Friday, February 29, 2008


I love opportunities which fall out of the sky. And just recently one of these did. I have been invited to participate in a group exhibition called Wonderland at KILN Gallery, Cnr LaTrobe and Enogerra Tce, Paddington. The details of the show will go online at the gallery's website early next week. The painting I diplayed in my last post will be in the exhibition along with other recent and new works.

I am steadily working on new paintings. I have no plans at this stage for a solo exhibition this year, but I am enjoying creating new work and following my instincts. It is a deliberate decision not to have a solo exhibition. I decided I'd prefer to be in group exhibitions...and the KILN show fell in my lap...enter some competitions [I am off to Stanthorpe today for the opening of the Stanthorpe Art Award for which I have been preselected]...and to make proposals to various galleries for different kinds of exhibitions to happen maybe late this year or into next year.

From The Heart Oil on linen 85 x 147 cm

Saturday, February 09, 2008


I've have been painting lately. And I am happy. My only problem is that I have not had the paintings photographed professionally and my own attempts are never pleasing especially with large works. That said, I have uploaded this image. Trust me the painting is better in the flesh. Photographing paintings is a problematic area. I think many not-so-successful paintings can look much better in a photo and a great painting cannot have true justice done to it. Makes one think about the difficulty of preselecting art for competitions etc from photographic images. How many great paintings never get through and how many second rate ones do?

Over this weekend I have been attending one of the most interesting conferences I have have ever been to. It is the GLOBAL ACTION TO PREVENT WAR: A COALITION-BUILDING EFFORT TO STOP WAR, GENOCIDE, AND INTERNAL ARMED CONFLICT conference which is being hosted by the Australian Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland. The speakers are world class and indeed come from all corners. Check their website out @ Today I heard and learnt about violence/conflict in Central America, and East Timor. Yesterday I learnt about guns control and arms dealing/movement. I heard about the latest efforts of the UN. One speaker called war a disease and maybe prevention should be treated just like disease prevention. So much to think about and to hope for.

The guest speaker last night was a man called Steve Killelea founder of Vision for Humanity and the energiser for the development of the “Global Peace Index and Delivering Peace Dividends” . The role of business in peace and the benefits of peace for business are core elements to be understood. Check out

I was also alterted to Ranan Lurie's [the famous cartoonist] Uniting Painting which is installed at the UN in NY. The concept is to make it a continuous painting which moves throughout the world. Check out An amazing man and family. Plus the Uniting Painting is fantastic to look at and in concept.

One thing I am very pleased about is the obvious understanding that art has a place to play in the Peace process. It is acknowledged by academics, UN reps and people who work on the ground.

Into My Galaxy Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I am very excited to report that my painting 'Shared Time' has been preselected for the $15,000 Stanthorpe Art Prize which is announced in a couple of weeks. A good way to start 2008.

I have been thinking about the UN's recent announcement of 4 new Peace Ambassadors. It prompted me to google the UN to look at who have been made Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors over the last few years. Well, searching the UN website for this topic is not easy. However, I did find some information. I was searching because I am intrigued about the large number of 'artists' who have been made these wonderfully titled Ambassadors. They are musicians, actors, authors and so on. Mind you, I have not found a visual artist among them....but I have not been able to do a conclusive search so there maybe a visual artist somewhere. But, the bottom line is that the list is predominantly made up of artists in the literary, musical and acting worlds. That's absolutely fine because these people are good with words, performing and getting up in front of people.

In the past I have been a bit sceptical about the UN's Peace Ambassadorial announcements. It seemed to me that the UN was using the celebrity status of people to draw attention without considering any underlying depth. That said, I can understand the tactic of embracing celebrity to enhance a cause because in this day and age a celebrity is going to attract media and mass attention. Celebrity on its own is a wondrous thing, but what about the person who has somehow been bestowed this label? What about the 'artist' that lurks underneath the veneer of celebrity?

I have thought about this a reasonable amount. Is it the 'celebrity' element or the 'artist' element which really carries the truth about these appointments. I suspect that UN and others are not even aware that whilst the celebrity component attracts it is really the 'artist' which holds the depth and compassion needed to carry the import of these appointments. Artists look at the world differently, they communicate differently. They provide an alternative viewpoint, paint pictures with words, gesture, paint, movement and sound. They stir the human being at levels we do not truly understand.

So, whilst there are famous sports stars and people from the political and diplomatic worlds on the list of Peace Ambassador they are outnumbered by the artists. And, I think it is the artists who can make a difference. Some recent recruits to the Ambassaorial ranks are Daniel Barenboim who is a world famous conductor and pianist, Yo-Yo Ma who is a reknown cellist, Elie Wiesel a Nobel Prize Laureate and George Clooney an Academy Award Actor.

The one person with the mass media celebrity status of a Star in the latest Ambassadorial recruits is Mr. Clooney. People may scoff but he is an artist and since making films such as Syriana, Good Night and Good Luck, Michael Clayton we can see there is more than just a pretty face to this man. His efforts in Darfur are also worthy of anyone who tries to make a difference. He shares with his other artist Ambassadors a way of thinking which the western world might be able to feel at some level but cannot identify. My experiences in the Middle East suggest to me that those who live outside the West will and do understand.

Shared Time 120 x 137 cm Oil on linen