“Floating, Flecker Gardens”

40 x 60 cms

Luminance pencils on Canson Pastel Board

Everyone at some time or another wants answers to questions. They can range from “What is the meaning of life?” to, “What is the key to happiness?”, even “Who will win the premiership this year?”, and “What’s for dinner?”. We are all curious about a lot of things and asking questions is a good way to address one’s curiosity. The problem then arises as to whether we are happy with the answers we receive.

What happens when you start asking yourself questions, particularly if (like me) you’re an artist?

Sourcing ideas, planning, creation, presentation, exhibiting and feedback are some of the challenges an artist has to overcome. But an even greater challenge is asking yourself why you’re an artist in the first place. What does art mean to you? What do you want to achieve as an artist? What motivates you? What’s more important: fame, sales, personal satisfaction, realizing your potential or being unique? Can you have all of these?

Carving out a career in art has never been tougher, especially if you need an income. The pressure to produce ‘commercial’ work is enormous and I have the highest admiration for artists whose work is personal, unique and popular. That seems a rarity these days.

It’s been just over a year since my wife and I left Tasmania for Cairns. We spent 8 months there and for the past 4 months we have been living at Port Macquarie. During this time my art has slowly undergone changes. I have been forced to think long and hard about the direction of my work. The art I had produced in Tasmania soon felt ‘out of place’ in my new environment. I was well aware of my new surroundings being a landscape artist and it wasn’t long before I evolved a new approach while in the Tropics. My work became more intense in colour and semi-abstract. By the time we left Cairns I had produced a solid folio of work, but none had been exhibited.

I found Port Macquarie a vastly different physical environment and began ‘collecting’ ideas from the surrounding areas as far as Coffs Harbour to the north. It didn’t take me long to realize that my ‘tropical’ approach wouldn’t work in my new environment. What would I do? My art isn’t about making money, it’s first and foremost about self-satisfaction. Sales are a bonus and are to be treasured.

“Late Afternoon Light”

45 x 60 cms

Mixed Media on 300 gsm Arches W/C paper

A couple of visits to the Coffs Harbour Botanic Gardens re-kindled my love for ‘Scribbly Gums’, a eucalypt common in this area. I am now currently working on a series of drawings that combine my love of digital art with my passion for coloured pencils.

Details from “Late Afternoon Light”

Have I answered my question? Time will tell.


About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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  1. lynnnicholas says:

    Firstly, I can’t believe it is over a year since you left Tassie. Time certainly flies.
    Secondly, I think most artists are effected by their environment. I have enjoyed following you on fb and through your emails watching your art evolve. It reinforces for me the need to photograph our work.
    I love the Scribbly gums and in fact I am work on some dry point scribblies as we speak.

  2. Lorraine McNeair says:

    Love both of the paintings, but my favourite is ‘Late Afternoon Light”.

    Lorraine McNeair

  3. Edna says:

    Richard, I think your work has changed dramatically since leaving Tas in response to the changing landscape and the light. Using digital media with drawing seems to me to be the most dramatic as it has given you a different starting point. I’ve really enjoyed watching the development of your work from the brightly coloued work in Queensland to the process you are using now.

    • artkleko says:

      Cheers, Edna. It’s certainly been an interesting time. My exhibition at Pejean (“My Favourite Things”) next February will be a mixed bag!


    Richard, I love your rich colors in your other works, these pieces remind me of an Archeological site. With deep earthy tones of colors that make you want to explore every field of space very nice.!!!!!

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