Friday, 5 October 2012

Tree Poem

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky. We fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness. 

Khalil Gibram

Thursday, 4 October 2012

iPhonography. the sea

Flowers of the rock facing the green sea
with veins that reminded me of other loves
glowing in the slow fine rain,
flowers of the rock, figures
that came when no one spoke and spoke to me...

George Seferis
Book of Exercises

the sea I

the sea II

the sea III

the sea IV

the sea V

the sea VI

the sea VII

the sea VIII

the sea IX

the sea X

the sea XI

the sea XII

the sea XIII

the sea XIV

the sea XV

All images shot with iPhone 4S using the Hipstamatic app.  
In app:  John S Lens, Float film, no flash.
Shot Wednesday 3 October 2012

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

iPhonography. lost.

I waited there among cool branches
biting the fruit of the myrtle bush;
a whiteness stung my eyes,
maybe the salt, maybe her ghost. And then
in the shrubs, a whisper...

George Seferis
Three Mules

lost I

lost II

lost III

lost IV

lost V

lost VI

lost VII

All images shot with iPhone 4s using Hipstamatic app.  
In app: John S lens, Blanko Freedom 13 film, no flash.
Shot Monday 2 October 2012.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

iPhonography. Dark Pathways sequence.

Dark Pathways

The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away…

T.S. Eliot
East Coker

This series could be described a Noir, Gothic, Melancholic, perhaps a way to undermine conventional photography, and questions beauty in photography. The series also mirrors an element of my personal psychology and perhaps seeks to express it.

Dark Pathways I

Dark Pathways II

Dark Pathways III

Dark Pathways IV

Dark Pathways V

Dark Pathways VI

Dark Pathways VII

Dark Pathways VIII

Dark Pathways VIV

Dark Pathways X

All images shot with iPhone 4s and the Hipstamatic app.  
In app:  John S lens.  Blanko Freedom 13 film.  No flash.
Shot Saturday 29 September 2012.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Dipping Toes in the Acheron

Vestibule, 2004, oil on acrylic on treated rag, 76.4 x 56.0 cm

If prison is hell then this is the painting. It was a response to Dante's Inferno, and in particular, early on in the poem when Dante and Virgil arrive in the Vestibule of Hell, on the shores of the Acheron. In saying that it is a response to, I mean that this painting generates, for me, an atmosphere/emotion that is almost identical to that generated by that section of the poem; and also, and at times, generated by working in various panopticonic, Victorian era prisons where an apt descriptor would be 'elemental and base'.  In the late 1980's they were still using "piss buckets" in Beechworth Prison.  A plastic nappy bucket was all that the prisoner had if he needed the toilet after being locked up early in the evening.
These prisons were constructed of massive blocks of granite or bluestone that were mined locally. They were cold and awful places where unspeakable things happened, the worse of it being, apart from the occasional serial killer, the corrupt, psychotic screws, who dominated the ranks of prison officers.  Harsh criticism you think - no, I lived it.
These prisons had a duality about them.  On one side they were evil, as if the granite walls had absorbed the evil that was inherent in some of the worst prisoners and screws; and on the other side, the dark and gothic beauty of this type of architecture.  These prisons were built in the 1850's 1860's.  The level of craftsmanship that was used to construct these buildings was astonishing when one considers the era in which they were built.
This painting also has this duality about it. I love it and loathe it at the same time. I love the paint handling, and composition, the mystery and atmosphere it evokes, its conceptual base. It has, for me, that dark beauty. But it is essentially a "nasty" painting. It represents a period in my life that was, at times, horrific.  The colour combination is ugly. The 'scabs' of dried paint. Its primitiveness. It also takes me to Peter Fuller's concept of "redemption through form".

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Cast Iron Relief Press, Monoprint, Chop, and Henry Li.

Untitled, 2012, watercolour monoprint with acrylic, graphite, Colourfix, wax oil crayon, 
oil pastel, and chop, on Fabriano paper, 25.4 x 20.3 cm

At the Goods Shed (Bass Coast Artist Society clubhouse) there is a wonderful old printing press.  So I thought that I would take advantage of this and attempt a set of monoprints. I am very much a beginner in relation to this art form and very inexperienced.  I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with monoprinting, I love most of the effects, but loathe some of the effects. For instance, if one is using very thick paint (particularly acrylic), then when the print is pulled, the areas of thick paint within the print will be full of little peaks of varying sizes.  Very annoying, but one can fix this up to a point, but I find that one loses some of the characteristics that was so attractive in the first place.  I tend to go over the peaks with an appropriately sized plasterer's scraper to flatten them, but this degrades the naturally occurring look of spontaneity. Also it is inevitable that some of the edges of the forms will be negatively effected.
Anyway, in a perfect world, the first and subsequent prints would need no 'adjusting' except for some minor embellishment at some later stage.  As I stated above I am fairly new at this, and perhaps with an appropriate level of control (perhaps with more experience) when creating the plate, these negatives could be avoided. I have done some monoprinting in the past with varying results.  This is the first time using an actual press. The plate consisted of a piece of old masonite that was covered with lumps, bumps, hollows and lines emanating from layers of old oil and acrylic paint that had dried and formed over many years. I have been experimenting with watercolour, laying it on straight from the tube in most cases.  With watercolour paint, thick and straight from the tube, it 'flattens' (more so as opposed to the more extreme 'peaking' in acrylics), and doesn't seem to have the same negatives inherent with acrylic paint. It does worry me that once the thick layer of watercolour paint has dried there may be some cracking.  I haven't noticed anything of this nature yet.  I make no claim as to the quality of these works.  It was though, great fun doing it and wonderfully exciting at that moment when one pulls the print off of the plate to view - either a abysmal mess or something wonderful.
I use the text and chop primarily as compositional elements within the picture.

Untitled, 2012, watercolour monoprint with Colourfix, graphite, and chop,
 on Fabriano paper, 26.1 x 21.0 cm.

Untitled, 2012, watercolour monoprint with graphite and chop, on Fabriano paper,
29.7 x 21.0 cm.

I think that I lost control with this last one in the set.  Its kind of all over the place. Probably carried away with all the delightful mark-making.  Still I will do some more of these paying more attention to compositional elements. Incidentally, the chop was carved by Henry Li, of Blue Heron Arts (online store) in the U.S. and is a chinese translation of my name.  It was used with Dark Red, chinese chop ink. It is a pleasure dealing with Henry.  Just a little plug for one of my favourite art stores :))
What is so wonderful working with watercolour paint in this fashion (thick, straight from the tube) is the intensity of the colour, which unfortunately, doesn't really come through in the above scans.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Anderson Inlet + Wet Feet.

Anderson Inlet, around dusk.


walking the edge of the great abyss
talking to Nietzsche
a falling moon is the harbinger of spring

I try and spent as much time as I can these days out taking photographs.  Anderson Inlet - 20 mins drive along the coast from home, is a favourite haunt of mine (got to remember to take the gumboots next time though). Once I secure an image - take the shot, download it, and then post process it on the computer - and if the picture has that "something" that I feel connected to, that it touches a place within, where, for want of a better description, there resides the 'spirit', then I feel that I have been successful in my endeavours.  It is the same with my painting and drawing, and even other artists work.  There is  something ineffable at times, that is triggered by a work of art, that flows within and then expands outward to touch something, some otherness, that is indescribable.  But so very profound and beautiful.  Sounds pretty weird and far out even to me.  I am not a religious person (any more).  Over the years, my Catholicism has been beaten out of me by various aspects of the Church of Rome.  So, religious - no, spiritual, yes.

Anderson Inlet around dusk.

inlet V

pale indigo green sandpools
sit brooding under winters sun
the color of boyhood marbles

Anderson Inlet around dusk, looking east.

inlet II

at ocean’s edge
wavelets hiss and gurgle
a one-legged gull watches with black eyes



For all the photography aficionados out there.  I understand that some of these images don't follow the 'rules'. The thing is if we were all confined by dogma, then there would be no art.  I think one should learn the rules/guidelines thoroughly, then in formulating ones own personal vision, break them.