Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Heavens Declare

The Heavens Declare (1), 2022, pictured top, is part of the forthcoming Goldfields Printmakers exhibition, The Printmakers’ Garden of Imagination. Like its sister work, The Heavens Declare (2), (see below) it takes a detail from The Heavens Declare… (c. 1910), a needlework by British Arts and Crafts artist and designer May Morris (1862-1938), as its point of departure. 

Both linocuts reflect on the formative years I spent in UK and on my home country of Australia - in this instance, my present home in the Victorian Goldfields city of Ballarat. This work also recalls the wild rose bushes still found on the goldfields that were originally planted by British colonists as sentimental reminders of their own home country.

The Heavens Declare (2), 2022, pictured abovereferences the introduction of orange trees to Australia. In 1788, orange seeds were brought over by Captain Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales. Reverend Richard Johnson, Chaplain of the fledgling colony, subsequently planted a small orange grove in Bridge Street, Sydney. They were the first orange trees in Australia to bear fruit. 

Scroll down to my last post for further information about the show, including a list of participating artists.

Opening eventSaturday 3 September, 2.00 - 3.30 pm 

Newstead Arts Hub
8A Tivey Street, Newstead VIC 3642

Opening Hours: Sat and Sun 10am - 4pm

Current to 25 September.

The exhibition will run concurrently at IMPACT 12, the International Printmaking Conference in Bristol, UK.

Pictured top: The Heavens Declare (1), 2022, linocut, chine-collé, 20 x 15 cm (image), ed: 30.

Pictured second: The Heavens Declare (2), 2022, linocut, chine-collé, 20 x 15 cm (image), ed: 30.

Friday, August 26, 2022

The Printmakers’ Garden of Imagination

Deborah Klein, The Heavens Declare (2), 2022,  

Linocut, chine collé20 x 15 cm, Edition 1/30

You are cordially invited to


An exhibition of prints by GOLDFIELDS PRINTMAKERS

at Newstead Arts Hub

Opening EventSat 3 September 2 - 3.30 pm

Participating Artists

Loris Button
Anne Langdon
James Pasakos
Dianne Longley
Barbara Semler
Marte Newcombe
Deborah Klein
Jan Palethorpe
Susan Clarke
Leonie Auhl
Robyn Gibson
Jackie Gorring
Marie Mason
Emma Stoneman
Penny Peckham

Diana Orinda Burns
Melissa Proposch
Catherine Pilgrim

Goldfields Printmakers, a collective of 25 printmakers based in the Victorian Goldfields region, was formed in 2012. To learn more about the group, visit our website HERE

Newstead Arts Hub

8A Tivey Street, Newstead VIC 3642



Opening HoursSat and Sun 10am - 4pm

The exhibition runs to 25 September.

The Printmakers’ Garden of Imagination will be exhibited concurrently at IMPACT 12, the International Printmaking Conference in Bristol, UK.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Happy Birthday, Dorothy Parker


A slightly belated Happy Birthday to the late short-story writer, poet, screenwriter and critic, Dorothy Parker, who was born on 22 August 1893.

Currently I’m undertaking the mammoth task of cleaning out my plan cabinets and have just come across some dog-eared copies of this book plate, a linocut made as a birthday gift for a friend way back in 1987.

It incorporates Dorothy Parker’s poem, INVENTORY:

“Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.

Four be the things I'd been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.

Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.

Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye”.

Looking again at the image after many years, I’ve just realised the clock, vase, cocktail shaker and one of the two cocktail glasses are still in my possession. 

Coincidences certainly abound today. I’d just finished posting the above on my social media pages when Shane brought in the mail. My London-based friends, Bev and Roger Murray, have sent me the attached article, clipped from the 9 July edition of The Times. 

Click on images for a clearer view.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Another linocut for IMPACT 12


Hot off my little craft press: a proof of the second of two linocuts heading for IMPACT 12, the International Printmaking Conference in Bristol, UK, as part of a Goldfields Printmakers portfolio. 

The Poppy Crafts A4 die cutting and embossing machine doubles as an excellent press for smaller sized relief prints. (The work pictured here measures 20 x 15 cm). This craft press has the added benefit of adjustable pressure and is a pleasure to use, giving none of the grief I’ve experienced with printing linocuts on an etching press. 

Further updates on this and its sister work will be posted shortly. 

Sunday, August 7, 2022

2020-22 APW George Collie Award Exhibition Opening + Award Presentation

In the car on the way to yesterday’s opening of the APW George Collie Memorial Award Exhibition, I wrote the following on my phone, mainly because I didn’t want to forget to thank anyone. Although I didn’t read from the notes at the opening, my words came out much the same as what I’d written (if a bit more garbled) so I thought I’d share them here:

The Australian Print Workshop has been a big part of my life, but never in a million years did I dream I’d be standing here in this context. 

L-R: Myself, APW Artistic Director and CEO, Anne Virgo and 2022 Award Recipient, Hertha Kluge-Pott. 
The works behind us are by my fellow 2020 Award Recipient, Barbara Hanrahan.  

Firstly, I’d like to thank Anne Virgo for inviting me to be part of this prestigious award way back in 2000. I was doubly thrilled to learn I would be sharing it with the late, great Barbara Hanrahan.

Myself and Hertha Kluge-Pott

Since 2000, we’ve been riding the waves of COVID. A major benefit of waiting so long for this day to arrive is that my works now hang alongside two other artists whose works I’ve long admired, the 2021-22 Award Recipients, Ann Newmarch and Hertha Kluge-Pott.

In fact, there’s not an artist among the list of distinguished past recipients whose works I don’t hold in high regard. It’s an enormous  privilege to be counted among them. 


Screenprint by Ann Newmarch OAM 

Intaglio prints by Hertha-Kluge Pott

A big thank you to the wonderful team at the APW, particularly Liz Errol, and similarly Alex Gillies, who hung this show so beautifully. Thank you both for the elegant artist book and zine displays too. 

Outside the APW with some of my artist books

Above and below: my artist books and zines in the APW windows 

A huge thank you to Simon White, who printed my linocut,
Wished on the Moon. (See previous post). It was a joy to work with Simon. This isn’t the first time we’ve collaborated on a print edition and I certainly hope it won’t be the last. 

Warmest thanks to my partner, Shane Jones, who has been a tower of strength throughout all of this, and much else besides. 

Finally, thank you so much to everyone who came today, including many old friends. Your presence means the world. 

Euan Heng, Catherine Heng and myself

With Leigh Hobbs

L-R: Tim Gresham, Annamaria Plescia, myself, Gaye Britt, Cresside Collette

L-R: James Harrison, Priscilla Ambrosini and Shane Jones

L-R: Cresside Collette, Shane Jones, Simon White

Priscilla Ambrosini, John Waller, Annamaria Plescia and myself 

L-R: Tim Gresham, Cresside Collette, Gaye Britt, Anne Virgo Hertha Kluge-Pott, Kathryn Ryan

From centre: Kathryn Ryan, Gaye Britt, Tim Gresham

 L-R: Shane Jones, myself, Steven Kafkarisos and Angela Cavalieri 

In recent years, my work has mainly focused on painting. I should also have mentioned that working on the linocut edition with Simon has taken me back to my roots and reignited my love of printmaking. 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

I Wished on the Moon

Deborah Klein, I Wished on the Moon, 2022, hand-coloured linocut, 34.5 x 26.8 cm, ed. 20
Printed by Simon White at the Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne 
Photo credit: Tim Gresham 

After nigh on three-and-a half-decades as a practicing artist, the time is ripe to revisit and re-evaluate the past in order to clear a pathway for the creation of new narratives. 

Accordingly, my current works gather together and re-contextualise the myriad of accumulated influences, motifs, themes and personal iconography that have directed it thus far. Among these are insects, particularly moths, and the meticulously braided hairstyles of my anonymous protagonists, the Rückenfiguren, or figures seen from behind. 

From the outset, music has been a key influence. In this instance, the work begins and ends with the song from which it takes its title and much of its narrative content. 

I first heard I Wished on the Moon several years ago on a reissue of Mel Tormé’s classic recording, Swinging on The Moon,  a compilation of moon-themed jazz standards originally released in 1960.

It was one of the few songs on the CD I was unfamiliar with. Moved by the plaintive melody and bittersweet lyric, I was compelled to look into its authorship and history. The music was written in 1935 by Ralph Rainger, a prolific composer whose work I’ve long admired. But the real surprise was the identity of the lyricist. Dorothy Parker is best known as a writer of prose and poetry and is one of my favourite authors. Her writings have had a profound impact on many of my works. I was aware she was one of several people who contributed lyrics to the original production of Leonard Bernstein’s scathingly brilliant operetta, Candide (1956), but she is not generally known as a lyricist. I can find only one other lyric penned by her, and it’s also a standard. (1)  I wish she had written more, and wonder why she didn’t. 

I Wished on the Moon (detail)

The exquisite longing expressed in Dorothy Parker’s lyric set the stage for my work. The linocut doesn’t specifically seek to illustrate the song, but does take a number of cues from it. These lines prompted the inclusion of the evening star as part of my own narrative:

‘’I begged of a star

To throw me a beam or two;

Wished on a star

And asked for a dream or two…”

And its chorus encapsulates the entire work:

“I wished on the moon

For something I never knew;

Wished on the moon

For more than I ever knew;

A sweeter rose, a softer sky, an April day

That would not dance away.”

I Wished on the Moon has its own Wikipedia Page, which lists some notable recordings. These are my own favourites: Ruth Etting (1935) Billie Holiday (1951) and Mel Tormé (1960). Notably, all three artists have chosen to retain its verse. By comparison, Bing Crosby, who introduced the song in the film, The Big Broadcast of 1936, where he performed it in its entirety, omitted the verse and sang only one chorus in his 78 rpm soundtrack recording. 

Luna moth (Photo credit: Emmett Tullos, Jackson AL, US) (2)

Fittingly, the great winged insect that literally has my protagonist’s back is a Luna moth. 

The founder of modern taxonomy, Swedish zoologist, physician and botanist, Carl Linnaeus (1707 - 1778), included the species in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae, (1758). He named it Phalaena luna, later Actias luna, with luna derived from Luna, the Roman moon goddess. Subsequently, its common name became "Luna moth". 

In mythology, the Luna moth is chiefly associated with rebirth, transformation, transience, resilience and new beginnings.

Dorothy Parker (Photographer unknown)

Ralph Rainger’s haunting melody, so perfectly matched by Dorothy Parker’s heart-rending lyric, played in my head throughout the creation of this work. Because of the song’s apparently idiosyncratic nature, however, I was initially reluctant to attach its title to my own work. In fact,  Dorothy Parker’s lyric for I wished on the Moon transcends the personal. After all, who among us hasn’t wished on the moon, or even longed to go there?

My linocut I Wished on the Moon is part of the 2020-2022 APW George Collie Memorial Exhibition at the Australian Print Workshop, opening today, Saturday, 6 August. 

The exhibition is current to Saturday, October 1. 

(1) How Am I to Know? (1929). Music by Jack King, lyrics by Dorothy Parker. You can hear Billie Holiday sing it HERE.

(2) This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. The image was originally posted to Flickr by ravensong75 at (archive). It was reviewed on 18 November 2017 by FlickreviewR 2 and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0

Thursday, August 4, 2022

A Gentle Reminder


2020-2022 APW George Collie Memorial Award Exhibition + Presentation 

2020 - 2022 APW George Collie Memorial Award Recipients:
Barbara Hanrahan / Deborah Klein / Hertha Kluge-Pott / Ann Newmarch OAM
Exhibition Opening and Award Presentation 
2 - 4 pm Saturday 6 August

I hope to see you there! 

Pictured above, right: Lace Face, 1996, 46 x 30 cm. Printed by the artist at the Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne. Collection: APW Archive.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Work in Progress for IMPACT 12

Pictured above: a linocut ready for printing. Begun during my recent residency at Geelong Grammar School, the completed work will be part of a Goldfields Printmakers portfolio to be exhibited at IMPACT 12, the upcoming International Printmaking Conference in Bristol, UK. Would that I were travelling with it.

A couple of earlier progress views are below. 

Once the drawing is resolved and the block is ready to carve, I apply a coat of transparent ink to make it easier to see the areas that have been cut away.