Friday, November 29, 2019

Opening night: ANTHROPOCENE - The 2019 R & M McGivern Prize

Viewing my watercolour, Phyllium giganteum homo insecta at Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery on the
opening night of the 2019 R & M McGivern Prize. Photo credit: Shane Jones

Yesterday evening, ANTHROPOCENE, the 2019 R & M McGivern Prize, was launched at Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery. The exhibition attracted a record number of 450 entries. From these, 45 finalists were chosen, among them, my watercolour, Phyllium giganteum homo insecta.

For the first time in its history, the show is exhibited over two venues: Maroondah Federation Estate Gallery and ArtSpace at Realm, enabling more works to be included in the show.

ANTHROPOCENE was officially opened by the Mayor of Maroondah, Cr Mike Symon, with a Welcome to Country by Aunty Zeta Thomson, followed by remarks from Perpetual Trustees.

This year's judges were Charlotte Day, Director, Monash University Museum of Art, Penny Teale, Bunjil Place Gallery Curator and Ryan Johntson, Director, Buxton Contemporary. Mr. Johnston (below, third from left), announced the winner of the $25,000 prize, Nadine Christensen (below, second from left).

Congratulations to Nadine, all the finalists and warm thanks to everyone concerned with administration of ANTHROPOCENE.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with detailed information on each artist's work and an introductory essay by Emily Jones, Curator Exhibitions and Collection, Maroondah City Council.

ANTHROPOCENE, the 2019 R & M McGivern Prize, runs until 1 February 2020. For further information, go HERE.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A house and drawing in progress

For the past several weeks, I've been juggling house moving with work, a balancing act that's becoming increasingly precarious as the settlement date for our old place approaches. Throughout this unsettling and disruptive time, drawing has provided a much-needed sense of equilibrium and continuum.

Several of the drawings will eventually form the basis for larger scale works, once the dust on our move has settled. The most recent drawing, pictured above, was started at our old place and further developed in my new studio (pictured below). Like the rest of the house, the studio is very much a work in progress. It's unlikely to remain in this minimal state for very long.

The following photos were snapped a few weeks ago, the day after Shane Jones and I got the keys to the new house. Our friends Tim Gresham and Gaye Britt popped in for an impromptu celebration that started in the cinema room on the first floor, then gravitated downstairs.

Our new home is gradually taking shape as we simultaneously cut ties with the place we called home for the past nine years. Pictured below is an updated view of our cinema room. The easel painting to the right of the windows is an trompe l'oeil work by Shane.

Alice is loving the new house and has made herself completely at home. The sculpture on the far right, below, is by Dean Bowen.

Pictured below is a cosy corner of our reading room. Originally the projection room for the cinema, it's my favourite room in the house.

On the table in the library is another trompe l'oeil painting by Shane, paired with the paperback novel, Shane, on which it's based.

On Monday morning the removalist will collect the really heavy stuff from the old house and studio, including our etching press. Setting up a shared printmaking studio/workshop in our new place will be among the challenges facing us in the new year, and beyond. The prospect is somewhat daunting. But we've already come this far, I reckon we're up for it.

Friday, November 22, 2019

An invitation to WONDERMENT

Please find attached your very own invitation to Queenscliff Gallery & Workshops summer exhibition, WONDERMENT. Pictured: Splendid emerald wasp woman' (detail).

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. 

OFFICIAL OPENING: Dec 1 from 3pm 

We do hope you can join us, either at the opening or during the exhibition's run. 

To learn more about WONDERMENT, go HERE.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Now it's official. Special thanks to Terrence Morse and thanks to everyone for all your good wishes. Shane, Alice and I will miss this house, but are excited for the future.

Photos by Terrence Morse.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Under contract

In the middle of a busy weekend, this happened. (Photo credits: Terrence Morse and Shane Jones, who also appear in this sequence).

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.