Thursday, August 18, 2016

MIFFing in action

Enjoying a celebratory glass of wine in the ACMI cafe on the day we purchased our MIFF
passes and chose our first films. Photo credit: Shane Jones.

Shane in the ACMI cafe with MIFF Festival Guides and a glass of red.

Lately I've been 'MIFFing in action’* at the Melbourne International Film Festival (*to quote Festival Patron Geoffrey Rush in his written introduction to this year’s festivities).

Every year Shane Jones and I faithfully attend MIFF and eagerly look forward to it. Until now, however, I have limited myself to an eMini Pass, sometimes two. (A mini passholder can select up to 13 films).

This year my wish list was so long (and growing at an alarming rate) that upgrading to MIFF membership and a Festival Passport was the only logical step. I must admit that it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long while. When MIFF comes along, though, I invariably find myself so swamped with work, I feel I can't spare any extra time. This year was no exception, but I was also exhausted and desperately needed some time out. For a film buff, what better way to spend it? The Festival Passport gave me unlimited access to the untold cinematic riches of MIFF 2016. Heaven! My main challenge (and it was a considerable one) was to not to overdo it. I think most festival goers would agree that this and keeping up energy levels are challenges common to us all.

Immediately following my first film, After the Storm, I bumped into veteran Festival Passport holder Des Cowley and excitedly told him of my upgrade. He foretold that I “will never be able to go back” to a mini pass and by the end of my first day, I knew he was right.  

Gracia and Louise, with whom I spent many happy hours in the dark, enjoy restorative coffees at Collins Place prior to
the screening of The Death of Louis XIV, the last of several films we saw together.

Despite continued efforts by us and fellow Passport holders Gracia and Louise to persuade, nay, shame, Shane to joining me in an upgrade, he doggedly stuck to his humble eMini Pass. Shane did, however, purchase single tickets to additional sessions, including Little Men, Kedi and Girlfriends, all of which have made the very long ‘shortlist’ of MIFF favourites that presently follows.

The Forum cinema, where I saw the majority of this year's movies, is unquestionably
my favourite MIFF venue

The Blackhearts Club (former stalls area of the Forum) where Shane and I relaxed in between movies

 Jazz musician Mark Fitzgibbon, was the Blackhearts Club pianist in residence. What a superb musician he is.
Shane and I often called in just to hear him play.

Fine films, friends and music aside (see above photo) for Shane and I the highlight of MIFF 2016 (if not the entire year) was David Stratton in conversation with British director Terence Davies at Victorian College of the Arts on 31 July. His movie Sunset Song was screened at MIFF and put simply, is a masterpiece. The following photograph was snapped from our front row seats. We even got to meet Mr. Davies afterwards. As longtime admirers of the man and his work, it’s a memory we’ll treasure forever.

L-R: Terence Davies and David Stratton

Without further delay, here is my unapologetically long list of personal favourites (28 films shortlisted from the 52 that helped make this my best MIFF ever). To learn more about the films, click on individual titles.

Fri 29 Jul 2016 11:00 AM
D/S Hirokazu Kore-eda P Matsuzaki Kaoru, Yose Akihiko, Taguchi Hijiri Dist Rialto L Japanese w/English subtitles

Fri 29 Jul 2016 6:00 PM
D/S Terence Davies P Roy Boulter, Sol Papadopoulos, Nicolas Steil Dist Madman Entertainment

Sat 30 Jul 2016 4:00 PM
D Amy Berg P Amy Berg, Alex Gibney, Jeff Jampol, Katherine LeBlond Dist Transmission Films

Sun 31 Jul 2016 11:30 AM
D Claude Barras S Céline Sciamma WS Indie Sales L French w/English subtitles

Sun 31 Jul 2016 6:30 PM
D/S Min Bahadur Bham P Catherine Dussart, Anna Katchko, Min Bahadur Bham, Tsering Rhitar Sherpa WS Wide Management L Nepalese w/English subtitles

Tue 2 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D Babak Jalali P Marjaneh Moghimi S Babak Jalali, Aida Ahadiany Dist Daricheh Cinema L Farsi, English, Dari, Assyrian w/English subtitles

Tue 2 Aug 2016 4:00 PM
D Roger Ross Williams P Roger Ross Williams, Julie Goldman Dist Madman Entertainment

Tue 2 Aug 2016 6:30 PM
D/S Trevor Graham P Lisa Wang, Ned Lander, Trevor Graham, Carl-Ludwig Rettinger L English, French w/English subtitles

Wed 3 Aug 2016 4:15 PM
D Rodrigo Plá P Sandino Saravia Vinay, Rodrigo Plá S Laura Santullo WS Memento Films L Spanish w/English subtitles

Fri 5 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D/S Anna Muyleart P Maria Ionescu, Sara Silveira, Anna Muylaert WS Loco Films L Portuguese w/English subtitles

Fri 5 Aug 2016 1:30 PM
D Juho Kuosmanen P Kimi Seppänen S Mikko Myllylahti, Juho Kuosmanen WS Les Fils du Losange L Finnish w/English subtitles

Fri 5 Aug 2016 4:00 PM
D Laura Israel P Melinda Shopsin, Laura Israel S Melinda Shopsin Dist Madman Entertainment

Sat 6 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D Grant Gee P Janine Marmot, Keith Griffiths S Orhan Pamuk WS The Match Factory L English, Turkish w/English subtitles

Sat 6 Aug 2016 6:00 PM
D/S Cristi Puiu P Anca Puiu, Laurence Clerc, Olivier Thery Lapiney WS Elle Driver L Romanian w/English subtitles

Sun 7 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D Yasujirô Ozu S Yasujirô Ozu, Kogo Noda WS Shochiku L Japanese w/English subtitles

Sun 7 Aug 2016 6:45 PM
D Ira Sachs P Lucas Joaquin, Christos V Konstantakopoulos, Jim Lande, Ira Sachs, LA Teodosio S Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias Dist Rialto

Mon 8 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D/P/S Mani Haghighi Dist Daricheh Cinema L Persian w/English subtitles

Wed 10 Aug 2016 1:30 PM
D Leyla Bouzid P Sandra Da Fonseca, Imed Marzouk S Leyla Bouzid, Marie-Sophie Chambon WS Doc & Film International L Arabic w/English subtitles

Wed 10 Aug 2016 4:00 PM
D Yasujirô Ozu P Takeshi Yamamoto S Kôgo Noda, Yasujirô Ozu WS Shochiku Co. Ltd L Japanese w/English subtitles

Wed 10 Aug 2016 6:45 PM
D Rebecca Daly P Conor Barry, Macdara Kelleher S Rebecca Daly, Glenn Montgomery

Thu 11 Aug 2016 1:30 PM
D/S Denis Côté P Sylvain Corbeil, Nancy Grant WS Films Boutique L French, English, Russian w/English subtitles

Thu 11 Aug 2016 9:00 PM
D/S Matt Ross P Lynette Howell Taylor, Jamie Patricof, Shivani Rawat, Monica Levinson Dist Entertainment One

Fri 12 Aug 2016 5:00 PM
D/S Ceyda Torun P Ceyda Torun, Charlie Wuppermann WS Termite Films L Turkish w/English subtitles

Fri 12 Aug 2016 6:30 PM
D Claudia Weill P Patricia Churchill, Lilly Kilvert, Claudia Weill S Claudia Weill, Vicki Polon

Sat 13 Aug 2016 11:00 AM
D Otto Bell P Otto Bell, Sharon Chang, Stacey Reiss Dist Sony Pictures Releasing L Kazakh w/English subtitles

Sat 13 Aug 2016 1:30 PM
D/P/S Ros Horin Dist The Good Ship Company

Sun 14 Aug 2016 1:45 PM
D Albert Serra P Thierry Lounas, Joaquim Sapinho, Claire Bonnefoy, Montse Triola S Albert Serra, Thierry Lounas WS Capricci Films L French w/English subtitles

Sun 14 Aug 2016 4:00 PM
D Michael Dudok de Wit P Toshio Suzuki, Gregoire Sorlat, Vincent Maraval, Pascal Caucheteux S Michael Dudok de Wit, Pascale Ferran Dist Transmission Films L No Dialogue

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Christmas Beetle Woman

My latest unnatural history painting (pictured above) introduces Christmas Beetle Woman, a recently discovered homo-insecta which evolved from Anoplognathus chloropyrus, one of Australia’s most striking Christmas beetles. As their name implies, these beetles are most prevalent around Christmas time. This particular species and sub-species flourishes in the Murray-Darling basin, the Great Dividing Range and coastal areas of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Christmas Beetle Woman may have emerged a tad early for Christmas, but was completed in the nick of time for Christmas in July. It’s taken until now to post these images, however, as late July also marked the beginning of the 2016 Melbourne International Film Festival, which I’ve been attending a daily basis. (In fact, this was posted in between screenings).

Pictured top: fully evolved Christmas Beetle Woman (2016, acrylic on wood panel, 32 x 30 cm).

Pictured below: selected stages in the painting's development.

Below, a layer of thin protective varnish is applied before adding final details to the work:

The work nearing completion (Ballarat studio, July, 2016):

Saturday, July 23, 2016


With today being the first day of (Inter)National Moth Week, it seems appropriate to share the contents of a small package that recently landed in my mail box. The newly published book Moth, by Matthew Gandy, Professor of Geography at the University of Cambridge, includes an image of my painting, Argina astrea Moth Mask, 2007.

This superb little book casts a far wider net than other scientific studies of this underrated and misunderstood insect, encompassing its place in folklore, mythology, literature and art.

Moth is published by Reaktion Books Ltd, UK and distributed in the US by the University of Chicago Press. It is also available through Dymocks, Booktopia, Amazon and other outlets.

My painting, Argina astrea Moth Mask (2007) reproduced in Moth

Moth: front cover

Moth page views (1)

Moth page views (2)

Moth: back cover

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Linocut Workshop at the National Gallery of Victoria

Pictured below are a selection of Moth Women Vigilantes and Winged Women demonstration blocks ready and set for the linocut class I'm giving for NGV members at the National Gallery of Victoria tonight from 6 - 8.30 pm.

The workshops are aimed at beginners. Participants will make their own linocut, which they will learn to print without the need of a press. I'll be running another session next Wednesday evening. Both classes are now sold out. To those who are participating, I look forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Studio Visitors

L-R: Madeline, Calvin, Nic, Alex, Alicia and Gillian

Much as I enjoyed my trip to Sydney (see previous two posts) there's no place like home. It's been good to be back at work this week, making slow, but steady progress on a new painting.

On Monday, July 11 I welcomed a special of group of visitors to the Ballarat studio: five students from Huntingtower Co-educational Day and Boarding School, together with their teacher, Gillian Nix. I showed them some examples of my print-based work (currently they are studying linocuts with Gillian). Some students brought along their workbooks; I very much enjoyed seeing the development of their own works. It was a pleasure to meet them all, and I hope they enjoyed their visit as much as I did.

L-R: Calvin, Madeline, myself, Alex, Alicia and Nic. (Photo credit: Gillian Nix)

Madeline, me and Alicia. (Photo credit: Gillian Nix)

L-R: Me, Madeline, Calvin, Nic, Alex and Alicia. (Photo credit: Gillian Nix)

L-R: Me, Madeline, Calvin, Nic, Alex and Alicia. (Photo credit: Gillian Nix)

This was Gillian's second visit to the studio. In 2014 she came with another equally delightful group of students from Huntingtower. I hope that next time it won't be so long between visits.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A visit to the Art Gallery of NSW

Here are a few more pictorial mementos of last week's flying visit to Sydney, beginning with Frida Kahlo's Self Portrait with Monkey, 1943, snapped on Friday, July 8 at the FRIDA KAHLO and DIEGO RIVIERA exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with Monkeys, 1943, oil on canvas 

For me Kahlo’s portraits and self-portraits were the standouts of this small, but substantial show. What a mighty painter she was. Considering the length of the queue to get in (note to self, in future, always book online) I was pleasantly surprised to be able to spend quality time virtually alone with my favourite works. I soon figured out why - ironically, the majority of visitors were spending more time looking at the photos of Kahlo and Riviera than at their actual artworks.

Frida Kahlo, Portrait of Natasha Gelman (1943) oil on canvas

Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with bed (Me and my doll) 1937, oil on canvas

Later in the day I was surprised and delighted to discover one of my favourite paintings, David Hockney’s Portrait of an artist (Pool with two figures) 1972, on exhibit as part of the exhibition LANDSCAPES OF PLEASURE from Monet to Hockney. With the majority of visitors in the continuous queue for the Frida Kahlo - Diego Riviera exhibition, I had the painting entirely to myself. I sat with it for a long time, not knowing when I would see it again. It's since occurred to me that this may be sooner rather than later. It will very likely be part of the David Hockney 80th Birthday retrospective at Tate Britain next year, which I'm planning to fly over for. I can hardly wait.

David Hockney, Portrait of an artist (Pool with two figures) 1972, acrylic on canvas

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Australian Launch of Winsor and Newton Graphic Markers

It's hard to believe that this time last week (on Thursday, July 7, to be more precise) I was in Sydney attending the Australian launch of the Winsor and Newton Pigment Markers, Promarkers and Brushmarkers at Jasco Headquarters. 

The event also marked the debut of the Moth Women Vigilantes mini-zine, a substantial number of which were acquired by the company. (For more about the zine, see previous three posts).

A huge thank you to the good folk at Jasco for their generosity and hospitality. Being a Winsor and Newton Global Ambassador has been a privilege and a pleasure.

Further snapshots of the evening are below:

My linocut Monarch Butterfly Winged Woman hovers above a table displaying some of the works I created with
the Pigment Markers, including the mini-zine Moth Women Vigilantes ROGUES GALLERY

To the left of the screen are works created by fellow Global Ambassador Bill Hope.
On the right are three more of my Winged Women linocuts

The Winsor and Newton Graphic Markers launch in full swing

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

'Moth Women Vigilantes ROGUES GALLERY' - a new mini zine

On the cutting board: Moth Women Vigilantes ROGUES GALLERY, a pocket-sized zine incorporating the eight Vigilantes recently immortalised in Winsor and Newton pigment markers. (See last two posts).

To preview the completed zine, visit Moth Woman Press HERE.