Kate Kondakova – Winner of Black Swan Youth Portraiture Prize!

Kate Kondakova with her portrait (right) of Morris Gleitzman

We are extremely proud to announce that Kate has won the Black Swan Youth Portraiture Prize (Year 9 and 10), with her painting of her favourite author, Morris Gleitzman.

Kate has been a MAC student and now works as a teaching assistant for our children’s classes. Congratulations Kate on winning this esteemed portraiture prize!

Kate’s animation work is also being shown in an exhibition at ACMI.

Kate Kondakova, Portrait of Morris Gleitzman, oil on canvas, 2018

Learning to Fly – Marco Corsini’s upcoming exhibition

Exhibition dates: 4 – 17 April

Opening: 6 April 6pm – 9pm

Location: Brunswick Street Gallery

I began to reflect on the King River as a source. Its river stone beds and shallow streams, sometimes bubbling around arrangements of boulders, sometimes disappearing into deep, dark, still waters, which had never been beautiful to me when growing up and I had never thought of its significance in our lives beyond its supply of water. The river as a source which had branded a primordial sense of dependency and intimacy within me over my half lifetime. The river that constantly flowed, had always flowed, will always flow. The river that bound us around itself and preserved us. I slowly connected to the idea of source and slowly felt that my own dependency on this source was being revealed. That I had felt a need for years now, to constantly return to this source. I began to connect with the notion of origin and that just as I sat on the banks of this river or swam or drank from it, all I could ever do was draw close to it, to be within in, return to it. I had to return to this river. I have always returned to the King River.

From, Returning to the river, Marco Corsini, 2016

Marco Corsini’s paintings feature the landscape and his immediate environment. Using shifts in viewpoint and perspective and often painted over extended periods of time, the works explore perception and the nature of painting as a recorder of experience rather than as a representative tool. Alongside a phenomenological interest in consciousness and experience, Corsini’s work also incorporates personal motifs such as the horse, indicating the artist’s own presence. The paintings explore perception and subjectivity, asking us to go beyond everyday discourse into deeper engagement with the nature of our existence.

Originally published on Thursday, 29 March, 2018 by Marco Corsini

Getting the attention of your crush in 1908

As February is the month of love, we thought it would be appropriate to feature one of the most romantic and sensual paintings in history – The Kiss (Lovers), by Gustav Klimt.

Before Klimt’s gold period (during which The Kiss was painted), Klimt painted for the State, with his work being hugely acclaimed by officialdom. These works were academic and traditional in style. One of his most famous earlier works is the ceiling painting in the Burgtheater in Vienna. Measuring 7.5m by 4m, this incredible work depicts the Greek theatre in Taormina. Everything in this painting is meticulously described and observed; the majestic building forms the backdrop to the foreground where a woman is performing. Klimt, in partnership with his brother Ernst and their friend Franz Match (eventually disbanded), decorated theatres throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and much of their work can still be seen today.

Theater in Taormina, Gustav Klimt, oil on marble, 1886-8

In his 30s he was cast out as a rebel after the scandal surrounding his paintings for the University of Vienna; large-scale ceiling paintings including motifs of Medicine, Jurisprudence, and Philosophy. Klimt did not adhere to his conservative-historical painting style and was asked repeatedly to rework the paintings. He liked to quote the poet, Friedrich Von Schiller (1759-1805), “If you cannot please everyone through your actions or your artwork, then please the few. To please the multitude is bad.”  Unfortunately, together with many other works by Klimt, the paintings were destroyed in a fire set by the retreating German army during the last days of war.

During this period, Klimt’s reputation transformed and his artistic person reinvented. He became the first President of the Vienna Succession, also known as the Union of Austrian Artists, with a vision to end the the distinctions in considering some art to be superior to others.

Kilmt travelled to Ravenna in 1903 and saw the Byzantine mosaics in the Basilica of San Vital for the first time. Witnessing the rich, vivid mosaics and the power of their beauty was a turning point in Klimt’s art practice, and saw the creation of The Kiss.

It has been speculated that this masterpiece had a personal agenda for the artist. It is claimed that the woman featured is Emilie Floge, fashion entrepreneur, long-time friend of Klimt’s and his sister-in-law. A sketchbook was discovered in 1917 containing preparatory sketches of The Kiss, with “Emilie” written in big letters beside them. There was controversy surrounding the platonic nature of their relationship, as Klimt kept his personal life out of the public eye. When he collapsed, suffering a stroke (which led to his death) in 1918, his first words were “Fetch Midi” (his name for Emily).

This incredibly beautiful painting, at 180cm x 180cm, shows their intense love transporting them into their own world, oblivious of their surroundings. The woman, beautiful, serene and passive, like most women in Klimt’s work, softly touches the hand that is embracing her so lovingly. This painting is unlike his many erotic drawings and paintings of couples; the embrace is much more loving than overtly sensual.

The Kiss (Lovers), Gustav Klimt, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 1907–1908

 

Written by Lauren Ottaway

Students’ work from our Abstract Painting Workshop

Marco ran an Abstract Painting Course over the long weekend.

Over seven hours, students explored colour theory, conceptual elements, tone, colour and composition in an artwork.

Students were given a number of ways to approach abstraction by looking for compositional ideas and manipulate shapes and forms. They began by creating collages using images from magazines, cut up paper, or by drawing from life using Still Life. These collages were then used to create the composition on their canvas.

This course provided a unique opportunity to explore abstraction and different compositional elements of an artwork. Take a look below at the incredible work that was produced during the workshop!

Below are the initial abstract concepts:

And here are the final works:

If you would like to join our next Abstract Painting Workshop, visit our course page and join our waiting list!

Fractured Dwellings: Rosi Griffin

Paintings that describe fragmented domestic spaces populated with disintegrating walls, are timely. They come when the industrial spaces around Rosi Griffin’s Collingwood studio are rapidly transforming with new developments continually springing up for a swelling inner city population. They come at a time when massive rises in Australian house prices have turned property development and residential renovation into a national sport when glossy magazine style layouts of idealised domestic spaces cloud our image of that the home has been for most of us.

Fragmented Dwelling, Rosi Griffin, acrylic on canvas, 122x91cm

The paintings, Fragmented Dwelling and Urban Transformation, describe this time as the disintegration of the domestic space. Not only is the possibility of ownership becoming more remote for emerging generations but for those that have a home, the domestic space is now set in the context of surrounding development and unattainable images of perfection. The domestic space is being threatened on many levels as materialistic impulses cloud out communal and familial impulses. The stability and viability of that space is being torn, dislocated and shredded like the walls in these paintings. We can no longer claim to be escaping the slums, as Modernism claimed almost century ago, rather, it is now all for the sake of the new and the ideal as dictated by fake images of domestic perfection.

Urban Transformation, Rosi Griffin, mixed media on board, 60x50cm

Walls create a space that not only protect, but also provide a known place, and in that place gradually builds a narrative of belonging. The experience of a neighbourhood, the identification with a place are held by familiar walls. The walls of our home, the walls of our streets, are pages on which our stories are written. Without them we fall into a a perpetual present with no past, perpetual change eroding a language of belonging. Language of home gradually disintegrates and becomes abstracted until all that we have in its place are traces of memory of what was. As in Build after demolition, we no longer have identifiable walls, just the trace of walls that define a present space with no history and no story. Edges without containment and protection.

Build after demolition, Rosi Griffin, acrylic on canvas, 112x140cm

Opening Friday 2 June, 6 pm to 8 pm at St Heliers Street Gallery, Abbotsford Covent, 1 St Heliers Lane, Abbotsford.

Written by Marco Corsini

Vincent Van Gogh’s works at the NGV

Over the three months that Melbourne is home to an awe-inspiring collection of Van Gogh’s works spanning his life and representative of the seasons through which he viewed and painted the world, we will be taking a closer look at some of his works at the NGV.

Avenue of Poplars in Autumn, 1884, Vincent Van Gogh, oil on canvas, 

In October 1884, Van Gogh sent a letter to his brother Theo, along with some small photos of his recent works, so that Theo (who was an art dealer) would have something to show of his work, if the opportunity arose. In the letter, he described Avenue of Poplars in Autumn as “The last thing I made is a rather large study of an avenue of poplars, with yellow autumn leaves, the sun casting, here and there, sparkling spots on the fallen leaves on the ground, alternating with the long shadows of the stems. At the end of the road is a small cottage, and over it all the blue sky through the autumn leaves.”[1]

From this passionate and intricate description alone, you can get a real sense of Van Gogh’s love for Autumn. It was his favourite season, and he wrote in 1882, “I sometimes yearn for a country where it would always be autumn, but then we’d have no snow and no apple blossom and no corn and stubble fields.” [2]

Van Gogh was living back with his parents in Nuenen, in Norther Brabant, at the time he painted this work. A few months earlier he had been living alone in northern Netherlands, and, driven by loneliness, moved back to his parents’ house. Van Gogh was drawing and painting fervently at the time and the darkness in this image would carry through to his future work.

He began painting in oils in the early 1880s and really enjoyed the medium. You can see the liberal application of the paint in the details of the textured lines used to create the tall poplars and the woman in the foreground. The vibrant Autumn colours and soft graduated sky, combined with the tall, dark shadows, create an undisputable feeling of the season – something which Van Gogh, over his short ten-year career, translated onto the canvas with genius.

The melancholic interpretation of the painting inspired author Greg Bogarerts to write Avenue of Poplars in Autumn, a tragic story of the lone figure in the painting.

[1] [2] Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written late October 1884 in Nuenen.

Written by Lauren Ottaway.

 

 

Still life and life model paintings from Term 4

We had our talented regulars, plus a few new faces in our Painting Course this Term, and it was a fantastic class. Hilmi’s teaching is based on traditional oil painting techniques, using elements of Flemish painting with a contemporary adaptation.

This term they painted from still life for four sessions, and from a life model for five. Take a look at their brilliant work below!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hilmi will be running his Painting Course for Term 1 on Saturday afternoons from February 4th. You can read more about it and enrol here: https://melbourneartclass.com/painting-with-hilmi-baskurt/

We did not receive everyone’s work – so if you do not see your paintings and would like them to be published on our blog and online gallery, please sent them to Lauren at hub@melbourneartclass.com!

Children and art

The assimilation of new techniques into children’s art work.

I have returned to teaching a children’s class after two years focused upon developing the adults’ classes.

I came into this new children’s class with the intention of introducing some elements of ‘atelier’ or ‘academic’ style training for the children. This is the methodology that many of the adults who have attended our classes would be familiar with, that enables us to rigorously teach technique.

Whilst I intended to introduce the same elements as in our adult’s classes, those of you that know me, will know that I am heavily influenced by Steiner and Montessori educational philosophies. These philosophies emphasise intrinsic self motivation (self motivation), creativity and the natural rhythm of child’s development. Whilst these philosophies are not completely incompatible with the style of training I wanted to introduce, it certainly gives me a lot to consider as a teacher.

We have had our first two classes for the term and the results, in fact, the way in which the first week’s instruction was absorbed then reappeared, fully integrated into the second week’s work has left me speechless. Perhaps these children are just incredibly talented, but somehow, they have taken in the new techniques and used them to produce work which incorporates those techniques into their own powerfully iconographic style. The three examples below by Taku, Chloe and Tyla display a far more individual approach than I would commonly see in adults, yet all have used the techniques of constructing a sphere and use of tone that I had shown them the week before.  They do this while still maintaining an aesthetic integrity; the work holds together as personal statement. The new techniques have been subsumed to the personal visual logic each child individually consistently maintains.

Taku, charcoal on paper, 2016
Taku, charcoal on paper, 2016
Chloe, charcoal on paper. 2016
Chloe, charcoal on paper. 2016
Tyra, charcoal on paper, 2016
Tyra, charcoal on paper, 2016

On the basis of these works, it seems that it is possible to teach technique to children without restricting their creative or personal expression. Taku, for example, maintains a powerful expressive line and an arresting visual impact over the foundation of the structural approach he had been shown. Chloe has a whimsical play with the line of the structural drawing. With the interplay of line and the rubbing of the charcoal, the groups of objects all merge into one whole, showing an interplay of relationships between objects. Tyra also uses value, or tone in a powerful way, inventing value for visual impact (the shadow wasn’t present in the arrangement she was drawing from).

I realise that while teaching what is essentially a limiting process to the children, I shouldn’t limit the children’s other visual processes and iconographies. The purpose of restricting would be to show the assimilation of the technique I am teaching more clearly. The problem being that by restricting other information children use in the image, I may be sending the message that other forms of expression aside from that being taught are are wrong. The eventual casualty of such an approach being the death of creativity, exploration and intrinsic learning.

For the age group in my class, (9 – 12 year olds), it seems I can teach technique and that the child experiences an adaption of the new technique into an existing canon of technique, creativity and visual language rather than a weeding out of those pre-existing elements. In so doing, they maintain their ability for powerful personal expression.

I’m very much looking forward to the work that is to come.

Written by: Marco Corsini

Teacher of our 8 to 14 year old’s Children’s Art Class

Talking yourself in and out of creating art

When we were kids, creating was a full-time job. Through creativity we learnt, laughed and lived. And although it is cliché, it doesn’t make it any less of a truth – as we get older, we become less creative. However, this innate desire to create never leaves us. We’ve just forgotten about it, or we have changed the way we think about it.

Art and creative expression is something that everyone is capable of.

One of the biggest creative blocks is the self. The phrase I hear so often and that irks me the most is, ‘I wish I could (draw)’. You can! Everyone can! The only thing stopping us are our thoughts that are telling us we can’t. We need to be mindful of how we are talking to ourselves and try not to get carried away with our inner bully. Unfortunately, our inner bully does not get along with creativity, and it is important – in all aspects of life – to learn how to dim the negative chatter.

If you have not created in a long time, actively creative people can be intimidating, which is a sure-fire way to talk yourself out of creating. It is easy to scroll through Instagram and think, ‘I couldn’t draw that. I will never learn how to paint like that. I can never be that good.’ Unfortunately, someone else’s creativity can sometimes trigger envy or frustration within us for various reasons, not joy for the person’s achievement or motivation for our own work. Instead of running with these negative feelings, we should put that energy into… you guessed it – creating.

Don’t judge your creativity

Don’t stop after one unsatisfactory attempt, because giving up is the only sure way to fail. It is so easy to stop doing something if you feel it is too difficult, or if you’re not good at it straight away. You wouldn’t tell a child that their drawing is terrible, and that there is no point in continuing. Be kind to yourself! When you stop judging your work you will begin to enjoy the process – and isn’t that what it’s all about?

There is also a lot to be said about being silly. Have fun with your creativity – just because we’re a little older doesn’t mean we can’t be silly! Drip the paint on in globs. Get it all over your fingers. Do that silly sketch of the cat in the laundry basket. Scribble. Laugh. Throw paper-mâché. And most importantly, relax and enjoy yourself.

Buy some materials, or give some attention to your old tools – then use them

Crisp, shiny, new materials can inspire you to get creative. And if you cannot afford new materials, then clean, sharpen, rearrange and colour-coordinate your current supplies. You will need to fight the many excuses that will come up – why you cannot spare ten minutes using these new materials to do a drawing of the guy you saw sleeping on the train today. Or that your desk is too messy to even begin a drawing. Or that you don’t have the right materials for the work. Fight all your resistance to create, and just do it. It will feel great.pastels

Disconnect from your devices

It’s great to use apps for inspiration – but it is also very easy to become lost. A few minutes of scrolling can turn into an evening. When we claim we do not have enough time to create – take a look at how much time is eaten up by mindless scrolling. Try to disconnect just one day per week and spend some time being creative.

Take a class

Creativity is what we nurture here at Melbourne Art Class. We have a lot of beginners’ courses in the hope to inspire people to revisit and explore their creativity. If you are in a bit of a creative funk, classes can really help pull you out of it. They create an opportunity for you to create in a group environment, which is difficult to do on your own when you are lacking motivation. Attending a regular class with like-minded creative people changes the way you think for an extended period of time, which is significant because most of us have our home brain and our work brain. Schedule two and a half hours in a creative environment into your work week, and I can guarantee it will lift you.

Allow yourself to be creative

You may have noticed that I have said we need to “allow” ourselves to be creative. This may sound strange, because we didn’t have to do that when we were kids. We just did it. As an adult however, there are so many things blocking us from being creative. It is important to remember that we can still be – and need to be creative.

Have you noticed, that when you allow yourself to be creative:

Your thoughts become quieter.
Time stops,
or extends,
or doesn’t even matter.
You are in flow.

And being in flow is undoubtedly one of the best feelings in the world.

If we allow ourselves to create, without judgement, it will bring something new and create a lightness in our lives. We need to allow ourselves to spend time on things that may not have a monetary outcome – or a defined outcome at all. That can be a little scary in the adult world. Though there really is nothing to lose – after all, we were born to do what we love.

Come and create with us at Melbourne Art Class! Check out our courses here – they are open to all skill levels and creative types! We look forward to creating with you soon!

Written by Lauren Ottaway

Still Life works from Term Two!

This first half of Hilmi’s Painting Class for Term Two focused on one composition with different Still Life objects, and we are so proud of the works they produced.

The class is focusing on oil painting techniques, with students encouraged to develop an understanding and technical proficiency in painting using a classical approach modified for contemporary use; using some of the elements of Flemish Painting technique a faster contemporary, approach. You can see their incredible progress here. The first image is the underpainting, and the second is their final work.

Jane, oil on cavnas
Jane, oil on cavnas
Jane, oil on canvas
Jane, oil on canvas
Jill, oil on canvas
Jill, oil on canvas
Jill, oil on canvas
Jill, oil on canvas
Megan, oil on canvas
Megan, oil on canvas
Megan, oil on cavas
Megan, oil on cavas
Robyn, oil on cavnas
Robyn, oil on canvas
Robyn, oil on canvas
Robyn, oil on canvas
Vivian, oil on canvas
Vivian, oil on canvas
Vivian, oil on canvas
Vivian, oil on canvas
David, oil on canvas
David, oil on canvas
David, oil on canvas
David, oil on canvas
Ivana, oil on canvas
Ivana, oil on canvas
Ivana, oil on canvas
Ivana, oil on canvas
Ilma, oil on canvas
Ilma, oil on canvas
Ilma, oil on cavnas
Ilma, oil on cavnas
Anh, oil on canvas
Anh, oil on canvas
Anh, oil on cavnas
Anh, oil on cavnas

During the second half of the term they are working on painting a Life Model – we are looking forward to seeing what our talented students produce!