"Hindsight is always twenty-twenty. " Billy Wilder
"Hindsight is an exact science. " Guy Bellamy

08 November 2010

The Journey

“Learn to see” was the main objective for the year. I thought looking through the camera lens would be the answer, but participation in this course taught me otherwise.

Looking at what I achieved and the range of activities I have engaged in – merely pursuing a photography only course would have been a limiting experience. Approaching the learning process from so many angles has been liberating as well as mentally challenging.

Having spent the best part of my life in a left-brain environment - suddenly having to attempt to fully engage the right brain in my approach to the arts, at times “messed with my head space”. However, I feel richer for the experience. No doubt, having been with like-minded people in an encouraging and friendly environment made the journey easier.

I feel I have achieved my quest - it is now a matter of building on the foundations laid down during year. I intend to continue this journey next year and hope to travel together with some of the wonderful colleagues and friends I have been with this year.

I would like to pay  tribute to David – his enthusiasm and steadfast belief that we all have artistic abilities was greatly appreciated. The end of year exhibition proves that he is right! Thank you.

26 October 2010

Quotes and Quips

Half the modern drugs could well be thrown out the window, except that the birds might eat them.  ~Martin H. Fischer

I have in between paroxysms of coughing, sneezing and feeling generally miserable found time to read a few quotes. It’s been mainly one-liners as that seems to be the sum total of my current attention span.

Over the past few days/nights, I’ve put a few of these quotes on a webpage – and I shall be happy to include your favourite if you post it in the comments section below.

The webpage may not work well in some versions of Internet Explorer but is fine in Safari and FireFox. In IE8, there is an icon resembling a torn sheet of paper on the address bar - clicking it may resolve the display problem! The webpage may take a moment or two to fully load.

I used the @font technique in the webpage – you may very well not like my choice, but free @font libraries are at this stage very limited. Shows great promise though.

24 October 2010

Bed-bound

Despite having engaged in all-out pharmaceutical warfare, the nasty little bug currently bothering me, is winning too many of the battles.
Mind and body have turned into mush, making any attempt at useful activity quite futile.

Fortunately Pradnya has rallied amongst the failing troops, and the first copies of the Exhibition Catalogue have been produced, with the rest to be printed and collated on Monday. Go Pradnya!!

Briefly caught the late afternoon light in the garden. Always lifts the spirits:
Image © PeteM2010
Further dispatches when mind and body again join forces.


21 October 2010

Colloquialisms

First time I heard the expression “crook in bed with a wog” I had no idea about what it meant, but it sounded exotic! Believe me, from my current experience, it isn’t. To add insult to injury, the attendant fever induced hallucinations over the past few days have been totally uninspiring.
However, I have during a few lucid moments made a webpage from a few of my photos from the Zoo outing. Just click HERE to have a look.

I have used a few CSS3 selectors on that page, so if you have an up-to-date and compliant browser (which does not include IE7 or IE8, but Microsoft is slowly getting the message, IE9 is apparently showing promise) you can see ‘rounded corners’, ‘drop shadows’ and ‘opacity’ in action – no Photoshop. The page XHTML and CSS weighs in at just over 4KB!

16 October 2010

Old (type)faces

Visiting the Melbourne Printing Museum was quite an experience. There can't be may places in the world where you can still see hot metal typesetting in live action. Michael and his fellow old boys had a Linotype and a Ludlow machine all steamed up and in fine working order for us to see, hear and smell.

Image © PeteM2010
The culmination of a perfect day’s outing was the production of a hand-printed letterpress poster. Additionally, for me, having had a chance to rummage through cupboards full of old matrices, wooden typefaces and some glorious Italian paper stock, was pure bliss!

Like to see a few more images? Just CLICK here!

14 October 2010

Seal Charmer

After a day at the Zoo, it's hard to say what was more fun – watching the animals or watching people’s reactions to them. Without doubt, the Zoo trip put a smile on everybody’s faces. For me, one of the many highlights was seeing Lidia in full flight photographing the seals. Poetry in motion! 
Image © PeteM2010












This chap was used to posing for the camera - didn't make a move until I'd set up the camera and was ready to shoot!
Image © PeteM2010

30 September 2010

Glass

Image © PeteM2010

I was going through my photo library looking for images for the triptych, but instead got waylaid by photos of glass. I have put together a web page with some of the images. To have a look at the photos:-- just click here! There are quite a few images so give the page a moment or two to load!

The above image was captured in Sydney as we walked to the bus stop on the last day of the class excursion. 

25 September 2010

Black


It was reading a quote by Victor Hugo late at night that triggered the imagination and became the inspiration for a bit of messing about with XHTML, CSS and JavaScript. The result of the night’s toil can be seen by clicking here

22 September 2010

16:9

Made another trip to the city to gather images for the photo and video assignments. 
Image © PeteM2010

Composing for the 16:9 format has its own challenges, but the more I work on it, the more I have come to see the opportunities it presents. I have posted a few of today’s results on this web page:
 My latest 16:9 images

14 September 2010

Blue

As I have been working on the photo assignment - blue has been a recurring theme:

Image © PeteM2010
I have posted some of my other images for the photo assignment on this web site: Movement and Colour

13 September 2010

Ron Rado

I’ve finished reprinting and stretching the image for the competition. All that remains is to give it a coat of medium, a couple of hooks and write the obligatory blurb that will accompany the print.
Image © PeteM2010

This time I believe I found the correct printer settings, because the colours almost jump off the canvas. Whether you like the subject matter or not, at about 90cm x 100 cm this print will be hard to ignore!

Wow – what an opportunity, what a privilege this course is!

06 September 2010

Movement

This term’s photo assignment will be a total antithesis of my established approach to photography. Rather than worrying about a colour profiled workflow, optimised image sharpness etc., I simply put a moderately long lens on the camera and let it rip.
Image © PeteM2010

Maybe it was looking at images by Magnum photographers like Larry Towel, Burt Glinn and Bruce Davidson that got me thinking along this path, but this current series of street photographs is part of an idea I have been brooding on during my recent travels. More on that in a future blog.

Seems funny, doesn’t it   - having spent a lot of money putting together a marvellous camera and lens combination just to take blurry pictures, something I did years ago with a cheap plastic camera costing just a few dollars!

30 August 2010

Restoration

Image © PeteM2010
Having completed another block of work, I felt it was time for a change of scenery so after Friday’s class I headed south to Phillip Island for a few days. Fresh air, serious cooking, good wine and general debauchery were what were needed to relieve my suffering brain from art overload.


However, as the final block’s video theme had already been announced there was no escape from brainstorming possible solutions.  One thing is coming up with novel ideas, quite another to execute them. Lack of technical know-how and experience, let alone artistic ability, caused mayhem with my circadian rhythm during the last video production. Not to be repeated! 

Funny, isn’t it, a few intense sessions in the kitchen accompanied by good company and pinot noir and all that pain is forgotten.  Whilst ruminating, a story line evolved for the new video, but this time a few test shots will be done well before I get too involved developing the idea further. 

23 August 2010

Collograph

Printmaking has been fascinating - very messy, but fascinating. From work-intensive dry point to spontaneous one-off monotype – all new techniques to explore, learn and have some fun with. Tried a few different methods of printing the collograph, but still prefer this basic print: 
Image © PeteM2010
I tried to extend the print further in Photoshop. Made a few attempts and have now posted them on a  web page: my collographs.


Found it satisfying playing with HTML, CSS and JavaScript again, quite another art form.



18 August 2010

Power Outage

It was a wintry, windy, stormy day when I was spending endless and less than fruitful hours on the “Dream” video. Progress was severely hampered by technical problems, which proved more and more insurmountable. 

Not unexpectedly, we lost power and from past experience, it could be many hours or possibly days before power would be restored. The open fire was lit, candles and torches gathered and it was time for other activities. Time, I thought to revisit the “Ear, Nose and Mouth” drawings. However on viewing my efforts to date, there was little evidence of enthusiasm or passion in the work. They rather reminded me of my school days, when I had detention for some misdemeanour or other and had to write 50 lines on the blackboard before being let out.

There was only one thing to do. I decided to end the misery and unceremoniously committed the drawings to the pyre.

Staring into the flames greedily consuming my artworks must have stimulated my otherwise waning creative powers, because rapidly and overwhelmingly a new video storyboard took shape in my mind’s eye. I got so carried away that after some time I burst out aloud: “I GOT IT!” My poor suffering muse was scared witless by my sudden outburst and the startled dog started barking. Nothing like a peaceful evening in front of the fire!  

As for my drawings – well they will just have to wait for another creative raptus.

09 August 2010

PASTICHE

I have played in the past with the Wacom tablet in Photoshop for fixing up photos, mainly dodging, burning and refining selections, but drawing – that‘s something new.
Image © PeteM2010

Haven’t found it easy to get the painterly or drawing effects I try to emulate, but that may come as I keep experimenting. The plethora of brush settings and adjustments are just mind-boggling.

To improve my “Wacom skills”, I decided to attempt the Giacometti, Jawlensky, Auerbach and Picasso assignment purely in Photoshop. We were supposed to allocate 30 - 40 minutes per drawing, but at my working pace, hours passed by. Learnt a lot though even if the final results bear little evidence of the time spent. 

Pastiche - a literary, musical, or artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources.


26 July 2010

Photoshop Tutorials

Image © PeteM2010
The Photoshop portrait assignment has been a great challenge and learning experience. The Internet tutorials are by and large well written and not too difficult to follow, but --- most are done on images a lot smaller than ours.

So, although some of the images end up somewhat similar to the finished tutorials, many do not! There’s been a fair amount of fiddling with Photoshop settings, which has for me produced interesting and often quite unintended results. Part of the fun!

22 July 2010

Flash

Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro and Flash are all supposed to work together seamlessly - or so the advertising blurb tells us. Putting it  into practice has not proved to be quite so straight forward. Anyhow, this is the result of todays Flash experimentation:



  I coded (AS3) a stop button into the animation - the repetition can get a bit testing!!

(File size about 130Kb - takes a few moments to load)

May not load in Internet Explorer - use FireFox , Safari or any other W3C compliant browser!

18 July 2010

Illusion/illusion

Illusion/illusion is a group exhibition at McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park developed around the theme of visual perception and deception. Through the work of four young contemporary artists, Briele Hansen, Justine Khamara, Dorota Mytych and Kit Webster, the exhibition exploits a full range of multi-media disciplines, ranging from photography and drawing, to video display systems and digital video projections. The exhibition explores contemporary themes ranging from social commentary to the enjoyment of pure abstraction. (Abstract from gallery web-site)

Dorota Mytych – Tea-leaf reading 2 (Video):
Still image from artists web-site

Spent all morning exploring the works, re-visiting the works, deconstructing the works and unreservedly enjoying the works. It took considerable time to fully appreciate the fine details and to participate in some of the video presentations, but wow, it was time very well spent. Go and enjoy! (Unfortunately – photography NOT allowed)

15 July 2010

Melbourne 60 in 60

My first camera was a very simple plastic affair with only the basics of settings and a fixed focus wide-angel lens. The format was 6x6 cm (film), which made composition quite a challenge, although I have to admit that composition was not a big part of my vocabulary at that time. (Still struggling with that concept!)

I decided to relive the challenge of simplicity and a fixed focal length lens. So one day I spent 60 minutes in the CBD with a 4/3-format pocket camera (digital), fitted with a 20mm “pancake” lens (non zoom). Took 70 odd images, and from a selection made up this 60 second video. Excellent fun! 



Having spent too much time unsuccessfully uploading videos to Blogspot, I am now hosting the videos on YouTube. So far there hasn’t been codec problems!

11 July 2010

Catching the Surf

Thought I’d spend a couple of days photographing surfers at Phillip Island, but as luck would have it – when the surf was up, the sun was not! Surfing photos taken on a grey day just don’t cut it – the water looks dull, the sky looks dull and the image looks dull! On a bright day however, this is the kind of result I’m getting:








If nothing else – whilst driving around checking the surf beaches I came across a flock of starlings, quite colourful when the sun catches them!












Images © PeteM2010















Just click on the images for a larger version


10 July 2010

Fog

There have been some foggy mornings in the valley, so I set up the camera on a heavy tripod with a long lens and interval timer. (One frame every 1min 30 seconds). Made this short stop-motion video from the result.




Images © PeteM2010

In hindsight, the frame rate should have been increased to about one image every 30 seconds to make the video smoother and the camera mirror should have been locked up to minimize camera movement between shots. Next time!

07 July 2010

UV

A “black light” or “UV light” is a lamp emitting light that is almost exclusively in the soft near ultraviolet range, and has very little visible light. Thought I’d have a bit of fun experimenting with paints that show a fluorescent effect with “black light” so I made this short stop-motion video. I am still having problems with optimal codecs, and blogger spits out anything it does not like. Pity it hasn’t got the decency to tell me what is OK– more research needed.


Video© PeteM2010

05 July 2010

Frogs

I recorded the very noisy frogs in our dam this evening.  Here is a sample :




Requires Quicktime to work.

04 July 2010

Codec

I have been testing various codecs (compression/decompression) in Premiere Pro for use with our video projects. Having a slow Internet connection makes it near impossible for me to upload large files to “Blogger” and it also seems a bit silly to upload a large file only for “Blogger” then to squeeze the file down to something more manageable.

However, the only codecs that have shown any promise for me so far are the Flash video variants. They give small file-sizes with reasonable quality.  Sadly “Blogger” does not accept any flavour of the Flash codecs.
Image © PeteM2010
 
Met this couple of wise owls on the farm today – but they had no answers either. Any suggestions anybody?

26 June 2010

Respite

Oh what a term that was – experienced a lot, tried a lot, made a lot, tested a lot, laughed a lot, failed a lot and I am absolutely buggered. (My muse is also suffering from severe art fatigue!) Looking back on the term, however, it was for me a productive and exhilarating time. It’s been a privilege to have the chance to participate.

I marvel at some of the talent in the class – some great works were presented at the assessment time. Well done! Very inspirational, but also a bit humbling. 

Pleased to have completed the projects – some took me an awful lot of time for rather pedestrian results. Lots of ideas, but they failed spectacularly in the execution! 

Wanda, Rest in Peace:



Image © PeteM2010

24 June 2010

Wanda II

Got myself into an awful tizwaz attempting to complete the fish-drawing portfolio. I had a number of ideas about what I wanted to achieve, but the score ended up: rubbish bin 5 or 6, portfolio nil. (Counting becomes painful when you are on a loosing streak).

Then I remembered what Lidia told me in the early days of the course when I was struggling with the model assignment – “You can fix anything in Photoshop!”

So I exchanged the pen and paper for a stylus, tablet, fish photos and scanned drawings. Still quite a few attempts ended up in the virtual trashcan, but I found that less demoralising as those failures were not staring back at me. 

There are a few of ideas from the Sydney trip I still want to pursue though, but with finishing time looming, that will have to wait until the next project.  

A Shoal of Fish Bones:
Image © PeteM2010

23 June 2010

Ups and downs

Experimented with some fish drawings yesterday, not a good day – should have gone fishing instead. Probably wouldn’t have caught anything, but at least I would have enjoyed the outing.

Had a look at last weeks drawing – now that was a bit of fun. Large pieces of paper stuck together to make a mega canvas. Now that was something to get lost in. Had quite a few laughs with the mess I created making this one. The final result reminds me of a dog we once had, Henry, forever cocking his rear wheel (leg)! 

Image © PeteM2010

21 June 2010

Copyright

Rather than catching up on my artworks, today was spent in the Federal Court listening to legal argument and expert opinions. The Honourable Judge knew of my interests and invited me to attend the hearing.

The case revolves around intellectual property rights, a hot issue also being debated in Sydney today, however, in Sydney it was all about the music industry.

The plaintiff and defendants had between them about a dozen highly paid barristers and solicitors – the cost must run into tens of thousands of dollars per day. Add the cost of expert witnesses and potential damages awarded, and we are talking serious monies in anybody’s language. People take their intellectual property rights very,very seriously!

And that’s the point! Using copyrighted image and sound bites harvested from the Internet is too easy. Watch out – the worm has turned! Getty Images, the world’s largest image library is currently trawling the Internet for illegal use of any of their images, films, videos and sound files. Rumours have it that their robot/spider is able to find the illegal use of an image even if it constitutes less than 1% of a collage.  If illegal use of an image is spotted, an invoice is issued, and if not paid, court-action follows. These guys mean business!! My web sites have already had the Getty spider/robot visit more than once! How do I know? My ISP informed me and the AWSTAT for each site confirms their findings.

Remember Napster? The legal hullabaloo was back in 1999, but it changed the copyright debate forever. We have been warned!


If you happened to see me on the telly tonight outside the Supreme Court together with Mr Robert Farquharson, the association was purely coincidental. Honest.

20 June 2010

Blender

Having spent a few frustrating hours trying to learn Blender, I was relieved to lay the blame on the Mac version of the program rather than on my ineptitude. Blender reportedly behaves on PCs, but for me, my PCs are used purely for business whilst the Macs are used solely for art. Never the twain shall meet. 

Anyhow, substituting the skull project for a vase project was fine by me. I found the latter much more fun, and having achieved a glass like transparency in Photoshop, I was chuffed with the final image.


Image © PeteM2010

17 June 2010

Cube of Contrast

Image © PeteM2010

This 3D installation was my contribution to the Nocturnal Winter Arts 2010 in addition to  two projection slides. (See earlier blog entry.)

My unreserved thank you to John and Pradnya for their sterling effort in helping setting up AND taking down the installation. Also a thank you to the rest of the team that helped inflate and attach 200 balloons in 40 minutes – just sorry you missed out on popping them at the end of the evening! (And yes, we did clean up and take away all the rubbish).
 

13 June 2010

Biennale

Reflecting on the pilgrimage to Sydney, I can only marvel at David’s (teacher) skills at organising and conducting such a spectacular “school outing”, and staying cool for the duration. Well done and Thank You!

Five days of total immersion in a kaleidoscope of the arts left me at times with a surreal view of the world. Much of what I saw and heard was very inspirational and I can only admire the talent, creativity, patience and diligence of the artists. Some of the works were outstanding, uplifting, and memorable. However, some of the exhibits, in particular, a few at Cockatoo Island had for me connotations of  “The Emperor’s new clothes” - or maybe I just didn’t get it. 

Rather than making this blog entry a catalogue of art works I liked or disliked – I have chosen, as a subject for discussion, just this image which is a small part of Kate McMillan’s work: “Islands of incarceration”. 

Image © PeteM210


At first look, I dismissed the installation as nothing more than an oversized shower-curtain, but as the inscription on Brett Whitely’s studio wall said:” Anything becomes interesting if you look at it for long enough”. I did and I agree. Click on the image for a larger version.

06 June 2010

Fog panorama

Decided to stich a couple of the mornings images together - click on the image for a larger view.

Image © PeteM2010 (About 1250px wide)

Rain stops play

The fog was slowly dancing enchantingly through the valley this morning. I put a long lens on the camera and as I captured a few images, I thought maybe this scene could be turned into a stop motion video.

What would be the best way of depicting the movement of the fog - let the fog drift across the frame or a slow pan following the fog on its journey through the valley? Whilst pondering this conundrum, what started as a slight drizzle turned into a downpour and rudely obliterated my charming view.

 Image ©: PeteM2010

The picture above is the starting point of the video – the rest I will leave to your imagination. 

04 June 2010

02 June 2010

Flying Cow (Urban Legend)

Image © PeteM2010 (canvas approx 1400x900mm )

The Japanese Coast Guard received a distress call from a small sinking Korean fishing vessel, and on reaching the fishing boat they found it had been largely destroyed.

The Japanese authorities believed they had caught a spy vessel that had for some reason or the other blown up. The crew was arrested and interrogated as spies, but the Koreans insisted that they were merely fishing when a cow had dropped out of the sky and crashed through their hull. The Japanese didn’t buy the story and incarcerated the distraught sailors.

Hearing of the Koreans plight, a Japanese Air Force crew admitted to having rustled a cow whilst on an exercise flight to a remote island in the Japan Sea. However, on the flight back to base the cow had become quite mad, thrashing about and damaging the aircraft. The Captain decided that the only safe thing to do was to scuttle the animal mid flight -- the rest is history or so the story goes.

31 May 2010

Flip Book

Friday’s stop motion video class brought back memories of the early days of the Internet.  Very small file sizes were a must because of s-l-o-w download speeds (dial-up 14-28 kbs) and unreliable connections. Graphic files had to be miniscule and anything above 20kb were considered large! 

Animated GIF files became all the rage, and clever designers could create funny stuff only a few kb large. Less clever ones produced annoying flashing or blinking text giving animated GIF files a bad name, in fact so bad that “blogspot” will not even display them! (I have tried.)

30 May 2010

Low Light Photography

I enjoyed the night-time photo excursion to Dandenong. Being part of a group proved synergistic – more eyes to see photo opportunities.
  
Getting the right exposure to create the desired mood was tricky. Tried to use a torch as a fill light, but the results were mixed. More time and a patient model will be required to perfect the technique!  Here are a few of the evening’s results:

Images  © PeteM2010
(Most of the images uploaded on this blog are 600 - 700px wide. Just click on any of the images to see the larger version.)  



26 May 2010

The Samurai


I was in full flight in Photoshop working on the Urban Legend masterpiece when my otherwise trusty mouse decided to split ranks and hid the cursor in the top left corner of the screen. All attempts at getting the wayward rodent to work again proved fruitless. To date we have had a good working relationship, but maybe wireless mice are more prone to such sudden delinquent behaviour than those on a lead.

To just stop working without any warning is not the attitude expected from a mouse that has been carefully looked after from day one. No shirking on my part; fresh high quality NiMH batteries have been supplied at the slightest hint of needs. No cheapskate ‘no brand batteries’ for this mouse.

Being a devotee of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, I knew that prompt action was required before other parts of the computer followed the dissident’s unacceptable conduct. The Stanley knife was quickly retrieved and like a lightning bolt, the blade was expertly placed bang in the middle of the scroll wheel.

Death was instant – a final bright red flash from the laser diode and then nothing.  The rest of the computer obviously took note and continued to behave, giving me a sense of elation and accomplishment.

Pity Sun Tzu does not discuss how to deal with the collateral damage, as since then, I have had a hell of a job explaining to all and sundry the sudden appearance of a deep gash in the dining table.

Image photographed in Japan 2009 by PeteM2010

23 May 2010

Peer review

Image© PeteM2010

Friday’s critique of our work-to-date was both humbling and inspiring. Seeing the artistic ability and amazing results produced by many of my fellow students was both uplifting and stimulating. What astounding progress in just a few months!

To be asked to review the work of colleagues was quite a challenge – a bit like the blind leading the blind. However, the ensuing, and at times lively discussions were helpful and honest. I believe we all benefited from the frank exchanges!

It’s been said that the road to success is paved with failure – sure, but my road seems to have more than its fair share of potholes. But maybe, with a bit of luck – my potholes may be in demand one day. I just have to keep at it!

17 May 2010

Nature imitating Science

Image © PeteM2010         (Click on the image for a larger version)


Took this picture at Simpsons Gap, West MacDonell Ranges NT in the late afternoon. The blue reed and the reflections of the red rocks and trees in the ripples of the water were captivating. Slight adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw – and hey presto, I had an unusual and pleasing image.

But, as David (our teacher) astutely pointed out – the picture merely looks like it has had a few simple PhotoShop filters applied. Bugger, I should have taken this image 20 years ago, before the science of pixel bending had been invented! 

10 May 2010

Wanda

The Asian fishmonger called it “Fresh reef fish” and being a colourful specimen, it looked like a suitable choice for the fish project.  However, on the way home in the car, an unexpectedly pungent smell became increasingly noticeable. “Fresh” is obviously a relative term, or was the fishmonger in this case referring to a “French reef fish” and not “Fresh reef fish”. Language pitfalls abound! 


A pencil drawing seemed a good start for the project, but after about half an hour, the odour became overpowering. As the dog had already left the “studio” in disgust, it was obviously time for the fish to be put in the cooler. However, it didn’t take long before I was summoned by my muse and told in no uncertain terms to remove the offending and offensive item from the fridge.

A project was at stake, what now? As an emergency solution, I decided to use the neighbour’s beer fridge as a temporary fish squat until a better home based accommodation could be negotiated.  As the neighbour is away on holidays, I felt confident his slabs of beer would not mind the temporary company of a small but smelly fish. 

I intend to cook the fish at the first available opportunity. Hopefully that will temper the disagreeable pong! Stay tuned.



08 May 2010

Portraits

The “gallery” already has some interesting finished works on display. It is fascinating to see how similarly yet differently each of us has approached the brief and the final painting process. The benefits of working together in a harmonious class environment are showing through.

Image© PeteM2010
We may not be quite ready for submitting works for the Archibald prize yet, but who knows!

06 May 2010

Speed humps

To do a life drawing in just two minutes was an unparalleled challenge. It easily takes that time just to focus on the subject and organise paper and charcoal, left alone do any drawing! Don’t forget, I am still struggling with the basic concept of drawing simple pottery. The human form had until Tuesday not even entered my drawing vocabulary.

However, after a few test runs, plenty of encouragement, a splendid model, and fifteen minutes of deep concentration, a life drawing of sorts was produced. This is the result of my efforts at recording the reclined female shape:  

Image © PeteM2010

23 April 2010

A town like Alice

After conducting some “secret men’s business”, Alice is next stop. The McDonald ranges are beckoning, and with cool nights and a full moon even a few night photos are hoped for. Might even catch a fish in the Todd!

Image © PeteM2010

21 April 2010

In pursuit of fish

San Remo is a popular fishing village about 1.5 hours drive south-east of Melbourne. Should be just the spot for finding a selection of suitable specimens for the fish drawing project, even has a fisherman’s co-op. I set out this morning optimistically on my journey, paper, pencils and camera on the ready!

The co-op was full of customers and there was plenty of fish for sale – but “fried or grilled” fillets were the only option. The only whole fish in sight were some miserable specimens currently being fed to a patrol of pelicans gathered on the nearby beach!

 Image ©: PeteM2010

A local sports fisherman offered me a gummy shark, but if my memory serves me right, sharks do not have much in the way of a skeleton, just cartilage.

Will not give up on this project just yet! With David (our teacher) most probably stuck somewhere in Europe due to a wayward volcano, I will take the opportunity to do some river fishing instead of class next week. The Todd may yield some interesting species!

Caught this on my way home, near Kooweerup:


Image © PeteM2010

19 April 2010

Art Hotel


Photo © PeteM2010

The Henry Jones IXL hotel was built out of the derelict IXL jam factory on Hobart wharf. As much as possible of the old structure has been retained and is easily identified in every room of the hotel. The restoration is outstanding.


When the heating is cranked up in winter, drops of sugar syrup will still ooze from some of the old beams. Not quite what you expect in a four and a half star hotel, but it is part of the charm!

The hotel has a fabulous art collection, and as Christine (the hotel’s art curator) pointed out to me, students and graduates from the local art school produce many of the works. All the art is for sale.

Christine told me that the latest trend in art is to combine traditional and digital methods in producing the images. As if we didn’t know David’s teaching is “cutting edge”!

15 April 2010

Dandenong Winter Arts Projection - 2

My submission is now available for all to see. Just click on the link - and a new web page will load. The slideshow can be stopped/started at any time by hovering the mouse over/off the images.

Slideshow: PeteM2010's Dandnenong Winter Arts Projection

10 April 2010

Taswegian specimen.

Salamanca market (Hobart) was in full swing by the time I arrived. There were hundreds of stalls selling all kinds of foods, crafts, ornaments and nick knacks of all types, colours and shapes. However, fish, which were intended as today’s photo subject, were in extremely short supply. Not even a farmed salmon in sight! The fish project looked doomed.

The harbour did not prove much better, with the exception of this ugly brute:

     Photo ©PeteM2010
Can’t be a great specimen, as not even the seagulls showed much interest! I decided not to bring it home in the hand luggage. In fact, I decided not to bring it home at all.

09 April 2010

Wi-fi

Traveling broadens the mind, and I am currently in need of just that. Nothing like jumping on the Internet and just finding a destination randomly – has a pleasant element of surprise! Guess what – looks like I ended up in sunny Hobart!


Don’t mind sitting in airport lounges as it gives me a feeling of anticipation – and as most have wifi Internet connection, it is also an opportunity to catch up on some of my favourite sites. Magnum Photos is one of those, and I particularly rate some of their  “in motion” short photo essays. Enjoy this one: http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/essay/air

Photo © PeteM2010  No prizes for guessing where this  photo was taken!

07 April 2010

Winter Arts Projection 2010


It has been difficult to come up with innovative ideas for the “projection slides”. A lot of hours have been spent messing about in Photoshop, often to find that the end result probably will not work when projected on a building. Frequently back to the ‘drawing board”!

From the general vibe – it seems a few of us have found ourselves in a bit of a creative hole of late with this project.

However, with a good supply of dark chocolate Easter eggs and (plenty of) suitable liquid refreshments, the requisite number of slides has been produced and submitted. Think it’s now time for a change of environment – let’s see, where to next? 


Image © PeteM2010  

03 April 2010

Potter Gallery (NGV)

Revisited the Gallery on Thursday (1 April), which was the first day of the Top Arts VCE 2009 exhibition. The selection panel considered over 1700 applications and about 70-80 works were on display showing a diversity of art-forms including drawing, printmaking, photography, painting, textiles, and screen based works. Very impressive, inspirational, and well worth a visit.

Also had a look at the “Stick it! Collage in Australian Art” exhibition. Again, here was a huge range of approaches to the art form. Some very clever and engaging and others, well……! I asked the staff if some of the works were there today only as an April fools joke, but the incredulous looks on their faces told me that that was probably not the case! (I am still not convinced, and will have a look again in a few weeks time.)

Whilst in the area I could not resist revisiting Hosier Lane and “Hey, this time, there was art action!”

Photo © PeteM2010

28 March 2010

(Photoshop) Self-portrait

Scumble is to me one of those great onomatopoetic words that stick in the mind. Just love it, don’t know how to do it, but love it nevertheless. However, as I stated that I was off to the studio (machinery shed) to do some scumbling, the announcement was simply greeted with "Close the door behind you and don’t frighten the (neighbour’s) horses".



I found it a bit unnerving standing in front of the easel (modified step ladder) seeing myself on the canvas with a silly grin, covered in masking tape and looking a bit like Norman Gunstone on a bad day. A glass of Shiraz, however, steadied the nerves and I was soon scumbling away to my hearts content.

The dog and I must have fallen asleep (I blame the diesel fumes from the tractors), because the next thing I remember was my muse pointing at the masterpiece and exclaiming with a loud voice "Looks like you had a bit of trouble with the fake tan!"

Dog barking, horses stampeding!

Photo: before lip-gloss

25 March 2010

Paint on, paint off!

Graffiti seems to fall into the category of art that is either loved or hated. In my humble opinion some of it is very good, and I can only admire the artists that do it well, particularly bearing in mind that much of the work is done in the dead of night.

It must have been very dark two nights ago, because the artists that decorated one of our walls were showing neither a great level of artistic aptitude, nor the ability of spelling simple profanities. However, the Council’s graffiti police had no problems interpreting the message and demanded that I remove all evidence of the artwork within 48 hours. Or else!!

Funny isn’t it, I am the victim of a ‘crime’, but I will be punished if I don’t make good on Council’s demands. I told them I rather liked the work (a lie) and that what they had written was nothing more offensive than words used by Prime Minster Keating in parliament (true).

However, a protracted argument with the graffiti police proved fruitless, so the rest of the day was spent removing juvenile art rather than me painting amateur art! Now I have a large empty canvas, and I’ve got big plans. Just you wait!

Hosier Lane, Melbourne.Photo ©PeteM 2010