Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2014 by artkleko

COLOUR ARTIn Australia, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women suffer from colour blindness in one form or another. This group also includes artists. We all react to colours, whether bold or sombre. We react in a certain way to an individual colour or a group of colours. At first glance, these figures could be seen as alarming, but does it really matter what colours you actually ‘see’? I know there are safety issues, but as I get older I have become more aware how ‘tight’ the ‘rules’ of colour have become. An orange must be orange, a banana, yellow etc, etc. Why then do people get excited when artists portray objects in ‘weird’ colours?

At Art School I was taught the fundamental rules of colour mixing, and these have stayed with me and I in turn, teach them in my art workshops. Once an artist has a grounding in the basics, it’s time to reveal your true ‘personality’. This doesn’t happen overnight and in my case it has taken me 40 years of art practice to ‘arrive’. I’m not worried that this journey has taken so long, I’ve enjoyed the trip, and now I’m revelling in a time when I can be ‘myself’.

Artists should never be afraid of colour or of breaking the rules. The most important rule that should be adhered to though is that your art needs to ‘say something’, to communicate a message, to have meaning. A painting is an essay that once read, tells a story.

My latest series of drawings is based on the wonderful colours that can be seen on Tasmania’s Table Cape in Spring each year as millions of tulips make their annual appearance. The scene is a times breath-taking. I have never seen such scenes of vivid colour. Is this real?, you bet it is! My work (pictured) is about seeing this landscape in realistic, semi-abstract and abstract terms. I’m loving this journey!



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 14, 2014 by artkleko

Glover EntryFor the second time I was a finalist in the prestigious Glover Art Prize, Australia’s richest annual art award for landscape art. To say it was an honour is an understatement, it was much more than that. Gaining recognition in one of your country’s most noted art awards one of the greatest honours an artist can receive and it is one that I will always treasure. Being chosen for the second time was even more special for me than the first. I have entered this award 8 times, but I persisted and it paid off!


Preparing the Table (Cape)

Coloured pencil on pastel board

139 x 89cm

Named by Mathew Flinders in 1798, Table Cape was first settled and developed in the 1820s. This large 160 metre flat-topped plateau is an extinct volcano. Almost all of the volcanic ash deposits have gone and the plateau is now composed of rich, deep red fertile soils that encourage a broad range of agricultural activities.

Close-on two centuries of farming practice has resulted in the land being (mathematically) divided; this respect for the location and its fertility result in reliable annual bursts of colour and seasonal mark-making; a marriage between natural and man-made design.

It’s late Spring, and the annual tulip quilt has almost disappeared. Nearby fields have been prepared; many have already been sown.

This rich ‘slice’ of Tasmania will soon see food appear on its ‘table’. 

My entry was the only one in coloured pencil and one of the few under glass. As with all major art awards the ‘idea’ is what it’s all about; the medium must suit the message. I enjoyed the challenge of creating this drawing and have already embarked on another that I hope will be suitable for entry in next year’s prize.



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2014 by artkleko


When it comes to colour variation I’m rather conservative due to my subject matter, the Tasmanian landscape. However, when I ‘break free’ and draw other subjects, my palette is quite different. Most of my art is based on observation, but recently I combined both observation and my imagination to produce today’s featured drawings.WILD


Fantasy Liliums (top) and Psychedelic Poppies (below) are both 40 x 40cm (unframed) and are rendered in Prismacolor pencils on Canson pastel board. Both drawings were the result of a series (I am  still working on) that featured tulips from North West Tasmania, Table cape to be exact. As with all tulips, colour was the main attraction and after several months’ work I decided to try something new and daring.


I must admit that this departure was both enjoyable and invigorating . Time will tell whether I develop this direction further, but in the meantime I have other drawings to complete. Both drawings will be featured in an exhibition in April. I wonder what reception they will receive?






Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2014 by artkleko

CRIES“Cries of the Stonemasons”

120 x 82 cm framed – coloured pencil on pastel board

From time to time I seek to produce a drawing that is strong enough to enter in a major art award. In entering these awards it’s essential that your artwork is unique, special, even challenging. There is no room for ordinary work, it must be extraordinary. Having said that, the final decision on the artwork’s value is up to the respective judging panel.

Today’s featured drawing is part of a theme I have been working on for the past 6 months. I am intrigued by the chisel marks on sandstone blocks that were carved in the early  1800s in Tasmania, a time when convicts formed a large part of the workforce. Each stonemason had their own distinctive style of carving. Did they just carve a series of marks in each block, or were they trying to communicate how they felt about their plight, albeit conscious or unconsciously?

CRIES 2I have combined the marks from several blocks from the historic township of Oatlands in Tasmania’s southern Midlands. Landscape features and contours, along with figure-like forms can be seen. What are they ‘saying’?

I intend to develop this theme further and in April I will spend 3 days at Port Arthur, a former notorious penal settlement in Tasmania’s south east. More grist for the mill!


Can you speak ‘Sandstone’?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2014 by artkleko

I usually work in themes, a collection of drawings based on the same topic. This doesn’t  mean that all my drawings look the same. The challenge is to provide a ‘link’ between each individual artwork. This is a great opportunity to explore an idea and see how far it will go before it’s exhausted.

One of the themes that I’m working on this year concerns the chisel marks made by convict stonemasons in the early 1800s at Oatlands, an historic town in Tasmania’s southern Midlands.

These marks fascinate me. Each stonemason had their own ‘signature’ way of carving. The more I looked at these blocks of chiselled sandstone, the more I saw a link between the surrounding landscape and the plight of the stonemasons. It was as if they were carving stories in the stone, a record of how it was in those ‘Spartan’ days.


Today’s featured drawing is titled “Landscape Memory” – 48 x 80 cm. Prismacolor pencils on Canson pastel board. Each layer contains marks from various sandstone blocks, separated by mortar in the shape of the surrounding hills. In other words, this is a landscape composed of mark making. The convict ‘arrow’ stencil can be seen emerging from the lower left in a symbolic arrangement representing each convict’s desire to ‘escape’ to be free men. The layer second from the bottom contains symbols that collectively have a strong spiritual feeling.

Were the stonemasons trying to communicate through their chisel marks?



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2014 by artkleko


blog post holiday 2I’ve just completed a six-week break from coloured pencils. During that time I re-discovered the joys of painting in acrylics. I’ve posted some of them here today. They all relate to the ‘brick’ theme that I’ve been following for some time using coloured pencils. The subject is the Australian landscape and my love for the work of Australian artist Fred Williams.



2013 was a very busy year for me art-wise and quite a successful one, but I needed to slow down, even stop from the hectic pace that I’d been following. My hands were telling me (arthritis) that I needed a change, so I bought several canvases and updated my supply of acrylic paints. When finished I’ll have a series of 8 paintings to show at various exhibitions during the year.

blog post holiday 1



This week I ‘returned’ to pencils, refreshed and with specific ideas in mind that are already showing promise. The break has done me the world of good. I intend to return to acrylics now and then, but my greatest love remains with coloured pencils. The warmth of Summer makes it much easier to draw than the colder Winter months. Maybe I need to find a balance.


Working in entirely one medium can be dangerous. Ideas come from careful planning or simply as a result of an experience or seeing something (as it did yesterday) that triggers a creative response. One should never be dictated to by an art medium, it’s the idea that really matters. Once you have thought and planned an idea, then choose your medium/s.



The message (idea) is the most important aspect of a painting, not the medium.

My next blog post will reveal one my themes for 2014.








2013 in review

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2013 by artkleko

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


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