One day, four Gallery visits.
The first gallery on our expedition was the Solander Gallery in Yarralumla. The entrance was reached through a small enclosed sculpture garden. The exhibition space inside the building was made up of one large room, a couple of smaller side rooms and also paintings hung on a stairway wall.
The most memorable works were probably those by artists I already knew with my favourite being “Nature Speaks” by Imants Tillers. A photo of the painting can be seen here: (http://www.solander.com.au/itemdetail.asp?paintingCode=SOLG-001458).
There are lessons I can learn from this painting. Close up it clearly shows the pencil lines he used as a guide for lettering, and pencil marks can also be seen within the letters. I tend to get a bit anxious if things like that can be seen in my own work and I tend to get carried away trying to erase all sign of them.
In addition to the exhibition space, we were also shown a storeroom where we were left to sort through paintings not on public exhibition, but we didn’t spend much time doing that. Instead we moved on to Beaver Galleries near the Australian Mint.
We’ve been to this gallery several times in the past to see art glass but haven’t been interested in the paintings they’ve exhibited. This time it was different. The featured artist was Judith White and I loved her work. (see http://www.beavergalleries.com.au/whitej2012.htm for illustrations of the current exhibition)
It is described as using “mixed media” but seemed to be mostly paint (I suspect Acrylic but possibly water colour). Again there were pencil lines visible in parts of the paintings – reinforcing the need to be less concerned about leaving them in mine. It seems like White masks areas of her canvases to create shadowy images within the paint. That is a technique I enjoy using myself. If done skilfully (lie in White’s work) it is very effective.
From Beaver Galleries we drove onto the National Gallery where I wanted to have a look at their Monet’s. There is large “Waterlilies” (linked in previous post) but I found it quite dull. A better example of his work can be seen in the smaller “Haystacks, midday” a painting that really glows (http://artsearch.nga.gov.au/Detail.cfm?IRN=29073 ).
I’ve been reading a biography about Margaret Olley and wanted to see an example of her work. I knew there was a recent purchase from the gallery member’s acquisition fund. (https://online.nga.gov.au/sslpage.aspx?pid=427)
As I looked around for that I came across a dull, almost muddy looking painting done by Olley in the 1940s. There was little memorable about the picture of a Brisbane pub – and it seems to have been forgotten by the gallery. I could find no record of it on their on-line catalogue of their collection.
The Olley painting I wanted to see was hidden around a corner by itself. After looking through all the main gallery areas I had to ask an attendant where it was. The contrast between this one, “Hawkesbury Wildflowers and Pears” and the one mentioned above was significant. There was no similarity. The biography says that Olley started to venture more into bright colours after an extended time in France and it is perhaps brightly coloured still life for which Olley is now most recognised.
“Hawkesbury Wildflowers and Pears” is predominantly a strikingly vivid light blue. Olley must have used layers of quite thin paint because brush strokes are barely visible and the surface is very smooth. This smoothness is aided by Olley’s preference for painting on masonite.
The last gallery we visited was Aarwun Gallery. The gallery had an exhibition called “Artists of the Outback” and had several paintings by the late Pro Hart as well as others by his sons David and Kym
Our main aim here was to enquire about the framing of a large ink drawing by Gloria’s sister. Dated 1971 it had been rolled up in a cupboard, possibly for 40 years. Gloria rescued it a few months ago when her mum was cleaning out her cupboards. We left the drawing and should get it back, nicely framed, in three to four weeks.