Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A package from Arizona

Yesterday afternoon the postman delivered a sturdy brown envelope from my friend Deborah McMillion, who lives way across the other side of the world, in Arizona. Look what was inside: 

I can’t remember the last time I received a handwritten note, let alone two, and the four tiny stamps are exquisite. I’m already thinking of how I can incorporate the handmade Prickly Pear and Yucca papers into my work to best do them justice (see above) and Deborah’s etchings, Capes Wrapped Tight and Rain I (also pictured below) are things of beauty. 

This morning I received a call from Creative Framing to say my works for the George Collie APW Award exhibition were ready for collection (see previous post) and we stopped by this afternoon. Predictably, they’ve done a brilliant job. It was also a perfect opportunity to drop in Deborah’s etchings, both of which were very much admired by everyone. 

On the advice of Ian, who will be framing them, I’ve chosen a slightly different frame for each work, and both will be window-mounted in the cream museum board shown below. I hope Deborah will approve! 

For some time I’ve been considering devoting an occasional blog post to one or two my favourite things. It seems there’s no time like the present to start right now with Capes Wrapped Tight and Rain I, both of which, incidentally, are very much in keeping with today’s weather! 

Thank you, Deborah. Shane and I will treasure them.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Looking forward

Directly following (at least, to the best of my ability) are further COVID-directed updates to my ever-evolving exhibition schedule.

While lockdown continues in Melbourne, it remains difficult to provide firm dates for the George Collie APW Award Exhibition at the Australian Print Workshop. Furthermore, travel restrictions have made it impossible to take two key works intended for the show to our Melbourne framer. 

Thankfully a fellow Ballarat-based artist came to the rescue with her recommendation of local firm, Creative Framing. The linocuts pictured above and below are somewhat tricky to frame, owing to their layered construction and the delicate nature of the materials involved. The team at Creative Framing have taken this completely in their stride. Not that I’m surprised. Recently they also framed Maid of Honour, my shortlisted drawing for the current 2020 Swan Hill Print and Drawing Award. Their suggestions for the job were spot on and I couldn’t have been more delighted with the finished result.

We are very fortunate to have a picture framer of this calibre here in Ballarat. I may not know when the APW show will run, but at least I'll be ready for when it does.

Looking further forward, Backstories, my solo exhibition at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery in Melbourne has now been confirmed for April 2021, roughly a year after it was originally scheduled. Precise dates will be provided shortly.

My residency at Geelong Grammar remains penciled in for May 2021, dates TBC.

For those who may have missed the post of Saturday August 29, RECENT PRINTMAKING NEWS, my solo show at Queenscliff Gallery* has been rescheduled to run from June 3 -21, 2021. 

*PLEASE NOTE: the former Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop (QG&W) recently transformed its  workshop mezzanine to an exclusive preview and exhibition space. Accordingly, the gallery has been renamed Queenscliff Gallery (QG). 

QG's updated url is:

The gallery's new email address is:

In other recent news, I've been offered a show at Gallery on Sturt in Ballarat. Again, dates have yet to be confirmed, but it will most likely take place in the latter half of 2021.

Monday, September 14, 2020


Official poster for THE BIG KITTY
Top right-hand corner, L-R: Lewis Miller, Deborah Klein and Gavin Brown
Far right: stars of THE BIG KITTY, Tom Alberts and Lisa Barmby

My Blog Post of August 25, Through the Eyes of Film, focused on several older works that were partly inspired by Film Noir.

It never occurred to me that soon afterwards I would again be raising the subject, but in an entirely different context. This post is about a noir-inspired film in which I actually appear.

THE BIG KITTY, an affectionate, tongue-in-cheek pastiche of Film Noir, was jointly conceived, written, designed and directed by Melbourne artist Tom Alberts with his wife and co-star, fellow artist, Lisa Barmby.

The film has yet to be released, and up until now, few, if any of us, have seen it. My own life partner, Shane Jones (under the stage name of Sean O’Connery) appears as an Irish cop, Shadrack, and in my cameo appearance, I play a bogus fortune teller, Madame F. 

At this stage, most of us have only the vaguest idea of the plot as a whole, except that it involves a kidnapped cat, played by Tom and Lisa's beloved feline, Monsieur Baptiste, and a colourful cast of supporting characters portrayed by shady inhabitants of the Melbourne art world. 

The film has had a long period of gestation - it was begun in 2008 - but if the following trailer and short promotional film are any indication, it will be well worth the wait. Both clips are gems in their own right, but for all their sense of fun, it's clear that Tom and Lisa are positively steeped in every facet of this singular period of film history.



For some background into the making of the film, visit Raymond Gill's article below:

Published 31 July 2019

The good news is that we won't be kept in suspense for too much longer. On Sunday, September 20, direct from Paris where they're currently based, Tom and Lisa are streaming an official cast and crew screening, followed by an after-party via Zoom. Hopefully further screenings won't be too far behind.

I for one foresee an instant classic. They don't call me Madame F for nothing.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Shane’s birthday week

The highlight of the past week was undoubtedly Shane’s first (and hopefully, last) birthday celebration in lockdown.  

The big day fell on Tuesday, September 8 and we enjoyed every minute of it. In short, it involved an excursion to nearby Woowookarung Regional Park in the morning, a double feature screened in our home cinema in the afternoon and evening, and a considerable amount of eating in between.

Fortunately, as far as eateries go, we’re spoilt for choice in Ballarat. Shane’s spectacular birthday cake from Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse was even more delicious than it looks.

Alice wouldn’t be deterred from joining in the celebrations although the FAQ, “Should you be on the table, Alice?” fell repeatedly on deaf ears.

In the evening we got takeaway from our favourite restaurant, Carboni’s, which just happens to be walking distance from the house. They excelled themselves.

The first half of the birthday double bill was one of my gifts to Shane. Mrs Lowry & Sona biopic about the complex relationship between the painter L. S. Lowry and his mother, was distinguished by the towering performances of its two leads, Vanessa Redgrave and Timothy Spall. I’ve always been drawn to quiet, character-driven films, and didn’t find this at all stagey. It’s one of the criticisms that’s been levelled at it, presumably by those with a penchant for gun fights and car chases. 

Shane’s excellent choice for the second feature was Sally Potter’s wry comedy, The Party, which also features Timothy Spall and a sterling ensemble castI first saw it in 2017 at the Melbourne International Film Festival and loved it. This was Shane’s first viewing and he shared my enthusiasm. It’s a joy from start to finish, with a killer twist at the end. 

Shane’s birthday may have been on Tuesday, but his cake just kept on giving.

Today he cut the last two slices (below) while Alice, who is all partied out, slept it off under the table (above).

Thank you so much to everyone who sent birthday greetings. Next year we hope you can join us for a slice of cake.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Father’s Day

I’ve had this photograph of myself when very young for many years. I have no idea of where it was taken. It looks to be somewhere in central Melbourne, possibly Collins Street? Ironically, I’m standing outside what appears to be an art gallery. If anyone can shed any light on the location and even better, identify the gallery, I’d be most grateful.

Recently I made the most wonderful discovery. Hovering in the top left-hand corner, barely in the picture plane, is the profile of my late father, Ron Klein. Evidently his head was concealed by the frame that usually houses the photo. He died suddenly in 1978, when I was still living in London. It’s as if he’s been watching over me all these years and I never knew it. Well, I do now. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.