From Studio Life: a sneak peek

Have you ever wondered what an artist does?

What it is like to be an artist?

Preliminary drawings. Charcoal on paper (2016).
Well, wonder no more.

Here I share studio photos of works in progress, theoretical musings on contemporary issues, and frustrations and triumphs with my work. The views I express are completely my own…Oh, and there may be other mildly entertaining random bits and pieces too.

The Life of a Painting

Whilst going through photographic records of my artworks taken over many years, I came across the follow painting I completed during my Honours research in 2009/10. It’s a great example of how the creative process can shift and change, and of also how I intuitively work.

Sometimes I may have a very firm idea of how I expect an artwork to look in its finished state, but more often than not, my expectations will not come to fruition. This is not a bad thing in my opinion, for I am open to the shifts that occur in the creative process. Out of “mistakes” or unexpected marks, I can see other paths to take which are more interesting or suitable for my theme or idea. Also, there is something to be said for allowing the painting to “drive” the work, letting it speak to me intuitively.

While this work was completed some years ago and I have moved on from the theme I was exploring at the time (criminality), my methodology has not changed very much. I don’t expect that it ever will as it is crucial to the creative process.

Deadlines and creativity

Autumn Sun Shower, 2016
“Autumn Sun Showers”, 2016, acrylic and oil on canvas, 28 x 36”.

There is a degree of pressure associated with completing a succinct and resolved body of work ready for exhibition in August in a short period of time. I only have two more weeks, and I certainly don’t want to be still painting in that last week.

Although I do have enough high quality resolved paintings to exhibit, I would still love to have another few weeks up my sleeve to put together some other works which more strongly follow the Sentinel series. I feel like I am only just hitting my straps now with this body of work and have lots of ideas about how I could push this further, but time is my limitation, but the creative process is unpredictable and cannot be sped up.

As the next fortnight is crunch time, its back to work for me!

We Move Among Sentinels series

Not currently titled.
This is a work in progress for my new series which will be exhibited during August 2016 for SALA Festival


I have been working very hard in the studio for my forthcoming SALA Festival group exhibition at Milan Rouge, an art gallery up at Stirling in the Adelaide Hills.

I have been pondering my fascination with the shapes I keep making, referencing the landscape around the Fleurieu Peninsula here in South Australia, but also landforms evident in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

I’ve been thinking about a family trip undertaken when I was 14 or 15 years old up to Northern Territory. We explored some iconic sights: Kings Canyon, Uluru and Kata Tjuta (known as Ayers Rock and The Olgas at the time). I had quite the eerie experience at Kata Tjuta, an amazingly large grouping of 36 massive domed rock formations millions of years old. I distinctly remember the feeling of being unsettled in this place, of feeling a powerful energy there which wasn’t necessarily malevolent, but nonetheless, very uncomfortable. This experience is very hard to articulate. At the time, I certainly had no knowledge of the significance of Kata Tjuta to the local custodians, the Anangu people. This is a very significant place to the Anangu people, who have lived in the region for at least 22,000 years, and there are several Dreaming stories associated with Kata Tjuta.

Questions I continue to contemplate are: What knowledge is embodied in a landscape? How does that manifest for humans, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people? What was I feeling and why? Is it possible for places to carry, for lack of a better word, energy?

These landforms are like sentinels. They are (impassive ?) observers to our journey and those who have come before. My response to the Australian landscape is very intuitive, and difficult to articulate, perhaps this is why I continue to paint it.