Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2014 by artkleko

S & S“Landscape Debris, Lake St Clair”  WIP

80 x 37cm – Coloured Pencil on Pastel Board

Coloured pencils have been my preferred medium for the past 26 years. During this time I have come to know my medium well, but I’m still learning and this was well illustrated this week when I took delivery of another 2 brands of pencils to ‘try’. Pencils aren’t my sole medium; I also enjoy painting (acrylics), pastels and digital art, the latter being of particular interest to me.

One of the drawings I am currently working on is a study of a group of sticks and stones from the southern shore of Lake St Clair in Tasmania. I have visited this area many times and completed a number of drawings, but I wanted to ‘re-visit’ this subject after a seven-year break. I have also completed a digital drawing on the same theme and I am presently planning a larger coloured pencil work.

Today’s featured drawing is complex and tedious. It contains several thousand small stones and numerous pieces of wood in an orchestrated arrangement. Why go to such lengths to produce this drawing? Why travel 100s of kilometres, take 100s of photos, make numerous sketches, set up and photograph arrangements of driftwood in one’s backyard? It’s because that’s what artists do! It’s not simply a matter of copying a photo and replicating the image. Artists have to immerse themselves in their chosen subject if they want to be true their profession.

What is so special about coloured pencils? Well, nothing really, it’s just that I have aligned myself with the medium I think best fits the way I think and work. I carefully choose subjects that suit my preferred medium.

Anyone who specialises in this medium would know and identify with my journey so far. I’ve had to face (I still do) prejudice, ignorance and non-acceptance about the merits of coloured pencils. I’ve had work rejected, even had some of my framing methods questioned, but still I ‘keep on keeping on’. I am in this for the long haul and refuse to let such setbacks deter me, although there have been times when I have felt like walking away; it’s these times though that make you stronger and even more determined to press on. I think the fact that I have been drawing for such a long time has seen me develop coping strategies when needed.

Coloured pencils may seem a straight – forward medium to work with, but they do present artists with many challenges. One needs extreme amounts of patience, a strong wrist and the ability to concentrate for long periods. I know this applies to most mediums, but cp can be a challenge to master.

On the credit side, I am always grateful for the awards I’ve won and the art prize finals that I’ve made. Every sale is a bonus, particularly for me as my work is often very personal. I’ve never won a popular vote, but I receive enough positive comments to know that there are people who appreciate what I do.

Recently I was awarded Master Pencil Artist Status by the Pencil Art Society of Canada. I treasure this award; it vindicates all that I’ve achieved over the past 26 years. It has also given me the impetus to plan a retrospective exhibition, hopefully next year.

My advice to all artists is NEVER GIVE UP on your preferred medium. Stay focused, stay determined, keep on track. Explore, investigate and keep your work ‘fresh’ by constantly challenging yourself. Don’t work to a formula because there is a danger that your art will look too familiar. Sales should not determine what you paint, your heart will.

If you are really serious about your art, take your art seriously.


CAIRNS ARTescape 2014

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2014 by artkleko

CAS 2014Last week I was  a tutor at the 9th annual Cairns ARtescape, an initiative of the Cairns Art Society. This was my third workshop and once again it was a most enjoyable and rewarding experience. For the second year I was charged with teaching the Beginners’ class, the aim being to prepare my students to undertake one of the courses available next year.

The week was composed of exercises in a variety of skills culminating in an excursion that produced a series of small artworks accompanied by an artist’s statement.

While the week focussed on planning, drawing, painting and writing skills, the underlying aim was to get everyone to see and experience the value of ideas and research as essential components of successful art making.

A wonderful group of highly motivated students made for another get teaching experience. Google the Cairns Art Society site and checkout the photos on display. Why not join us next year?



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

DESERTEDWhen given the opportunity, especially when I enter an art award, I like to add a written explanation of my artwork to ensure that the viewer (judge) can match his/her interpretation with mine. Most major art awards demand a written statement with each entry. Not everyone agrees about such statements, as they believe that the artwork should speak for itself. Unfortunately, there are often occasions when the true meaning is lost or overlooked and that’s when the statement becomes a valuable aide in assessing the artwork.

This is also a very valuable exercise for the artist as they can reinforce in writing what their original thoughts were and what the final result was. It is also the perfect opportunity for self-evaluation. The more one writes these statements, the more one comes to understand not only their art, but who they are.

Art is not all ‘visual’, creating images without any justification other than the product itself. Creating art is one’s response to being an individual who has something to say, and everyone should say something now and then! There is a lot of art out there, but so much of it seems to be ‘busy work’, faithful copies, copied because people have the skill to reproduce images. What we ‘say’ with our art is just as important as the art itself. Talking about one’s art is tremendously beneficial not only to an audience, but to the artist; writing about one’s art is the same. We need to be aware that the role of the artist isn’t simply to produce ‘pretty pictures’.


50 x 70cm

Prismacolor pencils on pastel board

Own reference photo

This drawing is almost completed, but there is enough information available for the following statement.

The historic property Cheshunt, is situated in Tasmania’s Meander Valley in the north of the state. The Bowman family have owned the property since 1873. The farm is still active, but some of the buildings are in need of repair. One of these is the former shearers’ quarters. The scene is in fact inside, in what once was the lounge room, looking towards the corridor. The front door is missing, some of its parts can be seen in the corridor.

It’s 9am on a warm, early Summer’s day. The silence is only disturbed by the presence of a shaft of intense sunlight that pierces the corridor. Nothing has changed here for years. A rusty mug lies fallen on a table that once witnessed the laughter of shearers who gathered each year to remove the thick coats from the property’s sheep; not anymore.

One of the few remaining doors carries the scars and graffiti of over a hundred years of farming; there’s nothing to tell anymore.

The floorboards, weakened by years of foot traffic lay still, decaying slowly.

Drums are now the main residents along with a defiant table.

A thousand stories will one day disappear when this building gives up its will to stand.



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2014 by artkleko

THAR SHE GROWSStep-by-step articles concerning the development of a piece of artwork are very informative. They give an insight into how each artist thinks and works. Today I have posted a series of photos showing how I began and worked through the task of a drawing that will feature in my exhibition at Table Cape, Tasmania in September.

Table Cape Landscape, 70 x 30cm, Prismacolor pencils on Canson pastel board.

From the bottom: I always begin by drawing the required detail in line using a Polychromos 10% warm grey pencil. This particular pencil works well on the brown ochre-coloured pastel board that I work on and it’s easily erased. My Prismacolor pencils also have no problem covering the lines. For accuracy I often use a grid, but not always.

Once the details are added, I don’t have a set method of adding the colour. Some times I begin at the top and work down, or bottom to top, but it doesn’t matter where I start as my pencils rarely smudge and I’m careful with my work. On large drawings I often cover areas with cartridge paper. Big drawings can be quite overwhelming, but they are much easier to tackle if you concentrate on one area at a time and cover the rest.

At the end of each day I cover my drawings with 2 coats of fixative. When completed I add 2 coats of Crystal Clear UV spray, followed by another coat or two prior to framing.



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2014 by artkleko

HEALING CREAM 2The Launceston General Hospital has just opened its inaugural  art award exhibition. The $5,000 prize was awarded to local artist many Hunniford for her entry ‘The Tree of Life”. The theme was Art in Health and resulted in 64 entries. As with entering such a major award, artists were required to submit a statement relating to their work. I believe that this requirement benefits not only the artists and the judges, but those who view the work when it’s displayed.

Healing Cream

148 x 83cm   Prismacolor pencils on pastel board

The therapeutic benefits of the art making process are recognised by all who practise the visual arts. Often it is the process of creation that gives one the greatest form of satisfaction; the product being a bonus. The use of art therapy in times of trauma or struggle can be a vital part of a person’s recovery. Engaging the mind, while promoting relaxation at the same time, the opportunity to deal with personal issues, makes art an important part of one’s recovery. Art is a great healer. A tube of paint has far greater value than its physical properties.



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2014 by artkleko

Fantasy Landscape

Fantasy Landscape

I’ve never considered my coloured pencil work ‘loud’ until recently. I base most of my art on interpretations of the Tasmanian landscape which is temperate in climate and the colours are often subdued. this is not to say that bright colours don’t exist in Tasmania, they do, it’s just that I’ve been interested in more subtler subjects. In the last 12 months however, I have sought ‘brighter’ subjects. A trip to Central Australia had a big influence on me to the extent that I upon my return I began looking for subjects with warmer colours. Not long after I visited the tulip farm on Tasmania’s Table Cape. I’d been there several times before, but on this occasion I was overwhelmed by the intensity of the rows of tulips that I saw. After a short series of ‘fantasy’ landscapes, I produced a series on landscape mark making. One of the subjects was tulips, grown on Table Cape in North West Tasmania. An exhibition followed in March and another is due, this time at Table Cape in September where I’ll be presenting my interpretation of the area in realist, semi-abstract and abstract coloured pencil drawings.

MAY 9.1Some examples of my recent work from my studio

This change of palette has been a real eye-opener for me and has given me a timely boost. My coloured pencils have responded extremely well to the challenge, more-so than my digital and acrylic pursuits. The pencils leave a texture which suits my subjects and they present well when framed and hung. Exciting times! Where to now? I’m not sure where this direction in my work will take me, but it’s giving me pleasure and judging by the response of art lovers, I’m presently onto a ‘good thing’. Once I have grown tired of this phase I will move on and tackle another theme. I am keen to produce a series on my trip to Alice Springs and have already completed sufficient preparation to begin a series of drawings once I have completed enough work for my September exhibition. One thing that can be said about my latest work is that it’s cheerful and that’s certainly the reaction I get when I see it in my studio!


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2014 by artkleko


My work is getting simpler as I get older. Now 63, I have over 40 years’ art experience. I’ve tackled everything from photo-realism to abstraction. What interests me at this point in time is trying to say ‘a lot with very little’. This is not as easy as one may think. Those who are critical of such work often fail to realise the challenge artists who work this way have to face. I’m fortunate that I have a lot of experience in decision-making when it comes to planning my artwork. I’m rarely interested in ‘photographic artwork’ these days, but it’s so popular with many artists and the public alike and it sells!

All artwork has value, but there are times when I see brilliant, individual work and and there are times when I see ‘rubbish’. It’s all a matter of opinion. Work that is popular is not always rated highly with art critics. Being ‘different’ is more important (and necessary) these days with so many ‘artists’ about.


flat b

.My last exhibition in March, was well received and sales were very pleasing. This was a collection of semi-abstract work in coloured pencil. Tasmania is quite conservative when it comes to art, but I have noticed lately a change, albeit slow, that has seen a greater acceptance of drawing and digital art. My next show in September is a (deliberate) collection of realism, semi-abstract and abstract drawings in coloured pencil.

Today, I’ve included some examples of my latest forays into the world of digital art, (a secret passion of mine)t that feature the tulip fields of Table Cape in Tasmania’s North- West seen in very simple terms. I have tried to give each artwork a ‘feeling’ of the Table Cape landscape. Each work is around 50 x 75cm and I’ll have them printed on clear acrylic. I chose this medium to obtain clear, sharp and vibrant colours. I’m not sure when and where I’ll show this work, but I suspect that some will be seen at the Brave Art Gallery in Longford.

It’s early days and I have a lot to do before I have some printed and mounted, ready to be hung. I want to get this imagery fully resolved and marketed the right way.  Although more needs to be done, I enjoy experimenting with ideas, techniques and art mediums. I am essentially a coloured pencil artist, but all artists need an ‘escape’ now and then in order to keep their mainstream work ‘fresh’.

Maybe one day, I’ll switch mediums.



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