Paintings

All of my work as an illustrator is based either directly or indirectly upon direct observation from life. I spend as much time as I can producing singular paintings, often semi-abstracted, but almost always drawn from things I know well; familiar landscapes, objects and people.

This kind of image making is significantly different from my illustration work in a number of ways. For a start it is usually larger, does not need to be reproduced in print, and is meant to be seen on a wall in its original state. There is often a more direct relationship between observation and painting: typically I'm trying to find a visual equivalent to a subject in paint, rather than simply reproducing what I see. This often involves drawing and painting a series of forms, and then stripping them back to something essential.

I don’t think it would be possible to keep my illustrative work energised without the kind of visual and emotional training that can only be acquired through routine sketching from life. Of course, the boundaries between the illustration and painting frequently blur - and they are already vague, arbitrary categories. Perhaps the main difference is that a painting is more self-sufficient as a singular idea, outside of any other narrative. A good painting is it's own silent statement.

'Footpath, Fifth Avenue' 2004, oil on canvas, 110 x 120 cm. A view of the footpath outside my studio in Mt Lawley, Perth.

'Pelican preening, Lake Monger' (detail) 2003, acrylic, oil, charcoal, collage and pencil on plywood, 110 x 90cm. A painting based on sketches from an inner suburban lake / wetlands area.
'Mount Lawley rooftop' (detail) 2001, acrylic & oil on canvas. A late summer afternoon view, painted from the roof of a house I was renting at the time.
'Dad and me' 1998 acrylic and pencil, 15 x 31cm. Based on a small photograph, probably taken in Malaysia.
'Simon and Guiness' 2000, oil, enamel, crayon and acrylic on plywood, 100 x 180 cm. A portrait of a friend, with some of his favourite things.
'Estuary' 1997, hession sacking, plaster, wood, canvas acrylic and oils on board (partially scorched), 110 x 130cm. An impression of a flat, estuarine landscape in Australind, Western Australia.
'The Track Layers' 2002, acrylic, oils and collage on plywood, 110 x 120cm. A painting inspired by a small photograph of workers building tramlines in central Perth in the 1890s (tramlines that no longer exist).
Collection of Perth Council.
'Norseman' 1996, found objects, old tins, oils, beeswax, rocks and red dust, 80 x 80cm. A 'landscape painting' made from material found in the actual landscape, near the remote town of Norseman in WA, where my brother worked as a geologist.
'Fighting Crows' 1998, oils, wood, cardboard, plaster on plywood, 50 x 70cm. A delightful scene from Perth's northern suburbs.

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