What’s your favourite art subject/s? Why? Have you ever stopped to evaluate what you like to draw and paint? Are you a person who loves to work outdoors (plein-air) or do you confine yourself to a studio or a similar workspace?

“Tasmanian Icon”.

A series of 4 panorama-shaped coloured pencil drawings of conifers planted in the 1930s at Hyland’s Flat in the central Midlands region of Tasmania.

Each drawing measures 20 x 58 cms.

I have been doing some reflecting lately on the type of work I do, in particular, what I really like doing and what is ‘commercially viable’, while pondering on how to obtain ‘a balance’. The work I really enjoy creating isn’t popular with those who buy art. Lots of people like my work, but few ever want to live with it. I haven’t sold much this year probably because I’ve enjoyed a ‘personal’ journey too much, discovering a bit more about who I am. Art has to be enjoyed by both the creator and the viewer. At least I’ve got one part right!

My Achilles heel is no doubt the medium I work in. Coloured pencil doesn’t enjoy a big wrap in the art world despite huge gains in archival quality in the past 2 decades. I fear it’s also perceived as rather a conservative medium. I wish art curators would be ‘brave’ and promote CP art more in their galleries.

Moving away from Tasmania for a ‘working holiday’ hasn’t been the economic success that I had hoped for art-wise but it has certainly opened my eyes to understanding what art means to me and what subjects interest me.

In just over 12 months my wife Val and I will head back to Tasmania and I’ll re-acquaint myself with my studio. Things won’t be the same (nor should they after nearly 4 years away) when we return and I expect that my art will reflect that.

Having had the opportunity to explore the Australian mainland has introduced me to a variety of landscapes and weather conditions but behind all these experiences I have seen, are the things I always look for; reflected light and shadow, pattern, decay, weathering, transparent surfaces, strong colour, mood and design, all seen in ever-decreasing detail, a ‘cleansed view’ that tries to say a lot with as little information as possible (when applicable). That’s who I am, that’s what interests me.

Despite all that I’ve seen and explored lately, three subjects stand out and continue to give me great motivation and satisfaction: 1. The Flecker Botanical Gardens in Cairns, where I immerse myself in the feast of subject matter that’s available. 2. The Midlands region of Tasmania, because of its (at times) harsh landscape and 3. The tree markings of the Scribbly Gum moth in Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. All three subjects are influenced by my ‘abstract’, ‘colour’ and ‘simplification’ interests. Out of the three, my tropical semi-abstract drawings would rate as my best work, but sadly, only one has been sold. I have a substantial collection of examples and hope that one day I’ll exhibit them.

“Tropical Leaves.” 60 x 80 cms.

A few days ago one of my tropical drawings was featured on Redbubble. I was very pleased but a little taken back as I’d posted the image about 12 months ago. Still, it’s nice to have one of my favourite drawings acknowledged.

“9 Journeys.” (Scribbly Gum moth) 80 x 60 cms.

It’s not what you see in your art that is important, but it’s how you see it. Our personality defines our art.


About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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6 Responses to THE REAL ‘YOU’.

  1. Maxine Donald says:

    I really admire the way you strive to gain that fine balance Richard and concur whole-heartedly with your comment about the media (col pencil) being under rated in the art scene. (I do not use cp but definitely appreciate it when I see it ‘in good hands’ 🙂 It is hard to remain true to oneself as an artist when you need to pay bills ….. it has not been a good year for art sales generally I don’t think, but I have enjoyed your various ‘series’ and wish you well with whatever the next series may be!

  2. I was asked by a drawing teacher once, “what is your inspiration”? Most in the class replied ‘nature’, but she made us examine that further and be more specific. I realised it was structure, colour and texture. I like your words “abstract, colour and simplification” as I would put these as my top 3 design tools, although I work in fabric rather than pencil. I admire your work, loving Tasmania as I do, it always resonates with me. All the best.

    • artkleko says:

      Thanks for your comments Jill. The Caran d’Ache pencils I work with go very well on fabric. I’ll be conducting a pencil on fabric workshop in Hobart either next year or the year after.

  3. Hi Richard, your art is awesome! The colours u use and subjects gives my imagination a taste of your part of the world. Thankyou, if i ever get to Tasmania or Australia i will have been acclimatized by your unique beautiful art. A good friend Linda Kulyk lived there for 5 years and has been very generous with sharing your and her art and insight. Thanks Helen

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