Sunday, September 26, 2021

On the table easel


Pictured above: my present work in progress, followed by earlier developmental views. The lace collar was initially sketched in with a white watercolour pencil, enabling marks to be easily erased and altered during the drawing process. As yet untitled, the diptych is acrylic on canvas and measures 35 x 12.5 cm.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

WAMA Art Prize Finalist

This afternoon I had an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. My drawing, Swan Song 2, is a finalist in the inaugural WAMA Art Prize Works on Paper Award: Where Art Meets Nature. I had assumed my entry was unsuccessful, because aside from initial acknowledgment of the entry form, I received no further correspondence from WAMA*. Only 40 finalists were selected from over 500 entries, so I’m still in a state of numb but happy disbelief. Felicitations to the prize winners, including overall winner Melissa Smith and all the other finalists. 

Many thanks to Arts & Culture Ballarat for tagging me in their Facebook post about the WAMA Art Prize today, otherwise I might never have known that my work had been shortlisted.*

The finalists’ works are on the WAMA website, where you can also vote for the People's Choice Award.

*(I’ve since had a phone call from WAMA. It seems an email informing me of my selection was sent last week. This isn’t the first time I’ve had problems with emails; very possibly it landed in my junk mail). 

Pictured top: Swan Song 2, 2021, pigmented drawing ink, watercolour and acrylic on paper, 76h x 56w cm. Photo credit: Tim Gresham.

Monday, September 20, 2021

A Salon Hang by Team Alice


A recent project for Shane Jones and I was hanging
Spiral Tower, the Leigh Hobbs painting I purchased last May from his two-person show with Jim Pavlidis at Queenscliff Gallery. The greatest challenge was finding a spot for it. Through the years, we have accumulated a sizeable collection of artworks and a salon hang isn’t just an aesthetic choice, it’s a necessity. 

Fortunately Alice was on hand to lend assistance and advice. In the hallway to our side entrance, a work on paper by Lisa Barmby was moved to the right in order to make room for Leigh’s painting. From the time we moved here, Alice has overseen the placement of each and every work that graces our walls.

Throughout our house the walls are laden with works by artists who have touched our lives. Many of them are old friends. In these times of long separations, it brings them that much closer. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Current work

Pictured above and below are a series of progress views of my current painting, a diptych, acrylic on canvas, 55 x 20 cm. The work is intended for Rückenfigur, my solo show at Queenscliff Gallery. An update on the exhibition will be posted shortly.

In the top view, the work is all but complete, save for some tweaking here and there and an appropriate title - something that doesn’t always come easy. The lace pattern in the second panel is loosely based on a vintage collar in one of several reference books I’ve accumulated through the years. It was drawn on the canvas freehand. This can sometimes do my head in, but in this instance, I found the entire process surprisingly meditative, particularly when it came to adding the areas of fine detail. 

Click on images to enlarge. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The week that was: works in progress, daily walks and a birthday celebration

Sunshine came softly through my window today - followed by a walk amongst the wattles and back to our own backyard, where Alice is cultivating a penchant for parsley. Then the rains came.

In other news, on Wednesday, September 8, Shane marked his second birthday in lockdown with bubbles and a spectacular orange cake. We would have loved to share it with friends and family, but sadly restrictions forbade it. Hopefully next year… 


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Primavera II


Pictured above: Primavera II, acrylic on two canvases, 37.5 x 15 cm. The vintage embroidery on the left by my late Aunt, Eileen Klein, was the basis for the motif on the subject’s collar. The painting is near completion, save some minor tweaking. 

A progress view is below.

Primavera II and its companion work, Primavera I, as it’s now titled, were developed in between the films we streamed from the recent Melbourne International Film Festival

Primavera I has since been completed, and work on Primavera II proceeded without incident or interruption, with one exception - the takeover of my work chair by Alice (see below). Sucker that I am, I didn’t have the heart to move her. Instead, I rearranged the studio chairs, while Alice steadfastly refused to vacate “her” seat. In my small, cluttered space, it was a lot more complicated than it looks. Alice was not impressed. Her expression (third photo below) says it all. 

Visit Spring is hereBlog Post Wednesday, September 1, to see the then-untitled Primavera I and developmental views of both works.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Father’s Day Revisited


Some of you may remember my post on Father’s Day 2020, featuring this photograph of my very young self snapped at a then unknown location in central Melbourne.

This is an excerpt from the original post:

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. 

At the time, I posted the photo on social media, asking if anyone recognised its location. It dates from around the mid-1950s and I’m standing outside what looks like an art gallery, which you could say is something of a portent. Several people helpfully weighed in with interesting suggestions, but only gallery director Stephen McLaughlan was able come to my rescue. I’ve since become aware of Stephen’s phenomenal knowledge of Melbourne’s architecture, so it’s not surprising he was the one to answer the question that has perplexed me for years. The building is one of Melbourne’s most beautiful and historically significant - the Block Arcade,* pictured below.

From late 2007 to mid 2011, I rented a studio only minutes away, on the top floor of the fine, but now decidedly dilapidated City of Melbourne Building that stands on the corner of Elizabeth and Little Collins Streets (see below) and used to cut through the Block Arcade all the time. 

Stephen McLaughlan Gallery in the iconic Nicholas Building on the corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Lane is also very close by. In fact, my current exhibition still hangs in the gallery, albeit in lockdown.

Somehow I never got around to publishing a follow-up post about the solution to the mystery location, and with Father’s Day upon us once more, now seems like a good time, if a tad belated. Recently I did an online search for a high resolution shot of the Block Arcade and found the vintage photo second from top on the State Library of Victoria website. Click on the image for an enlarged view.

My partner, Shane Jones, wishes he’d met you, Dad. I wish you’d met too. In fact, I wish all the Jones family had gotten to know you - and vice-versa. After all these years, I still miss you. Happy Father’s Day.

*The State Library of Victoria is duly acknowledged as the source of the photograph of the Block Arcade. There are no copyright restrictions on the work and its creator is unknown. The following information is from the SLV’s website:
Title: The Block Arcade, 280-286 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, ca. 1930-1939.
Contents/Summary: The Block Arcade on north side of Collins Street, between Elizabeth Street and Swanston Street. Window displays for Kodak and Singer Sewing Machines.
Description: 1 photographic print, gelatin silver, 26 x 21 cm. approx.

Photo credit for the City of Melbourne Building: Deborah Klein.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Spring is here

Pictured above: a new work for a new season, as yet untitled and not quite finished in time for the first day of spring, but close to it. 

The work is acrylic on two canvases and its dimensions are 37.5 x 15 cm. The vintage needlework to its left is by my late aunt, Eileen Elizabeth Klein. I inherited many of her doilies and placemats (but sadly, not her sewing skills) and have incorporated design motifs from several of them into recent works. One of them is HERE. These and other related paintings will be exhibited at Queenscliff Gallery in the near future. 

A series of progress views of the diptych follow directly. They include its sister work (also currently untitled and considerably further away from resolution).