Wilsons Promontory

Wilsons Promontory (the Prom) is a stunning national park down on the south-eastern most tip of the Australian mainland. I had the privilege of staying in one of the hikers huts recently (yes, it was freezing) to work and gather inspiration. What I saw there, especially at first light, was truly breathtaking. Here are some photos of the reflections of the boulders in Tidal River. You can see the universe in these rocks.

And below are some of the sketches made on paper….

Keep Silent

The Big Bonsai Painting Show!

The larger than life bonsai paintings are on show for ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Where: Meat Market Stables, 2 Wreckyn St, North Melbourne, Australia (Online later for everyone else)

When: Saturday 27 April, 2019. 6-9pm

'The Big Bonsai Painting Show' will be happening in the history steeped warehouse stables of Melbourne's Meat Market. All your favourite trees will be there ;)

It's a free event and open to all the public, with wine and regular gallery opening fare.

Join the Facebook event for updates

Spread the love, and see you there!

The show will be online shortly after.

Me finishing off a large Wisteria

Me finishing off a large Wisteria

‘Japanese Maple in Bespoke Pot’ 130cm x 110cm

‘Japanese Maple in Bespoke Pot’ 130cm x 110cm

Meat Market Stables in North Melbourne seemed like the ideal venue

Meat Market Stables in North Melbourne seemed like the ideal venue

Sorry about Comments

Unfortunately all your comments on my blog have been lost into the ether (sigh). It had something to do with Disqus and the changes Squarespace made when it went to “https” from “http”. I tried to reclaim them through URL mapping, but alas it did not work for me. Apologies to all! We now have the regular Sqaurespace comment system so it should be smooth sailing from here. :)

The funny things you see

One of the greatest joys of painting in the semi-abstract to abstract genre, is hearing what my audience sees within. Whether on social media or in person, here are a few memorable remarks to perhaps you can relate:

  • I can see an upside-down mermaid in a bowl of spaghetti! (See image below)

  • I can see a blue Holden Barina (an Aussie car) that’s fallen off a cliff into a shrub! (In this person’s case, I believe this actually happened to her! I’m not sure I like being a ptsd trigger :S)

  • I see a group of babies screaming

  • It’s a butterfly party! (Children are the best at this)

  • Animals. Always animals. Penguins, donkeys, lots of accidental cats apparently. One woman could only see elephants, lots of elephants and it took a longtime convincing they were flowers. Bless :D

I would just like to say that whatever you may see in my paintings says a lot more about YOU than it does the accidental creator :D

‘Wisteria Bonsai’ or aka an upside-down mermaid in a bowl of spaghetti

‘Wisteria Bonsai’ or aka an upside-down mermaid in a bowl of spaghetti

Chef’s Table (Palette and Palate)

My girlfriend kept harping on about this show called Chef’s Table on Netflix, and insisting as an artist I would find it interesting. 

I was reluctant at first, because well, are chefs like artists? And also, I’ve never been able to understand the recent wave of cooking shows. When you think of the number of hungry people, I thought it all in pretty poor taste; kinda tough to swallow, or hard to stomach. ;) 

But as it turns out, Chef’s Table is about the chefs themselves, and their “journeys” for lack of a better word. And it is surprising the parallels between the life of a chef and that of an artist. This might not be surprising to some of you… it is called the “culinary arts” after all. But I went to art school, and there were no culinary skills taught, believe me!

To start with, one of the hallmarks of an artist is individuality, and the chefs in this show are no different. The personalities, cuisines, cultures and approach are as varied as a modern art fair. Variety is the spice of life, they say. 

Another alarming parallel is chefs and artists seem to name their creations with word play and puns. In the episode featuring Will Goldfarb, we were taken to his dessert bar ‘Room 4 Dessert” with such dishes as ‘Pandan-bert’. I’ve come up with some groaners for my own work, but chefs truly take the cake! ;) 

The chefs exposed are not necessarily on the gravy train, but they are the cream of the crop. Cherry-picked. Some are the avant-garde of food, taking molecular gastronomy to the next level… often employing “food labs” which are kitchens dedicated to experimentation. Methinks this is much the same as an artist’s studio… where hours are spent, mistakes and discoveries made. Chefs on the show create organic bubbles of flavour inside algae skins, foams and flosses of unconventional flavours. It’s a similar kind of innovation that I see with painters who use gels, fluid acrylics, paint skins, and artists in general who push the limits of the materials in their given medium. If you were to look into a modern studio and a modern kitchen/lab, you’d find tools that wouldn’t be traditionally be found in either. Blow torches, industrial moulds, plastics and dry ice, for example.  

Artists long ago escaped the confines of the square canvas, and chefs are no longer bound by a round white plate. Grant Achatz at his restaurant Alinea, (whom, on a side note, often visits contemporary art galleries for inspiration for his dishes), serves food on pillows of scented air. And in the ephemera, there’s Vladimir Mukhin’s White Rabbit restaurant in Moscow, which aims to create an overall experience much like an installation artwork.

There is a definite familiarity with chefs’ obsession with… well, familiarity. Nostalgia and childhood features throughout the series. Notably, and one of the strongest episodes, was Christina Tosi: a New Yorker who invented cornflake milk ice-cream. You know, that flavoured milk left over after a bowl of cornflakes? I thought that was quite brilliant! You don’t have to look far in the art world to see that “flavour” of nostalgia, from Chardin’s ‘Boy with a Top’ to Jeff Koons’ ballon dogs. I guess it alludes to an overall occupation with childhood (some of us have even been accused of painting like one). And I think too, it’s important for innovation to approach our work with a notion of “play”… if not in concept, then in the creative process.

Another memorable episode featured Francis Mallman who lived and cooked on a seriously remote and wild Patagonian island. Along with Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist nun of the Baegyangsa temple in South Korea, these two chefs are all about immersion with their natural surrounds. Mallman is primeval in the connection to his surrounds, and Kwan spiritual, and the episode leaves you with same feeling you get after a week-long meditation retreat. For me, and I hear it from other artists too (especially those in cities), it highlights our dissonant need to be a part of the human city machine, and the desire to be out and grounded in nature. 

This blog post probably has enough on its plate, but it wouldn’t be right not to touch on the effect of patriarchy on the cheffing and art worlds. In the first season of Chef’s Table, there is just one female chef featured. The woman I speak of is Niki Nakamara, and all she had to do to be on the show was train in Japan for decades in the uber-male dominated world of Kaiseki, realise there was never going to be much opportunity there, move to Los Angeles, start her own restaurant, and become one of the top Kaiseki chefs in the world. Hopefully you can detect my snark here, but of course, this lack of equality is a reflection on the world of elite chefs more than on Chef’s Table, who to their credit, made more of a concerted effort to represent equally in following seasons. 

Similarly, women have long been fighting for equal representation in major museums, or to in general be taken seriously as artists. This is not easy given the “artistic genius” label that has a long history of being given to only men, leaving society with an inherited (mostly) unconscious bias. There are signs things are changing, with projects such as The Jealous Curator’s book ‘A Big Important Art Book - Now With Women’, The Other Art Fair London’s ‘Not 30%’, and revisionist history documentaries like ‘Kusama, Infinity’.

In a nutshell, the life of a chef is far closer to that of an artist than I thought. Granted, I can see that is a rather glorifying statement given cheffing is a pretty hard slog. It’s long hours, split shifts, hot kitchens, high pressure, and until you make it into the top tier, the pay is peanuts. But I’d like to point out that artists are not exactly living the life of leisure that’s expected of them. Most artists  I know are working long hours (usually second jobs too), in studios that are freezing cold in winter and baking in summer, and might be happy to be paid in peanuts. It’s almost like the life of a chef is going through a period of romanticisation not dissimilar to what must have happened to artists at some point. 

I can’t complain though. I’m not a starving artist. In fact, this is where I should probably mention that the gf and I had the good fortune of nabbing a table at n/naka (Niki Nakayama’s restaurant) when in LA for The Other Art Fair (to say it was tricky getting in is an understatement. Bookings for tables open three months prior, and are booked within literally seconds. It was insane, and took a number of attempts before we were finally successful). The evening was one of the most memorable of my life. Each morsel of food was a brand new experience, from a heavenly dashi broth, cuttlefish and lobster sashimi with wee medallions of weird stuff and yummy purees, to cherry blossom jelly and yuzu sake. Not just the food, the hospitality was above and beyond, even for Japanese standards (and American for that matter). The waiters, the chefs, all know you by name, and know why you are there prior to your arrival. It was a first class experience, and to think I could be repeating that in the future, is probably pie in the sky

Clearly, I can no longer judge our culture’s food fetish. I know the struggle for protein for some is still very real, and the excess of food we have in the West, and waste, should be acknowledged. But I have to say, when you start viewing food as art, and chefs as artists, our preoccupation with food and these food shows become a whole lot more palette-able ;) (perhaps conveniently).

One of the 15 courses at n/naka. It was a seared scallop with a puree of some delicious sort and jelly.

One of the 15 courses at n/naka. It was a seared scallop with a puree of some delicious sort and jelly.

Dashi broth with clams and special crystal weed found on the side of road.

Dashi broth with clams and special crystal weed found on the side of road.

Pasta made with seafood somehow.

Pasta made with seafood somehow.

Me having a jolly time.

Me having a jolly time.

The Other Art Fair - Sydney!

People of Sydney, do you have your tickets to The Other Art Fair starting this Thursday 26 October? I'll be exhibiting there along with 100 other artists chosen for the event. I haven't been involved in the Sydney event before, but the Melbourne event earlier this year was good fun, and the caliber of artwork was inspiring! Read on for info on how to get yourselves in for free. 

I have a large space in Sydney, with some large works to show (and a few small, and the Samsung sponsored Saatchi Art lounge will also be showing some of my work). Here are a few: 

'Bonsai: Spring', 100cm x 120cm, Acrylic on canvas

'Bonsai: Spring', 100cm x 120cm, Acrylic on canvas

'Sakura', 208cm x 130cm, Acrylic on Canvas

'Sakura', 208cm x 130cm, Acrylic on Canvas

'Bonsai: Autumn', 100cm x 120cm, Acrylic on canvas

'Bonsai: Autumn', 100cm x 120cm, Acrylic on canvas

The fair runs from Thursday 26 - Sunday 29 October at Australian Technology Park, and you can get your tickets here: http://sydney.theotherartfair.com/free (use promocode TOAFAmanda).

See you there! 

This was hard

The 30 paintings in 30 day challenge was so exhausting that I'm only just getting around to publishing my notes. (Okay I did sneak in a wee trip to Japan there). Here are my notes ripped direct from my diary during the challenge. They're pretty candid, a little rough, and perhaps boring in parts... but there are some pretty pictures! As you'll see, a strong food theme emerged...

    Read More

    30 Paintings in 30 Days

    Have you heard of NaNoWriMo [http://nanowrimo.org/] -- National Novel Writing Month? It's an internet-based creative writing project that challenges participants to complete 50,000 words (or a novel) within the month of November. It started in 1999, and in 2015 they claim that 431,626 people could call themselves novelists at the end of the 30-day period. Pretty impressive.

    Now there's something similar started for artists called, "Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days" [https://www.saetastudio.com/30-in-30.html] which takes place in September. My schedule doesn't allow me to sign up, but the idea got me thinking. Could I complete 30 paintings in 30 days? Would the pressure to produce a quality painting every single day (for 30 days in a row!) trigger new creativity...or stymie it? 

    Aside from completing one painting a day, there is NO pressure.. no pressure to create anything good. It could be quite freeing, so for the moment, I’m quietly confident of the latter… it would trigger new creativity. However, those that know me well, know that such optimism could be short lived, and it’s entirely possible I would at some stage lose my sh*t and decide instead to set fire to the studio. 

    Nonetheless, the challenge of it has intrigued me, and I have decided to go for it. I've given myself an internal deadline: September 15 to October 14. At the end of that time, I should have 30 new works to share. I will be giving daily updates on Instagram and Facebook, and weekly reports on my blog. You’re welcome to follow my efforts as I navigate through the challenge. 

    Are there any other artists/writers/creators interested in joining me in the challenge? :D

    Canvases supplied by Southern Buoy 

    Canvases supplied by Southern Buoy 

    A Gift of a Gif

    I have been enjoying the subtle animated gifs showing up on social media lately, and thought I'd try my hand at animating paintings... just a little, and just enough to enhance the intended 'vibe' of the piece. I hope you enjoy this wee version of Maple Over Rock :) (It's a bit clunky, but like with all gifs, it's the thought that counts ;) ) 


    P.S. Limited Edition Prints of 'Maple Over Rock' are now available in the shop!

    Painting Bonsai

    How's everyone going? These blog updates have thus far been few and far between, and it's something I plan to rectify... soooo if there's anything in particular you'd like to hear about from me, feel free to drop a comment in the Disqus section below (for those reading this via email, just click a link to view the blog on the net... or simply reply to this email).

    Without further ado, I give you 'Blossom Bonsai' where the Japan trip's inspiration is starting to seep into my thinking and making. (While we're here, I recommend visiting Omiya bonsai village a northern day trip from Tokyo. There you'll find the most beautiful trees you're ever likely to see.)

    'Blossom Bonsai' 130cm x 120cm, Acrylic on Canvas, framed in Victorian Ash

    'Blossom Bonsai' 130cm x 120cm, Acrylic on Canvas, framed in Victorian Ash

    It’s hard to gauge from this photograph, but at 130cm x 120cm, this a LARGE bonsai, which I know… is a totally oxymoronic statement. How is it not simply a tree, you ask?

    In the Zen art of Bonsai, by making tiny trees, or I should say, assisting to keep trees tiny, our perception of scale is tickled. It’s the same feeling you get when viewing sculptures like giant tubes of toothpaste by Claes Oldenburg, or the eerily life-like creations of Ron Mueck who works in both the giant and the pint-size. The newborn baby should not be the size of a swimming pool, and that middle-age spooning couple shouldn’t fit within the palm of my hand. It confuses us, but tickles us too. 

    A LARGE bonsai adds another layer to that skewed scale perception, and in so doing, highlights what it is that makes a tree a bonsai. It’s not merely about size, it’s about the character of age,  its shape and balance,  its root structure, thick tapered trunk and gnarled branches. These are the attributes a bonsai master is careful to maintain, and ditto when I create my bonsai works. 

    Although executed through very modern painting techniques, these bonsai are “grown” and “guided” in much the same way as a traditional bonsai tree. (Thankfully for me, in slightly less time.) When working with paint-pours, I surrender to Nature (gravity, paint viscosity, surface tension, etc.). I can do little but guide Nature to create what could be used to represent a trunk, age spots, or a gnarled branch. 

    It is in the surrendering to Nature, that allows for the mimicry of Nature… and that’s all pretty bloody Zen. ;)

    'Maple over Rock', 120cm x 80cm, acrylic on canvas

    'Maple over Rock', 120cm x 80cm, acrylic on canvas

    5 Studio Life Hacks

    Okay, so you've been painting for a while, finding your style, and you notice half the art crap you buy you never use, and others, tools and colours emerge as your loyal friends. Some seemingly unlikely, become lifelong friends. 

    5 Studio Life Hacks


    1. Bluetooth headphones

    These haven't been around for that long, but we've become fast friends. You have to wonder how many in-ear and out-ear headphones that have died in the name of art creation. I've killed a few dozen, not to mention the amount of times they've nearly killed me by tripping over their cords, or been strangled in the tangle of cords and jumpers. Or the times they killed the music when my iPod/iphone bungee-jumped into the loo in the defrocking process. 



    2. Sticky-roller

    Dust, brush-hair, human hair, clothes lint and human lint… they're all on your paintings people! You can't get rid of all of it, but this ingenious sticky-roller, that you usually use to de-lint clothes, should be your go-to tool for extracting the nasties. It will quickly become your second-best friend in the studio. Use it between dry layers, and prior to varnish.



    3. Correction Pen recycling

    You could spend hundreds on re-fillable drafting pens, but for me, nothing beats the nib of a $2 correction pen for fine detail. To fill with your favourite ink, or fluid paint, you first need to get inside and clean out the white stuff (clean out with turps). That's not easy… I tried pliers, biting and all sorts to get the nib off. It turns out, canvas stretching pliers (the ones with the silicon rubber innards) will do the trick. What luck, huh?! You may already have some of those in the studio. 


    4. Neck-noodle

    Especially handy in this polar vortex we Australians are suffering through right now ;) Luckily, I have experience painting in such extremes. It's a scarf, that you wear around your neck, but it doesn't have any ends! It's sewn up! No more dangling material in paint, and tripping over your clothes while you keep your neck warm. You laugh now, but that's because you don't have one yet! 



    5. Baby Oil

    It's a wicked brush cleaner. There's something about the type of oil (it being made from a mineral oil) that bonds paint oil to regular detergent, and therefore allowing you to wash out with water rather than turps. It means you can use your brushes for oils and water-based paints in the same sitting. 


    So there you have it. 5 of my life hacks. Do you yourself have some? Something you do that's MacGyver-esque? It doesn't need to be art related. Feel free to drop a comment here on the blog. I'd love to hear from you, hacks or no hacks :) 



    Yep, it's that time! I have to let you all know about my upcoming show... it's called Plasmo! 

    Here are the deets:

    Where: GallerySmith (project space), 170 Abbotsford St, North Melbourne, VIC 3051, Australia

    When: Opening drinks Saturday 28 February @ 2pm-4pm. Actual show runs from February 26 to March 7. 

    Here is a sneak preview:

    'Germinate I' 100cm x 90cm, Oil, acrylic and ink on canvas

    'Germinate I' 100cm x 90cm, Oil, acrylic and ink on canvas

    'Plasmonaut' 130cm x 120cm, oil, acrylic and ink on canvas

    'Plasmonaut' 130cm x 120cm, oil, acrylic and ink on canvas

    'Plasmonautical' 130cm x 120cm, oil, acrylic and ink on canvas

    'Plasmonautical' 130cm x 120cm, oil, acrylic and ink on canvas

    'Stellascape II' 100cm x 90cm, oil, acrylic and ink on canvas

    'Stellascape II' 100cm x 90cm, oil, acrylic and ink on canvas

    Plasmo (GallerySmith, Melbourne Feb 26 - Mar 7 - opening drinks Sat 28 @ 2pm) could be animal or vegetable, or it could be a world in itself. It is abstract, organic, anthropomorphic and living. It is playfully alien, yet eerily familiar. It alludes to the universality, micro to macro, of organic life and patterns in nature. This body of work has been influenced by such patterns found while living and working in the unique landscape of rural southern Tasmania.

    Amanda Krantz considers her work to be organic-psychedelia. Works are familiar representations of ecology, but not quite of this world. Her process is underpinned by a playful exploration of materials, and questions the role of painter in painting creation. The method of paint delivery to canvas, is often in random pours, throws and squirts, employing forces of nature to mimic nature. The natural fluidity and reactivity of paint mixtures, is itself alive in its own ability to move and mix, playfully creating chaotic patterns and random effects. She acts as a facilitator, allowing the paint itself to capture the essence of time and place. It’s a scientific process, executed organically, creating science-fictional landscapes and quasi-alien life.
    — press release, Plasmo 2015

    Talking shop: Works will be available for purchase. Geographically challenged buyers are welcome to purchase through the gallery. I will post a link to the full catalogue here once it becomes available. 

    Thanks everyone, for all the amazing and ongoing support. :) 

    Identity Crisis: Am I an Abstract Painter?

    Some time ago, I had a conversation with a friend of mine that went something like this...

    “How do you know when a painting is finished?” (I get this question often) Then I reply: “when all the elements are in balance and the painting makes sense visually” Her: “But if it’s an abstract piece, who else is going to be able to tell if the  makes sense? Aren't you the only person who can see that?  Which leads me back to my original question: how do you know when a painting is finished?” (actually it was longer and more involved than that, but that was the gist). 

    …and this had me stumped.  I've always believed there is a human visual-balance gene that innately allows us to recognise when something is OUT of balance. When something is in balance, it’s so natural to us, that we don’t see it. It doesn’t occur to us to notice balance. To try and translate this anthropologically, I’d say it has something to do with proportions in the human body (i.e. Da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian Man’), or it could be referred to scientifically as something to do with the Fibonacci sequence found everywhere in nature. I don’t measure this when I’m painting, I’m just working until I no longer have this sense of visual disharmony.

    This is all just a theory though. And my first question is: is this true? Do we all have this visual-balance/imbalance gene? I don’t know, and maybe some of you have thoughts on this, and if so, feel free to discuss below. :) 

    The second lot of questions raised was: can I really call myself an abstract painter if I place so much importance on balance? Is my more representative work (the stuff that’s clearly "something") even close to abstract? There are so many reasons why I shouldn’t classify myself as an abstract painter, yet I relate strongly to others who do.  Am I an abstract painter? What is abstract?

    Abstract art uses a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.
    — Wikipedia

    I have classified my work as numerous genres - surrealist, semi-abstract/representational, psychedelic, organic abstract, organic psychedelic, abstract expressionist. To some, I must sound confused! It’s not necessarily because I’m cantankerous over being pigeonholed, or that it’s just hard to pigeonhole my work, it’s also, and perhaps more so due to the pigeonholes being hard to pigeonhole. But you know what? With the advent of the online art market, categorisation is becoming increasingly important. When uploading art to any online gallery, including Saatchi, eBay or Artfinder, or even 'tags' here on this blog/gallery, we are asked to categorise. And why is this? Because this is how Google finds us. 

    Always, on these online galleries, when selecting a category for your work, there at the top of the alphabetic list, is ‘Abstract’, right above Cubism, Dada, and Expressionism. But is 'Abstract' a category? Should it be labelled as a genre? 

    Admittedly 'abstract art', in Western art, does represent a time/movement that coincided with changes and advances in science, and philosophy that began in the late 19th century. And the genre that we now know of as abstract art, connotes to that period of time. But abstract art, abstraction, and even something so totally (so I thought) contemporary as organic abstract (ie. allowing the materials to flow and form under their own steam) have been around since - well forever (see below vessel - dated 25 B.C.). 

    Greek or Roman, 25 B.C. - A.D. 25 Glass 5 1/8 in.

    Greek or Roman, 25 B.C. - A.D. 25 Glass 5 1/8 in.

    Nonetheless, 'abstract' is thought of as a genre, and 'abstract' and 'representational' in this world of genres, are antonyms. It’s this notion, that then identifying as an abstract artist has left me felling uneasy. After all, many of my works are obviously representational, and those that aren’t are still so thoroughly obsessed with balance that the elements within take the form of traditional landscapes. But then again, and here is the conflict, this notion feels limiting, and 'abstraction' by definition should be limitless. Abstraction is a very abstract concept… naturally the most abstract of all concepts :)

    All art is abstract. A painting of a person or a still-life is a two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional reality and therefore infinitely abstract.
    — Jerry Saltz
    'In a Heartbeat' 140cm x 120cm, Acrylic on canvas. 2014

    'In a Heartbeat' 140cm x 120cm, Acrylic on canvas. 2014

    Let’s take the example of my most recent piece ‘In a Heartbeat’ (above). I caught myself saying this is the most abstract piece I’ve ever painted. But why? Because it plainly fits the criteria. It “uses a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.” But then a friend and fellow artist visited the barn and said “It’s like you’ve painted living tissue. I can almost feel it beating off the canvas”. This painting is a representation of living tissue… or of ‘life’. For my most abstract painting, it couldn’t be more representational. 

    Here’s another example to add to the confusion. In this case of ‘Sticky-rice Landscape’, my most representational work, couldn’t be more abstract. It is fundamentally a painting of clumps of sticky-rice. Yet I spent laborious hours making identical marks in rows of abstract patterns and layers. It was stripped down to the very basic element of white elongated ovals. 

    'Sticky-rice  Landscape' 110cm x 80cm, Enamel on canvas. 2012

    'Sticky-rice Landscape' 110cm x 80cm, Enamel on canvas. 2012

    So, it seems abstraction and representation, although antonyms, seem to coexist. But it's more. I've come to regard abstraction not as a thing, but a process on a thing... an element in a painting, representational or not, can be put through a process of abstraction to point that it's unrecognisable, and then brought back again, similar but for ever changed. A metaphor that comes to mind, is when you double translate an english phrase. i.e.. write an english phrase into Google translate, translate into another language, then translate it back to English.. you never do get quite the same phrase. So abstraction is not a genre, but a process. 

    Abstraction is one of the greatest visionary tools ever invented by human beings to imagine, decipher, and depict the world.
    — Jerry Saltz

    I think this led to my biggest recent realisation, which in retrospect seems obvious - The abstraction process breeds innovation. 

    Take the Sticky-rice example. From this process of stripping down, I formed patterns that I then went on to use in all my other works, including representational works. It was painted in 2012, but I use those same patterns today. Interestingly, it was in the limitation of this piece (working with white elongated ovals), that forced me into abstraction.

    And then take ’In a Heartbeat’ - by being utterly free-flowing and forming, non-representational, balanced elements, it was revolutionary (in relation to my own practice), aesthetically, materially and conceptually. This is a very new piece, so I'm unsure of how it will influence any future work, but it was the freedom in painting this piece, it's abstract intention, that has highlighted new directions for future works.

    So, I guess, in answer to my question “am I an abstract painter?” the answer is yes, but what’s most important to me as the artist, is not how the end product is categorised, but how it came to be. I am an abstract painter because the process of abstraction is vital - it’s the innovation resulting from the abstraction process that nourishes all other areas of my painting practice, including representation. 

    Thank you for reading my rather lengthy, self-indulgent post :) I hope it was of some interest to you... perhaps you can relate? Or maybe you can answer these questions differently. It's a very big topic, I know. 


    The Nature of Paint

    Lately I’ve been somewhat obsessed with my new Instagram account (you may have noticed)… I hadn’t realised how powerful a documentary tool it could be both in framing what I see for people who follow my work, and for me personally as a diary… and like a diary, it helps nut things out and opens new directions. Here is an expansion of recent instagrams, and explanation in relation to my process and what makes me tick.

    It may or may not be obvious, but I don’t always paint with brushes. In the process of creating images, I utilise the chemical properties of different paints. Furthermore, I employ nature (to mimic nature): gravity, heat, ice, precipitation, and I put to use the camber and undulations of the ground.

    Paint can flow like the water it represents...

    (Detail of a work in progress)

    (Detail of a work in progress)

    Paint can grow like trees and wilt like flowers...

    (Base layers of 'Enchanted Swamp')

    (Base layers of 'Enchanted Swamp')

    Paint can expand and flower...

    (In studio experimentation)

    (In studio experimentation)

    It can combine with other paint products, like algae and fungi which combine reciprocally to form lichen...

    (Detail of 'Eco Echo III' - yet to be finished)

    (Detail of 'Eco Echo III' - yet to be finished)

    Paint can reflect the fractals of micro (cellular) and macro (galactic), just as they reflect each other...

    (Segment of 'Catch My Drift') 

    (Segment of 'Catch My Drift') 

    My process directly relates to my themes and interests, and much of what inspires me is within the act painting itself: what I see in the ‘accidents' created is what appeals to me in nature, and vice-versa, what interests me in nature, I like to find and frame in paint. It’s a symbiotic and circular process, if that makes sense. :)

    I hope this was interesting for you, and please leave a comment as I would love to hear your thoughts. I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions about abstraction lately, so that post is coming up. Also, if YOU have an arts related blog, feel free to post a link for me to visit and see what you’re up to. Ciao for now, and thanks for visiting. :)

    (Oh, and you can find me on Instagram by clicking the camera icon below right). 


    Small Victories

    So lately I’ve had an issue with matching my oil colours with my acrylics… it’s never been a problem before, ‘cause, well, I’ve never needed to before. Chemically they are very different and I’ve come to appreciate the different effects one can achieve from each… but colour matching is a nightmare! I use one brand of acrylic and another brand of oil, and they are companies that specialise in each, and the companies’ pigments are never the same. 

    Enter powdered pigments! Yup, I now make my own paint (sometimes), both acrylic and oil using the same pigment powder. Problem solvent. I mean solved. One small victory.

    Second victory - with powder you need a special grinding slab and muller. These are specialist instruments made from etched glass… and they cost a small fortune! It’s really no surprise why artists are notoriously poor - our equipment is insanely expensive. Really, all artists should benefit from a national materials rebate. The NMR. Y'think Mr Abbot would go for it? ;) Anyway, it turns out a Mortar and Pestle will do the same job. This one I got for $13 at Woolies, and it looks super gritty-alchemic. It’s also further evidence of my theory that painting and cooking work on the same principles. 

    The third small victory is a byproduct of mixing your own paints - you can control not only the colour, but the level of pigmentation. THAT is awesome for so many reasons, but is a whole other blog post :) 

    Intense powdered teal 

    Intense powdered teal 


    This is the first day of this blog, but the adventure began long ago. I'm not yet sure what this blog is or will become. Much like I approach my work, I hope it to be organic, playful and fun.