Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Studio Update : New Paintings in Progress

I am currently working on a new series of paintings & drawings. The work is a departure from the landscapes I have been working on for the past 13 years...My inspiration had been drawn from the farming landscapes I grew up in South West Victoria, Australia. 
both 183x137cm oil on linen, Shadow Leaves in progress......

Now living in Dubai and working from my studio in Downtown Dubai, across the road from the Burj Khalifa & Dubai Mall..... I am in totally different surroundings. At first it was all unfamiliar in the UAE, but over recent years it has all become very familiar and my home.... for now at least!

After spending a long time taking in this new environment, looking, seeing, photographing, becoming familiar, sifting what was inspiring to me, what I connected to... I have now found a way in to this new world of mine through my artwork.

My attention has been drawn to the intimate studies of nature in my close proximity. The UAE is a desert and its cities are also built on deserts. Even in the urban environment, where there is not a building , it is sand... The vast distances of the Australian landscape have been replaced by an urban environment built up with towering glass towers, the largest in the world, Burj Khalifa just close by, and a community of Arabic style new buildings inspired by their heritage buildings. This is where I live, Old Town.

both 152 x112cm oil on linen Bougainvillea in progress.....
 Old Town is a complex of low rise housing over several blocks, built in the Arabic heritage style , yet also very modern. The buildings are divided by paved lane ways lined with overgrowing Bougainvillea, Frangipani, local plants and low trees. Arabic lanterns, water features and pools are scattered throughout the complex. This has become my environment that I am most intimate with. My studio is at home so it is where I am spending all my time. From this background, you may see where I have drawn the inspiration for my new series of work.

We are living in an environment where it is hot and the sun is shining all year.. apart from the odd sandstorm and braving extreme heat in the summer months. With this climate of brilliant light all year round, my attention was drawn to the beautiful shadows made by all the plants, draping down the walls and onto the pavements. The Bougainvillea especially, make exotic shadows, their sensual organic shapes, their softened mystery. Shadow & light, the play of light, the changing shadows, the sensual organic shapes laid out before me. I have become a shadow hunter with my camera!

both 102x76cm oil on linen, Shadow Leaves in progress

Downtown Dubai is full of exoticness, sheesha pipes, outdoor cafes on a hot night, Arabic music piped through the pavement speakers, dimly lit mood lighting, highlighting and accentuating the water features and Arabic details on the buildings, souks full of spices and delicate pashminas and Iranian carpets... its all very heady especially on a hot night!

Arabic Lanterns are spread throughout all of this, on all the walkway walls, building entrances, cafes, etc. Their patterns of light spreading out across the walls and ceilings, are as equally mesmerizing to me as the plant shadows. So for now, the Arabic lanterns and the plant life and their shadows, have become the world I am immersed in. Retreating in to the air con of my studio, I am focused on producing a series exploring all this.

various charcoals, image 71 x51 cm
I am currently working on 6 paintings and I have a large series of charcoals underway.
The paintings are all oil on linen, worked up gradually in layers of paint and glazing over several months to achieve a mystery, luminosity, depth, and a balance of strength and fragility in the work and subject matter.

The paintings here in this post are still in progress, but are coming along....
various charcoals, image 71 x51 cm