A couple of years ago I was lucky enough, with my wife, to visit Arles in the south of France. It had been something I had wanted to do since I was a teenager having just read the book Lust For Life the fictional re creation of Van Goghs life.
We only planned a couple of days stay based on advise from some friends that Arles was not all that interesting, a small industrial town. But I wanted to go anyway just to say I had walked the “same” streets as Van Gogh.
The exact opposite of the advice was true. We both found the old town a fabulous place even excluding the Van gogh connection. We could have spent at least a week there exploring the narrow streets, the Roman ruins and the few places haunted by Van Gogh that still exist.
Van Gogh seems to take second place to The Roman ruins in a historical sense but various plaques around the town show places he frequented and spots where he set up his easel and did paintings.
One such spot we stumbled upon. Walking down a street we glimpsed a garden courtyard through some archways. On going in we discovered it had been the hospital Van Gogh had gone to just after severing his ear. A plaque shows the spot he did a painting of the garden from and from the reproduction of the painting it appears the garden has changed very little.
I was inspired to do a sketch myself later back in our hotel.
As you can see I’m no Van Gogh but this and a couple of other drawings I did around Arles at the time are part of a long time ambition achieved.
Patio Shadows is a linoprint printed some years ago. It is based on the shadows from a frangipani tree we had growing in a small patio next to our house. Both have since disappeared to make way for extensions as our boys grew and needed more room.
The image is 12cms x 7cms in size, printed in an edition of 8.
Similar to most of my work it is small. I’ve always worked small. My drawings are never larger than A4, my etchings usually not more than 12 – 15cms in any one direction, and my lino prints usually 22 – 25cms in any direction. This is deliberate, partly these days due to the size of my studio, etching press and other equipment but also I like to think that by working small I can invite viewers into a more personal, intimate relationship with the work. In a world that grows more chaotic, in a world where we are bombarded with imagery artworks in small scale allows the viewer a place to retreat, where time has stopped. A bit like a quiet patio at the side of your house maybe.
This print is available for sale ($60.00AU) in my online gallery/shop. Click HERE
for more details.
This is a short video of the first proof print taken from the third plate in my Pond series of etchings.
Proof prints are taken to check the plate either during or at the end of the etching stage. I enjoy this stage of the process. There is great anticipation to see if all your decisions so far have been good. Many times it is accompanied by a wow moment as sometimes unexpected biting of the plate during the etch can produce better than expected results.
This one thankfully turned out good so no extra work on the plate is needed. Now I will work on adding some colour using a second plate wihich I will proof leading into printing the final edition.
Over the Xmas and New Year holiday period my garden (the one my wife does most of the work in) has become a theme/inspiration for my drawing and printmaking. These three monoprints are examples of the work I have been doing.
Iris. Monoprints. Each image 18cms x 9cms in size.
Prompted by me and my interest in the work of Van Gogh my wife planted irises in the garden near my studio. We do have some purple iris but other colours as well.
I like the fluid linear quality of the flower petals and the way the flowers and their stems reach out and upward from the bulk of the foliage.
This is a linoprint from out of the vault. I did it in 1993 for a group exhibition put on by a local arts group of which I am a member. Still exhibit with them a couple of times a year.
TATTOED TORSO. Lino print. 23cms x 17 cms. Edition of 5. Seems such a long time ago now.
This is the piece I have in their current exhibition.
FLEURIEU SUMMER. Two plate colour etching. 10cms x 6cms. Edition of 4. Appropriate today as Adelaide and the area south known as the Fleurieu Peninsular is expecting 41 degrees Celcius today and tommorrow.
More of my work can be seen at my webpage/online gallery by clicking HERE
Not a great deal of time in the studio this week with sorting out burst pipes in the laundry, choosing new tiles to fix the damage, replacing an outside garden tap and so on, but managed one print and a few drawings.
Pond 1. Two plate colour etching. Plate size 9cms x 9cms. Variable edition of 6. First in a series of etchings based on the fishpond on the patio next to my studio.
Series of drawings based on patio and garden area next to my studio. From left to right..
1. Patio and Fishpond. Brush pen, ink and coloured pencil. Image size 11cms high x 5cms wide.
2. Fish pond and Sun. Brush pen, ink and coloured pencil. Image size 11cms high x 4cms wide.
3. Fishpond, Bonsai and Sun. Brush pen, ink and coloured pencil. Image size 9.5cms high x 4cms wide.
4. Birdbath and Bleeding Heart. Brush pen, ink and watercolour. Image size 8cms High x 3cms wide.
Enjoyed doing these drawings, I find using the brush pen quite relaxing.
I’m lucky. I live in one of the best places on earth – South Australia. It has some of the best landscape in the world so it’s no wonder I am inspired to use it in my work. An example..
This is in the Flinders Ranges about 3 hours drive (not that far in Australian terms) from my home. It is a view you get when you take the Arkaroo Rock walk.
This is one of the linoprints that resulted from taking that walk with my wife and son a couple of years ago when we spent a week exploring the Flinders Ranges. That trip resulted in an exhibition of my prints and paintings by my son. More examples of these works can be seen at