Personal comments on specific artworks.

Insomnia 2015

This was first painted in 2010 but never felt complete. In 2012 I completed a drawing of the same scene and title which was shortlisted for the prestigious Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize. Recently, using a pointillist technique I repainted the original canvas of Insomnia and now feel it is finally finished. The intention was to convey a sense of impermanence in the objects/figure (the model was one of my PhD students, Cara), achieved through the assembly of thousands of dots to make it look like a scene viewed from a million miles away. Perhaps that's what humans look like to extraterrestrials?

The Window 2012

This came about from a sketch I did in 2009, loosely inspired by Hopper's work. As for most of my figure work, the model was painted partly from life and also from reference photos I took after getting the pose and lighting just right. It is a long process and in this case the painting took a few months to complete. It is full of symbolism and typical of the many "apartment" pictures I have drawn or painted since 2006, which often include interior/exterior context to contrast the introspective nature of the sitter with the turmoil of the outside world. The fish tank represents yet another world within the macrocosm. I was happy with the classical look and atmosphere of this picture, and as my ongoing work expands on use of a pointillist-style technique it will be interesting to see which direction it takes in future.

Closing Time 2009

This picture, as usual, started with a sketch in one of my note books. I had wanted to bring together all the carnival/sideshow inspired elements from my previous pictures into one unified world. It was fun to paint. I grew up sustained by a diet of movies and television of the 50's and 60's, and somehow, sometimes, I tend to draw on these diverse influences (ie. Twilight Zone, Land of the Giants, Outer Limits, etc) when I paint. This picture started with an outline of most of the key structures, but I allowed enough flexibility to add and change different elements like the figures, clown, shadows, lighting etc, until I finally felt it was about right. Note the reappearance of the yellow clown who had first come out of nowhere when I painted A Night on the Town (2002). He still haunts me! With these types of imaginative paintings, one has to hope for a little voice inside that knows when to stop. Otherwise I might still be painting and re-painting different parts of the picture, living an unspoken and private narrative...

Disavowed 2009

Starting in 2007 I commenced a series of carnival/circus themed works and several of these feature a man in mid-flight, either falling or climbing above giant-sized marquees or big-tops. Disavowed is one from this series and was memorable as a painting experience in that I was trying to convey a more spiritual message. In the early stages after I had painted in the falling man, I was trying to figure out what should go in the background, then without thinking and with my head down, I just wiped off some white paint from a palette knife onto the canvas above the tent. I looked up five minutes later and saw a perfectly formed angel looking down at the man. I sat there stunned and I'm still left wondering how it happened. Whether divine intervention or sheer coincidence, I left the angel exactly as it first appeared and the title of the work just followed.

Introspection 2006

I worked during the day, but was always thinking about and jotting down visual ideas for drawings and paintings that I produced at night and on weekends. For many years it was a frenetic balancing act. The painting 'Introspection' was one that I felt worked very well, and encapsulated glamour, depth, ambiguity, sexiness and that perennial conflict between light and dark. It sold quickly and was reproduced in a Psychology text book published by Oxford University Press in 2013.

The Hitchhiker 2004

Such an iconic scenario and one I was very intrigued to interpret in paint. The process for this was typical of a lot of my work, but in this case a little more protracted than usual. It started with a sketch made in 1999, which later was followed by a small painting or study in 2001, then three years later was scaled up to the full version using a painterly textured approach which worked well for this film noir-styled scene. This is one of a handful of pictures not for sale (unless tempted by an offer I can't refuse..).

Aeronauticus 2004

An abstract mix of metal wings, propellor and fuselage, this drawing was the second version of a much larger charcoal drawing completed in 2003. An abstracted combination of elements that conveys a story or theme, rich in detail and beautiful in composition (at least in my completely unbiased eyes!). The dark element and heavy lines influenced partly by Giger and by Pollock. The timing of this work was particularly significant as 2003 was the 100th anniversary of the first flight by the Wright brothers. This is a personal favourite and the first of my images to be published in a US art book and magazine.

The Lighthouse Mystery 2003

A man falling to his doom. Pushed from the precipice at the top of a lighthouse. And in the dark. All favourite themes of mine for some reason not obvious even to myself. The deep blue in the background, a mix of dark pthalo and cobalt blues, for the inky night sky. The flaming red shirt of the falling man, drawing attention to him like a falling star. The silhouette of a man (the Keeper perhaps?) standing at the railing from where the other man fell. He is the only witness we see, but was he murderer or innocent bystander? Ambiguous, it is part of the mystery, and I certainly am not telling. In fact, as time rolls on I become less certain of the events myself. Why is the church spire lit up, symbolic of a man about to meet his maker? Influenced by the movie Vertigo without question, partly because I suffer vertigo myself, and a small homage to Hitchcock.