Archive for ‘On art and life…’

Rembrandt in black and white

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

There are fabulous resources to be found at Internet Archive. How about this 1936 classic directed by Alexander Korda? Too real to be a popular hit in its day but then and now an entertaining way to bolster your art history if you’re a serious student trying to remember too much! Enjoy.

Short film

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Camera trick
There’s a small dam near where I live that I’ve often walked to at night, in the cooler months of the year, to listen to the frogs. A few weeks ago I had cause to visit during the day time and was appalled at the rubbish. A lot of it was alcohol containers and included a fair bit of broken glass. I simply hadn’t seen it in the dark. Can you imagine a kangaroo landing on that glass… I resolved to clean it up.

And made a short film while I was at it. This one is a proper film rather than animation but still made with a digital camera. The trouble was I was working alone so I was film crew as well being the actor… How do you pick up rubbish and film it at the same time. Also, being a bit camera shy, I didn’t want to be seen.

The solution was to rearranged the tripod so the camera was sitting upside down, between it’s legs. It gave me a handle to carry the camera, legs to safely put it down and, with care, a bit of a steady-cam effect so the home-made film didn’t look too home-made. It also only shot low which solved my problem of not wanting to be seen. While filming the big issue was to watch where the shadow of the tripod was falling!

The rest was in the editing. A couple of hours raw became six minutes of finished film and a wry comment on being the idiot cleaning up someone else’s mess.


Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Nice surprise… I’m newly informed that I’m the feature artist on and will be until next Saturday. Neat.

Quoting Degas

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Stage Reheasal, 1878-1879, by Edgar Degas

Stage Rehearsal, 1878-1879, by Edgar Degas

One must do the same subject over again ten times, a hundred times.

Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.

Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.


Looking at art

Friday, August 7th, 2009

You Tube.

One can spend a lot of time looking at You Tube.
The MOMA suggests that one should spend a lot more time looking at art.
One could also spend more time making art rather than looking at You Tube…

Can be fun looking,

Of course…

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Yours truly trundled of to the Midland Town Hall yesterday to be photographed for the local newspaper, alongside Puff the Magic Dragon, as part of the promotion for the Myths, Stories, Legends exhibition. The telephone interview turned out to be the easy bit.

Out of respect for the occasion I went to the trouble of makeup and hairspray as well as changing the paint stained rags for something clean and tidy (fashionable or elegant being somewhat beyond my meager dress sense or wardrobe). That, of course, was reason sufficient for the skies to open up to a downpour minutes before I HAD to get out of the car. I don’t mind stomping puddles at all and in fact, love walking in the rain, but making a dash for it in unaccustomed high heels was not in the same league.

Thus, if you notice a picture of a bedraggled rat (trying her best to smile) in the community newspaper it was me – looking worse than usual.

Hope you were having more fun than I was,

Old stuff

Friday, June 12th, 2009

My recent post getting all nostalgic about vintage Tetris reminded me that I was going to wax lyrical in a wistful response to James Gurney, of Dinotopia fame, over his coining the phrase “dead-tech”. You’re not following his blog? You should be.

James has begun a series of articles on old graphic arts equipment and the first thing he hauled out to show the young ‘uns was the waxer. Ah… it was enough to send me hunting through my own cupboards.


Pictured right, is what was my trusty forerunner to repositional spray adhesive, which was in turn the forerunner to Ventura Publisher for the bookish (remember that?) or Quark Xpress for the hip.

Said implement, was the means to making stuff stick temporarily. After rolling the reverse of a bromide to the sound of… dunno how to explain it… it would be pasted down with a good rub using the heel of the palm. Not in the right spot? It would be peeled up to be moved with the mere flick of a blade at the corner. The bit of bromide would then be lifted with the blade (so as not to touch the wax with ones fingers) and put lovingly in the new position. Or should this be the umpteenth round of changes: slammed down in disgust.

Oh, yes, the scent of molten wax wafting across a light-table…

Have a good laugh,
(wondering if there’s a use for it in the studio…)


Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Google's Tetris logo
Do your remember Tetris? Well, if you were a sharp-eye’d Googler today you’d have noticed the special version of their logo celebrating 25 years of addictive block-plonking. It was an occasion fit to be reported by the UK Telegraph and WMBF (among others).

Then, if you clicked on the Google logo, you got a list of lots of relevant places – including links to sites where one can play Tetris. That’s how I found that have an online adaptation of the old ’89 version… yep, monochrome – complete with the old music. Guess who didn’t get quite so much done in the studio today? (You didn’t need to know where to find it either, did you?)
89 Tetris
My excuse is that stuff’s been a bit tough in Studio A these past weeks and more than a few games of my old favourite was somehow soothing this morning. And, when I interrupted my typing to go find the name of the music – so I could tell you that listening to bla bla bla was a lot better than humming the ancient campfire number “No body loves me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go eat worms” (I told you it was bad) – I discovered, courtesy of Wikipedia, that more than a couple of people (who appear to know about these things) confirm that the mood-enhancement wasn’t all in my head… (so to speak).

According to intensive research from Dr. Michael Crane and Dr. Richard Haier, et al. prolonged Tetris activity can also lead to more efficient brain activity during play. When first playing Tetris, brain function and activity increases, along with greater cerebral energy consumption, measured by glucose metabolic rate. As Tetris players become more proficient, their brains show a reduced consumption of glucose, indicating more efficient brain activity for this task…

In January 2009, an Oxford University research group headed by Dr Emily Holmes reported in PLoS ONE that for healthy volunteers, playing ‘Tetris’ soon after viewing traumatic material in the laboratory reduced the number of flashbacks to those scenes in the following week. They believe that the computer game may disrupt the memories that are retained of the sights and sounds witnessed at the time, and which are later re-experienced through involuntary, distressing flashbacks of that moment. The group hope to develop this approach further as a potential intervention to reduce the flashbacks experienced in PTSD, but emphasized that these are only preliminary results.

So, there we go. Stressed out? Play Tetris.

Have fun,

Printmakers Awards

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Sorry about the late notice (I just knew I’d lost a list in the madness of the past week). Tonight is the opening night of the 24th Western Australian Printmedia Awards 2009 (phew…). It’s at the Moores Gallery, 46 Henry Street Fremantle and starts at 6.30pm.

PAWA Awards

I won’t be there cos I worked through the night last night after a week of the same. I got 8 hours sleep total over 3 days… I’m not going into the saga except to say it wasn’t my fault – the logs were large and frequent.

All was overcome and, I gotta say, I’m fairly pleased with the result but at the same have mixed feelings. Not new thoughts but reinforced this morning (tired and miserable) by a growing disillusion. Working so hard on stuff like this means I’m not in my studio making art; I’m submitting work that’s not really suitable for this event because I don’t have time to get something else on the press; and, thus, know up front that I’m not even in the running for the kudos. I think we have a problem Scotty.

Right now, I’m going up the hill to close (slam) the studio door behind me and try to work off the funk. Paint, play with the clay or just clean up the mess. Printmaking? Not very likely.


PS For what it’s worth, this pair are what I entered – renamed Stockyard 1 and Stockyard 2. They were, in fact, a diptych but had to be submitted as individual pieces because of the size limitation. It’s a hybrid work – digital imagery but using an etching press to transfer the image to plywood. 600 x 900mm.

As a pair the work was called Puff the Magic Dragon. The image and the title look innocent enough for those who can’t face digging any deeper… The ambiguity intentional. The stockyard is significant. It’s a comment on lots of things. Made me cry after I realised what I’d made. But art is like that.

Puff 1

Puff 2


Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

I spend a ridiculous amount of time driving. I don’t even like driving, but needs be, having chosen to live outside the city. Boredom set in pretty quickly beyond a basic number of trips along the same road.

Initially, the solution was borrowing talking books from the library. Bung them in the CD player and the car reads me all these books I never have time for. In short order I worked my way through the art related titles, the classics (The one’s that one really should read. Yawn…), and then the racy novels. To be honest I tired of them fairly quickly. What I really got into were the non-fiction books: learnt all kinds of nifty stuff.

Then? I discovered podcasts. Along with no time to read, I also find myself too disorganised to be next to the radio for the shows I’d like to hear. (Can’t bear radio in the studio! Can’t think!) Well, no more of that problem either. Not since I discovered that lots of shows are sitting there as podcasts waiting to be downloaded, burnt to CD and then played at leisure (or several times over) in the car. I find I’m getting about 15 shows onto a CD. That’s a lot of driving.

Currently I listen to: ABC Radio’s Artworks, By Design and The Philosopher’s Zone. At any one time they have the last four shows available but anything older than that and the audio file goes away – the transcripts are still available but it’s not the same. So I make sure I get there at least once a month to get them. Not all is lost though, I did find recently that Google Reader (and no doubt other places) have them archived. But they’re Quicktime files, not MP3, and I haven’t gotten around to figuring out how to get around that. Only, of course, because I didn’t find anything that I really, really wanted (yet). Because…

There are also about five years worth of MOMA podcasts recorded at their brown bag lunch lectures. Some of them are a bit heavy going but there are some real gems. I just fill a CD with them and if I get the odd one that doesn’t get me in I just hit the “next” button on the CD player. No big deal.

What else? Just try Googling “art podcasts”…