Tag Archives: Painters

You’re probably thinking too much about Andy

Andy Warhol once said:

The Pop artists did images that anybody walking down Broadway could recognize in a split second — comics, picnic tables, men’s trousers, celebrities, shower curtains, refrigerators, Coke bottles — all the great modern things that the Abstract Expressionists tried so hard not to notice at all.

I have always thought that the best way to understand Andy’s work is to relate it most directly to its subject matter. That’s what he was interested in. He had very few unspoken motives. It’s remarkable how few critics actually take at face value what Andy himself said about his work, yet he’s remarkably lacking in guile.

Here is Richard Meyer on ‘The art-historical problem of Andy Warhol‘:

Rather than reinventing Warhol under the sign of this or that avant-garde artist, why not take his fascination with mass culture seriously? Why not look closely at the subjects and surfaces which Warhol actually worked — and worked over — rather than refer his art, yet again, to some earlier source within the history of modernism? Why not, for example, think seriously about Warhol’s roots as a commercial illustrator and graphic designer, about his expertise in the language of advertising and the solicitation of consumerist desire? Surely, Warhol’s commercial illustrations of the 1950s are no less relevant to his Pop art of the 1960s than are a set of Goya etchings or Schwitters collages. In positioning Warhol as a “classic modernist,” the retrospective not only suppresses his commercial expertise but also his identity as a queer artist. Questions of same-sex desire, effeminacy, and cross-dressing, not to mention the complex links between gay subculture and the mass media, deserve to be taken seriously within any full-scale retrospective of Warhol’s career. Such questions are all but ignored in the current show.



More artists’ studios

Art Guide Australia has a terrific, occasional series on artists and their studio practice that is worth checking out: http://artguide.com.au/studio



Nick Mourtzakis has occupied his self-confessed “cold and dusty” home studio since 1998.

Elisabeth Cummings

Australian artist Elisabeth Cummings’ career is going well and her painting is getting more attention.

“I’m not mad about it in lots of ways,” she said. “I like anonymity.”

After years of what Cummings describes as “quietly working away” practicing her art and teaching, the painter and printmaker has had in the past six months had a show in Hong Kong, plus two highly successful exhibitions in Sydney.

“In the last 20 years I think I’ve grown more confident,” she told the ABC.

Her landscapes and interiors are on show at the Manly Art Gallery alongside Lloyd Rees and Brett Whitely.

The only surprising thing about it is that she is 81 years old.


Article by Phillipa McDonald: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-31/artist-elisabeth-cummings-enjoys-renewed-success/7126462

Pricing your work

This is an indispensable article by designer, illustrator and typographer Jessica Hische introducing us to the thorny issue of pricing. I particularly draw your attention to the section on licensing.

Note: while directed to commercial freelance work, this is just as relevant to painters, who have the issues related to commissions to worry about.

Whether you are a student, a young designer, or a seasoned pro, pricing jobs can be one of the most frustrating parts of the creative process. The cost of creative work is shrouded in mystery and very subjective. While it makes some people uncomfortable to talk about art and money together (as we all know creatives are really meant to suffer through life and die penniless), they are incredibly similar when you think about it. What is money other than dirty rectangles of pressed tree pulp? Because we all believe it has value it is valuable.

I know you’re all dying for me to get down to brass tacks and explain how to price for each and every design situation, but what follows won’t be anywhere close to a definitive guide, just some of my own opinions and words of wisdom on how to avoid screwing yourself and the rest of us over by doing too much work for too little pay. We’re in charge of assigning value to what we do.

Link: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3025992/how-much-should-you-charge-for-design-work-a-guide?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzEmail&utm_content=911363&utm_campaign=0

Graham Fransella

Australian Galleries has “artist feature Fridays” on their Facebook page. This one on painter and printmaker Graham Fransella appeared recently:

Approaching Graham Fransella’s studio I hear guitar riffs emanating from the former fish and chip shop which has been Graham’s creative space since 1999. The large interior holds a printmaking workshop, replete with etching tools, hot plates and associated paraphernalia, leading past a guitar and amp (where the avid guitar player unwinds) to a light filled painting studio with easels caked in paint conveying a journey of colour through Graham’s oeuvre. Graham is equally skilled with an intaglio burnisher as he is with a paintbrush, as evidenced with awards for printmaking as well as being a finalist in the Archibald, Dobell and Sulman Drawing Prizes, and winning the AGNSW Wynne Trustees Watercolour Prize five times. 


Throughout his practice the figure and landscape have remained central to Graham’s explorations in mark making. Utilising strong lines, dense colour and layering, his works are at once simple and complex, intuitively created while drawing from years of experience with his chosen mediums. Each work combines abstraction and familiarity where a single line can suggest the curve of a river or the outline of a head and shoulders, leading the viewer on a voyage of discovery through each detail of the work. 
10842124_606523032815216_6800623172426141093_o “I have always had a liking for images which engage the eye and drawings that are spontaneously arrived at rather than pre-ordained. Pictures may appear simple, initially, but they reveal much more after contemplation. A good picture should be able to bear lots of looking at.” – Graham Fransella

Graham Fransella from Guy Lamothe on Vimeo.

Australian painters and their studios

An excellent large format book on Australian painters talking about their studios is available from the Polytechnic library: Lloyd, I R & McDonald, J (2007) Studio: Australian painters on the nature of creativity, Singapore : R. Ian Lloyd Productions

It is filled with lots of great pictures. It normally lives at the Fairfield campus, so you would need to request it.


The book has it’s own website, which also contains resources on laying out an artist’s CV (resume), and some notes on photographing artwork.

The link to the Polytechnic Library catalogue entry: