Monday, November 11, 2019


WONDERMENT, QG&W's summer exhibition, is fast approaching and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

Exhibiting artists: Antonio Balletta, Christine Gibson, Lizzie Horne, Hyun Ju Kim, Deborah Klein, Michael Leunig, Soula Mantalvanos, David Moore, Geoffrey Ricardo, John Ryrie and Lucinda Tanner.

Step into the personal world of the artist with this year’s summer exhibition, WONDERMENT. Join Deborah Klein, John Ryrie, Lucinda Tanner and more, as they invite us on a journey to take a closer look at life and venture beneath the surface. 

Spanning multiple landscapes and continents, stories and characters, this collection of artworks encourages the role of the spectator, with its suggestion that things may not entirely be what they seem. 

Exhibition: Nov 29 — Feb 24
Official opening: Dec 1 from 3pm

Exhibition online soon:

Facebook: QueenscliffGalleryWorkshop / Google: Queenscliff Gallery Workshop / Instagram: @queenscliffgalleryworkshop / Pinterest: queenscliffgalleryworkshop / Twitter: @Q_cliffGallery / Vimeo: qgw

Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop (QG&W)
03 4202 0942 0438 866 068 A 81 Hesse Street Queenscliff VIC 3225
Open 6 days (closed Tues & between Nov 25 – 28)

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Harlequin bug tattoo

On the work table: Harlequin bug tattoo, pigmented drawing ink and gouache on Khadi paper, 21 x 15 cm

Following directly from my previous post, Harlequin bug tattoo is another work begun in my hotel room in August during the 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival (see below). The drawing, pictured above, was completed after my return to Ballarat. Scroll down further for selected progress views and to meet a real Harlequin bug.

The insect tattoo is modelled on the species Dindymus versicolor, commonly called Harlequin bugs, that regularly visit my studio in the back garden of the house we'll soon be leaving.

It’s a very pretty insect, but don’t let appearances fool you. Dindymus versicolor is regarded as a pest, reportedly attacking cotton, kurrajong, vegetables, pome fruits, stone fruits, grapes, figs, strawberries, violets, wisteria and dahlias. I don’t like to throw accusations without proof, but think I’ve finally figured out what has been devouring our strawberries all these years. Despite all that, I'm going to miss the Harlequin bugs and my beautiful studio.

Friday, November 8, 2019


Apiarist, ink and gouache on Khadi paper, 21 x 15 cm

Pictured above: Apiarist, a study for a larger-scale work, but also a finished drawing (or near enough to it), made during the interminable house moving that has dominated most of this year. (More about that soon).

The work is one of several undertaken during my stay in Melbourne for the 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival back in August, although the drawing was still barely outlined by the time MIFF had ended.

One of my favourite MIFF films was the documentary, Honeyland. Its message and real-life heroine, Hatidze, a Macedonian bee keeper, impacted directly on the making of Apiarist. 

Following are a selection of progress views.

Monday, October 21, 2019

ANTHROPOCENE - The R & M McGivern Prize 2019

Deborah Klein, Phyllium giganteum homo insecta, 2018, watercolour, 41.91 x 29.72 cm
Shortlisted for the R & M McGivern Prize 2019
Photo credit: Tim Gresham

The theme of the upcoming R & M McGivern Prize 2019 is Anthropocene, and I'm delighted to be one of the 45 finalists.

The Anthropocene marks the commencement of substantial human impact on our planet’s geology and ecosystems, including climate change. The precise time of its inception is unconfirmed, but possibly dates from as early as 12,000 - 15,000 years ago. The year 1945, commonly referred to as The Great Acceleration, ushered in a period when the impact of humans on this planet would increase more dramatically than ever before. 

Yet the Anthropocene has still to be officially recognised as an official subdivision of ecological time; a final decision is unlikely to be made until at least 2021. Meanwhile, my research anticipates a new epoch: The Great De-acceleration, in which humanity acknowledges its contribution to climate and ecological breakdown and recognises that we are not separate from nature, but an integral part of it.

Phyllium Giganteum homo-insecta, pictured top, hovers at the crossroads of science and science fiction. It is one of a series of ‘unnatural history illustrations’ documenting the advancement of Homo insecta, a highly evolved Order wherein human and nature are one.

Anthropocene will be held across two venues: ArtSpace at Realm and Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery, Ringwood from 23 November 2019 - 2 February 2020. The finalists are listed below:

Friday, October 18, 2019

Alice in the collection of the State Library of Victoria

As the second weekend of house inspections approaches, Alice’s star continues to rise. The State Library of Victoria has added the real estate flyer to their permanent collection. SLV curator Madeleine Say found it refreshingly different to any other flyer she’d seen. She was drawn to the story of ‘Alice’s Wonderland in the heart of Golden Point’ and of course its heroine, Alice, even though, as the leaflet states, she is 'not included in the sale’. 

Huge thanks to our agent Terrence Morse for his creative vision and sense of fun, to photographer Angela Hayward and the team at Biggin Scott Ballarat. We couldn’t be more thrilled that an image of Alice is now held in such a venerable institution. Not bad for a two-year old.

To learn about the State Library of Victoria's extensive Ephemera collection, go HERE.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Alice's Wonderland

Alice occupies her favourite spot in our sunroom/outdoor entertaining area

Our home at 7 Bradshaw Street, Golden Point in Ballarat is now on the market. The agent describes it as ‘Alice’s Wonderland,’ which indeed it is. (See if you can spot her in the first view). 

For detailed views of the house, garden and my studio, click on the link directly below:*

*Please note the proviso following the property description: ‘Alice the cat not included in the sale'.

All photos by Angela Hayward, courtesy Biggin Scott, Ballarat.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

AMONGST US Opening Event

Before the week runs away entirely, here are handful of highlights from last Saturday’s memorable opening of AMONGST US, an exhibition of figurative works on paper by Rachel Derum, Philip Faulks, Rona Green, Greg Harrison, Bill Hay and Deborah Klein at The Art Vault, Mildura.

That's me above with a selection of my Homo-insecta watercolours, snapped by Rachel Derum prior to our artist talk with Philip Faulks.

An installation view of all six watercolours is directly below:

Below, L-R: Julie Chambers, Director of the Art Vault, Philip, myself and Rachel present our talk in front of works by Philip Faulks. 

Following view, L-R: Philip, myself and Rachel with a selection of works by exhibition curator, Rona Green. (Photo credit for images 3 & 4: Shane Jones).

Thanks so much to Julie and Kevin, the peerless Art Vault team and everyone who came. We had an absolute ball and can’t wait to return.

The Art Vault 
43 Deakin Avenue
Mildura VIC 3500
(03)5022 0013

Opening hours: Monday 10 am - 2 pm; 
Wednesday - Friday 10 am - 5 pm; 
Saturday 10 am - 3 pm

The exhibition runs to 7 October 2019

Friday, September 20, 2019

Sainte Apolline

Readying my present house for sale has advanced in fits and starts, but preparations have now resumed in earnest, with (dare I suggest it) the end in sight. 

Pictured above, transformation of the front door unfolds under the watchful eye of Saint Apollonia, patron saint of dentistry and toothache. This is oddly appropriate; ordinarily I’d rather have all my teeth pulled out than tackle house painting. Fortunately, Shane is a dab hand at wielding a brush, much more so than I am, and has a far healthier attitude. Between us, progress has been made, and even in its half-finished state, the door is vastly improved, as is the rest of the house.

Sainte Apolline is from a series of drawings I made in 1993 as part of an Australia Council residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Her primary emblem is a tooth held in a set of pincers, the instrument of her torture. Perhaps house painting isn’t so bad after all.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A flying visit to The Art Vault

Chrysochroa buqueti beetle woman, 2014, watercolour, 41.91 x 29.72 cm,
one of six works I have in AMONGST US at The Art Vault

Pictured top: Chrysochroa buqueti beetle woman in flight for AMONGST US, a group show by Rona Green, Rachel Derum, Philip Faulks, Bill Hay and Deborah Klein. 

I’m pleased to announce that I'll soon be following suit. Originally I wasn't able to attend, but now look forward to joining fellow artists at the opening event.

Saturday 21 September: informal artist talk at 2.30 pm, official launch from 3pm - 4pm

The Art Vault
43 Deakin Avenue
Mildura VIC 3500
(03)5022 0013

Opening hours: Monday 10 am - 2 pm; Wednesday - Friday 10 am - 5 pm; Saturday 10 am - 3 pm

The exhibition runs from 18 September - 7 October 2019

Thursday, September 12, 2019


In the wake of our departure from Melbourne, my studio in Ballarat was requisitioned for extra storage. It was a sorry sight, becoming so overfull that gaining entry was all but impossible. Recently we rented an additional storage pod and over the last few days I've reclaimed my old space and restored it to something of its former glory.

At last, the transformation was completed. But even as I paused to savour the reinstatement of order and serenity, Alice barged in, dragging Shane behind her. He declared the space has never looked better and Alice, who’s not usually fussed about the studio, took it upon herself to investigate every nook and cranny, with a particular focus on the new plan cabinet. Eventually, however, the lure of the garden proved too strong, and she withdrew, followed by the hapless Shane.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Recent Acquisition

Pictured above and below: a new acquisition, purchased jointly with Shane Jones, is high on my list of favourite things. I love its industrial aesthetic and that it's on wheels. Housed in my current studio pending our move, the plan cabinet is also providing us with sorely needed extra storage for works on paper, in particular, Shane's ongoing series of portrait profile drawings.

Friday, September 6, 2019

An invitation to AMONGST US

Please find your special invitation to be amongst us, or rather, among my esteemed fellow artists and the fabulous Art Vault team, to toast the launch of AMONGST USSadly, I can’t attend, but six of my Homo-insecta watercolours will be there in my stead.

Saturday 21 September
Artist Talk: 2.30 pm
Official Opening: 3 - 4 pm 

The Art Vault 
43 Deakin Avenue
Mildura VIC 3500
(03)5022 0013

Opening hours: Monday 10 am - 2 pm; 
Wednesday - Friday 10 am - 5 pm; 
Saturday 10 am - 3 pm

AMONGST US runs from 18 September - 7 October 2019

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A past and future memory

My linocut The Drive Home, 2013, 17.5 x 12.5 cm, was originally made for the eponymous group exhibition at Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in New York that opened on this day in 2013.

Viewed today, the work seems uncannily prophetic as Shane Jones and I anticipate the drive to our future home. We’ve only seven more weeks to wait, but sometimes it feels like we’ve been waiting for this our entire lives.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


European Wasp Woman, 2014, watercolour, 41.91 x 29.72, made during a
residency at The Art Vault, will shortly return there. It's one of six works from the
Homo insecta series included in AMONGST US at The Art Vault, Mildura,
running from 18 September - 7 October

I’m delighted to be showing with some of my favourite artists in

A group exhibition of figurative works on paper
Curated by Rona Green

Rachel Derum
Philip Faulks  
Rona Green
Greg Harrison
Bill Hay and
Deborah Klein

Opening Saturday 21 September. Artist talk at 2.30 pm, followed by official launch from 3pm-4pm

The Art Vault
43 Deakin Avenue
Mildura VIC 3500
(03)5022 0013

The show runs from 18 September - 7 October 2019

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Adventures in Melbourne

Between 2 - 18 August, most roads led to MIFF venues, although my stimulating and productive Melbourne stay also set me on an unexpected path with a new series of works on paper. A recent bout of flu, from which I'm just emerging, has delayed this last post about my recent adventures in Melbourne, my first as a visitor, rather than as a resident.

The Plenary, situated on Melbourne's Docklands, was a first-time (and hopefully, last time) venue.  

The Plenary had all the charm of an airport lounge. Nobody I spoke to enjoyed going there.
Still, I'm rather proud of this early evening shot, taken after an afternoon of screenings.

English born director and screenwriter Peter Strickland was a MIFF guest and was
a refreshingly warm, engaging and down-to-earth speaker. I saw several of his films,
and by comparison, found the plots curiously distancing and off-putting and felt little sympathy
 - or any sense of connection for that matter - with his characters.

Below are 15 of my favourite films. (I tried unsuccessfully to limit the list to ten and could easily have added more):

God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya
The Nightingale
And Then We Danced
House of Hummingbird
Ghost Town Anthology
A Regular Woman
Ghost Tropic
The Juniper Tree
Talking About Trees
The Swallows of Kabul

Complete details of the above can be found on my MIFF 2019 schedule HERE. I made several alterations to it during the course of the film festival: subtracting, adding and switching session times. An annoying fault in the MIFF app is that not all the changes are reflected in the final list. Adding further confusion, a special MIFF screening I attended late last year is also listed. Nevertheless, it's a record of sorts and I’m still thinking about many of the films I did see. The MIFF Travelling Showcase heads to Ballarat soon, and I hope to catch up with some that I missed.

My MIFF was sandwiched between two noteworthy theatrical events: the dazzling Everything’s Coming Up Sondheim  at Chapel Off Chapel on August 2 and Sunday in the Park With George at the Lawler Theatre, which we saw shortly after MIFF had ended. Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize winning musical drama, inspired by the pointillist artist George Seurat and his masterwork, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte, could not have been better served than by Watch This, the Melbourne-based company that specialises in his work. To my mind, no one does Sondheim better. Watch This finds the heart in his work like no other company I've seen. The entire cast, led by Nick Simpson-Deeks as George (pictured below) and Vidya Makan as Dot, his model, muse and lover, were sublime, as was every aspect of the production, which we saw twice. Over the years, I've seen other versions of Sunday in the Park With George, but this is the first time I've been moved to tears. On both occasions, I noticed several others discreetly dabbing their eyes. The sold-out Melbourne season was all too short. An interview with Sunday's co-director and Watch This founder Sonya Suares, is HERE. To read a review, go HERE.

Another highlight of my Melbourne sojourn was the Alexander Calder exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, which I caught just before it ended its long run. I absolutely loved this show and only wish I'd had a chance to visit earlier. Calder's sculptures and the mobiles with which he is most closely associated were well represented, but I was particularly enamoured of his wire sculptures.

The small hotel where I lived and worked for the duration of MIFF is nestled directly behind the grand, historic Windsor Hotel. On one particularly memorable occasion, Shane came to Melbourne for the day and took me out to dinner there. He is pictured below, admiring one of the paintings in the hotel's elegant foyer.

Directly below is an overview of the worktable in my hotel room at the close of MIFF. I'm continuing with the drawings back in Ballarat and will post updates in the near future.