Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gallery Girl strikes again!

Hi everyone...anyone?  Well, I guess that answers the questions of why we write, paint, create...because we CAN!  not for the audience, but simply because we were born to do it.
So here I am again at Gallery One, surrounded by exquisite art work and listening to spanish music.  I have been surfing the web to find gorgeous hand made jewellery, art and other pieces for St Barts', our lifestyle store here at Ferry Road markets.   It certainly is shopping - even if it is just the virtual variety - for lovely hand madey things!  I have been browsing in ETSY.COM ...aaahhh and have just discovered www.artisan.org.au for all kinds of stunning hand made in BRISBANE art pieces, jewellery etc...check it out!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gallery Girl

Today, once again, I am at the beautiful Gallery One at Bundall, indulging my love of ART and being paid for it! Sometimes I pinch myself that I get to paint, or discuss art, or sell gorgeous paintings all day, and that is my job. I am privileged to have such an awesome job. Don't tell my boss, but I would volunteer for this!! hahaha....no really, keep paying me...please...

Right now I am looking at an exquisite group of landscapes by Katherine Boland, and some dramatic abstracts by Conchita Carambano, and Jonathon Hayde's latest paintings have everything you'd expect from his intricate collection of images, but there is something more in these...layer upon layer of shapes and colours placed in the most interesting but harmonious ways. All of these works could be hung in the latest restaurant or in the most relaxing resort... that adaptability is an amazing quality of abstracts...

Monday, October 4, 2010

If I lived in Paris...


My Photograph - Pont Neuf at Night - taken in Paris in 2006




If I lived in Paris...I would go to Ladurée Champs Elysées tonight for dessert!

I would have peppermint tea and macarrons...

http://www.laduree.fr/



Then I would stroll down to the Grand Palais and across Pont Alexander III and watch the monuments light up one by one across Paris.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What Have YOU Done?

This is pretty fun. TAG if you are reading this!
(Thanks for the fun ideathe Jensens Blog)

To participate, just copy and paste in your own blog, and bold all of the things you have done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (no, but I was adopted!)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (no, but I walked to the 2nd stage of the Eiffel Tower!!
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (my child was, so I guess it doesn't count!)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (in Japan and Thailand!)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (does Egypt count?)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (been on TV though!)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a cheque
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. been snow skiing
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (written but not yet published!)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (waiting for the movie to come out;)
86. Visited Canberra (parliament house)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (got my child to the hospital in time so someone else could!)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Been to the Great Barrier Reef
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
101. Learned to play an instrument (then promptly forgot again once I passed the exam!)

so there it is! I changed a couple of things to be more Aussie:)

Friday, October 1, 2010


Today.... if I lived in Paris, France... I would visit the Musee D'Orsay. While I love the Louvre, and the Orangerie is my favourite gallery in Paris, I haven't visited the Musee D'Orsay since 1994. I have no idea why we didn't go there in 2006. My son would have loved it, since it was originally a train station!
If I visited the Musee D'Orsay today, I would make a beeline for the Manet's Olympia (pictured above, picture borrowed from the Musee D'Orsay website - what an amazing site - almost as good as being there....)



Today there is a concert of Brahms, Mendlesohn and Reger to complement an exhibition of Gerome's paintings. It's amazing to think that the tide turned so dramatically against the academic painters as soon as the art establishment and the wider community realised that the Impressionists et al were the future....interesting!
I read Ross King's THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS recently and the last chapter talks about the rejection of the academic art in favour of the avant garde. Perhaps now the art community and art critics are so prepared to accept anything as art...sure an upturned urinal is art...sure a shark in a tank is art....sure an unmade bed is art....because they are dead scared of turning their noses up at the next Manet (will there ever be another?) that EVERYTHING is the next big thing. Incidentally I read Tracey Emin's book 'Strangeland' recently and now I understand her work a whole lot better,,, especially the 'My Bed' installation that so impressed the Tate judges http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/turnerprize/history/1999.shtm
does art always have to be so controversial??





Check out this amazing book and the wonderful website that accompanies it. Whenever I am feeling a little lost as an artist, I read James' book. He manages to say so many things that light up parts of my brain, the arty parts, but also the philosophy of why we are driven to paint.

I've been a complete goose!!

I can't quite believe I got so distracted from what I love about art. I travelled so far from the truth I almost couldn't find my way back. I was in the garage studio packing everything up because I need to paint the walls, and I thought, 'what if I never paint again' in a musing sort of way. It should have panicked me, made me feel sick, but it didn't. I was actually quite calm about that idea...

wrong, Christine, very, very wrong.

Where did I go wrong? I love my job - I get paid to paint! The income I earn there should free me up to paint waht I want at home...but I got to thinking that every painting I do at home has to sell, that every painting should preferably be sold before I start painting it. I swapped creativity for liquidity! passion for economy! my love for art was sold to the highest bidder! okay, enough with the drama!! So I have 2 paintings sitting on the easel that are sold, and just have to be finished off, varnished when the rain stops and hardware installed, and then I am free.

To quote my former teacher, Kevin Taylor, If every painting turns out the way you want it, then you are just not trying hard enough!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yacht Reflection Painting wins 2 competitions on RedBubble


My oil painting 'Yacht Reflection' has won two challenges recently on Redbubble. The first was the 'Got the Blues' Challenge a few weeks ago, (see the write up here - http://www.redbubble.com/painters-in-modern-times/forums/306/topics/112431-christine-betts ) and then last night it won the Wondrous Water Challenge! (write up to follow!)
I am so looking forward to getting my new work done to see how it compares, because I think my new work is 10 times better than this!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ebay Sales

Ebay

I have turned to my old friend Ebay to help me clear out the paintings that I picked up from Treasured Interiors that hadn't sold. I posted this one last night and I already have a bid, so that's exciting. It can be found at the address below.






I'm also posting an image of my new space. I will be throwing myself into this in 5 weeks as that's how long I have left at the Studio. I will have 12 months to really hook into it! John Squires got ready for his last show in 30 days! OMG! but then that's John Squires and I like hiw work, but I wonder how many people buy it for the celebrity factor? He'd be annoyed at that comment, but it's a fair comment, I think. On the easel is my latest boat. It is going well. It is very different from the last one and so much better. I am very happy with it, although now I look at the last one and I think it is so bad! How could I have thought it was so good? amazing!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

great article from the Weekend Australian

Very interesting article from the Australian Weeekend Magazine. would love to hear others' opinions on this!

Eyes wide shut
Christopher Allen
From: The Australian

Wilderness: Balnaves Contemporary Painting Art Gallery of Nsw, Sydney. Until May 23.
WILDERNESS, the new contemporary painting exhibition sponsored by the Balnaves Foundation at the Art Gallery of NSW, has a promising subject.

One may hope that we shall encounter artists who are looking at the world with fresh eyes, shaking off the cliches of the art school and the routines encouraged by the market.
Can all the energy generated by ecological awareness and green politics conceivably wake aspiring artists from their self-absorption, pull them out of their dreary stylistic ruts and make them face the infinite complexity, suggestiveness and ineffability of the natural environment? Not this lot. Unfortunately, Wilderness is a disappointingly obtuse collection of works whose only common thread is the overriding concern to achieve a distinctive brand identity.
Landscape has a rich history and, because its subject is ultimately the place of humanity in nature, its evolution has been intimately involved with philosophical and spiritual ideas, and with the scientific and technological changes that have objectively modified our relation to the environment.
As a distinct genre in painting, landscape emerged from the background of Renaissance pictures and attained full maturity in 17th-century Rome. One of the factors that helps explain the new authority of the genre at this time is that formal religion, for all the energy of the Counter-Reformation, was losing its monopoly on spiritual experience and nature was beginning to appear as a complementary or alternative focus for such aspirations.
From very early in the tradition, various categories of natural site had specific associations. If to most people the natural environment was associated with the hard work by which they earned their livelihood in the fields - the regular cycle of the labours of the months surround the portals of many cathedrals - the classical landscape evoked a different and harmonious communion with nature.
Bucolic verse, one of the important sources for these pictures, was inspired by the relatively leisurely life of shepherds and goatherds, in which the long hours minding their animals are passed in music and singing, usually about love and its vicissitudes; the pastoral landscape is infused with eroticism and melancholy.
In contrast, a landscape of wilderness was imagined from the beginning in poetry and from very early in painting.
Unlike the pastoral world, uninhabited forests and mountains tend to be associated with virginity (hunting, the main activity associated with such localities, seems to be symbolically the antithesis of lovemaking in mythology); Christian ascetics retire to the wilderness, or the desert as it used to be called, to abjure the flesh and meditate on other-worldly matters.
Wilderness was one of the canonical varieties of classical landscape in the 17th century, represented above all by Salvator Rosa. The romantic period, fascinated by the darkness that lies beyond reason, found it above all in those terrifying and thrilling subjects that were called sublime: the ocean, mountains, avalanches, volcanic eruptions or great storms.
What inspires classical and romantic landscapes is the same thing: the sense of the life of nature and the desire to capture that living presence. It is not a matter of merely sentimental response to the environment but an intimation of something outside ourselves, yet potentially connected.
The experience can be interpreted in psycho-physiological or theological terms. Inherently, however, it is a purely ontological intuition, whether it takes the specific affective form of beauty (in the classical mode) or terror (in the romantic). But is there any sense of beauty or terror in the pictures gathered in the present exhibition? Unfortunately, the answer is that there is very little, if any, of either because the artists are too wrapped up in their own stylistic games, too self-enclosed, to be open to anything that is so radically other.
What we see here is each individual desperately trying to create a signature style.
This premature demand for a distinctive look can be a terrible trap for young artists. They find themselves in a dead-end: producing a saleable product, but one that is limited and formulaic, offering no way forward. Mary Scott is a good example: she paints monochrome pictures based on a display of birds in the Natural History Museum in London. Having found this one idea, no further thought is required.
Exacerbating the mental laziness of such work is its reliance on photography; time and again, it is not painting we are looking at but a painted-up version of a photographic image, which the artist may not even have taken. Indeed, there is added kudos in working with found images. The trouble with this kind of work is that the real intelligence of the painter is articulated in the act of painting, or more precisely in its many stages, from planning a composition to executing the nuances of form, tone and colour. When artists copy photographs, there is no more immanent intelligence in their work than in house painting; and when they try to disguise the banality of their material, they never achieve more than painterly effects and gimmicks.
Thus Fiona Lowry reproduces photographic images of nature or of figures in faint pastel colours that are meant to make them prettier and imbue them with significance. Daniel Boyd copies pictures of zebras and lions in an illustrative style and adds cutesy captions to imbue them with political connotations; it oozes arch self-satisfaction.
Julie Fragar is on to a good thing, copying photographs of blokes with the animals they've shot; and when the result is too boring, she can always add words over the top. Stephen Bush has an illustrator's talent that he tries to camouflage with deliberate ugliness, combining kitsch images and executing them in lurid poster colours. Over all this he pours a kind of Dale Frank sauce of painterly excess, but the result is neither convincing nor appetising.
Among those who can paint, Louise Hearman is a curious case. Her early work, a couple of decades ago, was striking, but she seems to lack confidence in her ability to think in painterly terms; perhaps afraid of looking old-fashioned, she falls back too often on trivial or even ludicrous conceits. As for Del Kathryn Barton, she has gone so far down the path of eccentricity, mannerism and an almost hysterical self-indulgence that the work has come to resemble outsider art.
James Morrison, with his quasi-naive love of minute detail, almost falls into the same category but is saved by a sincere, if obsessive, passion and quirky humour.
The case of Tony Clark is rather more complex because he has richer material to deal with than hand-me-down effects borrowed piecemeal from contemporary stars such as Gerhard Richter and their local epigones. He has one series based on the figures from the Portland Vase that the catalogue compares with breathtaking silliness to the act of the vandal who attacked the vase in the British Museum in 1845.
Clark's pictures are not an act of vandalism of his source. They are playing with rediscovering the actions of the vase by setting them in imaginary landscapes.
Also by Clark is a sequence of landscape sketches from a series called Myriorama. It was inspired by an early 19th-century game in which cards with landscape elements and a common horizon could be joined together to make a variety of compositions.
It is striking that there is more irresistible evocation of the life of nature in these little images, even though they are derived from a debased and cliched use of the classical language and clumsily repainted by Clark, than in anything else in the exhibition.
Apart from this echo that reaches us across the centuries, the only other pictures in which we feel the pulse of life are those of Andrew Browne. The painterly surface of his pictures is profoundly unattractive, but he manipulates the forms of trees and rocks in a way that is expressive and based on an understanding of the inner life of these things. In better company, his work would be more impressive.
The rest of the works in the exhibition are inherently incapable of conveying any sense of that ontological recognition of being that is the experience of nature.
Introverted in sensibility and trapped in sterile, self-referential stylistic routines, they are the embodiment of narcissism and alienation. There is not a breath of the life of nature here, much less the thrill of wilderness.
How can anyone take this work seriously? It is by virtue of the spurious dichotomy - enshrined in the secondary art curriculum - between conceptual practice and material practice. Whatever one thinks of this separation in other domains, it is particularly inappropriate in art.
It means, in practice, a fundamental depreciation of the integrated and concrete kind of intelligence that is proper to art. It allows the artist to omit all the profound work of picturing the world, use shortcuts such as photography, concentrate on creating a brand look, then fill the deficit of meaning by claiming there is some political or theoretical motive behind the work.
Sales patter aside, the distinction between conceptual and material practice is simply nonsense.
The bad news for the painters of Wilderness is that art isn't easy after all.
You have to work a bit harder than that to make paintings that will be striking, memorable and enduring. And to make landscapes, you have to look at a world beyond your own uncomfortable yet exquisite interstices.

Friday, March 26, 2010


This is the winner of the Sulman Prize... interesting.
I may have done my best to lose my job yesterday. I asked to be told whether I still had a job...not too much to ask?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

my new studio is my old studio is my garage...

recent work - Ultra-Close-Up Kombi!
- prints available on Redbubble.com

There might just be some Arts jobs going on the Gold Coast in a few years.
Sahba Abedian of Sunland Group http://www.sunlandgroup.com.au/ is a huge advocate of the arts and art plays a vital role in all his marvellous projects, (in fact some of my own artwork graces the walls of his projects!) and he has been quoted in the paper discussing the importance for the Gold Coast to develop a more cultural side. Shannon Willoughby followed up on Mr Abedian's Saturday story in the paper (I have NEVER bought the GC Bulletin on a weekday...that must tell you how passionate I am about the subject) today and I wholeheartedly agree, naturally. It starts this way - with intelligent people discussing it..., then next comes the fabulous building (just take a look at the GoMA in BrisVegas!! WOW!)and then down the track, art follows. It might take a few generations but at least the people that are in a position to do something regard art as being a worthwhile pursuit. I will be watching for any developments!

I've moved my painting studio into the garage. it was a move that had to happen as my house was just a mess all the time. The boys didn't mind, but I did. I have erected an elaborate plastic sheeting arrangement to hopefully keep the dust and debris off my work...shall remain to be seen how much dust gets in. I left my newest work (another reflection on the water) done in oil, out in the sun today. What a wonderful thing that was...very dry glaze but quite a number of insects met their demise. I'll upload a photo tomorrow.





God, I want more confidence in my work. I can't even fake it til I make it! I know the better my work gets, the more confidence I'll have, so I just keep on plugging away at it. More painting tomorrow...





I start my B.A. Visual Arts/Art History on the 15th of May and I am gearing up for my exhibition next year. It will coincide with my 40th birthday and will keep me working towards something. Holy Shit...and I am going to Italy and Paris next September so the exhibition will be the beginning of things for me. Now that's faking it til I make it!! Yay!! Go Me!! now back to the books....
see you tomorrow:)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

another day...


another wonderful product from Redbubble. Art postcards!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

more paintings going to the gallery today

all of these are 30cm x 15cm and I am dropping them off at the Kirra Treasured Interiors today and starting work of more. I am working on some to show my art director at the firm I work for...so wish me luck!
xx