Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hiding Places Exhibition Album Published !

The much anticipated documentation of Hiding Places has been published today and can be viewed in the right column of this blog. Double click on the slide show to be taken on a tour of the Lockup cells which were transformed into a series of Hiding Places during the July Exhibition at The Lockup Cultural Centre Newcastle.

Beginning with the Raspberry Serpent Den you will notice polka tongues are playfully licking at the floor, are they spitting out fur balls ? Or laying soft pastel eggs ? You can decide.
Secondly, the imagination is taken into the Cloud Room,  where the painting Clouded Desire is the feature piece. Dive into its seductive powder blue hues if you dare.
Across the other side of the cell block is the pink chamber of cakes, a luscious landscape in plush and paint that offers a window out into another world.
Finally, the ever changing glow of the powder puff will entice you into the last cell: Drive in Movie.
Feature sculptures like Marilyn will have you transfixed with her elegant chiffon and sexy black rubber.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Group Show

This Friday the 29th of November is NANA'S Debut and to help NANA celebrate my work will be exhibited as part of the debut showcase.

 Local artists and special guest performers will join forces to launch this exciting new contemporary art space in Newcastle. Along with music, tasty treats, bubbles and fine company the night promises to be more dazzling than your average debutant ball.

Friday 29 November 2013
6 - 8pm
NANA contemporary art space
The Emporium
Hunter st Mall Newcastle

Exhibition continues to the 7th December 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Introducing NANA a new contemporary art space in Newcastle NSW Australia. Foundered by artists for artists it is the joint creative project of Madeleine Cruise and Jacqueline Larcombe. 

NANA is a not for profit organisation that provides cost effective opportunities to emerging artists in an inclusive and stimulating environment. Together with artists, performers, writers and designers from across Australia and beyond, NANA is invigorating the creative art scene in Newcastle and launching itself as a location for experimentation, collaboration and critical dialogue. 

NANA is located in the unique interior of the historic Scotts Department Store, built in the 1890s. The building was taken over by David Jones in 1958 and continued trading up until early 2011.  Reinvented as a centre for local artisans and designers, the building currently operates as The Emporium.  

NANA encourages a playful interaction with its commercial history and its alternative shopping experience of today.  The grand spatial ambitions of the buildings 19th century architecture complements NANA'S ambitions to be wonderful iconic space for contemporary art in Newcastle.

Regular Trading Hours :

Thur 10 - 6
Fri 10 - 5
Sat 10 - 4

December / Xmas period:

Wed 10 - 5
Thur 10 - 6
Fri 10 - 5
Sat 10 - 4

Contact :

Madeleine Cruise and Jacqueline Larcombe

Paintings from a European Summer: The Seine

The thing about Paris is it is every bit the cliche, not the dry stuffy sort but rather the guilty pleasure. Which one soon realises the Parisians do not confess too but enjoy in style - and so too should any visitor to Paris. For it is a lustrous city whose every decadent whim is accounted for: The flying butresses of Notre Dame, the golden lamposts in Place de la Concord, the reclining chairs by the pond in the Garden Tuileries, the availability of croissants on every corner at almost any hour and of course, most significantly there is the Palace for Art, The Louvre. 

This extravagent building with its enormous collection of art best summasises my impression of Paris. For it represents a city that not only celebrates art but highly regards it. It is of the city and of the people and you can feel it. Like bread is to the French so is art in all its manifestations. 

Perhaps this is why it was difficult for me to apprehend my time in Paris and even more confronting to take pictures and make drawings. It was beautiful and it was the origin of so many revered momets in art and history. As a young  romantic artist it was a much anticipated city.

 I was fortunate then to spendthree luxurious weeks there, in fine company and with a room of ones own. Given time to enjoy Paris on a day to day basis the culture shock settled, most noticably in my stomach. For I realised the most important way to become accustomed to Parisian life is through food. And so my friends and I ate our way through Paris, with a map and a picnic basket. My most treasured possession came to be my opinel knife that we used to slice through copious amounts of camembert, usually whilst reclining on a lawn. 

On one such day our picnic was by the Seine. It was an unusually hot Summers day and despite our weariness Naomi  had Hilary and I on a quest to find an ideal view. Eventually we settled on the location depicted in my drawing. Feet dangling over the sandstone edge we watched as thin barges motored down the river whilst eating baguette, cheese, tapenades and fruits. 

I remember completing this drawing and feeling more connected to my surroundings. To be of the moment is a very powerful experience and sometimes hard to comprehend. I am fortunate to have the ability and inclination to paint and draw through these moments, an act that will always remain far more instinctual and emotive for my rational brain to translate. When I look back on these works I can reconnect with an emotion that I never could never achieve with a photo. Everything from the weight of a line to a gesture in paint carries significance. 

Over time this image will mean more to me, not because of nostalgia but because my experience of Paris is something I am still understanding, given distance. For me it is not a destination city but a mind set, a system of values and a way of life. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Utilising the Safest courier in town

I live a fairly modest life as an artist and so do my paintings. Today 'High Score' enjoys a commute into the art gallery with all the other locals. No need for a fancy courier when there is cityrail. Lets just hope that the drunks who are bellowing on the platform with us don't take inspiration from our company and splash beer on the canvas. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

One of the selected

My painting Newcastle Port Traffic has been selected for this local Show at Cooks Hill Gallery.
You can keep an eye on the selected works by following the Galleries Facebook page where details will be listed soon as to how to vote for the people's choice art prize.

For more information about Cooks Hill Gallery:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A painting creates an illusion of an eternal  present, a place where my eyes can rest as if the clock has magically stopped ticking.

Siri Hustvedt, Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting, 2005.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Escape from Hiding

Coming Soon: Images and tales from the July exhibition Hiding Places.

To wet your appetite...... Raspberry Serpents

Monday, October 14, 2013

Paintings from a European Summer

I have recently returned to Australia from a European Summer of painting and discovery. Over the past three months I have travelled through France, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Immersing myself in new landscapes and absorbing the fragrances, colours, flavours and values of a diverse number of cultures. Partaking in a 'friend pilgrimage' of sorts, I had the privilege of reuniting with old  friends in Paris, London, Munich and Chur. With whom I gained an intimate knowledge of their cultural identity and forged ever stronger relationships. My love for history and landscape also guided my travel route, taking me to the origin of some of my favourite paintings. In places like Holland and the south of France I gained a greater appreciation for the context of revered artworks and the careers of those famous artists who have been like absent friends to me during my years of study. 

And so I will begin by sharing a watercolour and pencil work made during my time in Arles.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Winner !

Newcastle Port Traffic was the Winner of the 2013 Young Artist's Prize at the Bowral District Art Society.
Local Artist and Judge of the prize, Carlos Barrios published these comments:

"I have chosen this piece because, as a painter it vibrates with my soul and my own way to express art. I like the application of paint, palette of colours and the fearlessness and passion. We must risk all."

Carlos currently has a show at Barry Stern Galleries Sydney and you can see his work  at

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Anticipation in the streets

With the exhibition 'Hiding Spaces' set to be unveiled in under a month an eager audience has started arriving in town. Hungry and homeless they are literally climbing the walls of Newcastle with excitement. Meet my biggest fans and keep track of their movements leading up to opening night. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Announcement of Solo Show !

This July I will be presenting 'Hiding Places' a very special exhibition in the unique location of the Newcastle Lock Up. 

Inspired by forgotten stories and the shadows that animate lonely spaces I have created a new series of works that are relevent to both the history of The Lock Up and my present day experience of Newcastle City. This is a wonderful exhibition opportunity for my mixed media works where their rubbery, fury, colouful limbs have finally found a home that is suitably dark, provocative and atmosheric.

Opening Night Thursday 4th July 2013
Exhibition continues to 22nd July 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Strange Awakenings

Winter has descended and fog skims the surface of the Newcastle Harbour. The city is eery and cold but there is a hum of energy, a quiet murmur, a distant howl. Whilst people may have vacated the outdoors for the comfort of their couches, a new community has moved in and is enlivening the abandoned space. They are an unusual bunch of feathers, teeth and horns, that lick the paint stripped walls of the city and trip you over as you turn a corner. They are transient and inconspicuous and have come to town to catch you when you least expect it !

Keep your eyes out at:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Works on Paper

White Wash
Gouache, charcoal, collage on paper
50x40cm 2013

In preparation for the the Works On Paper Competition at the Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery I have a completed a new series of collage, gouache and charcoal works. The series consists of four pieces  that reflect on the working  industrial harbour of Newcastle and is a result of twelve months of work. Earlier sketches have been cut up and reconfigured with new gouache paintings so as to make layered collages. The compositions are loosely based on the  landscape with figure ground relationships between stormy skies and turbulent ocean, fishing trawlers, smoke stacks and freight ships.  Abstract planes of colour are incorporated too, so as to challenge the depth of field whilst meditating on the palette that dominates the industrial environment. Yellow  is a reoccurring colour that can be located on the hulls of ships. the sandy beaches and on the backs of high visibility of workers. Most notable is Ship Entering The Port that uses a yellow panel like a flat piece of signage that simultaneously seeps into the ocean of the composition. In contrast, works like White Wash, are more narrative driven and use shapes like characters that are playing a game of hovercraft on the surface. The technique of cut and paste isolates the shapes and creates a fun contrast that offers a sense of comic relief to the sometimes austere industrial landscape.
Stay tuned to find out if any of the series have been selected as a finalist !

This series can be viewed in the En Plein Air album located on the right column of this blog page.

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Work

Newcastle Port Traffic 
Acrylic on canvas 120x140cm 2013

Newcastle Port Traffic is my most recent new work. Developed unintentionally after I resurrected a worn out canvas from the shed, it speaks very honestly of my visual experience in my current city. As a cyclist I observe the world around me in a frequent and often fleeting manner and whilst colours and patterns often catch my eye they are quickly replaced by new material on a daily basis. The manner in which I gather material is directly related to my everyday life and as more weeks pass the greater the layers of information in my brain. The layers are dense in my personal store so that when it comes time to paint, I imagine there is a deep excavation of memory that occurs in my brain. It always surprises me what happens in the studio, I paint quite freely and wait to see what my brush directs me to do. This is both an elating and doubtful process where I feel vulnerable and without control, but can ultimately be very amazed and affirmed. I liken this creative process to wandering blindfolded in the bush, arms out stretched and touching interesting branches and smelling beautiful fragrances but without a conscious path or idea of the destination. I am beginning to understand that growing up for me is figuring out how to inhabit this place without despair, for it is an experience that extends out of the studio into other parts of my life too. I have a condition that affects my outlook on many things, including my job and sometimes relationships. However, a good friend of mine recently told me that I am very good at inhabiting the present and I liked that because it seems like a good coping mechanism and a guarantee that I won't miss the fleeting or obscure inspiration that is right under my nose.

With Newcastle Port Traffic I have most recently entered the Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship and The Churchie Emerging Art Award. Whilst entering competitions remain a frequent job that rarely deliver any results I hope that posting my entries on this blog is a way to mark the effort and share a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Renew Newcastle Studio

At long last I have secured a new studio in Newcastle as a participant of Renew Newcastle .

I was motivated to become in involved with Renew Newcastle as a means to secure a work space outside of the home, somewhere personal and devoted entirely to my professional practice. I was also enthusiastic to become more active in my community and interact with other artists. Ironically I am becoming acquainted with the business sector of Newcastle, as I frequent my studio that is located in the CBD. The building itself is a disused office block that is an unusual expression of the commercial world, with a residue of efficiency in the elevator and ramps. I don’t quite feel like I am entering an art studio until I get to my ‘office’ and find fabric and pens sprawled all over the fire proof carpet. I like that being involved in Renew Newcastle has exposed me to another side of Newcastle and I like to imagine that the contrast of my surroundings will inspire a ‘counter attack’ of frivolity and self expression.

Whilst in the studio I am working on a new collection of textile works that will form part of a mid year exhibition at The Lockup Cultural Centre Newcastle. I am generating an imaginative series of sculptures that are suggestively monster like.  My research for this project is based on the abandoned spaces in Newcastle and my desire to animate them with imaginary creatures.  As I sew provocative and tactile work I am creating an alternate story to the quiet melancholia of Newcastle and activating the energy of the city.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Big Draw - a review

With success of The Big Draw and the documentation complete I have installed a new album at the bottom of this blog to share the results of the event. I found the day surprisingly fulfilling as I was reminded of the importance of art as a communication tool and the value of the artist in society.

I was lucky enough to be paid for my work at the festival and it was very gratifying to feel my efforts and passion appreciated in a broader community. As an artist who often works indoors and alone it was  wonderful to be outside, without barriers and sharing the experience with others, strangers at that. Not only was it empowereing for me as a professional artist I appreciated the enjoyment that the activity gave to adults and children - I watched as eager eyes accepted my paint brushes and hands and minds set about imagining colourful food.

The day reaquainted me with the positive role that art plays in indivuals lives and for a community. Civic Park was unusually active and colourful, there was music and enthusiansm - something that doesn't often happen in the city of Newcastle except around Australia day or on a Friday night outside the King Street Hotel - which are usually exclusive events. Instead a community was unified for a free event and minds were given the freedom of possiblity so as to imagine with charcoal, paint, collage and water. I only wish that this optimism could remain beyond a single day event and that as adults we could approach more days of the week with the same sense of play and excitement that I witnessed during the festival.

In the future I would like to see the Big Draw planned so as to accomodate the practices of professional artists, this year the event's main participants were children under 12. A Big Draw that showcased the works of professional artists and accomodated events for adults would be a more inclusive day and further the positive example that art sets. It would be optimistic to imagine that an arts festival could reach beyond a day or a craft activity but inspire future careers and continue to support existing artists in the community.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Paint picnic in process

The favourite picnic foods have been revealed: pizza, fruits and ice team !

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One more sleep !
The Canvas picnic rug is primed, paint mixed and charcoal sharpened !
See you tomorrow !

Monday, January 21, 2013

Come Paint a picnic !

What is your favourite picnic food ? Roast chicken, a wheel of cheese, watermelon or a pavlova ?

Please join me in pondering that tasty question as part of my Big Draw Festival program: Picnic in the Park. Between 10am and 4pm on the 25th of January a giant canvas rug will be layed on the lawn of Civic Park where I am inviting people of all ages to come share a visual feast as we paint and draw a delicious picnic.

Whilst in town you can also particpate in other exciting drawing activities that are being held all day as part of the Big Draw Festival. All the events are being presented by local artists and community organisations and it is a great opportunity to support and enjoy the arts in your city.