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

Clement Meadmore Gallery at the Academy in Melbourne, Australia

I’m currrently showing some work in a group exhibition 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 painting exhibited at the Australian Academy of Design group exhibition

Another piece of my artwork on show in a group exhibition 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 exhibited at the Australian Academy of Design group exhibition

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Andy Warhol’s secret to selling paintings for $37million

The creative spirit is uncontrollable.

And mysterious.

Andy Warhol had an unpredictable creative spirit.

Warhol self portrait 1022x1024 Andy Warhols secret to selling paintings for $37million

Andy Warhol. Self-Portrait. 1986. Mugrabi Collection. ©2010 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso were both mysterious, and amazingly powerful creative artists.

When ask by a journalist about his intriguing personality Warhol simply replied,

“I’d like to be a machine, wouldn’t you?”

Ironically, both Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso were brilliant at controlling the media and their own creative universe.

Their unique creative power gave followers security and enabled them to sell original art for incredible prices.

Through out the history of mankind outspoken passionate artists have led and challenged society, with their mysterious ways.

Point 1. Andy Warhol realized it pays extremely well to create an element of mystery around your original art.

Powerful creative visionaries like Picasso and Warhol challenged society by their indomitable creative strength. Their creative spirit sought freedom and refused to be controlled.

Wisdom painting by Simon Brushfield Andy Warhols secret to selling paintings for $37million

‘Wise Old Man’ (1998) by Simon Brushfield. Charcoal & Acrylic on Card 50cm x 35cm Unframed

Andy Warhol was a man of powerful creative vision.

Strong willed and mysterious. He was a very competent businessman adept at brand building and social media networking for his time.

Andy Warhol’s contemporary art created great excitement and incredible media attention.

People didn’t understand him. But they desperately tried.

Point 2: Andy Warhol manufactured a personality and style of art that promoted the mysterious. He was a master at creating intrigue.

Warhol was different. People tried to corner him, but failed every time.

His paintings of celebrities were insightful and propelled him to high status.

andy warhol painting of Elvis Andy Warhols secret to selling paintings for $37million

‘Double Elvis [Ferus Type]‘ by Andy Warhol (1963) Silkscreen

An uncontrollable nature pays handsomely.

The silkscreen painting above was sold in May 2012 for $37 million.

Warhol’s artwork and physical presence at events created electricity.

The mysterious nature of creativity produced unprecedented success for Andy Warhol.

So what makes some visionary figures so incredibly powerful?

Final Point: Behind the glamorous high profile worldly image, Andy enjoyed a devoted and extremely private spiritual life.

Warhol grew up a faithful Catholic. He maintained a strong commitment to Jesus Christ which gave him wisdom, strength and personal inspiration.

His faith most certainly helped Andy keep important balance in the high profile glamorous world of pop art.

Very few people knew this about Andy.

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Andy Warhols secret to selling paintings

How to Understand Modern Art

This modern art post will help you understand the origins of abstract creative thinking.

It will give you greater confidence to evaluate and feel comfortable understanding weird modern art.

Below, I broadly outline the development of abstract art and conclude with reflections and examples on how modern art relates specifically to our time.

But here’s the main point of the article….

Point 1. Modern art helps create freedom for people by challenging conventional thinking

fountain 1917 866x1024 How to Understand Modern Art

‘Fountain’ sculpture created in 1917 by Marcel Duchamp. The work presented an enormous challenge to conventional thinking about what exactly is art?

In our instantly accessible modern era, digital photography is taken for granted. It’s difficult to imagine in previous generations photography once didn’t exist.

Painting and drawing was once the only way to capture and record real life. People believed the best art must look real.

Point 2. Therefore, master artists like Rembrandt or Rubens were greatly admired in high Renaissance society.

The intricate detail of horses in battle and aristocratic portraits of noble kings and queens were only accessible by the wealthy class. The gap between the rich and poor was enormous.

In contrast to the instantly accessible digital photography of today, creating a realistic painting during the Renaissance was extremely time consuming and very expensive.

But the industrial revolution and modernist thinking changed everything.

Photography developed. And the printing press too. Suddenly factories were able to print and distribute images and information on a wide scale.

The poor became more educated.

A middle class developed and commodities were produced on mass scale. Goods became less expensive.

Point 3. Modern Art encouraged the spread of new ideas, freedom of thought and extensive commercial progress

With new modern ways of thinking, abstract art began to flourish too.

It offered greater freedom for innovative artists like Picasso. Abstract art is common today, however it wasn’t always a popular way of thinking.

Early abstract artists encountered great difficulty breaking through the public mindset. People had grown comfortable with paintings that looked real.

Point 4. The traditional mindset is always resistant to change.

One famous modernist piece of abstract art by Marcel Duchamp was painted in 1912 and titled ‘Nude descending the staircase’ pictured below. I love the painting but at the time….

It caused great controversy.

Marcel Duchamp   Nude Descending a Staircase How to Understand Modern Art

‘Nude Descending a Staircase’ (1912) by Marcel Duchamp. Oil on Canvas 147 cm × 89.2 cm Philidelphia Museum of Art

The painting and the artist are famous for encountering massive opposition and public outcry, so much so, that Marcel Duchamp removed his painting from the wall midway through the exhibition.

He later focussed upon playing chess abandoning the art world all together.

One New York Times critic disdainfully wrote the painting looked like ‘an explosion in a shingle factory’ hence the reference to factories – a concept dominant in the minds of people living during the industrial revolution.

However, there is an element of truth to the critic’s comment. It’s no coincidence that Duchamp’s painting contains visual elements similar to the rhythmic repetitive nature of a machine in operation.

Point 5. The mass production of industrial life was changing the way people perceived themselves.

During the industrial, or shall we say modernist era, three towering figures of modern art arose.

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) Picasso and Duchamp who helped define a new visual direction and entirely new way of thinking, gave validity to the liberating ideas underpinning abstract art.

The history of art provides a long list of artists who changed public thinking altering the dominant status quo in society.

Modern Art has become a culturally acceptable vehicle for change

Duchamp, Picasso and Matisse were often ridiculed for challenging conventional thinking. Their emerging abstract style of paintings, were frighteningly bold for the time and excessively unrealistic.

Point 6. Artists have long played the role of provoking society, being the instigators of change and challenging conventional thinking.

Innovative paintings were difficult for the public to accept as genuine artwork during the 1900’s. Once again, new ideas from visionary artists had provoked mainstream society’s traditional comfortable mindset about what indeed was art?

The Joy of Life by Henri Matisse 1905 Oil on Canvas 175x241cm How to Understand Modern Art

‘The Joy of Life’ by Henri Matisse (1905) Oil on Canvas 175 x 241cm

The shape and form of Matisse’s paintings conveyed emotional force. Heavily influenced by traditional paintings, Matisse was also inspired by his contemporaries Gaugin, Cezanne and Van Gogh who also used colour excessively.

Point 7. Matisse is considered one of the founding fathers of modern art, his use of colour astounded the traditional mindset

Never before had a painter been so pure, unrealistic and imaginative in his approach to colour. He quickly became known for his radical position and always displayed signs of quiet rebelliousness throughout his career.

Matisse was in constant search for freedom.

His life might be interpreted as a continual struggle to break free. Eliminating barriers of constraint. A pattern typified by the history of modern art. Matisse once said,

“An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success…” – Henri Matisse

Breaking from traditions of the past, Henri Matisse led an art movement called the ‘Fauves’ in 1905. Meaning ‘the wild beasts’. This title referred to the group’s use of extreme emotionalism, vivid colours and distorted shapes.

Predictably, the Fauves first exhibition brought a hostile public response. One critic wrote, ‘A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public’

Matisse Les Toits de Collioure 1905 How to Understand Modern Art

‘Les Toits de Collioure’ by Henri Matisse (1905) Oil on canvas 59.5 cm × 73 cm Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Point 8. When artists express a vision  people have never seen before, great opposition and vehement criticism often follows.

Here’s 3 things I love most about abstract art.

Firstly, in every sense, abstract art is liberating. Unpredictable and uncontrollable, it challenges people to think differently on a variety of levels. Especially, questioning the concept of commercial value.

People struggle to understand why someone would pay millions of dollars, for what looks like child’s artwork at kindergarten?

Henri Matisse | Patitcha souriante (Patitcha smiling) 1947 | Purchased 1993 with funds from the International Exhibitions Program | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © Henri Matisse 1947/Succession H Matisse/Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney, 2011

Matisse understood how people thought in his day, but he didn’t allow it to stifle the creative ideas and purity of art he pursued.

Power 9. Matisse understood the power and longevity of an idea, to overcome restrictions created by mainstream narrow-mindedness.

I love creating abstract paintings. And can never predict results. There is freedom in relaxing and ‘going with the flow.’ Allowing the paint control the direction of the artwork.

During this process, the subconscious mind is free to depict what needs to be expressed.

There have been many paintings and drawings I have created whereby an image has emerged I had no conscious control in bringing to life. As an artist, this is fascinating to observe.

The most famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung once taught, the subconscious mind expresses deeply intuitive, often important messages to people through archetypes and dreams. Likewise, Matisse emphasized the importance of intuition and instinct in the creative process.

Similar to abstract art, the subconscious mind creates abstracted fragmented messages unfamiliar to the conscious mind and difficult to process through logical conventional thinking. Salvador Dali expressed this phenomena in his surrealist paintings.

Abstract art accommodates for the unpredictability and irrationality of the human mind.

Point 10. Matisse believed he was not in control of the creative process. But that colour and form dictated the painting themselves.

The second thing I love about abstract art is the variety of responses it evokes from viewers. Some people simply love the shapes. Other people are touched by an emotional reaction to the colours .

Still others have very personal interpretations of the subject matter, discovering specific meaning to their inner lives. One doesn’t have to be a highly intelligent or well educated person to enjoy abstract art. It’s accessible to everyone on every level.

Modern art offers unique value to individuals and abstract art respects and encourages diversity. Honouring people’s different perspectives.

The Peninsula 1024x835 How to Understand Modern Art

‘The Peninsula’ by Simon Brushfield (2010) oil & acrylic on canvas, 2m x 1.8m (Sold: Private Collection)

In the painting above I was commissioned by an Australian art collector, who wanted a large abstract piece for his lounge room.

Like Matisse, the painting contains a mix of realistic and unrealistic emotive colours and imaginative subject matter symbolic of the owner’s personal background and happy childhood by the sea.

Point 11. Unlike mathematics, in modern art there are no right or wrongs.

Henri Matisse wanted to express hope through the purity and power of colour. He acknowledged difficulties encountered in life and saw art as a means of bringing hope and happiness into a troubled world. He once said,

“What I dream of is an art of balance, purity, and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter….a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue” – Henri Matisse

I love Matisse’s paintings because his artwork displays courage, a fierce determination and skilful ability to break into new territory, leaving behind a legacy of artistic and personal freedom for others to enjoy.

Point 12. Modern art epitomises the human spirit and its passionate desire to experience new and greater levels of  freedom

From my perspective, the Matisse legacy encourages people to live life to the fullest. In bright, beautiful colour. Even through difficulties, criticisms and vehement opposition. To expand upon conventional thinking in a persons life, increases their freedom. Modern art helps people to expand horizons. Thereby, improving the quality of lives.

This is priceless.

Henri Matisse was an intuitive artist who accepted gracefully the challenging consequences of living, loving and thinking in new ways. Allowing nothing to halt his creative progress. He once said,

“He who loves, flies, runs and rejoices; he is free and nothing holds him back.” – Henri Matisse

These ideals are expressed in his sentimental painting at the beginning of this article, titled ‘The Joy of Life.’ Henri Matisse lived and worked during a time of great change, historians term ‘Modernism.’ An era heavily influenced by the industrial revolution.

Similarly, we live in a time of significant change, characterised by the information age. Historians have broadly labelled our era ‘Postmodernism’.

My abstract painting below is a visual interpretation of the postmodernist life.

Postmodernism 791x1024 How to Understand Modern Art

‘Postmodernism’ by Simon Brushfield (2011) Oil and Acrylic on Canvas 80cm x 60cm (framed)

Maybe you would like to find out more about Simon Brushfield’s original paintings, or your possibly thinking of purchasing a piece of modern art, if so,

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Pablo Picasso: Unhealthy competition deceives creative people

Pablo Picasso was brilliant.

His genius was not the result of competing with another artist. He was entirely unique, in his own league.

It upsets me to see people deceived.

I believe the greatest deception in our society today relates to competition. People compete with each other too much, which stifles creative growth .

Artists compete with other artists. Yet they are entirely different personalities with strengths in different areas.

pablo picasso girl before a mirror Pablo Picasso: Unhealthy competition deceives creative people

“Girl Before a Mirror” (1932) by Pablo Picasso. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Oil on canvas

I have never considered myself in competition with another artist. Actually, I have never ever felt that life was a competition. I knew there was no other person one earth like me therefore, I had no need to compete with them.

Dan Johnson is an artist from England. He founded the successful art website http://rightbrainrockstar.com . We’re both professional artists and online bloggers. Dan and I recently met online and there’s absolutely no sign of competition. It’s a nice genuine relationship. We’re generous with each other in art and business . Not trying to hide information, destroy or undermine one another in a competition.

Rather we share, support, encourage and compliment each other. As you will see in the skype video interview below Dan discusses his art background, Google+ , Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest and the importance of maintaining a balanced business.


Download Video with Vixy.net |

But often businessmen compete with other businessmen. Friends compete over the latest technology gadgets. Mums compete over their babies. Fathers compete over a house or car. Some professionals even compete over how hard they work! Silly stuff.

Especially in well developed western societies, people unfortunately learn that life is one big race for possessions. This is a massive deception, which stifles people’s freedom and creativity.

Point 1: Many people think they need to compete to receive their ‘piece of the pie’ in the world.

However, I do understand that competition can be healthy in some areas of life including sport. But too much focus on competing, gives people a distorted message about life.

Excessive competition leads to

a) exhaustion

b) copycat mentality

c) low self esteem

d) depletes creativity

e) starves originality

f) stifles freedom

g) creates the seagull mentality

h) creates boredom

i) at worst, leads to violence

But what happens mostly when people are busy looking at other people competing with each other, like seagulls competing over a dirty chip on the pavement, they miss out on discovering the amazing creative ability within themselves.

An aspect inside everybody that is so unique that no other person on the planet can compete with. Its impossible to compete on this level. When individuals find their unique creative ability, they can leave the dirty chip for the seagulls and begin feeding upon the most expensive restaurants in the world.

Point 3: If people are constantly in ‘competition mode’ they miss out on the creative value within themselves.

I tell my tertiary students, that good art teachers are employed to bring out the individual creative specialness in a student. That creative talent that is unique only to you. I try to avoid my students competing with others in class, it’s a waste of time, and will ensure they make zero progress. Instead focus internally, where the interesting special stuff resides.

Like the pie will one day run out. The student might be tempted to think, “I had better compete because otherwise, there will be none left for me”. This is a deception. The pie is infinitely plentiful. God’s resources are abundant and he has certainly planned enough cake for you.

Point 4: When the atmosphere of competition is eliminated, people are free to become inspired by following their special creativity within like Pablo Picasso.

One of the first things I tell my new creative students, during orientation day speech is this. “You are all incredibly unique. Out of the billions of people on planet earth, there is no one the same as you.” My students are not competing with anyone else because its impossible to compare an apple with an orange. Why waste time and energy on a useless exercise? Find what you love and be inspired.

Point 5: In creativity, or any field of endeavour people are infinitely original .

But some fail to grasp this reality and they begin losing self-confidence or self esteem. People often begin to compare themselves to others and compete on many different levels. Thinking they are beating their opponent by owning a better car or multi-story house. Competition is a big deception. After many years teaching tertiary level students in diploma, bachelor and masters level, I have come to this conclusion…

Point 6: Competition mostly creates mediocrity and mainstream unoriginal results.

Pablo Picasso, DaVinci , Einstein, or Plato wouldn’t have achieved such enormous success in their lives if they were primarily concerned with their next door neighbour competing for trivial matters. No, they were unique. They were concerned with more important questions about creativity.

These brilliant creative men were seeking answers to questions that lay deep within themselves. Deep within the universe. Questions that needed answers, that couldn’t be found by looking over their shoulder, envious of other people, feeling like they needed to compete to ‘keep up with the Jones’.

Envy, jealousy and competition is low level of thinking but unfortunately saturates our society. This type of thinking creates an even lower level of living. Similar to the pavement seagull, fighting over a dirty chip, making heaps of noise with a whole lot of effort.  For very little reward.

So lets avoid “keeping up with the Jones’” but rather be unique giving encouragement, support and strengthening people by igniting their creative spark within. This is guaranteed to make others feel invincible and very special just like Pablo Picasso.

Please leave your ideas in the comments box below, I would love to hear your thoughts.
If you’re interested in purchasing an original painting, or maybe you would like to commission Simon, please click here .

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Pablo Picasso: Unhealthy competition deceives creative people

Listed as one of Australia’s trendiest hotels by trip advisor, The Art Series group of hotels was the brain child of Will Deague. Who established a collection of independent hotels and named each of them after famous Australian painters. The hotels are luxurious 5 star appointments, each themed through-out according to particular Australian artists. The art experience is highly acclaimed by visitors.

For example, the Olsen Hotel is located on prestigious 637-641 Chapel Street, South Yarra Melbourne. The interior decor focuses upon the artist John Olsen who was born in Newcastle, New South Wales and recognised as a highly significant Australian abstract landscape painter. Olsen was commissioned in 1970 to paint a large mural for the Sydney Opera House.

The painters accomplishments in the Australian Art world are astounding, winning the Wynne Prize in 1969 and 1985, the Sulman Prize in 1989, and the coveted Archibald Prize 2005.

Olsen has also been awarded national and international awards including an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1977 and an Order of Australia (AO) in 2001 for services to the arts. A long list of high profile awards illustrating the influence his work has upon contemporary Australian Art.

But what I love most about Olsen (aside from the beautiful abstract Sydney image pictured below) is this quote about his belief on art. “Art is not so much talent as character. It’s what you are, the qualities of the person.”

"Sydney Sun" 1965 by John Olsen. Oil on Three Plywood Panels 305 x 412 ©John Olsen. Licensed by Viscopy

For more information, check out the Art Series Hotels website http://www.artserieshotels.com.au/ or give them a call to organise a booking on the reservations number: +61 3 9040 1222. I think you will be pleasantly surprised surrounded by beautiful modern Australian Art.

Charles Blackman, Art Series Hotels: Melbourne exhibits Famous Australian Art

The Art Series group of hotels was the brilliant idea of William Deague. He established a collection of independent hotels in Melbourne and named them after famous Australian Painters. The hotels are luxurious 5 star and themed according to their particular artist.

For example, the Blackman Hotel on 452 St Kilda Road has a contemporary, boutique interior devoted to the popular artist Charles Blackman. The hotel is very close the central CBD of Melbourne and is a great inspiration to visitors, with the artistic theme running through-out the most intricate of details in the hotel.

Charles Blackman was born in Sydney in 1928 and created a large and spectacular series of paintings inspired by Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice in Wonderland. His work is romantic at heart and describes a poetic highly sensitive world of affectionate imagery. Blackman states,

“I am a romantic painter, (but not sweet) – oh no. That’s wrong. Dreams are what you’re made of, and very often nightmares, too. A dream is quintessentially a reality when it is fulfilled.

‘The Game of Chess’ (1956) by Charles Blackman. Sold for $720,000 Bonhams & Goodman (Melbourne).

For more information, check out the Art Series Hotels website http://www.artserieshotels.com.au/ or give them a call to organise a booking on the reservations number: 1800 278 468. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

One visitor writes on http://www.tripadvisor.com.au, “Our stay at Art-series The Blackman in Melbourne over Christmas was an extremely positive experience. It is a hotel with that extra touch of quality, good taste and personal service besides very good comfort, which really makes you enjoy your stay. The neat artistic design in details and the access to interesting books in the rooms are something we certainly will remember and which are rare in our experience.”

Convent Gallery Exhibition featuring the popular ‘Red Wine’ series painted by Simon Brushfield. Visit one of Australia’s most beautiful and award winning art galleries in Dalyesford, Vic, Australia. http://conventgallery.com.au/

Sunrise on Fresh cut grass 768x1024 Sunrise abstract painting on canvas by Simon Brushfield   For sale $1200

“Sunrise on Fresh Cut Grass” by Simon Brushfield (2009) Oil & Acrylic on Canvas 80cm x 60cm For Sale: $1200

As a child on weekends in Australia, I would often hear the distant sounds of people mowing their lawns in their backyard. I appreciate the smell of a freshly cut lawn and a well groomed backyard always looks great. Combine this with a beautiful sunrise coming up over the dew on the grass, is a special childhood memory which I wanted to capture in this painting.