Sunday, November 28, 2010

On Painting - Part Seven

Image; Ken Kewley,
Pink Abstraction, 2003, Collage, 3 7/8 x 3 3/4 inches

From an interview with Ken Kewley on Painting Perceptions website

Keep things in flux. You must be willing to get rid of anything.

Get back to the joy of painting and trust that all you need to know is within you.

The beauty of things comes partly from never having become accustom to that thing, that relationship. It is what keeps things always fresh, always surprising, it is that the mind has never been able to completely name the thing.

Do not make a picture of a landscape, create a landscape.

Painting is very simple. Anyone can fill an area with paint. But to relate everything in a complex journey without resulting in chaos takes a lifetime to master.

Friday, November 26, 2010

On Painting - Part Six

Image: Ken Kewley,
Figures on Rocks, 2001, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 60 inches

From an interview with Ken Kewley on Painting Perceptions website

Using paint does not make one a painter. Paint can do so much more. The life of a painter is a life of exploring.

With the same brush work from dark to lighter, putting in darks while your brush is loaded with that value. Rinse only when you need to go quickly from one extreme to another.

Three elements in the right relationship get much closer to feeling real and often are enough to carry the whole. Do as little as possible.

Emphasize one thing over another. It is saying; “This is want I want you to look at”.

Paint with color-shapes. One color-shape followed by another. Reacting without rejecting. Paint instinctively. If not looking at nature then having looked at nature. Do not fall in love with any part. Always think of the whole. Stopping at the thought of stopping.

Overlapping is a large tool. Overlapping colors hold down other colors. They become steps into and out of space. Little and big steps. Controlling multiple planes.

The same lessons need to be learnt over and over.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Paint As Landscape" opens today

Image: Uncertain Truth, 2010: Oil on Canvas, 120 x120cm

My first show at a public gallery opens today at Goulburn Regional Gallery (title link) and continues until 4th December. I'll be conducting an Artist's talk on Saturday at 2pm and a Master class in Landscape painting the following Saturday at 1-4pm.

A bit of a "Hit and Run" exhibition, but I was very happy to take the dates offered as, according to Regional Arts policy, shows at Regional Galleries, "provide an individual artist with professional and public acknowledgement of career excellence and achievement and therefore will only be awarded to artists meriting such achievement"; (end of shameless personal back slapping).

The show marks a departure for my work involving a reliance on digital images and tonal work rather than memory, imagination and colour as per previous exhibitions. So I thought I'd share a bit of the process...

The idea germinated after my weekend painting in Bithry's Inlet in the beautiful Bega Valley (the first time I had gone bush for years) when I found myself tracing tree branch movement directly onto the canvas, in paint, as the sun rose swiftly in Autumn; and because of my frustration in not being able to spend time in the landscape (work commitments, money). On the one hand, I realised my work had always been about movement in and through the bush (or it's opposite, the stillness or lack of motion) and also, that this frustration of not spending time in the landscape was a reality for a city dweller who spent more time hurtling through it in a speeding car, to another urban destination. So I decided to deal with it.....

I also knew that the reason I painted landscape was because somehow it allowed me to hang the paint on it's structure - to play around with paint (hence the exhibition name). I am really more interested in that than the landscape itself, though it certainly has a healing and spiritual dimension for me and great associations with my father. So I decided to leave the grid used to draw up the image - and literally hang the paint off that...then that lead to me musing how the grid framed the paint to make abstract paintings (Yay! display the paint), and how it kind of pinned the motion (landscape as "Still Life" whilst moving, another theme in previous exhibitions). It also reflected the experience of travel at speed - stuck in capsule, a small piece of the larger picture, isolated and distanced from the reality around me. So I decided to amplify the process, reflecting the removal from the original in 1. taking the photo; 2, printing it out; 3; gridding it up to transpose to canvas; 4. Painting it - so I left these elements in (most of) the final paintings. The laborious process, conversely, allowed me to engage in the landscape in a far more intimate way than in the reality of capturing the image with the click of a camera.

The way I painted the areas within the grid also reflected the capturing of the image - a balance between control (right focus, ambient light/time of day, and adequate speed of vehicle) and chance (click without being able to actually see what is being taken due to the speed of travel) and in the best paintings, this is very successful. It also reflects the printing of the image via digital printer, as some of the photographs printed incorrectly due to a lack of the correct toner (and were deliberately painted that way), some were lined due to the way digital images printed out with blocked toner ducts etc, and these were left in. Again, control and chance plays its part...

And I was fascinated that I could get an image that was taken from the real, but doesn't reflect anything that actually exists outside of my computer, now, and can only be captured under certain circumstances and then not easily repeated. Is it real or illusion, concrete or abstract?? The boundary between the two has always been my interest - how far can an image be adjusted until it deteriorates,; how far can reality be pushed until it abstracts? Walking that line etween abstract and real has been the measure of my work to date. Ahhh! The uncertainty of reality...

Well, that's enough rumination for now, come to the artist's talk or go look at the work here

Sunday, November 21, 2010

On Painting Part Five

Image: Ken Kewley,
Cake with Chocolate Flowers, 1998, Oil on Canvas, 28 x 36 inches

From an interview with Ken Kewley on Painting Perceptions website

"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art”. – Cezanne

You speak. Some will listen others will not. You can not choose who will and will not. Do not concern yourself, do not adjust to please. Those you please will find you.

If you try too hard it will show up in the work as an unpleasant element. I do not like to see artist suffering.

Do not think about it that much. Get away from the self. Reject consciousness. Make it child’s work. What is created is the real thing.

Passion, excitement needs to be there at the beginning to have it there at the end.

Good things come when one no longer cares about pleasing anyone else.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nathan Oliviera Dies

One of my all time favourite artists, Nathan Oliviera, has died at his home in Stanford, California, on Saturday, November 13. The cause was related to pulmonary fibrosis, according to DC Moore Gallery, which represents the artist.
As a mark of respect and to show the uninitiated what we are sadly now missing, here are some images of his work.

Italian Sentinel, 1959

Man Walking

Adolescent by the Bed,

Seated Figure with Pink Background - (This one was on my studio wall for ages)

Santa Fe Nude 1 (Ink on Paper)

All Images: Nathan Oliviera, Oil On Canvas except Nude I

On Painting Part Four

Image: Ken Kewley,
Chinese Pastries/Watermelon, 1998, Oil on Canvas, 28 x 36 inches

From an Interview with Ken Kewley on the Painting Perceptions website

Paint large areas quickly and unconsciously as much as possible. Let nuances happen. Never consciously paint them.

Emphasis is invention….The need to find shapes is a need to exaggerate and gives freedom to invent.

Surprising yourself should be encouraged.

One should always be reconsidering the whole and willing to redraw the whole.

The painting is the result of the process of painting. Do not anticipate this. Forget that you are painting a painting. And even more that it is a picture. Give up control to let things happen in painting.

The secret (your methods) to painting needs to be discovered everyday. This is necessary because these secrets only work for a little while.

Monday, November 15, 2010

On Painting Part Three

Image: Ken Kewley, Thursday Night Painting no 9, 2002-3, Guache on Paper, 8x10in

From an interview with Ken Kewley on Painting Perceptions website

When painting the model, treat each part (do not name the parts) as something separate and then compose the parts into a whole -into a composition. Use as few shapes as possible, do not think human. You are making a painting. Keep the foreignness of the parts, this into the whole. I love the human figure, I do not negate it. But I trust that this love will come through in the process through my love of painting.

Painting over previous works promotes the desire to cover quickly what is underneath. The old peeking through will not distract if the new is strong enough to carry the viewer’s attention. What would distract is covered up and what is useful can remain. You are unconsciously saving what is useful.

The painter needs to take possession of the subject. Painting is building something out of abstract material.

It is better when things have to be figured out each time. Getting lost is not dangerous in painting.

Friday, November 12, 2010

On Painting Part Two

Image: Ken Kewley, Cherry Cheesecake with Pear, 2000, Oil on Panel, 8 x 10 inches

From an interview with Ken Kewley on Painting Perceptions Website

I tend to like paintings where the abstraction is strong. By this I mean that the paint, the colors and shapes, are distinct, like strong actors in a play. Going towards abstraction does not mean going away from representation. It is more like describing something real by other means than illustration. It is like describing an apple with your hands, forming the shape in the air with your hands, by enclosing an imaginary object with two hands. You do not try to make your hand look like an apple. Paint takes over the role of the hands and does not hide the fact that it is paint. Painting is talking with hands made permanent.

In painting you never do what you set out to do. Something else happens. If it always turns out right you are probably doing something wrong.

Do not try to make a picture of something. Make something.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Painting - Part One

Image: Ken Kewley, Black and White with Orange Slices, 2000, Oil on Panel, 8 x 10 inches

From an interview with Ken Kewley on Painting Perceptions website

On painting:

As far as keeping a painting fresh to the end, you can not lose sight of the reason for starting the painting in the first place, that first excitement, that one big relationship, if the details slowly obscure the big thing the painting becomes dull, then it is necessary to dig back in and pull it out even if it means upturning days of work, in the end nothing is lost and it will be more exciting for being harder found and deeper felt.

Try not to dilute the paint. (There is a time for thick and a time for thin.)

Instead I am always mixing on the palette and on the painting; going up and down the value scale, from light to dark, from dark to light. Do a painting. If it works out well, that’s great, if it doesn’t that’s great. You have the perfect surface for another painting and it solves the problem of starting with a blank sheet.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

On Colour Part Five

Image: Ken Lewley, Thursday Night paintings no 9, 2002-3, Guache on paper, 8x10in

From an Interview with Ken Kewley on the Painting Perceptions website

Transparent colors may need to be mixed with other darks and even black. These dark colors use as a tint with white creates a color closer to white. Travel between these two extremes. Rinsing the brush can be avoided by transforming whatever is on the brush toward a nameable color by adding that color or the color that when mix becomes that color or away from that color by mixing that color’s opposite.

And at the same time be aware if you are going darker or lighter. To go lighter and keep the color add white, to go lighter while changing colors add whichever color is lighter and takes you closer to the desire color. To make a jump between colors, either go lighter or darker by mixing in a color that goes away from the nameable color if you want a bigger jump. Keeping away from just adding white or black makes for more surprising color.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Colour Part Four

Image: Ken Kewley, Thursday Night Painting no 4, 2002-3,Guache on paper 8x10in
From an interview with
Ken Kewley on Painting Perceptions website

Do not think too much. Better just to enjoy the color. Do whatever you need to do to keep excited. Play, do not work. Play is the most productive work. Opposite colors; yellow and purple, orange and blue, red and green, white and black. Buying any color that excite is not a bad idea. But a pretty color in itself is only a pretty color.

Begin with the artist love of color. This will be in the work if the mind does not get in the way. Be aware of the whole painting. Look at no color without looking at another. Every color needs to relate to every other color. Which one is darker, which lighter. Keep in the mind the colors most nameable. Keep the number of these small; yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green, and white and black. Be aware of going towards or away from these. Think value from white to black. Yellow would be closer to white. A dark green or alizarin crimson would be closer to black. Think in this wide range.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Finally a Pic! Sculpture by the Sea winner

Image: Keld Moseholm, mirroring, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2010. Photo Jacqueline White

Haven't been there yet, but I most surely will make the trek to beautiful Bondi to see this annual exhibition of site specific sculpture in one of the most amazing coastlines of the world. However, not sure about the judges taste....

More pics on the title link

Monday, November 1, 2010

On Colour Part Three

Ken Kewley Certosa Painting 12 x 12 inches Oil on panel 2010
From and interview with
Ken Kewley on the Painting Perceptions website continued.

Instinctively adjusting color for your own entertainment. (excitement) -done by adding, taking away or moving to new locations. Making a color stronger by removing a color elsewhere. Making colors do more adds excitement. Remove lazy (less useful) colors.

To go lighter use a color of a lighter value all the way to a little white to go darker use a color of a darker value all the way to black….Think of colors becoming stained. Light colors are easier stained than dark colors. Red wine on a white or any light colored shirt. Yellow with be altered more dramatically than a phtho green or blue.

Look at great paintings. Look for primary colors, colors that can be easily named, i.e. green, orange, etc. Usually they are not found. Most colors are without names. Most colors are adjusted and fine tuned. Colors found by a need to compose the whole. Each color playing a role. Color changes depending on size of the form and its neighbors.


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