Saturday, December 30, 2017

The year that was...

I'm going to attempt to encapsulate my year in as few words as possible. I was a sessional tutor of Indigenous students in first semester at the University of Melbourne, had influenza for the first time in fifteen years and during the year was diagnosed with osteoporosis, a heart murmer and various other health issues to add to the existing list. I began my Old Knitter of Black Wool project about ageing, photographed women's hands, spoke to women over the age of fifty, but eventually gave up on the whole idea as non sustainable, in that I didn't want to dwell on the negative. I gave up going to the gymnasium and opted instead for taking long morning walks. In early August through to mid October I began using the Victorian train network and visited Elthan, Sandringham, Altona, Port Melbourne, Willamstown beach and Geelong. I ventured further afield to Castlemaine, Ballarat, Bendigo, Morwell and twice to Seymour. By undertaking this I managed to overcome some long held phobias. I took hundreds of photographs of our beautiful rural landscape. On my return from these trips I did a number of drawings and paintings. I did a Deleuzian reading/writing of Leonie Osowski's crochet project, which will be included in an esotetic book soon to be published. Academia. edu has reported to me that 303 people from 51 countries have read my papers, that is, essays and academic articles I posted on their site. I consider I've had a productive year and look forward to 2018. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have visited my blog and wish for you all much happiness for the coming year. The paintings I've posted here were done in November and December.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Three small paintings

Bridge. Acrylic paint on 26.4 x 18.4 cm hard board. Julie Clarke (c) 2017

Crossing. Acrylic paint on 22.8 x 30.5 cm hardboard. Julie Clarke (c) 2017
Eucalypt exsanguinated. Acrylic paint on 30.5 x 22.8 cm hardboard. Julie Clarke (c) 2017
Painting size, border not included.

Friday, November 3, 2017


This one almost looks like a painting. Old Goulburn River Bridge.
Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017
Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017
Badly in need of repair. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017

Bridge and river. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017
Idyllic surroundings. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017

For years I've been aware that my great grandfather William Farquharson and his brother James (along with their crew) built the magnificent bridge at Swan Hill, but it was only earlier this week that I discovered they were prolific bridge builders, having built bridges at Tocumwal, Cobram, Albury and the Goulburn River Bridge at Seymour. For heritage listing of bridge see:
I'd visited Seymour on 2 October and took several photographs of the Goulburn river that ran behind the Royal Hotel, one of the first buildings in Seymour and was unaware that I was but a fifteen minute walk from the 125 year old bridge built by the Farquharson Bros in 1892. The bridge was used in WW2 to carry heavy army vehicles and equipment and although a new bridge was built in 1967 the old Goulburn River bridge still continued to serve as the crossing for traffic to Puckapunyal until the building of the Hume highway in 1982. It was closed off to public access due to disrepair, however the Shire of Mitchell and Friends of the Bridge are resigned to bringing the bridge back to her former glory. I was determined to see the bridge even though I new that I wouldn't be able to walk on it or touch it, so when I went to Seymour yesterday I drew upon guidance from the Seymour Information Center and Mitchells Bus line who pointed me in the right direction and warned me, given I would be walking, to keep an eye out for snakes.
I'd had a pleasant journey from Southern Cross Station to Wallan conversing with Dr Roger Hartnett who traveled there twice a week. On arrival I had coffee at the beautiful art deco Railway Club hotel and then I caught Mitchells bus to the Seymour Information Center. After crossing the double and extremely busy Emily Street freeway I decided against venturing along the secluded track and instead walked 1.5 km alongside the main road to the bridge, which was nestled at the end of old Hume Highway Road.
Although the area was cordoned off with a tall cyclone fence I was struck with this old, but beautiful structure that blended into the surrounding landscape and seemed somehow to exude a quiescence even though the cry of Kookaburras and the buzz of insects was audible. There was a flock of Major Mitchell Cockatoos savaging on the ground and beautiful Rosella's in the trees. I found an open area of the fence and took a few photographs of the bridge. I hesitated going onto it because it may have been dangerous. I walked half the way back and then called a taxi because my left ankle was sore. I'm pleased that I've had a sense of my family history in something very solid and material, more so than a photograph.
Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2017

Friday, October 27, 2017

Spring with a hint of summer warmth

Spring with a hint of summer warmth. Acrylic paint on
40.7 x 40.7 cm stretched canvas.
Julie Clarke (c) 2017
Unfortunately, try as I may I cannot get my Window Phone to digitally represent the colors and nuances in the original painting. The subtle mauves and gold hues appear lost in the photo above. Nevermind. I've run out of canvas and my Matisse acrylic paint has been vastly reduced even though I purchased four new colors in the past week. So, this may be the last painting in this series, which really should be called Seen from the window of a train, but that would not be totally correct for although I photographed much of the landscape I saw these paintings are impressions, rather than any attempt to depict the scenes in traditional landscape manner. I'm currently attempting (with the help of some friends) to price the drawings and paintings. Will keep you all posted in case you are interested in purchasing one.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Weeds that make white flowers.
Acrylic paint on 45.7 X 45.7 cm stretched canvas.
Julie Clarke (c) 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Imagining Mt. Warrenheip. Acrylic paint on 40.7 x 40.7 cm stretched canvas.
Julie Clarke (c) 2017
On my way to Ballarat last week I saw from a distance in the train and then closer still when I was in the city of Ballarat, the beautiful, dark and mysterious extinct volcano called Mr. Warrenheip. I discovered that aboriginals referred to it as 'mountain with emu feathers', so although the mountain doesn't have a lake nearby I imagined it shaped like an emu egg, the silence of space and time, the place uninhabited. I intend to reimagine Mt. Buninyong as well - the  canvas I have is still empty, its probably something I will begin next week as I was busy yesterday and will be most of the weekend.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Canola in bloom. Acrylic paint on 40 x 0 cm stretched canvas.
Julie Clarke (c) 2017
On my train trip to Ballarat last Saturday I saw something I'd never seen before in my life and that was several large fields of Canola flowers in bloom. The painting above is actually a lot more golden than the digital photograph depicts. I tried to capture the essense of the work with my Windows Phone and my digital camera but neither has captured the yellow glow. The following painting is an imaginary cluster of bushes that appeared to be moving as if with an internal energy. I've entitled it, for want of a better title, a different mood.
A different mood. Acrylic paint on 45.7 x 45.7 cm stretched canvas.
Julie Clarke (c) 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017


Falling. Acrylic paint on 40 x 50 cm stretched canvas.
Julie Clarke (c) 2017
I struggled with this painting both yesterday and this morning. I was attempting to depict emotion - the light and the dark of it. I remembered light falling on the ranges and the beautiful seeds encased within a transparent sphere that fell from the trees whilst I was in Bendigo on Wednesday & tried to combine both in the image of light. This morning after I posted this photograph of the painting on Facebook, Jason Knight made the following comment, which I really appreciated since I only remember attempting one landscape painting in my life and that was in first year at RMIT in 1989. I should point out that I have never tried to be realistic in these paintings. They are imaginary landscapes, drawn from or inspired by photographs I've taken and from memory. Here are Jason's comments, which include commentary on the other paintings of landscape I've done of late:

The others from the cycle of work had enormous atmosphere and depth as a result of very beautiful and sensitive colouration. This one seems to be more about the brush mark and approaches pointillism and mark-making as a dominate theme in the hills and tree branches.

The earthen-green and emerald tones almost dayglo green sits uncomfortably next to the more umber and slightly muddy tones of the hill and forest. I love the band of light, that is sublime, but wish to see it throughout the whole work in the grass of the rolling knoll. I hesitate whenever I see almost pure white tones in natural studies, because natural whites never occurs in nature or our perception.

I think it could use more variety and complexity in the brushmarks and other rendition tools. I think it is still a work in progress and not a completed painting relative to the others in the series which I really like. The colour is very nice overall - I really like the three diagonal bands created by the shadow - this is the most interesting theme of the painting to my eye. & there is awkwardness and revelation of the mark making implement which I really like.

Jason Knight, artist at ELAN Quebec & Associate Professor at Concordia University