Wow, what a brilliant two days in Sydney – thought I had better write another Art Newsletter with my report on the Archibald – and the Wynne Prizes at AGNSW, the workshop I attended on ‘sea still life using ink’ and my new art purchase. I generally pop down to Sydney about once a month to catch up with my mum and this time organised it around activities at the Art Gallery. I had also decided to try to see some work by a rising new young artist, Nicole Kelly.

Alonnah by Nicole Kelly, NGGallery
Alonnah by Nicole Kelly

I first came across her on Instagram (the power of social media!) and was immediately impressed by the freshness of her work, her use of colour – sparing, but effective, and line – some elements of Chinese calligraphy, I think. I knew she had won a Brett Whiteley Scholarship and then in quick succession was a finalist in both the Wynne and Mosman Art Prizes this year.Nicole had recently had an exhibition at NGGallery, so I contacted them and was able to view five of her works at the Carlton Project Space in the newly redeveloped Central Park area opposite UTS (looking fantastic and buzzing, by the way). I bought ‘Alonnah’, an oil landscape which has a sublety and mood which perfectly depicts a quintessential Australian landscape for me.

And then I attended a workshop at the Art Gallery of NSW, of which I am a member. This was one of their regular workshops and run by Brenda Tye the topic – still life of the sea (shells, squid, crab, fish) and the medium, Japanese ink using brushes, sticks, dipping pen. Lots of learning, creating and making friends.

Afterwards I visited the Archibald – always fascinating to see so many faces that you have seen in the media and the ways they are depicted by the artist. I have to say that I totally agree with the judges decision this year – Charles Waterstreet is the standout portrait by Nigel Milsom – stark and almost satanic, it is extraordinary and mesmerising. I also admired the portrait Peter Churcher did of his mother, Betty, as she lay dying and loved the bacchanalian feast scene starring Luke Sciberras.

I just love the Wynne – landscape is a favourite of mine. Loved seeing Nicole Kelly’s work and also Luke Scibberas’ from his tour of Gallipoli for the centenary. Lots of ideas for my students and inspiration for me.

For your diaries, I am running a ‘screen printing for beginners’ workshop on 15th August and my exhibition ‘A Personal Performance in Paint’ opens on 22nd August 6-8pm at Circus Arts, Byron Bay and I have organised a trapeze artist to thrill us with her skill at the party!

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