Sunday, July 31, 2011

On Friday evening I drove to Crookwell, an historic NSW town that was established in the 1820's, to attend the opening of an exhibition of paintings by Janet Twigg-Patterson. Janet is a master of the art of Chinese brush painting, or sumi e as it is known in Japan. China has one of the oldest continuous painting traditions in the world and the styles and techniques which have been developed over millennia are both preserved and adapted and changed through the work of artists like Janet. Janet works in traditional themes like this, and also works with contemporary images and ideas. I have a magnificent painting of a gymea lily painted by Janet hanging in my studio. This is a poor photo, but you get the idea!

The opening was very interesting, particularly as Janet gave a talk about the philosophies and practises which underpin Chinese brush painting and the ways in which body, mind and psyche are integrated through the practise of this art. Very interesting stuff. Janet is in her seventies now and still a practising artist - she is a treasure and very inspiring.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Friday!

Winter in Canberra? This is it! Sun shining outside and not a breath of wind. I went for a run along  Ginninderra Creek and then made myself this plate of steamed brown rice with lightly stir fried onion, mushroom and greens with fresh oregano and a sprinkling of black pepper...and sat and ate it in the sun shining through the window. Life is good :-)

At my painting class this week Janet inspired me to paint some goldfish. I looked them up and found a pet shop that described goldfish as 'peaceful and intelligent'. I had not thought of goldfish in this way previously but this description has intrigued me - no wonder they can cope with swimming around in circles all day and night! In fact they must also have a deeply zen attitude to life, considering that their natural medium - lakes, rivers and so on - is virtually boundless and a fishbowl is, well, pretty much as bounded as a fish can be and still be alive. 
The first part of the fish that I paint is the eyes, then they seem to beg to be liberated from the page, I think that is why they are all looking out at me!

Time to get back to the goldfish.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Welcome back!

It has been a busy few weeks with the most exciting development being that I have quit my job as a teacher to focus on creative pursuits. Much as I love teaching, it sucked me dry in terms of energy and creativity and the time had come to move on.

Last evening I attended the unveiling of Barbara Van der Linden's portrait of Canberra designer Frank Arnold. Barb is engaged in an epic portrait painting project which will culminate, in 2013, in an exhibition of 25 portraits  called 'Faces of Canberra' at M16 Gallery. The exhibition will be part of Canberra's centenary celebrations.

The whole portrait can be seen here.  The portrait is very strong and created a terrific impression. It was unveiled by Frank's mum who charmed the assorted arty crowd with her direct and loving take on life as Frank's mum.

The venue for the unveiling changed at the last minute to the M16 Gallery and, while there I looked at an exhibition by Elisa Crossing. Many large paintings, mostly of interiors without people or anything living in them, so far as I remember. Some of them have the curious quality of following one around the room and invited one to enter and explore. Very interesting.

On that note, off to the studio...