• December 4, 2011

December News

Lately I’ve been experimenting again. (That usually means the output rate drops and the finished product is unpredictable.) The urge to experiment came while I was listening to Brian Wilson’s remarkable album, “Smile”. The album essentially showcases the man’s genius in composing rich and layered harmonies in a way that mere mortals ought to find impossible. It reminded me of a tangent I once headed off on to see if it might be possible to create some visual equivalent of an aural harmony. The idea was to see if you could use light, colour and composition as visual substitutes for the mathematical relationships of aural harmonies (ie harmonics), to achieve a similar emotional response.

I never did get very far that first time, and although I have done better this time (in that I will at least complete the painting!), the dream still remains elusive. My effort this time has been to apply composition and colour “echoes” to see what effect they might have. I’ll post the finished product on the website here soon once it’s done. While the holy grail of visual harmonics still waits out there somewhere to be discovered (if it exists at all), the painting has been a fun diversion nevertheless, and a good lesson in colour. Of course you should judge for yourself…

  • October 1, 2011

October News

Spring is now well and truly upon us, but the two paintings that were on easels and under construction in the studio a month ago are still there! 101 competing priorities have slowed things down recently but steady progress is still being made. The two pieces are a potrtrait and a larger concept piece. It’s been useful to attack them using two different approaches to see how they compare.

The concept piece has been primed with a mid-tone ground of Raw Sienna, which is an approach that was common amongst Old Masters paintings. It allows a pleasing golden glow to emanate through the top layers of paint and unify the whole piece. By contrast, the portrait has been primed completely in black, which is a less common approach but one that is still visible sometimes in Old Masters works. For example if you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse at the sides or back of an unframed Caravaggio you can sometimes see the pitch-black priming. The fun thing about starting with a black canvas is it gives you total control over the light – nothing is visible unless you deliberately allow it. It means that the painting is all about the bright highlights and where you choose to draw the eye of the viewer.

And with Spring here it’s a good reason to get back into the studio more often, turn up the music and crack on while the sun streams in through the open windows.


  • August 6, 2011

August Update

With the NZ Art Show over, it’s time to get back to the serious business of producing more work! A couple of my pieces attracted media interest this year, with “Attachment” selected as a Signature Piece finalist and making some local Kapiti press, while “Pilgrimage” featured nicely with a full page in the Sunday Star Times and gained some radio interest as well. So back in the studio now, I have a couple of new pieces underway: one is a portrait, and the other is a new concept piece that refers back to Manet’s Olympia. Plenty to keep me busy…

  • July 18, 2011

Signature Piece Finalist

Some great news out today, with my piece “Attachment” being selected as one of the finalists for the NZ Art Show’s Signature Piece Award.  I’m very pleased with “Attachment”, but it’s exciting to have it recognised by the Art Show as a finalist. The actual winner of the Signature Piece Award will be selected during the show by popular vote. You can see all of the finalists on the NZ Art Show’s Facebook site – well worth a look.

  • July 7, 2011

First Blog!

Hello everyone and welcome to my first Moonlighting blog. A few tweaks to the website mean that it’s now easier to keep everyone up to date with what’s going on. And it’s now easier for you to share whatever you like too, with the addition of some links to your favourite social networking sites.

The next event on my horizon is the NZ Art Show in Wellington, 28-31 July. I’ve recently completed the piece “Pilgrimage”, which you can see here, and which will be at the Art Show. Pilgrimage has a little fun with the religious fervour of the Rugby World Cup, and uses biblical “3 wise men” iconography typical of 16th and 17th Century art, and in this painting rugby itself becomes divine and is nursed on the knee of a Kiwi Madonna. Another piece that will be at the show is “Attachment”, which is a favourite  piece I will be a little sorry to see go – and for those who have asked out of concern, no it is not autobiographical! Get along to the show if you can – it’s always worth a look and it gets better each year.