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!

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 :) 


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