most notable ones, according to a destructive force, are tendentious, purposeful global changes of conceptual tasks (to control and construct – depending on the model of journalism: whether informative or analytical), on secondary tasks (to entertain and advertise). Sometimes it is combined as an incomprehensible hybrid.”[3]

Just as we are swayed by the emotive content of a painting, designed to do so by the artist, some journalists of today are attempting to sway feelings and emotions by surreptitiously including emotive language into their reporting. As you look at a work of art, for example, The Third of May, 1808 by Goya, and feel your empathy and possibly anger rise witnessing the murder by firing squad of members of the Spanish resistance, examine how you react to the next stories presented in the newspaper, online or on the TV. Is your reaction valid, and authentic, or is it being manipulated by the emotive words placed amongst the facts by the journalist? Are they reporting the story based on the facts, or are they attempting to sway your opinions, and future action, with clever manipulation of words to ‘paint a picture’ distorted by their interpretation and biases?

Remember, a painting’s purpose is usually to make you cognitively think and imagine, and relate to the artist’s story on a human, and usually emotional level. It is the ‘artist’s truth’, unlike the task of the ‘hard news’ journalist, which should be to present you with, as far as is humanly possible, ‘the facts’, irrespective of their personal opinion.


[1] Plato’s Republic

[2] Mersch, D. (n.d.) A Short History of “Truth” in Art Retrieved from

[3] Ward, S. (2010). Emotion in Reporting: Use and Abuse. Retrieved from

Academic Manifesto of Practice

Impressionism is not dead, nor is it’s modern application a sentimental reflection of 19th century fine art. I am a modern Impressionist painter and fine artist. This is a simple statement of who I am. As a modern Impressionist painter, I ‘see’ the environment differently, expressing my interpretation of the land and sea using Impressionist techniques and theories. As a fine artist I create paintings that are ‘historically reflexive’, and according to Beardsley “capable of affording an aesthetic experience valuable for [their] marked aesthetic character” (Davies, 2002. pp. 171-173). This may appear to be an outdated way of thinking confining me to a narrow perspective of who I am and what I do, but it is my opinion that an artist must develop a clear understanding of themselves and their work, to place them in context with (or against) the broader ‘Artworld’. This is in contradiction to Lieu, who states that the distinction between fine art and other definitions is artificial and that most art can be placed into any category (fine, visual, illustration) (Lieu, 2013. p. 5). Davies also argues that with the introduction of ready-mades by Duchamp in the early 20thcentury, the definition of art has only become more difficult. Their opinions, however, do not mean that I have to agree with them. As an informed and experienced artist, it is more important, in my view, to clearly establish my identity and purpose, whilst remaining mindful of the movement and artists that have inspired me.


Single and Multiple Pigment Colours

Why Reading the Labels on your Tubes of Oils is Important

You may have noticed that oils come in averiety of  ‘series’. The number of the series reflects the quality and intensity of the pigment, and the amount of them used in each colour. A good quality oil paint will have a nice buttery thickness as it comes out of the tube, and only a small amount will reveal a strong intense colour when mixed with white.


Painting Nudes 2017

The Third Workshop Semester 2 with David Chen

The topic for this workshop was controlling tone. In a tonal painting you decide if you want to complete a dark, medium or light toned painting, you also decide on the temperature of your colours, which can be either overall warm or cool. The overall colour of the painting is decided as well.

So what you may decide on, depending on your preferences and taste as a painter could be an overall tonal painting that is in the cool reds and a middle to dark tone, to create some richness and drama.


Scumbling with Oil Paints

Scumbling is a method used when painting that I have recently taken up as part of my repertoire for gaining depth and unity within a painting.

It could be compared to glazing, as the use of transparent and semi-transparent paints is involved. The difference however, lies in laying down a darker background, then adding a transparent white, waiting for it to dry, and then ‘scumbling over darker transparent colours to either unite the painting with a similar tone or temperature, or to create a specific colour impression.

One of my best examples of scumbling was used in a very large work over 4 canvasses. I wanted to give the painting depth and pull it together with the use of scumbling with lighter and darker alternate cool and warm tones. This also gave the impression of the metal objects in the painting, which I was very pleased about.

I use a mix of Liquin and Linseed oil to get a little more drying time, but if you want one layer to dry very quickly, use the Liquin on its own. Liquin dries fast, sometimes in a matter of hours, so you need to be sure about what you are doing.

If you want to watch a short video about this method of painting look at:

Happy painting!

Odds & Sods. 2015. Oil on 4 90x90cm canvasses. © Janice Mills.

Painting Nudes Semester 2-2017

The First of Five Workshops with David Chen

Last semester ended with us understanding more about skin tones and how to use edges, tone and colour to place the model into a scene.

This semester we began by going over David’s philosophy for the workshops and his experience as first, an art student learning Academic Art Training at university (something that is not widely covered in Australia) and later as a practising artist and art teacher.

The technical issues that David has overcome during his 40 years as an artist and teacher are invaluable for students to learn as we take on the difficult subject of the human body.


Painting Nudes 2017

The Final of Five Workshops with David Chen

During this workshop, we learnt about another method of working the model into their surroundings. Rather than having your subject, be it a human figure or even a still life or an animal, looking like they are part of their surrounds, and keeping the painting interesting takes planning and often altering what you see to what you want. During this workshop, we could either take from the objects surrounding the model and apply our imagination to make them work, or use vignetting (leaving areas of the canvas white) to merge parts of the model into the background and surrounds.