How does talent get noticed these days when social media worships youth and good looks - and you only have talent?
Landseers abound in the most obscure areas: Boardrooms, ticketing areas of grand houses and the back toilet areas of Westminister Palace....however the one I most wanted to see was lost in a box in Scotland!
My painting technique over the past 40 years depends on a very detailed underpainting, where I balance the tones and get it right as a black and white piece. This is then followed by layer upon layer of glaze to get the right colour and texture. It’s a labour intensive and time consuming method. And like many artists I usually end up not loving the end result. I get too close to it. But I think I like this one….
To tell the truth I was more than a little worried – would I be able to survive doing my first teaching workshop in over 30 years?? Would anyone even be interested enough to come to the wilds of the Victorian alps, brave the birdlife, Nicky’s cooking and the dodgy internet connectivity that only the country can provide?
Some comments by visiting artists have reignited my interest in Hyperrealism. A couple of years ago I painted several canvases celebrating the minute patterns and details of the natural world and proved to myself that I am now a mature enough painter to tackle hyperrealism. Thus, after a 40 year apprenticeship painting birds, I am now embarking on a journey into this art genre using the natural world I love as my inspiration. What fun!
With the advent of white settlement the Paradise Parrot population rapidly declined until extinction claimed it in the early 20th century. 1770 was the beginning of the end for this gorgeous little parrot.
Like worshippers to the throne we approached "Little Chantry". Bradford-on-Avon bustled at the bottom of the hill oblivious to the moment - the big reveal....Would Ray be home? We parked precariously in the one way track that passed for a street, later earning the ire of neighbours - who in their very English way told us what they thought and signed their note politely "Thank you". Only in England!
I grew up in Melbourne, the eldest of 3 kids, in a warm extended family.
My maternal grandparents lived nearby and encouraged my artistic endeavours. Art ran in the family as their son was an artist and doing well. You may have heard of him - he's quite well known!
While I was working in the States a few years ago an American bloke commented that their birds were the most outstanding on earth. I had a different view and for every bird he mentioned I came up with an even more colourful Australian one. We have the most outrageously colourful birds in this country and we tend to take them for granted!
Most people want to visit Africa and see the wildlife at least once in their life – and being a keen naturalist, I was no different. In 2013 I had the opportunity to spend 6 weeks exploring while also supporting the Elephant Orphanage at Tarangire.
Murphy’s Law works well for Glossy Black Cockatoos!! Glossies practice being particularly annoying to observe and photograph…. They make the practice of lurking behind any stray bit of foliage an art-form. While they feed on the She Oak seed capsules you can get very close thus lulling you into the false impression that getting reference material will be a snap - but it’s always through a veil of foliage, or into the sun, or on the far side of the forest.
Penguins never really figured greatly in my “have to see” list of birds in Australia – that was until I started hanging out with my artist mate Brett Jarrett, over 30 years ago.There are probably many more penguins skulking ashore to moult or hang out at the beach than we are aware. These are 2 birds I encountered around Portland, Victoria.
Trying not to die while snorkelling around Lady Elliot Island was a bit tricky, as I am not great in the water, however I managed to survive. Thankfully I was not required to scuba dive to see...
Although I had been painting since I was 12 and had won some awards, when you enter the world's biggest bird art competition you never quite know what the judges are looking for and whether you had entered the right piece. That’s the issue with art of any form – it’s a subjective judgement. Ask Rembrandt – he only started selling his work just before he died! Personally, I have always preferred the path of “being discovered while living”.
We have recently returned from a field trip to Far North Queensland. Although I had glimpsed wild cassowaries once before, they are shy and often hard to see in their dense rainforest home. We were lucky enough to spend time with several birds around Mission Beach, but their long term survival here and in Australia generally is in serious doubt. Dogs, cars and habitat loss coupled with a low birth-rate is pushing this iconic species to the edge.