Artists ‘In Conversation’ at the Art Gallery of Ballarat


( Blind continuous line drawing of Prudence Flint and Fiona Watson in conversation drawn by me )

The Archibald Prize has made it’s way to Ballarat and there have been many events in and around this exhibition. I must admit that I am not one for openings and parties, however I have enjoyed the In Conversation series that has featured artists Juan Ford, Carla Fletcher and Prudence Flint. I think this was a really fantastic thing to do as bringing artists to the gallery to have a chat about their works within the prize as well as their overall careers and practices makes exhibitions relevant.

The audiences were made up of locals, artists and visitors – I garnered this from the Q & A sessions at the end of each conversation.

Exhibitions that are created around a prize are so interesting – sometimes they are not very good, sometimes they are mind blowing and often they are a mix of the two. The Archibald is no stranger to controversy and criticism. I often hear artists scoff that it isn’t a ‘real’ portrait prize ( I didn’t have the courage to ask what that actually meant – I mean, it’s not like there’s a fake portrait prize? ) But I think it is exciting, there are so many people I admire or studied with that are often shortlisted. These prizes really help artists but also, and possibly most importantly, it’s an exhibition that gets people from all walks talking about art.

Each artist talked about their own piece in the prize, all three works are so very different within subject and style. I enjoyed hearing their reflections on painting as a practice, and learning that Carla’s piece is a collage. There was talk about the ‘rules’ for works that are submitted to the prize. The court case that occurred in 2004 when an artist sued the Art Gallery of NSW over a winning portrait being a ‘drawing’ and not a ‘painting’ was mentioned and this got people musing about what is painting and what would constitute a painting within the context of the Archibald and does that even matter? What relationship does photography have to painting? How to keep painting relevant in this day and age.

It was interesting to hear them all talk about their studios. Juan likened his to a science lab; he has two areas – one that is messy and the other that is clean. Carla referred to her practice as being a bit ‘witchy’ and Prudence talked about the whole process being rather mysterious. She has a couch in her studio so she can sit there and knit and problem solve. I love that, I think I will get a nice comfy chair for my new studio because that sounds right to me; The idea of giving yourself a chance to step back from actively making, but still being amongst your work and giving you time to problem solve. Try and create more of an objective space, if one can!

I feel invigorated and really inspired after these talks. All the artists were very generous and had a lot of interesting things to say. It’s made me reflect on my own practice as well and made me realise a few things that I think will keep me going for a good long while.

Here are the websites of the artists mentioned, just click on their names:
Juan Ford
Carla Fletcher
Prudence Flint

Here is an article about the court case I referred too :
A brush with controversy By Carolyn Webb

The Archibald is on for another two weeks at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, information is here:
Archibald 2015

Flowers and child


The dress is the wrong green, this bothers me immensely. But hey, it’s only the second layer in parts and still the first in others. I think this painting will only need a little bit of work to either be finished or well on it’s way to finished.
I haven’t been able to paint much, or draw much – or do much of much. I am trying to balance things out and be a better mum and be a better person. So much has landed on us, I can’t even be bothered explaining myself to anyone.

My painting still feels rather amateurish to me – which frustrates the heck out of me. But I know I have had moments where I can see where it could go, which is why I still persist with it. There will be a break through. There will be.

I asked my daughter what she would like to do this afternoon – as we have some one on one time, and she said that she would like to paint together. I think I am more excited about this than her.

June 13th – exhibition and panel

I have a drawing in this Salon exhibit, check out that line up!

THIS Saturday 13th June, 1-3pm
A large and diverse ‘rotating’ collection of art and artefacts from the stockroom, artists we represent along with works from private collections.
ON VIEW 13 June – 25 July 2015
Gallery opening hours:
Tues-Fri 11am – 5.30pm
Sat 11am – 4pm
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at the gallery: OR +613 9824 7770

But before that:

Motherhood and Creativity

I will be at the Williamstown Literature Festival on Rachel Power’s panel – motherhood and creativity with Sally Rippin and Lisa Gorton. You can buy tickets here: Tickets

How exciting!!!!


Today was a day that was full of mistakes.
Which I guess is normal, since I have just finished two large drawings the day before last. I think what next and then I start scribbling and sketching and then I am so freaking burned out but I think I can push through it but I know, you know. I know. I know I should stop and rest and ride out the tired and then I can start again.
But I am dramatic and often swing into panic mode. If I can’t paint/ draw/ make a master piece today – then I never will!

So I keep on going and then I stuffed up two drawings. TWO. Just test drawings but still, it’s nice paper and I feel bad. Also one was of my daughter, I ruined it by going a little too crazy shading in her back and that just made it all the more WORSE. It actually looks quite ugly and I’m like HOW CAN YOU DO THAT TO A DRAWING OF YOUR DAUGHTER WHO IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING ON THIS EARTH! YOU ARE SO EVIL.

Mother guilt seeps into the art.

So I went out for lunch and angrily drank tea and then did the groceries and the laundry and I have salvaged the part of the drawing I didn’t ruin and have now expressed myself in words here and tomorrow is a new day.