The Art Gallery of NSW Archibald Prize

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. 

2013 Del Kathryn Barton, artist Hugo, title Portrait of the actor, Hugo Weaving
2013
Del Kathryn Barton, artist
Hugo, title
Portrait of the actor, Hugo Weaving
2012 Tim Storrier, artist The histrionic wayfarer (after Bosch), title
2012
Tim Storrier, artist
The histrionic wayfarer (after Bosch), title
2011 Ben Quilty, artist Margaret Olley, title 170cm x 150cm
2011
Ben Quilty, artist
Margaret Olley, title
170cm x 150cm
2010 Sam Leach, artist Tim Minchin, title
2010
Sam Leach, artist
Tim Minchin, title
2009 Guy Maestri, artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, title
2009
Guy Maestri, artist
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, title
2008 Kathryn Del Barton, artist You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with Kell and Arella, title
2008
Kathryn Del Barton, artist
You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with Kell and Arella, title

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. 

William Adolphe Bouguereau, 1825-1905

The following is an excerpt from the excellent biography by Damien Bartoli taken from the wonderful site of the Art Renewal Centre. I encourage you to spend time browsing their immense collection. 

“William Bouguereau is unquestionably one of history’s greatest artistic geniuses. Yet in the past century, his reputation and unparalleled accomplishments have undergone a libelous, dishonest, relentless and systematic assault of immense proportions. His name was stricken from most history texts and when included it was only to blindly, degrade and disparage him and his work. Yet, as we shall see, it was he who single handedly opened the French academies to women, and it was he who was arguably the greatest painter of the human figure in all of art history. His figures come to life like no previous artist has ever before or ever since achieved. He wasn’t just the best ever at painting human anatomy, more importantly he captured the tender and subtlest nuances of personality and mood. Bouguereau caught the very souls and spirits of his subjects much like Rembrandt. Rembrandt is said to have captured the soul of age. Bouguereau captured the soul of youth.” Damien Bartoli

Bouguereau’s paintings of children are delightful and capture the charm and beauty of youth.

All images courtesy of the Art Renewal Center.
http://www.artrenewal.org/

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Bouguereau’s mythology and religious paintings, and nudes are absolutely exquisite.

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And finally, the one I am most enamoured with is Alma Parens (The Motherland), painted in 1883. This is a representation of France and her colonial offspring. I love the impassive, patient and stoic face of the mother figure as she is clambered on and clamoured after by her children. 

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These are but a few of the many fine artworks by William Bouguereau. For further information, many more images (hi res as well) please go to the Art Renewal Center.
http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/ARChome.php

 

 

 

 

Alfredo Gomez

I’ve just discovered a ‘new’ artist! Well, new to me that is. Get a look at this beautiful, vibrant still life.

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Alfredo Gomez was born in 1964 in Guadalajara, Mexico and currently resides in California. He began painting at an early age and enjoyed his first public exhibition at age 20. Gomez is an artist dedicated to the traditional principles of art. He is self-taught and continues to study the Old Masters as well as the techniques by contemporaries. His favorite subjects are landscape and still-life, especially fruit. No matter his subject, Gomez captures it with warm, luminous realism. Alfredo’s paintings are full of passion and invite the viewer to pause and savor the beauty.

You can learn more here

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Tiffany Calder Kingston

Even at a noisy gallery exhibition, viewing Tiffany’s paintings is a sublime experience. I get lost in the depths and layers and want to know what’s below. Exploring nature and its place in primitive and present day cultures, Tiffany sees what lies below.  You can almost smell the mangroves and rainforest. Tiffany’s works are big, bold and colourful, and inspiration abounds in her local environment, the beautiful north coast of NSW, Australia.

“My work specifically examines the differing ideals between cultures who worship and those that neglect elements of nature,” she says. 

You can learn more about Tiffany Calder Kingston at

http://tiffanykingstonart.com

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Colour palette inspiration

I’ve just discovered Design Seeds, a very useful site. Colour is a big part of my life, I could not imagine life without vivid reds, crimsons, deep cool greens, light bright lemons and limes, soothing lilacs and vibrant purples in nature, in art, online, in galleries, on clothes, book covers, stationery, paint, ink, pencils, food …

Thank you Design Seeds!!

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http://design-seeds.com/

 

Gail Dell and Valentina Harper

I’ve just finished my uni holidays where I had a lot more time to look at beautiful things, and hopefully try my own hand.

Gail Dell lives in Perth, Western Australia and paints with much colour and vibrancy. I love the chooks! The layers (no pun intended) of colour are what impress me and fortunately Gail also posts pics of her work in progress on her Facebook page so we can see how she goes about creating the finished work.

https://www.facebook.com/GailDellArtist?fref=ts

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Valentina Harper

Valentina Harper (nee Ramos) lives in Miami, Florida USA, originally hailing from Venezuela. Valentina uses paint and Rapidograph pens. She works with different materials, but black ink is one of the mediums you will always find in her original prints, paintings and drawings. Her love for artworks with little intricate details are a signature of her own drawing style. I’ve been playing around with this style of drawing lately and find it very relaxing. Much like cross stitch used to make me feel. Time passes without realising it when I’m doing this sort of thing. Have a look at Valentina’s site, she has a lot of beautiful artwork.

http://www.valentinadesign.com/

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Dard Hunter

I first saw the work of  Dard Hunter  in the art gallery of Vancouver, Canada. His work comprises the elements of symmetry, line, balance and harmony, just as you’ll find in most Arts and Crafts pieces.

I love how these guys were all-round artists and crafts folk – illustrators, typeface creators, typesetters, printers, book binders.

Dard Hunter Ex Libris

I have these at home and they're far too nice to actually send to anyone!
I have these at home and they’re far too nice to actually send to anyone!

Dard Hunter typeface Arts and Crafts