Archive for the 'state parliament house' category

Return to blog homepage

I spent a delighful few hours this wintry afternoon at two exhibitions in Macquarie St Sydney. The Australian colonial artist John Lewin is being showcased at the State Library of NSW in a huge exhibition of his work. Lewin is considered to be the first Australian professional artist, with a keen eye for seeing the natural world as it is and the skill set to convey that vision into beautiful works of art. Lewin was collected by Governors, his works gifted to dignatories around the worl. With only a week to go (closing May 27th) this exhibition is well worth getting to.

The detail in Lewin's works on paper is amazing. As a former artist for Taronga Zoo I know just how difficult it is to portray a platypus as an intersting artwoprk. As for wombats, they have no shape at all! But it is John Lewin's portrayal of the Doryanthes Excelsior (Gymea Lily) and Telopea (Waratah) which are the standout works. They are stunnning illustrations of beautiful plants. And the naturalist's detailed pencil drawings of the plant's segments at the bottom of each picture give the works an interesting context and depth.

Just up the road from the Library is the NSW State Parliament. The 2012 Plein Air Prize for Painting is the 5th such prize and makes for a beautiful exhibition. Some well known names are included, such as Tom Carment, Geoff Harvey and Guy Maestri. I absolutely love Tony Hulls' "Looking South from Coledale Hills" and Rachel Ellis' "Eglington Landscape 11" which was Highly Commended. But the stand out for me was Amanda Penrose Hart's "Hill, Sofala NSW". Hart captures the essence of the Australian landscape with economy and verve, her vigorous painting technique enlivening the canvas with dark passages of eucalypt leaves dancing across the composition.

I was lucky enough to walk in on an artist's talk by Brigiat Maltese who made a most enjoyable presentation and spoke eloquently about the space that an artist inhabits while painting "en plain air". Her book, "Capertee Valley Diary", which was taken out of it's glass case for us and laid out on the floor of the House for close inspection, is made up of a continuous, concertinaed sheet with smaller pieces of paper collaged into the landscape to produce a beautiful panorama of the Capertee Valley, west of the Blue Mountains. Measuring over two metres long, the viewer's interest is maintained throughout the work. In fact one gains an insight into the artist's working method by examining the detail contained within the various sheets, produced over different times and lighting conditions


Subscribe by RSS

The Latest Happenings in my World

This blog is where you will find my latest news. It can range from posting images of progress of the current commission to art crit to political or social commentary, both national and international. Anything, basically, that's commanding my attention and I feel is worth sharing with you, my reader. Enjoy. My previous blog can be found at