Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

What does the Australian identity mean today?

The Australian identity has always been unique. We have a very special culture.

During October 2012 the Melbourne festival brings the international art community to Australia to celebrate our iconic culture.

Popular Australian artist Tom Roberts lived in the bush in the early 1900′s and captured the pioneering Aussie spirit.

Celebrating the rural lifestyle he wrote, ‘being in the bush and feeling the delight and fascination of the great pastoral life and work, I have tried to express it.’

Tom Roberts Shearing the Rams Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

‘Shearing the Rams’ (1890) by Tom Roberts. Oil on canvas on composition board
122.4 x 183.3 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Felton Bequest, 1932

The artistic images that represent Australia are deeply embedded in our collective unconscious and stem from a rich bush heritage and the courageous pioneers who shaped our country.

Ranging from the rugged bush to the beautiful coastlines, the Australian identity has always been at the heart of the unique artwork we produce.

Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson wrote poetry romanticising the bush lifestyle, whilst Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton produced cherished paintings of sunlit landscapes and the bushman’s spirit.

Tom Robert’s artwork above expresses a common phrase in Australian folklore. Stating the country ‘was built on the sheep’s back’. Arthur Streeton’s painting below, depicts an Australian landscape which helped build the wool industry.

Wide open spaces characterise our rough and rugged special countryside.

Arthur Streeton The golden fleece Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

‘Land of the Golden Fleece’ (1926) by Arthur Streeton. Oil on canvas, 50.7 x 75.5 cm. National Gallery of Australia, the Oscar Paul Collection, gift of Henriette van Dallwitz

Much of the abstract art I produce and sell to international customers purposefully has an Australian identity underpinning the work. My painting below was sold through the Convent Gallery.

This series has been very popular with customers.

Described as ‘one of Australia’s most beautiful galleries’ it’s located within a small country town of Daylesford and epitomises the Australian country scene.

International visitors appreciate my large abstract paintings because within the context of a country gallery they capture a unique essence of Australia and our cultural identity derived from native gum trees.

The painting below is one of many in my ‘Eucalypt’ series.

Eucalypt painting by Simon Brushfield Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

‘Eucalypt’ (2001) by Simon Brushfield Oil & Acrylic on Canvas 1.8m x 1.4m (Sold: Private Acquisition)

The Melbourne Festival will be holding talks on the topic of the Australian identity. Famous cultural commentators will present lectures at The Wheeler Centre during October 2012. For more information call the Arts Centre Melbourne 1300 182 183 or visit the website
I would love to hear your responses in the comments box below… If you liked this post and want more, just leave your email address in the sign up form below.

Shakespeare’s definition of real friendship

Friends painting by Simon Brushfield Friends Quote 1024x791 Shakespeares definition of real friendship

‘Friends Together’ by Simon Brushfield Original Art, Acrylic on paper 80cm x 60cm
Unframed abstract painting available for sale.

Shakespeare’s definition of friendship encourages genuine growth

For a limited time this original painting is on sale for $1200. If you think this abstract art would look great on your wall at home or the office, just fill out the contact form below and contact Simon to arrange delivery of this beautiful piece of original art.

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© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Shakespeare’s definition of real friendship

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Australian Academy Group Exhibition featuring ‘Happy Couple’ and ‘Lighthouse’ abstract paintings

Clement Meadmore Gallery at the Academy in Melbourne, Australia

A past group exhibition showing some artwork at the Australian Academy of Design in Melbourne Australia. This painting below is called “Happy Couple” and it’s about lovers integrating their unique and sometimes fractured personalities successfully together.

Happy Couple AAD Australian Academy Group Exhibition featuring Happy Couple and Lighthouse abstract paintings

‘Happy Couple’ by Simon Brushfield Oil & Acrylic on canvas 90cm x 90cm For Sale: $2,500

Another piece of my original artwork on show at the Australian Academy in Melbourne Australia. I love lighthouses. They shine light in the dark and help people navigate. At the bottom of the painting, is the lighthouse keepers site residence where, in days gone by, he would permanently live.

Aireys Lighthouse AAD Australian Academy Group Exhibition featuring Happy Couple and Lighthouse abstract paintings

‘Aireys Inlet Lighthouse’ by Simon Brushfield Charcoal, Oil & Acrylic on canvas 90cm x 60cm For Sale: $2,200

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Australian Academy Group Exhibition featuring ‘Happy Couple’ and ‘Lighthouse’ abstract paintings

Buying Art: How to choose the right painting for your home

Buying art can be tricky. This post outlines the most important considerations when choosing a painting for your home. And some mistakes people make when buying art.

Hanging original paintings can dramatically enhance a room. Bad art can horribly destroy a space.

Of course, we all want our homes to look fabulous. But some homeowners really struggle to get the art right when refurbishing, renovating or building their new home. Choosing the right painting for your home is an important decision.

Point 1. This post will help when buying art and help you avoid experiencing any visual awkwardness. It will help you walk into your home, look on the walls and have a pleasant feeling of satisfaction.

“Raw Beauty” painting by Simon Brushfield (2004) Oil & Acrylic on Canvas. Private Acquisition

But some homeowners think they might save on costs by making their own abstract art. I have seen this cheap solution work well. But, I have also seen some horrid artwork hanging on home walls.

Warning: An awful piece of abstract art has the potential to bring a home down to a very low level of aesthetic appeal. It often creates visual awkwardness for inhabitants and visitors alike.

So, if you want to cut corners and go the cheap and nasty route for the walls in your home, then this article is not for you.

But if you want to do things with excellence and purchase the right piece for your wall, then read on.

The following are a list of some common mistakes people make when buying art and furnishing their walls.

  1. Some people think about abstract art, “ Oh, my child could do that ”. So they buy a cheap canvas and paint it themselves. Abstract art created by amateurs has the potential to ruin a room.
  2. Too many cheap option art prints on the walls can make a home look like a poster shop.
  3. Too many ‘happy snap’ photos all different sizes and shapes in no particular order, creates a disorganised messy home.
  4. Some walls are so cluttered with all sorts of kitch artefacts visitors feel visually assaulted, dazed and confused.
  5. Some walls are too bare making the house feel soulless and empty.
  6. Some walls lack visual balance depicting no thought or careful planning.

Point 2. The key to your success in hanging the right painting is firstly, being clear on what art you like. Then figuring out how it can best be displayed in your unique home.

Described as one of the most beautiful galleries in Australia, the Convent Gallery in Daylesford has sold many conceptual paintings of mine to customers with beautiful modern architecturally designed homes. By conceptual paintings, I am referring to an example below titled ‘Red Wine’.

Red Wine 1.4x1 1024x748 Buying Art: How to choose the right painting for your home

‘Red Wine’ by Simon Brushfield (2009) Oil & Acrylic on Canvas 1.8m x 1.4m (Sold Private Acquisition)

These conceptual paintings have been very popular in the past.

Probably because the idea underpinning the art communicates very specific emotions associated with the soulful feelings of drinking red wine. It’s rich character. Symbolic of the deep satisfaction a nice red can give.

Point 3. When buying art, it’s important to align the owner’s character with the character of an original painting and the room.

CASE STUDY: Recently, I completed a large commission for a painting to go into a tennis museum in Tasmania, Australia. The customer had very clear intentions. The personal character of my customer was focussed upon sport. In particular tennis.

During the initial briefing I was told, “Simon, the painting must compliment the cushions in the room”. This was great guidance because it provided a clear direction for the art piece. The finished product not only suited the cushions, but the entire room and museum. The customers were very happy with the final painting (pictured below) because it captured the character of the owners personality, but also the cushions.  In the customers mind, the cushions where people sit, were a major feature of the room.

Final Tennis Museum painting by Simon Brushfield 1024x416 Buying Art: How to choose the right painting for your home

“Tennis in the Skyline” painting by Simon Brushfield (2012) Public Acquisition for Tuckers Tennis Museum, Tasmania Australia

Another example of complimenting the visual décor of a room or architectural space is in my painting below. These abstract works are titled my ‘Eucalypt’ series.

Post-Purchase Tip: Spotlights or track lighting turned onto a painting lifts the room and enhances a piece of art dramatically.

Again, people connect to the concept of my “Eucalypt” paintings. Not only does the colour suit a modern architectural building with polished floorboards, but it also expresses a very unique characteristic of Australia.

Australian Eucalypt II 1024x668 Buying Art: How to choose the right painting for your home

‘Australian Eucalypt II’ by Simon Brushfield (2009) Oil & Acrylic on canvas 1.9m x 1.4m (For Sale $7,000)

When buying art, how do you choose a painting for your home? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below. If you liked this post, leave your email address in the box below and get them delivered directly to your inbox for free.

Fred Williams the master landscape painter of Australia

Fred Williams became enormously successful by remaining faithful to what he loved. This post features one of Australia’s most famous landscape artists.

His paintings were simple abstract works, but they sold for millions of dollars.

Australia’s most celebrated contemporary landscape painter was once a humble, hard working man.

Fred was born in Melbourne Australia in 1927 and died 55 years later of lung cancer. He was Australia’s most famous contemporary landscape painter who began his working career as a shopfitter and boxmaker.

Fred studied art at the National Gallery School in Melbourne and furthered his education in London. Upon returning to Australia he was inspired by the aesthetic beauty of the dry rugged bush landscape .

He faithfully followed this visual direction for the rest of his life.

Fred Williams Upwey Landscape 1965 oil on canvas Fred Williams the master landscape painter of Australia

‘Upwey landscape’ 1965 by Fred Williams Oil on canvas 147 x 183 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Felton Bequest © estate of Fred Williams

Point 1. Follow ones unique visual perspective and be faithful to that special direction.

However, he was isolated from his closest associates namely John Brack, Arthur Boyd and Charles Blackman because of his complete devotion to the unique form and style of his paintings.

Fred Williams developed a very deliberate, purposeful approach to his painting.

An approach opposite to his friend’s expressionist tendencies who pursued a more spontaneous and improvised style of painting. Expressionism was a popular modern art movement during Fred’s lifetime, in which artists sought the emotional experience, rather than a physical depiction of reality.

Point 2. Following your creative path often means you must let go of friends travelling in a different direction.

Fred Williams’ painting titled ‘Upwey Landscape’ completed in 1965 was sold for $1,987,700 at Christie’s during 2006. Then in 2007, another auction house broke their sales record with the Fred Williams’ painting titled ‘Water Ponds’ created in 1965 which sold for $1,860,000.

However, the most expensive artwork sold in Australia during 2009 was another Fred Williams landscape completed in 1965 titled ‘Evening Sky, Upwey’ which sold for $1.38 million.

Despite the record prices what I love most about Fred Williams is the richness he manages to achieve from such simple compositions. The textures he created are symbolic and meaningful to Australian art lovers.

Point 3. Williams creates dramatic contrasts between clean peaceful spaces and complex suggestive textures of earthy Australian colours .

Evening Sky Upwey by Fred Williams Fred Williams the master landscape painter of Australia

‘Evening Sky, Upway’ by Fred Williams 1965 oil on canvas 135 x 130 cm Private collection, Melbourne

The famous Australian artist and contemporary, John Brack, gave a touching eulogy at Williams’ funeral stating, “Fred brought us a new vision of Australia’s landscape…. He changed the way we see our country: an achievement which will live long after all of us are gone.”

Williams recognised that an Australian painter musn’t adopt a European mindset when in the bush landscape. English painters had tried before to paint the Australian landscape like it was England. Not surprisingly, they failed to capture in their paintings, the Australian outback spirit.

Point 4. Natives of the land understand and creatively interpret their homeland with most relevance and insight.

Fred Williams was adamant the Aussie landscape should not be compromised

And needed a non-European artist to produce a distinctly Australian feel . He was successful in his purpose and sold paintings for record prices. Australians could resonate with his contemporary abstract interpretation of their landscape.

Another landscape artist James Gleeson believes Williams to be one of those ‘rare landscapists who, like Drysdale and Nolan, have so imposed their personal visions upon a generation that we tend to see reality through their eyes.’

Point 5. Great works of art create their own reality, first seen through the creator.

He discovered a visual language to express a beautifully unique and spacious landscape only found in Australia. Notably, Williams took inspiration from the native Aboriginals in their traditional colour palette and intimate understanding of the dry harsh motherland.

Do you have any thoughts on this important Australian landscape painter? Please leave a message in the comments box below.
If you’re interested in purchasing an original Brushfield painting, or maybe you would like to commission Simon, please click here .

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Fred Williams the master landscape painter of Australia

CSGallery Melbourne Solo Exhibition by Simon Brushfield: Selected Contemporary Australian Art

CSGallery in Caroline Springs holding Simon Brushfield’s June 2012 art exhibition

I am currently showing my latest abstract artwork on paper and canvas at CS Gallery in Melbourne. The title of the exhibition is ‘Selected Contemporary Australian Art’ and works in the show feature inspiration from my recent travels around the world. I have just returned after 4 years abroad exhibiting, teaching and selling my fine art.

Simon Brushfield’s artwork titled ‘Patience’ acrylic on paper 60cm x 80cm

The local community website “Carloine Springs online” write about the show…

“Residents interested in vibrant and imaginative mixed-media paintings are encouraged to visit CS Gallery, Caroline Springs, to explore an exciting contemporary art exhibition by renowned artist, Simon Brushfield, from 1 – 30 June 2012.” To read comments from the Mayor,

Simon Brushfield’s artwork on exhibition (red painting in the foreground) titled ‘Australia’ acrylic on canvas 1m x 1m

CS Gallery newspaper article about Selected Contemporary Australian Art exhibition in Melbourne

Front cover Brushcorp Fanzine 2012

What is a Fanzine? Well, it can be anything really. But it’s normally an electronic magazine compiling supporter’s comments, clippings, photographs – whatever people want to share. I’ve included recent artwork created for commissions and exhibitions in the recent past, as well as some light hearted entertaining stories related to my art.

Hope you enjoy the publication. Please make a comment below and send me your thoughts, so I can improve the next edition.

Aireys Inlet lighthouse painting – Victoria’s Great Ocean Road

lighthouse painting by simon brushfield Aireys Inlet lighthouse painting   Victorias Great Ocean Road

‘Aireys Lighthouse’ by Simon Brushfield (2004) Acrylic, Oil & Charcoal on canvas. 100cm x 80cm $2200

Fine Art by Simon Brushfield created for an exhibition titled ‘Selected Contemporary Australian Art’. This painting depicts a contemporary version of the Aireys Inlet lighthouse on the great ocean road along the Victorian Coastline.

One of Australia’s most celebrated illustrators Robert Ingpen talks with Simon Brushfield about painting, creativity, illustration, imagination, sport, mythology and his significant contribution to Australian popular culture through the very successful movie and book named ‘Storm Boy’.

Robert Ingpens creative output has been outstanding.

The Australian illustrator has won significant worldwide literature awards, produced best selling books, inspired motion pictures, designed postage stamps, created public murals and even sculpted bronze doors for the Melbourne Cricket Club.

But even with the enormous success of his long lasting artistic career, the frank Robert Ingpen, admits that each day he wakes up uncertain about his future, wondering what might happen. But he assures younger artists contemplating a career in art…

‘it usually does work out….but it takes a lot of hard work’.

Robert has illustrated books for many of the biggest names in world literature including Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain and the popular Australian poet Banjo Patterson. Winning a world-class award for children’s literature referred to as the ‘little Nobel prize’. The Hans Christian Anderson Award in 1986.

He has received an honorary doctorate from RMIT and highlights many significant points of importance to artists embarking on a creative career.

Point One: Mythological figures are essential for a nations cultural identity and the peoples imagination.

Early in his career Ingpen worked for the CSIRO and created a beautiful Land Research Mural at Canberra’s Black Mountain laboratories, now a heritage listed Australian artwork. The large scale piece created in 1963 illustrates procedures used by scientists to observe, understand, and modify the environment to meet increasing demands of modern life.

Another well known fable later made into a hugely successful Australian motion picture was named ‘Storm Boy’. Robert worked with Colin Thiele to create this truly special story that managed to capture the imagination of millions of Australians during the 1970 & 80’s.

During the interview, in relation to past creative projects, Robert discusses the importance for artists to develop a fearless imagination, balanced with practical reality and courage, needed to bring success to the creative individual.

Point Two: To be truly imaginative in art takes fearlessness and courage

Robert has also written and illustrated a children’s book on legendary cricketer Donald Bradman, and the imaginative folk story of the Poppy Kettle. A story, which has helped educate generations of Australian children. The story has even evolved into a special day every year in the academic calendar for primary school children in Geelong called ‘Poppy Kettle Day’.

But aside from Roberts illustrious career and impressive resume, what is most important to me, is understanding the man behind an incredible imagination. The interview displays a deeply thoughtful illustrator, highly creative who maintains a well-balanced stable perspective on life.

Point Three: Artists need a soul-mate and practical interaction with others outside the studio to ensure their sanity.

During the interview Robert offered some wise advice to imaginative professionals. To maintain ones sanity, when an artist spends so much time in the studio in their own imagination, one must find a soul-mate who can help them keep them in touch with reality.

Secondly, to find meaningful work outside the studio is important. Where the artist must interact with others. On this point, Ingpen discusses in the video his enjoyable moments in Australian classrooms with primary school children exploring the human imagination.

If you’re interested in purchasing an original painting, or maybe you would like to commission Simon Brushfield, please click here .

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Creativity: Famous Australian Illustrator talks Art, Creativity and Storm Boy

Park bench Australian Park Bench abstract painting by Simon Brushfield $7,000

‘Park bench’ by Simon Brushfield (2009) Oil & Acrylic on Canvas. Approx 1.9m x 1.6m For Sale $7,000

This large painting by Simon Brushfield celebrates the outdoors lifestyle synonymous with Australians. There are many beautiful parks and gardens located through-out the nation where children play, adults talk over a sausage on the BBQ, singles read books, young people play sport, either cricket or kick the footy with mates. This painting is an abstract interpretation of those special moments in parklands around Australia where people meet and enjoy being together participating in their favourite past time.