Serenity (in Green)


I am the proud new owner of an iPad Pro and Apple pencil. What incredible tools for an artist, especially paired with the ProCreate App!

In this digital portrait I tried to create a painterly style with soft edges and visible brush strokes. I am also experimenting with colour as an emotional trigger. My current (uni) project is about emotion as visible on facial expressions.

What I really like about this painting is how the green background ‘bleeds’ through into the skin tones.  If I were painting this in traditional media I’d start with a green background so that it would show thorough areas of my painted canvas.

I’ll update my Portraiture Project as soon as I have more to post. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Facial Planes Study: Portraiture


Today I did a study of Frederic Fiebig‘s 1905 Self Portrait, primarily because I am currently interested in facial planes on my portrait painting journey. I did not try to replicate his palette (and still have lots to learn on colour mixing) so the colours are different.

I ended up with a sharp-edged result, (much like his) which I then proceeded to soften. I think that was probably a mistake, but hey I am engaging in experimentation so all is not lost. Which version do you prefer? I think I prefer the hard-edged one.

I prepared my small canvas with black gesso before applying oil paints. Working on a non-white ground really does create a different effect and also helps to eliminate the ‘white canvas intimidation’ that so many of us face.

A copy of Fiebig’s 1905 painting directly below:

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Frederic Fiebig. 1905. Self Portrait. Oil on cardboard.

My hard-edged version below:

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And my soft-edged version:

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Anndelize Graf. 2018. Fiebig Study. Oil on canvas. 8 x 10 inches.

Thanks for joining me on my portrait painting journey. I hope you will return soon to see what I attempt next as I work at improving my portraiture skills.

Have a creative weekend all. 🙂

 

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Facial Planes (Portraiture)


I am new to portraiture. Most beginners will agree that it is a daunting and intimidating task. My first step toward portrait painting was to do a study of the facial planes based on a plastic head model in my studio, using oils on canvas. There is much room for improvement and I will need to practice a lot more before I’m totally satisfied with the results, but it’s a good start.

Facial planes are important because they are the building-block of shading, they help to determine where highlights and shadows go on the face to create a 3D effect rather than a flat painting. Different lighting effects will cause some facial planes to recede into shadow while others are highlighted, these change as the lighting and viewer angle is changed.

Like most things portraiture does not exist in a vacuum, there are many things to consider, not least of all how to accurately draw the face before painting it. One way is the Top Down Drawing Technique that I blogged about a few days ago.

As I develop my portrait painting skills over the next year or so I’ll post updates on the blog for those of you who’d like to follow my progress.

 

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Enlightenment for Sale


Following up from my last blog entry I completed the body of work in the previous painting unit. My concept changed somewhat however (as is typical for practicing artists) resulting in work that addresses a serious issue with humour and absurdity. This was my Statement of Intent:

My work will address the theme of Light with a series of oil paintings loosely done in the style of chiaroscuro to evoke questions surrounding the darker nature of so-called ‘enlightenment’ associated with the New Age / Pagan movement.  I chose chiaroscuro, typically dark dramatic paintings, to juxtapose the ‘love and light’ approach of New Age spirituality in an attempt to draw attention to this underbelly of the movement; the appropriation and subversion of spirituality. This will be a focus on the exploitation of people seeking spiritual enlightenment by individuals who have commercialised spirituality, making it a consumer commodity, to lure people with false promises and absurd claims whilst motivated only by money.

I intend to depict objects that typically would be found on a Pagan altar to represent the elements; Earth, Water, Fire, Air. However, to draw attention to the consumeristic angle of the New Age movement these sacred objects will be replaced with mass produced supermarket products instead. The labels on these products will reflect the absurdity and hilarity of claims made by self-professed Gurus who exploit spiritual seekers. Oil paints as my medium of choice is a connection to the classical as well as to the longevity of the old Pagan religions. Using humour I hope to draw attention to the seriousness of spiritual exploitation by the financially motivated whilst engaging the viewer in a lighthearted manner.

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Anndelize Graf. 2018. Water. Body of work: Enlightenment for Sale. Oil on canvas. 40×40 cm.

earthAnndelize Graf. 2018. Earth. Body of work: Enlightenment for Sale. Oil on canvas. 40×40 cm.
fire

Anndelize Graf. 2018. Fire. Body of work: Enlightenment for Sale. Oil on canvas. 40×40 cm.

air

Anndelize Graf. 2018. Air. Body of work: Enlightenment for Sale. Oil on canvas. 40×40 cm.

guru

Anndelize Graf. 2018. Trust me, I’m a Guru. Body of work: Enlightenment for Sale. Oil on canvas. 100×100 cm.

 

Working with Time: Interior & Exterior


After a 3-month study break to ward off mental fatigue I am ready to tackle my next unit; this time I will be engaged in traditional painting techniques to reinterpret one of my earlier exercises in which I examined Light.This involves setting up a still life arrangement and photographing it at different times during the day to record the changing light, then choosing the best to paint on canvas.

When I originally did this exercise I chose an hourglass, a crochet soft-toy (that I had made) and a lotus for my still life. The overarching theme was Time, I chose the soft toy to represent youth and the lotus to represent ageing. The exercise consisted of two parts, an interior still life (as mentioned above) and an exterior setting depicting the changing light. For the exterior exercise I chose our mail box as I was focussing on lost love letters delivered decades later whilst musing about how the delay in delivery might have affected the lives involved. Time, such a fragile thing isn’t it? Lost time, like lost letters, being most tragic of all.

In the exterior painting I wanted to attempt abstraction and quite liked how it turned out, especially the play of light and shadow as the nearby tree cast its shadows against the mail box. The style that I was playing with in both paintings is Fauve Expressionism, whereas I will be attempting classical realism in the reinterpretation of this exercise over the next few weeks. As I prepare for the start of the next unit I am spending time reconsidering this exercise and how I might approach it next.

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Untitled. 2017. Oil paint on canvas. 50x50cm. 

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Untitled. 2017. Oil paint on canvas. 50x50cm. 

Artist Interview: Petra Kakakios


When I first ‘met’ Petra during our art studies last year she was only 18 years old yet the artwork that she has produced would have you believe that she is much older, and convinces me that she is a prodigy. Petra excels at art, music and Taekwondo. What a joy it has been to see this extraordinary young artist flourish with well deserved accolades in recent exhibitions. When you read Petra’s words below you too will be struck by what an exceptional young person (and artist) she is. This is a link to Petra’s Facebook Artist Page, and to her Youtube Channel.

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Petra Kakakios
  • Who are you and what do you do?

I am an artist and an athlete in the Olympic Sport of Taekwondo. My Art and Taekwondo compliment and balance each other and are equally important to me. So, researching material, connecting themes, then drawing, painting, composing music, writing poetry, photographing ideas, and training in my sport, drive my purpose and empower me to be the best I can be.

  • Why do you do what you do?

I create art because I see it as my calling in life. It is my mission, my thing. It is what I can do! It is an extension of myself.

  • How do you work?

I am very perceptive and observant of what is happening in the world around me. I often have a strong visual idea from that insight and then reflect on how I can translate this most effectively. I may begin sculpting my subject and setting, then photographing it. This is the Performance Art aspect of what I do. I then make sketches, draw and/or paint it. As I am painting, I am able to hear its voice and during this process may compose music to accompany, or be part of the artwork.

(WARNING: viewers may find the images below disturbing)

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Photography and Make up 2015
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Graphite Drawing, 2015, 29.7 x 42 cm
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“Untitled” 2015, acrylic paint on canvas, 45 x 60 cm
  • What’s your background?

I am 19 years old and the second eldest of eleven children in my family. (I am the eldest girl, though 😉 I live in rural South-East Queensland on 180 acres of mountainous land. I have lived in Sydney at interim periods of my life and I can’t wait to move to a vibrant city in the near future!! I have been home educated since age 5, completing Year 12 in 2013 and home trained in Taekwondo. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Arts, Fine Art online.

  • What’s integral to the work of an artist?

Being true to oneself – not deviating or distracting from who you are. Learning and challenging your assumptions is essential to the work of an artist. Creating original artworks derived from the heart.

  • What role does the artist have in society?

A true artist has a very significant role in society. Not only does an artist bring forth his/her intentions, perspectives, and perceptions of life, but in doing so, creates the opportunity to touch the lives of others. The artist prompts the public to respond, creating dialogue, whether it be internal or external, silent or expressed. As an artist, I think the role is to help the public learn more about themselves as individuals and as a society, culturally, socially, historically and personally.

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“Goodbye Sweet Hat” 2015, Acrylic paint on canvas, 45 x60 cm
  • What has been a seminal experience?

When I was eleven years old, I vividly remember how excited I was when I heard the news that my Mum was going to have a baby. There was a mystical feeling about this new life coming into the world which affected mine. I was going to be there, and have someone new to love and help take care of. My Mum miscarried that child quite late, which was the first of a few. During this time, it seemed the disappointment was unbearable. I think that experiencing this loss was a defining point in my life. I began composing music, writing poetry and painting to express the sadness I felt about the real loss of children whom were supposed to be part of my life, and uncanny as it may sound, their absence has made them present, still here somehow. Now I am compelled to create art with gaps and silences, with something missing, so that what is not there, is noticeable and present.

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  • Explain what you do in 100 words

I tend to experience phenomena very profoundly and create what I feel about a particular subject. Music and art are my way of expressing these associated feelings. I compose music and create to the feeling generated or vice versa. Life stories, the everyday, tragedy and loss particularly influence me and I am compelled to visually translate this. As the artist, I want to force people to look deeper, to see what is really happening. And because I become, or take on the role of who and what I am creating, I am often trapped in the theme.

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“Knock out the Glass People! It isn’t Beautiful!” 2015, Graphite powder and gouache paint on paper, 59.4 x 84.1 cm
  • How has your practice changed over time?

My style is continually changing. I think my whole outlook on art has changed over the years too. I have branched out from only painting in acrylic, to drawing with graphite, to using different mediums and techniques, employing photography and film, composing and adding music to my art – to being completely unlimited in what I use to best translate my perceptions. I have transformed from being timid in my artwork, meekly introducing my ideas, to now, confidently shocking the viewer into realisation.

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“Black Rose” 2014, Mixed Media on Canvas, 60 x 50 cm
  • What art do you most identify with?

I identify with hyper-realism and magic realism in art.

Hyper-realism and magic realism create an intangible form that is rather abstract and cannot be painted. The two forms create a magical sentiment that is ‘unreal’ in realism, unseen in the seen and present in the absent.

  • What work do you most enjoy doing?

I really can’t choose what I enjoy the most. Photography, drawing, painting etc is all a part of the performance. Each stage has a purpose in the creative process and I enjoy each one as it comes about naturally.

  • What themes do you pursue?

The fundamental theme of my art is sweet childhood. The components that course through this theme are: suffering, the forms of abuse, the slave trade, crime, war and these are juxtaposed subtly alongside historical and political events. Innocence and vulnerability are evident and simultaneously hidden. The way I highlight the naivety of my subject is by inserting a fantasy element. In the ugliness of the reality, there is an underlying beauty in the imagination.

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“Harmony of Hooves” 2014, Graphite and Gouache paint on paper, 29.7 x 42 cm
  • What’s your favourite art work?

I think one of my favourite artworks would be my own painting, “anima al finĂ©â€. It is the only piece of art I have created that has truly connected with me, my purpose and the audience.

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“anima al finĂ©â€ 2014, Acrylic paint on canvas, 60 x 60 cm
  • Describe a real-life situation that inspired you

When I was 14 years old I entered my first acrylic painting of a wolf, “Call of the Wild” in a Write4Fun Art Competition in 2011 and came second out of 6,000 entries. I was inspired by the winner’s realistic drawing and I began experimenting with other materials, techniques and styles.

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“Call of the Wild” 2011, Acrylic paint on canvas, 30 x 40 cm
  • Why art?

Art allows me to express outwardly what I experience internally.

  • What is an artistic outlook on life?

Being able to see more completely. Not just taking a quick glance but really beholding.

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“The Way We Were” 2015, 29.7 x 42 cm
  • What memorable responses have you had to your work?

I have witnessed people standing back, in front of my artwork, utterly absorbed by it. The most memorable responses are optimistic.

  • Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I think there is a marked difference between lonely and being alone. I am not lonely because I am surrounded and supported by my family, yet I am alone in my endeavour. Any vocation that requires extensive periods of time alone, like an author or an artist, I think you have to recognise the prospective loneliness. To counteract this possibility, I intend to experience campus life, where I am receiving more constructive feedback and critical analysis from others.

  • What do you dislike about the art world?

I dislike the results orientated mannerism that is encouraged – it misleads artists from their purpose. I don’t like how there are political undertones for attaining recognition as an artist.

  • What do you dislike about your work?

What I don’t like is how restricted or limited I am with materials and financial ability. The challenge is to find a way irrespective and that is part of being an artist. However, I feel I haven’t been able to reach my full potential at this point in my career.

  • What do you like about your work?

I like that I can see how much more I can do. This is exciting for me.

  • Should art be funded?

I think there should be requisites to funding and I would like to see funding go through the right pathways for it to be accessible to the right people.

  • What role does arts funding have?

I think it would have a massive role in society. At this point I am only understand the significance of funding at a local level and would like to see artists, youth workshops and events funded.

  • What research do you do?

I research images and articles and different media sources on tragedy, war, genocide, anti-Semitism, religion, terrorism, and specifically integrate child victims. I like to investigate historical, cultural and contemporary events. Painting and material techniques are also a part of my research and depending on what I want to create, I can discover the best processes.

  • What is your dream project?

My dream is to design and build the most unique art gallery in the world and have my work exhibited! I’d like to travel the world photographing/filming people and events and coming back to my studio to continue the creative process! My dream is to touch and change the world through my art!

I have a Taekwondo dream to become World and Olympic Champion.

  • Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

I really don’t like to compare myself to other artists. But I will state the artists that I most admire.

Gottfried Helnwein, Chiharu Shiota and Kathe Kollwitz. I especially relate to Gottfried Helnwein’s subjects, art forms, notions and perceptions.

  • Favourite or most inspirational place

I find inspiration everywhere as all my ideas are influenced by what happens in the everyday.

  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Do what you think about!

  • Professionally, what’s your goal?

To be exhibiting my work on a global scale.

  • What wouldn’t you do without?

Living!

A better world


 

Todd1000. 'Souring Through a Stary Night.' Details unknown. Accessed from: http://worth1000.s3.amazonaws.com/submissions/6394000/6394454_ca22_1024x2000.jpg
Todd1000. ‘Souring Through a Stary Night.’ Details unknown. Accessed from: http://worth1000.s3.amazonaws.com/submissions/6394000/6394454_ca22_1024x2000.jpg

In today’s WP Daily Prompt: A Bird, a Plane, You! I get to choose a superpower. This is the brief: You get to chose one superpower. Pick one of these and explain your choice.
– The ability to speak and understand any language
– The ability to travel through time
– The ability to make any two people agree with each other

My first thought was time travel. Oh how I would love to travel into the past, to experience life as it was when some of my great art heroes were alive. Like Vincent Van Gogh, I would tell him not to despair, that he will be greatly loved and appreciated someday. Realistically though, even if I could the chances are slim to zero that I would have met any of my art heroes; it is highly unlikely that the life I would have led then would have placed me within their circles. Which made me reconsider my superhero choice.

The ability to make any two people agree with each other. Wow. Imagine that! The ‘any two people’ in the prompt suggests that I would have influence over anyone, regardless of who they are or how important (untouchable?) they may be. If this was my superpower I would immediately direct my attention to world politics. I would use my powers to influence the most powerful global decision makers to implement radical changes that would improve the outcome of events for humanity as a whole and for our planet. I am not going to go into detail about which politics I would like to change as I don’t want to get into a debate about it (I have strong political opinions.) Suffice to say some really big changes would happen for the greater good. Yes, that would be my choice of superpower.  🙂

Laugh in the face of evil


 

Ilya Yefimovich Repin, 1880-1891. The Zaporozhian Cossacks write a letter to the Sultan of Turkey. 358 × 203 cm. Oil on canvas. Accessed from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Repin_Cossacks.jpg
Ilya Yefimovich Repin, 1880-1891. ‘The Zaporozhian Cossacks write a letter to the Sultan of Turkey.’ 358 × 203 cm. Oil on canvas. State Russian Museum. Accessed from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Repin_Cossacks.jpg

Laughter, like art, is a universal language. It is something everyone understands, regardless of language or cultural barriers, and it is contagious.  Whilst there is not much to laugh about during the refugee crisis currently dominating our headlines, there is hope that joyous laughter, rather than fear and hatred, will become our common currency during these troubling times. It is hoped that happiness agents rather than fear-mongers will be first in line to infect refugees with joy and relief when they arrive looking for safe passage to a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

I should probably have added this post to my Artist Research section,  but today’s WP Daily Prompt: Roaring Laughter is a good fit.

When was the last time you had a belly-ache laugh? Here’s wishing you an infection of laughter today (and bonus points if you infect a stranger with some of the same.)  😉

Cruelty, the 8th deadly sin


Congo Belge II, Kalema. 52.5 x 69 cm. Acrylic on canvas. Accessed from: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/27/africa/congo-drc-53-echoes-of-zaire-exhibition/
Congo Belge II, Kalema. 52.5 x 69 cm. Acrylic on canvas. Accessed from: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/27/africa/congo-drc-53-echoes-of-zaire-exhibition/

The Eighth Sin In response to the WP Daily Prompt:“Remember the seven cardinal sins? You’re given the serious task of adding a new one to the list — another trait or behavior you find particularly unacceptable, for whatever reason. What’s sin #8 for you? Why?”

Cruelty is a human trait that I abhor. Cruelty against fellow humans, animals, our planet, even ourselves. The suffering that this causes is immeasurable. If we could replace cruelty with kindness many of the ills of our world would be addressed.

Artist Interview: Stephen Tiernan


It is my great pleasure to introduce readers to Australian portrait artist, Stephen Tiernan. His portraits are beautifully rendered with expressive brushstrokes and exquisite palettes; however, Tiernan goes beyond that. He successfully manages to capture the emotions of his models, breathing an extraordinary life-like quality into his portraits, giving us  – the viewer – a deeper insight into his subjects. These are more than beautiful faces on canvas, these are real people with real emotions that speak to us from Tiernan’s easel. What follows is an interview with the artist as we learn more about his process and practice, his philosophy and dreams.

Who are you and what do you do?

For my day job I am a Detective Senior Sergeant in the Queensland Police Service. I have been a police officer for 26 years with the majority of my service in plain clothes. I have worked in regional detective offices as well as specific taskforces and squads including organised crime taskforces and the Homicide Squad. Once I leave the office though I don my artist hat and paint. I get inspiration from all I see. I like to paint the human face or figure and never get tired of this genre.

Why do you do what you do?

I paint and draw as I have a constant burning desire to create. I have had this since my school days and all through school I was encouraged by my teachers to become an artist or work in a related field. I disregarded all of their advice and joined the army. After 4 years in the army I joined the police.

How do you work?

When I paint or draw I tend to work very fast and in an expressionist style however I am finding that as my technique improves I am having to slow myself down. I love working from life when doing portraits or figurative work however this is not always possible so I use photographs as reference material.

What’s your background?

I was born in Scotland and moved to Australia with my family when I was 2. I am a married man who recently turned 47 years old. My wife and I have 5 children (4 boys and a girl). I started to concentrate in my art late in life so I am making up for lost ground and spend all my free time making art. I have wonderful support from my wife who also works full time as a lawyer.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

Passion, desire and an inspiration to create are integral but I also believe support is necessary.

What role does the artist have in society?

The role of an artist in society is crucial. When we look back in history it is the artist and the artworks of society that are remembered and treasured.

What has been a seminal experience?

The birth of my children and the desire to paint and capture them in a unique and special way that only art can do.

Stephen Tiernan 'Looking for Identity' 2015 - oil on linen 50.9cm X 61cm (20"X 24")
Stephen Tiernan ‘Looking for Identity’ 2015 – oil on linen 50.9cm X 61cm (20″X 24″)

Explain what you do in 100 words

I am always thinking of ideas for my artwork so I carry a journal and either write them down in that or make notes in my phone. Once I have an idea I will start doing some preparatory drawings to see what the results look like. I will then look for material and if necessary take photographs. When I commence one of my paintings I will initially use the photograph as a reference to lay down the proportions. Once I start I will put the photo away and develop the painting that way and allow the painting to guide me.

How has your practice change over time

I am yet to have developed what I would call a ‘signature style’ however I see improvement in my work all of the time. I would say the biggest change in my practice is I am working a lot slower and methodical. The statement attributed to Degas, “Painting is easy when you don’t know how but very hard when you do” is certainly coming true in my case.

What art do you most identify with?

All forms of painting. I love expressionist artworks. I love to see how others interpret and translate what they see. I have great admiration for the artist that can produce a hyper realist image but it is the expressionist works that make my heart beat faster.

What work do you most enjoying doing?

I never tire of doing portraiture. When I paint a portrait it is like I am removing a mask and I am seeing something for the first time. Those little micro expressions we experience whenever we communicate with someone can say so much and I like to somehow try and capture that.

What themes do you pursue?

As I used to box both in the amateurs and as a professional I love to paint these images and try create that atmosphere of battle. To depict the grace and beauty of the human form in peek physical condition.

What’s your favourite art work?

I have too many favourite artworks of other artists however in relation to my work I painted a portrait of my daughter in oils and I was experimenting with different techniques to create various textures and I caught something that was her so I left the painting as it was and now it hangs on my bedroom wall.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

My family life has inspired me the most and the strong desire I have to continue to improve and reward the faith and support they continue to give me in pursuing my art career.

Why art?

I takes me to another place. I see good in the world when I create rather than the dysfunction and chaos I witness in my ‘dayjob’.

What is an artistic outlook on life?

To see the beauty in all around you. Being able to notice colours and form when before these things were invisible to you.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

The amazement and shock people display when they find out you are an artist and the work they are viewing is yours.

Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

I can imagine the life of a full-time artist is lonely however as my life is very busy the quiet period when I get to create art become a sanctuary.

What do you dislike about the art world?

The lack of real opportunity for struggling and talented artists.

What do you dislike about your work?

I have pieces of work I have created that I dislike as they have not turned out the way I wanted but I do not have any specific area about my work that I dislike.

What do you like about your work?

The fact that I was able to create it from a thought and turn it into something tangible.

Stephen Tiernan 'After the Fight' 2015 - oil on canvas 50cm X 77cm (19.6" X 30.3")
Stephen Tiernan ‘After the Fight’ 2015 – oil on canvas 50cm X 77cm (19.6″ X 30.3″)

Should art be funded?

Absolutely. The benefits are immense.

What role does arts funding have?

Community arts programs should take priority in a lot of areas to encourage engagement throughout the population. Artist residencies throughout government environments and major corporations. Surround society in creativity and watch it grow and develop.

What research to you do?

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Fine Art so I do a lot of artist research.

What is your dream project?

I would love to put together a body of work for an exhibition that tours around Australia and overseas.

Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

Malcolm Liepke, Michael Carson and Lucian Freud

Favourite or most inspirational place

Home here on the Gold Coast

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

You can sleep with a black eye but you cannot sleep with a resentment. Do not take things personally.

Professionally, what’s your goal?

To be a full-time artist

What wouldn’t you do without?

My wife and kids.

Stephen Tiernan. ‘Queenslander’ 2015 – oil on canvas 60cm X 60cm (24″ X 24″)

To see more of Stephen Tiernan’s wonderful art be sure to visit his Facebook Page.

This blog post also addresses the WP Daily Blog’s topic of the day: Quote Me

Artist Interview: Gaye Tait


One of the my greatest pleasures since starting my studies in Fine Art has been to connect with other artists. Gaye Tait from Australia is one such artist whose work leaves me breathless and wanting more. Her style, while fresh and playful with a satisfying Klimt-like familiarity, is strong and timeless. Her subject – Mother and Child – resonates universally and through her art Tait teaches us how to cherish the most sacred (and often misunderstood) amongst us. Enjoy getting to know Gaye through the interview below and if you like what she offers please support her by ‘liking’ her Facebook Page – The Tait Gallery.

Gaye Tait, Madonna and Child
Gaye Tait, 2014. Mother and Child. Acrylic on canvas. 60 x 60 cm
  • Who are you and what do you do?

Gaye Tait.  Artist and student, Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother

  • Why do you do what you do?

Art:  Because it feeds my soul. If I am not creating I feel lost and lonely. I think about art continuously and how I can achieve the desired outcome.

  • How do you work?

I try to stick to a plan organising my time.  I prefer to work alone as I become so lost in the moment that I would not be able to work and be social at the same time.

  • What’s your background?

Some of my earliest memories are of drawing and creating beginning when I was about 4 years old.  Becoming a wife and mother in my teens limited my creativity and then as a single mother working became a priority.

I started painting again in my 30s having small successes in the country town where I lived.  Again, work became more involved and there was never enough time for art.

When I retired I then had the time to pursue my love of art. I enrolled in a Bachelor of Fine Art at Curtin Uni WA.  I have been studying part time for the past 4 years with 2 more years to go before graduating.

Living in Bundaberg I became very involved in the local art scene.  I have entered several group exhibitions in Bundaberg and one solo one. I also exhibited in Brisbane for the ‘Celebration of the female form’ exhibit in 2014.  Recently I moved to Bribie Island and entered an exhibition competition at Aspire Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane and was delighted to be a dual first prize winner.  The art gallery gave me the opportunity to show my work for 6 months which was wonderful. I am currently applying for two more exhibitions at Aspire and I have been accepted to exhibit my work in June in Brisbane for ‘Celebration of the female form’.

  • What’s integral to the work of an artist?

Research, workshops, a place to work and make a mess and like minded social group.

  • What role does the artist have in society?

Artists’ role is to express their feelings and emotions as well comment on what is happening in our world.

  • What has been a seminal experience?

Research has helped me identify where I am heading in my art work.  After 4 years of study I am only now seeing what I don’t want to do with my ideas and concepts and also having the courage to head in the direction that appeals to me regardless of the risks.

  • Explain what you do in 100 words

What a tough question!  I am finding that I am developing work from my own experiences.  I married when I was 17 and had my first child two days short of my 18 birthday.  By the time I was 21 I had three very small children and a husband who couldn’t cope.  Divorcing at 22 left me alone and bewildered.  Those were tough years that only in hindsight do I realise what a struggle it was. To cut a long story short I find myself painting images of a mother and child a lot.

I remember other people’s attitude to me back then as a young mum and how alone I felt.  Now in my art work my aim is to show young mums lovingly caring for their babies. Young mums having fun enjoying the gift they have.

Just because a woman is young and inexperienced doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want the best for her child. My art reflects the fun side of having a young mum. It shows the warmth and love that these young women have in abundance. I guess in my small way I am trying to change people’s attitude hopefully making the viewer think about their own responses to young, single mothers.  

Gaye Tait, Mother and Child
Gaye Tait, 2013. Madonna and Child. Mixed media on stretched canvas. 40 x 30 cm.
  • How has your practice changed over time?

It has changed in how I approach my work in as much that I am more thoughtful about what I am painting and why.

  • What art do you most identify with?

So many artists that move me I am not sure where to start.  I adore Gustav Klimt’s work as well van Gogh.  Of course the old Masters for their skill and dedication but am amazed at the work of many contemporary artists. 

  • What work do you most enjoying doing?

Painting women and children.

  • What themes do you pursue?

As above.

  • What’s your favourite art work?

Anything by Gustav Klimt and Marc Chagall

  • Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

My own experience as told above.

  • Why art?

It is the only way that I can truly express myself.

  • What is an artistic outlook on life?

Seeing the beauty and the ugliness in the world.  Looking beyond the obvious and finding what is beneath.  Noticing the shadows, the darkness and the light. Being open to new ideas and change.

  • What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Winning shared first prize at Aspire Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane.  One of my works chosen by Dalgety Australia as part of travelling outback exhibition.

  • Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

It does involve isolation at times but for me never lonely.  I do make sure that I involve myself socially although to be honest there are times I would rather lock myself away in my studio.

  • What do you dislike about the art world?

Not a lot. I guess there can be pretence and arrogance by some artists.  Some artists who put other people’s work down but on the whole I find the art world quite a welcoming place.

  • What do you dislike about your work?

Everything! I am never really happy and see lots of mistakes.

  • What do you like about your work?

I like the idea and the involvement. I become the work and it becomes me.

  • Should art be funded?

Definitely!

  • What role does arts funding have?

To encourage and fund emerging artists.  To fund training, workshops.  To bring art from other countries to Australia to broaden our minds and ideas.

  • What research do you do?

Not a lot re funding but huge amount regarding artists and techniques.

  • What is your dream project?

I am living my dream.  Happy with the exhibitions that I have been involved in and the ones that I am planning for the future.  

  • Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

Klimt, Klimt and Klimt and of Chagall.

  • Favourite or most inspirational place

Ocean or country where I can just sit and look.

  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Relax and let it happen.

  • Professionally, what’s your goal?

To exhibit and sell my work.  I would also like to teach children and the elderly.

  • What wouldn’t you do without?

My camera.

Gaye Tait, Title Unknown
Gaye Tait, 2015. Safe In My Tiger Suit. Acrylic on canvas. 70 x 100 cm.

For more work from Gaye Tait join her Facebook Artist Page, The Tait Gallery.

Questions sourced from Artsculture

This blog post also addresses the WP Daily Blog’s prompt for the day: Quote Me

Narrative Portrait


Daily Prompt: "Are you a night owl or an early bird? 
When do you do your best work?" Because the Night
Anndelize Graf, 2015. Narrative Portrait. Acrylic on canvas.
Anndelize Graf, 2015. Narrative Portrait. Acrylic on canvas.

I’m on a 12 week study break at the moment before starting my 2nd year undergrad studies in Fine Art & Visual Culture. This is the perfect time for me to catch-up on learning new skills that I don’t otherwise have time to do. Living in a small country town several hours from the big city, attending live art classes in Melbourne is a bit of a struggle. Fortunately I discovered Craftsy some time ago, Atelier-style online classes that suit me perfectly.

The first Craftsy class that I took during my break taught me how to paint a narrative portrait. Daylight is the ideal painting time for me as I don’t have to rely on artificial light sources. Now that it is summer in Australia I set my paints and easel up outside on the patio where I spend my days painting, usually starting early in the morning. On cooler days I do my art in my home-based studio.

In this painting the narrative is about a letter or document she is reading. Can you tell by her expression and body language what she is reading? Narrative portraiture tells a story, I wonder what you would imagine hers to be.

Dear Easel,


Daily prompt: Literate for a Day
Someone or something you can't communicate with through writing (a baby, 
a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for 
one day only. What do you tell them?

Birth of an Easel from Anndelize Graf on Vimeo.

Music: Blue Skies by Derek Clegg

“Dear easel, as I admire your beauty and the craftsmanship with which you were made; I wonder how Van Gogh, Picasso or Monet might have favoured you if you were theirs. As the rigidity of your spine supported their masterpieces-in-the-making, I wonder whether you would silently whisper encouragement to them. I can’t help but wonder, with every accidental splash of their paint that may have adorned your oiled wooden surface, how grateful you might have been to become part of their process toward creating the art that we love so much today.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Instead, dear easel, you have been allotted to me in my studio; a mere apprentice of the arts. I do hope though that I will experience the privilege of your encouragement as if I were Van Gogh, Picasso or Monet. In return I promise to lean on you with every brush stroke I make, as a testament to your functionality and beauty.

Dear easel, I hope you know how lucky I feel to be yours.”

Yours truly
Artist-in-training

Pomegranates


Pomegranates, 2015. Watercolour & ink. Size: A5.

Pointillist Vase


Pointillist Vase, 2015. Acrylic paint on primed paper. Size: A4.