Newsletter, October 2009

What’s been happening at Corella Hill Studio?

Trees on a Ridge

Trees on a Ridge

The past year has been busy in ways that have kept me away from the easel and this website.

Health problems culminating in on-going chemotherapy – my fourth outbreak since 1997 – were the main limitations.

While I have been able to produce some works it has been slow and lacking in energy and my perception of colour has been seriously affected.  During treatment my work can become ‘dark’ (see Trees on a Ridge), however, when you see stronger colours you’ll know that the effects are diminishing (see ‘Blue Day or New Cloud Study).

In October 2008 I delighted in, and enjoyed giving landscape and figure drawing tuition to an art group in Renmark, South Australia.

The following month I was invited to give similar tuition to a very enthusiastic group in Katikati in New Zealand.

On my return an art group in Whyalla, South Australia, invited me to judge their exhibition.

In December 2008 I lost my beloved Mother at the age of 94, my equally dear Father having died in 1977.  While my mother’s death was expected, I was again confronted by my own mortality.

In late December I left for three weeks in Italy, visiting Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa, Verona and San Gimignano.  This was my third visit to Italy and will not be my last.  The vast Artistic wealth of its culture moves me deeply, re-affirms my belief in the “path ” I have chosen and gives me other ways of ‘seeing’ both myself and my work.

Blue Day

Blue Day

I always return with a strengthened desire to communicate my intense responses to my world in my own ways, and with renewed belief in the essential value to myself and society of what I am doing in my studio.  Of course the architecture, history and scenery are stunning, but for me it is the abundance of evidence of the personal struggles and achievements of artists over many centuries that leaves the strongest impression.

Before the interruptions began in 2008 I produced quite a lot of large figure drawings, mainly in charcoal.  Drawing has been a strength and passion since childhood.  I regard the figure as the ultimate drawing challenge.  I can get away with murder on a gum tree but not on the human body!  I am not interested in doing precise portraits but rather in expressing a model’s personality and my responses to that.  The model is purely a starting point for whatever may develop.

I may go into more detail about my figure drawing in a future update.

I am more and more concerned with the quality of light in landscapes, particularly in clouds (see ‘Blue Day), and in light for its own sake rather than being tied to any given form.  In a similar way my landscapes show my growing interest in colour for its own sake, such that it can be used to express responses to subjects or to colour itself.  In this regard Kandinsky’s struggle to liberate colour from form is of increasing interest.

As a generalisation, it could be said that my work is gradually moving toward being more conceptual.

I am still in the grip of dry pastels; they can give amazingly strong colours just for a start, but I can sense an outbreak of acrylics and maybe oils before much longer.

New Cloud Study

New Cloud Study

I contributed in a small way to a group exhibition in Adelaide in May but am not planning a solo show for some time.  I will have some originals at Pikes Cellar door and at a new gallery opening this September in Auburn, both in the Clare Valley of South Australia.  There are also several original figure works and landscape oils at Annies Lane Cellar door, also in the Clare Valley.

Most of these works are already on my website, or will be as I produce them.

I endeavor to keep my site up to date.  Should you wish for more information on aspects of my work, please let me know.

If you are interested in commissioning a work, having one-to-one tuition, or engaging me for a group workshop, send an email – preferably with a phone number, and I will respond as soon as possible.

Thank you for your ongoing interest.

Best wishes



Michael Page December 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Hi Murray

It was great to meet up with you again on a wet and windy Corella Hill day, and thank you very much for your time in talking to Yvette and I about your work and how to get started with pastels. It was greatly appreciated, and it will ensure next time we visit Yvette will have had ‘something to say!’

We love your work and look forward to seeing some new stuff next time we come up to the Clare.

Diane Pawlak October 29, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Hi Murray

I love your work. I have four of your paintings butTotally Addictent and The Cloud are my favourites. I like the colours that you are using in the New Cloud Study and Blue Day. Am sorry to hear that you have been unwell again and hopeing that you are back on your feet again

Denise Burkitt January 28, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Hi Murray
Was having a look at your website after checking out Kandinsky. I really enjoyed meeting you and our chat at your studio. I am sorry to hear that you have been unwell. Our conversation was inspirational. Thankyou!
Denise Burkitt

Isabelle Jeandupeux December 18, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Hello Murray,

How are you? I was just having a look at your website. As usual, we like your work and we are thinking of you often but we have to admit we are not missing Clare Valley, just some individuals like you.

Wishing you all the best. Kinds Regards, Isabelle Mike Heiko (ex-Tatehams)

Murray February 5, 2010 at 11:07 am

Hi Isabelle, I’ve finally learned how to get into the dashboard for my site and which things to press to enable me to reply to comments like yours!! I would much rather be drawing! In the meantime we have swapped Christmas cards, so there’s no new news I guess–except to say that I have new works for an exhibition in Adelaide in March. We are having a cool start to February,vintage is about to start,the Tour Down Under went through in 7 seconds, there was a film festival at Blyth, there’s a new monthly market in the beautiful (NOT ) Ennis Park in Clare, the gallery has re-opened in Auburn and is quite classy and there’s a new seriously classy gallery in Mintaro. All’s pretty good as I trust it is for you, best wishes, Murray.

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