I’m thrilled to have been invited to be one of the feature artists for this year’s Art4All art show at Fairfield Primary School here in Melbourne.
Now in its 22nd year, this is a weekend of art and fun for the families of the school community as well as for the wider community within Melbourne. I feel very honoured to be exhibiting there as the history of the show has some very well known names and wonderful artists – Mirka Mora, David Frazer, Anthony Breslin, Belinda Fox, Tai Snaith, and Kylie Sirrett, Kenny Pittock and Kate Hudson to name a few.
With fabulous art experiences for the whole family including dedicated ARTzone for kids to immerse themselves in 5 hours of creative fun, with expert led workshops changing on the hour. There are also stalls selling craft and art, as well as yummy food. The Gallery will be open for all to see some fabulous artworks.
The above shows snippets of four of my eight works that are for sale at the show which opens tonight from 6-9pm, and is open tomorrow & Sunday from 10am – 3pm.
In 2014, I began volunteering at the State Library of Victoria as a tour guide. The regular exhibition training is always interesting and enlightening; being a tour guide has widened my world further. My favourite exhibition to show people through is the World of the Book, one-of-a-kind exhibition showcasing the history of book design, production and illustration.
One of the people I learnt about in that first year was Celia Rosser. At the time, the library had a couple of Celia’s Banksia works on display and it was a great pleasure to show them and talk to the public about her and her important work. Part of being a library tour guide is that you are encouraged to go away and do your own research on items within the collection that particularly interest you.
Celia Rosser is an Australian national living treasure, in my
Born in 1930, Celia is an Australian botanical illustrator who, over 25 years within the Science Faculty at Monash University, completed a monumental series of works, The Banksias, which were published as a three-volume series of monographs containing watercolour paintings of every Banksia species. The enormity of the accomplishment continues to astonish me.
Beginning the works in the early 1970s, the publication of
the final volume in 2000 represented the first time that such a large genus has
been entirely painted.
In in 1995 Celia was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia and in 1997 Celia was awarded the Linnaean Society of London’s Jill Smythies Award for botanical illustration. Monash University awarded her an honorary Master of Science degree in 1981, and an honorary PhD in 1999.
In 2018, Hamilton Gallery in western Victoria displayed, for only the second time ever, the full set of watercolour originals which made up The Banksias publications and on a wet May Saturday I saw them and was transfixed.
Since then, I have been reading about, drawing, painting and
posting about banksias.
Although this site has been going for some years now, the posts have generally been about my relationship to and interest in art. It started when I first went to univeristy, age 48, to study graphic design and media. From here on, it will focus on my own art career.
Colour :: Line :: Pattern
These are the things that inspire me. Pretty general I know, but I find fodder for my art practice from very diverse sources. Architectural elements, decorative styles such as art nouveau, historical documents and natural history illustration, the natural (especially botanical) world, and often just the sheer pure joy of seeing a colour, and mixing and making new ones.
I am inspired by the constant overlapping of nature, science, music; the appearance of patterns in all these. And I find beauty in it.
I like to let the materials find their way, to replicate nature. Follow the accidental line; let it guide you. I paint intuitively, responding to experiences, visual stimuli and feelings.
After graduating from university in 2014 (Bachelor of Arts – Media & Communication) with distinction, I realised very quickly that I was just at the beginning of learning about art. So … I went back to study. Back to basics to a Diploma of Visual Arts. I really wanted to learn the skills of painting, printmaking, drawing; to learn about the materials and techniques involved in making art. I had dabbled in watercolours on and off for over 20 years but never really had a huge desire to learn more. I had enrolled in a few short courses over the years of raising my children, but having only ever had paid employment in office-type administrative work, the progression through a Certificate IV in Printing & Graphic Arts to the degree majoring in graphic design suited me at the time.
Fast forward through three years of part time office work and part time study, I have now participated in a few exhibitions and am relishing my time in the studio I share in The Nicholas Building in Melbourne.
The murky story of the Doves Press, a tale of bitterness and vengeance.
It’s exactly 100 years since an elderly man carried out a drawn out act of conspicuous vengeance against his one-time business partner. Over the six months from August 1916, Thomas Cobden-Sanderson, at dusk and in the dark, threw more than a tonne of metal type pieces into the Thames, just to stop it ever getting into the hands of the man who designed it, Emery Walker.
Embittered by an acrimonious dispute over ownership of the Doves typeface, which had been created by Walker at Cobden-Sanderson’s behest, and even though after the partnership dissolved in 1909 Cobden-Sanderson gained usage rights to the typeface for the duration of his lifetime, upon his death in 1922 it was revealed that the typeface had been ‘bequeathed to the Thames’.
The Doves Press had been established in 1900 by Cobden-Sanderson, then aged 59, and Emery Walker, ten years his junior. After a first career as a barrister, Cobden-Sanderson became a bookbinder at the urging of his friends William and Jane Morris. Emery Walker, an engraver and printer, and collector of medieval books, was also a friend of the Morrises. William Morris, of course, is well known as the father of the Arts and Crafts Movement, a term in fact created by Emery Walker when, together with Morris, he set up the first Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society. Morris also started his own private press, The Kelmscott Press in 1891 for which he also created his own typefaces, Golden, Troy and Kelmscott.
The private press movement began in the late nineteenth century in response to the increasingly mechanised methods of book production wrought by the industrial revolution. Traditional skills and jobs were being lost: punch cutters, typecasters, typesetters, printers, papermakers, bookbinders. Private press owners set about reviving the craft of making books using high quality ingredients: hand made paper, high quality ink, vellum bindings with gold tooling, and often designing their own typefaces. The Doves Press was a major contributor to the private press movement of the twentieth century.
Cobden-Sanderson wanted to create the highly desirable ‘book beautiful’, an ideal based on the medieval and pre-printing press era illuminated manuscripts. The thing that sets Doves Press books apart from other private press offerings of the Arts and Crafts Movement is that there are very few, if any, illustrations within its pages, relying instead on the beauty of the typography and clarity of the printed page.
In 2013, East London graphic designer, Robert Green, engaged the Port of London Authority’s divers to search the murky river bed around the Hammersmith Bridge for the tiny pieces of type that Cobden-Sanderson had flung there. After years of research and attempts to recreate Doves type for use in this digital age, Green knew he needed to try and find at least a piece of the original. He found over 150 pieces.
Let me introduce you to a couple of Australian artists I knew nothing about a fortnight ago. That was when one of my art teachers, Tim Jones, took a group of us along to NGV Fed Square’s Luminous: Australian Watercolours 1900-2000 exhibition.
Australian modernist artist Frank Hinder (1906-1992) was born in and studied art in Sydney before going abroad to Chicago, New York and New Mexico during the 1920s and 1930s. Hinder was one of the first to exhibit abstract works in Australia.
Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack trained under Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee at the Bauhaus, Germany’s avant-garde school of architecture and design in the 1920s. Having fled Germany in 1936 for England, Hirschfeld Mack was deported on board the Dunera in 1940 to Australia and interned as an ‘enemy alien’. After his release in 1942, he was appointed art master at Geelong Grammar, a position he held till his retirement in 1956.
I find both their works very dynamic, lots of movement; there’s a rolling gentleness in them. The first two works below, Frank Hinder’s Banksia (1938) and Hirschfeld Mack’s Story of a Shell (1940) have inspired the third image which is my painting in homage, Banksia in gouache.
Sarah Gabriel’s light and colourful drawings, and watercolour and ink paintings are very eye catching. The fine detail and deft touch, along with the pop of colour, are almost ethereal, and definitely an inspiration for me.
She draws inspiration from nature, and living in the beautiful countryside around Kyneton in central Victoria, her drawings really do “capture the ‘energy’ and ‘spirit’ of her environment”.
Her work can be found online and at her gallery in Kyneton. Sarah prints and hand colours limited edition drypoint etchings. She also runs small group workshops in drawing and printmaking which I hope to get to one day.
Congratulations to this year’s winner of the prestigious Archibald Prize for portraiture, Fiona Lowry with her skilful, delicate and evocative painting of Penelope Seidler. I’m looking forward to seeing it up close and personal when it comes to the Mornington Peninsula Regional Art Gallery in Victoria.
More info: http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/prizes/archibald/2014/29495/
I love the Archies. Can’t wait to see who is the winner this year when it is announced tomorrow!
I’ve been going to see the finalists every year for about 7 years now, and sporadically on and off before that. Running since 1921, this annual prize is awarded for portraiture ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’.
The variety of mediums, sizes, styles and quality always astounds me just as surely as the winner is always a stand out, awe inspring winner.
Below are the last few years’ winners.
Kathryn Del Barton’s and Ben Quilty’s paintings in particular are spectacular. Large, textured and colourful, they grab your eye the minute you walk into the room. Viewing this very popular exhibition is somewhat tricky as the crowds can detract from an immersive viewing experience. Somehow, though, whenever I am in front of a real work of genius, the rest of the room fades away.