Friday, February 5, 2016

Once upon a time, at Castle Counihan...

My Homo-insecta watercolours. Like the viewers in this shot, I was seeing them up on the wall for the very first time

For those who couldn’t join last night’s lively, enthusiastic crowd at the opening of MODERN MYTH, here are a couple of photos snapped early in the evening. A big thank you to all who came. The admirable Tim Gresham was on hand as official photographer; these will have to do until he is able to pass on his infinitely superior images, when I’ll be able to share some views of the show in its entirety. All of the works by exhibiting artists Eddy Carroll, Jazmina Cininas, Paul Compton, Minela Krupic, Alesh Macak, Annette Phillips, Dear Plastic, Carmel Seymour, Linda Studena and exhibition curator, Domenica Vavala are stunning. Thanks to them and in no small measure to Domenica's harmonious, elegant hang, a veritable wonderland is contained within the walls of 'Castle Counihan' (as it was described in the memorable Once Upon A Time... opening remarks by Jazmina Cininas).

Jazmina Cininas delivers the opening address

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Something familiar, something peculiar, something for everyone - MODERN MYTH tonight*

Pictured above: Stigmodera Jewel Beetle Woman (2014, watercolour on Khadi paper, 41.91 x 29.72 cm), one of my works in the group exhibition 'Modern Myth'. The opening event is 6-8 tonight at Counihan Gallery In Brunswick and you're all invited. For those who can make it, we look forward to seeing you there.

5 February – 6 March



Opening Event: Thursday 4 February, 6-8 pm
Artist Talks: Saturday 13 February, 2.30 pm

Counihan Gallery In Brunswick
233 Sydney Road, Brunswick VIC 3056  
Phone: 03 9389 8622
Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 11 am - 5 pm | Sunday 1 - 5 
Facebook event page:

*Paraphrased with humble apologies to Stephen Sondheim

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Saga of Cossodes lyonetii Moth Woman

The long process of hand colouring Cossodes lyonetii Moth Woman

The hand colouring of linocut Cossodes lyonetii Moth Woman is at last completed. It was made for the print portfolio and group exhibition Eventide, curated by Rona Green. The show, which will celebrate the art of the relief print, opens at Mornington Peninsula Regional Art Gallery in May 2016.

After several failed attempts to print this work, primarily due to problems with our presses, I turned to renowned Master Printer Bill Young. He did an extraordinary job, in searing heat and in double-quick time. Bill lives in King Valley, a good four-hour drive from Melbourne. As good fortune would have it, however, my SOS call coincided with his visit to Melbourne for a family lunch. Even so, he and his wife, Anita Laurence, who, coincidentally, is also an Eventide artist, still traveled miles out of their way to collect my ill-fated printing paraphernalia: paper, ink and a selection of duds he'd asked for so he could try to figure out what went wrong. (I was so stressed that I left the lino block behind in the Ballarat studio and had to mail it to him by express post).

Completed edition of Cossodes lionetii Moth Woman, 2016, linocut, 32 x 30 cm, printed in Prussian Blue
with hand colouring. Printer: Bill Young

Bill subsequently delivered the edition to us in Melbourne. This morning he and Anita called in for morning tea and collected Bill’s hand coloured P/P (Printer’s Proof).

From left: Anita Laurence, Bill Young and Shane Jones at our Abbotsford place earlier today. The muffins and chocolate
Brownies that Anita and Bill brought along to our morning tea were delicious.

The edition packed up in readiness for delivery to Rona

Over the last couple of weeks Bill has been boundlessly generous with his time and knowledge. He has even offered to check out our presses at Ballarat. Needless to add, I simply can’t thank him enough.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Another milestone for the Homo-insecta watercolours: yesterday morning's delivery to Counihan Gallery in Brunswick.

Pictured above from left: my partner Shane Jones, Modern Myth curator Domenica Vavala, two members of Counihan Gallery’s crack team and, far right, gallery director Victor Griss.

Monday, January 25, 2016


Collected last week from the fabulous Bonnie Hanlon at Omnus: some of the watercolours that will be part of the group exhibition Modern Myth at Counihan Gallery in Brunswick. If you’re free (and not living in another state or territory) join us for a celebratory drink at the opening night on February 4.

5 February – 6 March



Opening: Thursday 4 February, 6-8 pm
Artist Talks: Saturday 13 February, 2.30 pm
Counihan Gallery In Brunswick
233 Sydney Road, Brunswick VIC 3056 | 03 9389 8622
Wednesday - Saturday 11 am - 5 pm | Sunday 1 - 5 pm

Friday, January 22, 2016

Eupholos linnei Weevil Woman

A good selection of the Homo-insecta watercolours I've been working on over the last 18 or so months are about to make their debut appearance at the Counihan Gallery in Brunswick, in a group exhibition curated by Domenica Vavala titled Modern Myth.

Eupholos linnei Weevil Woman (2015, watercolour, 41.91 x 29.72 cm) is the last work I made for the show. The watercolour was finished late last year, but this is the first chance I've had to devote a post to it. Pictured below are a series of developmental views and some of my reference materials, followed by the completed work.

Modern Myth will be launched on February 4 from 6 - 8 pm. The exhibition runs until 6 March.

Counihan Gallery in Brunswick
233 Sydney Road
Brunswick Vic 3056
Phone: 03 9389 8622
Wed - Sat 11 am - 5 pm
Sun 1 - 5 pm
Facebook Page

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Outsider Artists

The miniature linocuts Wallpaper Rose, the Disappearing Woman, Spider Woman and Bearded Lady featured in this post are part of Outsider Artists, a long-planned series that was stalled when other projects intervened. They finally came into the world after one of several unsuccessful attempts to edition the linocut Cossodes lyonetii Moth Woman. Sick and tired of wasting so much ink after each failed effort, I decided to proof some of them. A further incentive was the birthday of my good friend Paul Compton. Paul has always encouraged me to continue with the series, so it's entirely fitting that the very first proofs were presented to him on that auspicious occasion. 

Lino block and first proof of Wallpaper Rose, the Disappearing Woman

Hand-coloured artist proof of Wallpaper Rose, the Disappearing Woman

Lino block and first proof of Spider Woman

Hand-coloured artist proof of Spider Woman

Lino block and first proof of Bearded Lady

Hand-coloured artist proof of Bearded Lady

Meanwhile, acting on my partner Shane Jones's suggestion, I turned to Master Printer Bill Young to edition the vexed Cossodes lyonetii Moth Woman. I'm extremely fortunate that he agreed to take it on, especially at such short notice. Bill is one of the finest, most knowledgeable printers in the country. He's done a magnificent job and I can't thank him enough. Today I'll begin hand colouring the edition, which should still be ready by the deadline. The results will be shared in a future post. 

Once this is done, I stand firmly by my intention to take a break from lino cutting. Although the freshness and immediacy of working on a small scale has revived something of the sense of pleasure and satisfaction I once derived from making relief prints and the completed set of Outsider Artists prints may also become the basis for an artist book, all of this will happen in my own good time. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Insect collaborators

The photographs in this post were snapped over the course of two visits to Newstead in as many days. (See also Blog Post December 31). For some time, I’ve been wanting to document the Eucalyptus trees that provide the raw materials for my current work. Their leaves come in infinitely varied forms, with invaluable creative input from unseen insects which subtly alter the contours in ways that add immeasurably to the unique aesthetic of each leaf. The identities of my insect collaborators, however, remained unknown to me – at least until now.

Upon arrival I couldn't resist harvesting more leaves for my growing collection, It was then that I made a thrilling discovery. The sapling from which I gathered the leaves was dotted with dazzling gold and blue bugs. Closer inspection also revealed what I recognized as a species of shield bug, also - a tad less poetically - referred to as stink bugs.

Some basic research conducted as soon as we got home to Ballarat revealed that the entire insect population of the sapling are Amorbus alternatus, AKA Eucalyptus tip bugs or Gumtree bugs, which are usually found in the tropical climate of Queensland. The brightly coloured bugs are nymphs; the mature insect is brown and orange.

The photographs third, fourth, fifth and sixth from the top were taken by Shane Jones.

For more about the Eucalyptus tip bug, go HERE.