Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Seeking Inspiration in Melbourne


Mary and I have literally just driven over 3000 km to Melbourne, Victoria and back to Toowoomba, Queensland. Our main purpose was to deliver our eldest grandchild back to her mother.

I also tried to see some visual art there. Melbourne is a very active centre for the Arts, but it is not so easy to find things when you do not know your way round town and have less than whole three days to do it.

Mary wanted to rest, so I spent the first afternoon walking through the city. I found that a gallery recommended to me had closed down. As I walked towards the Ian Potter gallery I wanted to visit. http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ngvaustralia/ I talked with some street artists doing on-the-spot portraits. Technically, they were a lot better than me but their artwork did not turn me on. Daylight saving tricked me into being too late for the Ian Potter Gallery which focuses on Australian Art.

The next morning, I ventured forth with Mary in our car. A private gallery in fashionable Toorak had samples of all the famous Australian artists on show, but nowhere nearby to park our car.

At a small arts and crafts market there was an artist selling postcards and prints of her works. She is very accomplished, I liked the colours used and the poses of her nudes, for example, but again (this is not sour grapes) her work otherwise left me cold.
My daughter was more successful in meeting my artistic needs. She took us (plus grandchild and friend) to the National Gallery of Victoria's main site. http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ngvinternational/

NGV has an international collection on this site so I had a pleasant stroll, walk mainly through European Art from the 14th to 20th centuries. It was nice to see familiar artworks in the flesh for a change rather than as prints or in books or on computer monitors, much larger or smaller than you might expect and with the brushwork textures clearly visible.

This Breugel, for example is less than A3 size, so the detailed figures are actually very tiny.
The next day, Maria had us stop at a small gallery http://www.suburban312.com.au/ located in Brighton, the suburb where she now lives. I found myself particularly interested by the work of Barbara Tyson. She produces a nice mixture of realism and abstraction and utilises some interesting techniques. In "Soak" the oil painting shown above , for example, the water area is covered with clear resin, so that the experience you get seeing the original is quite different from what you would get from a print or photo, Check her out at


So there in Brighton, I found quite a few artworks I could relate to and, hopefully, do something in a similar style.

Where do you get your inspirations?

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