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Laurel Donaldson
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Civil Celebrant - Your Special Day - Your Way
Civil Celebrant - Your Special Day - Your Way

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Meek's Cutoff streaming now on SBS On Demand
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Just love a man in a kilt
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The Big Picture

Murals are powerful visual communication tools, they are huge. In many parts of the world, mural art is integrated into the environment, connecting the culture of the people to the place.

Australian artist Guido van Helten is world renowned for his monumental hyper-realistic portraits. He has a global reputation with large-scale projects across the world including Ukraine, Norway, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Iceland, Greenland, Scotland and Ireland.

Growing up in Melbourne, Australia’s graffiti capital, van Helten honed his skills as a street artist, tagging and branding. As proof of his dedication, he was arrested five times for graffiti in Australia. He later studied visual arts at university in Brisbane but it was the giant outdoor canvases that inspired him.

His portraits have an emotional quality that captures the spirit and essence of the location, evoking deep sentimentality.

The Brim silo murals in Australia are four 30-metre portraits of locals from the Wimmera community, with a population of 100.

His recent project in Akureyri, Iceland is a portrait of a woman on the side of a ship staring into the sea. The touching image evokes interpretations of her searching for a loved one lost at sea or an angel protecting the ship.

Take a look at the videos that captures the scale of his wonderful works.

Video of Brim Silos in Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8Z73wEOwDQ

Video of the ship project in Akureyri, Iceland: https://vimeo.com/168116005
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The impressions are my favourite historic artists and I am going to try their style for my paintings.
Capturing Change

Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renior were friends, thirty-somethings, and were struggling ambitious artists. La Grenouillère was a popular spa resort just west of Paris, together there, Renior and Monet painted.

The year was 1896, revolution and machine manufacture had created a new social class known as the bourgeoisie. This nouveau middle class reflected the changing new world. Leisure was a new thing that technology had given them, time to chill.

La Grenouillère was where the bourgeoisie went to vacance, here, they met to dance, drink, swim and ride boats. A place for social gatherings, the singles bar of the time.

Renior and Monet painted from the same spot, the paintings depicted an identical scene but what they produced was very different.

Renior’s painting focused on the people, the social gathering and their interactions. His colour palette reflected his romantic sentimentality.

Monet’s painting was not focused on the people, he was interested in the transitory effects of light on the water, the boats and the sky.

Their shared ideas painting together here developed the defining elements of the Impressionist style.

Their art captured moments in time, when the world was changing as quickly as the light.
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Goya, Grim and Gloom

The art Francisco Goya produced was unlike anything that had been created before.

Over his life time, his art evolved from the lighthearted, carefree style of Rococo as the appointed court painter to the royal family and aristocracy, to the later years with his black paintings (Pintura Negra). The Black Paintings aren’t black, but their mood is very black.

Goya’s work ranged from a style of soft, flowery, pastel colours to more realistic during his middle age and finally into the realm of his mind and imagination.

His grim and gloom is probably the most interesting. Goya did gruesome and dismemberment like no one else, the frequent theme in his art was - humans gone wrong. His series of 83 engravings, Disasters of War, were not even printed until 35 years after his death. Those works confronted the recess of the human soul, the horror and atrocities of man.

Of the Black Paintings, one of them is El Perro, The Dog. A dog drowning in quicksand in a void, raises its head to look upward, as if something is expected to rescue him but there is only nothingness. In no other work does Goya portray such an empty space, devoid of objects.

Ten years earlier, in Germany, Caspar David Friedrich had painted The Monk by the Sea. Friedrich in a similar radical manner, placed a man in vastness with only land, water and sky.

Both paintings convey the fragility of existence and a search for something more.
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Love art and painting
A Bunch of Lunatics and A Woman

Impressionist art is very popular today but when it was first introduced, the paintings were met with outrage. Hostile critics saw the paintings as illegible, lazy and unfinished, they look blurry.

In 1874, fifty-five artists held an independent art show of their impressionist art. Some of the artists were Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Renoir, Pissarro, Manet and Berthe Morisot. A viewer referred to them as “A bunch of lunatics and a woman.”

Impressionists broke away from the traditional Realism of the time and focused their attention on capturing fleeting transitory moments. They used loose brush strokes, lighter and brighter colours, filling their works with the shimmering luminescence of light.

They suggested rather than define.

In this group of Impressionists, less well known are the female impressionist painters. Berthe Morisot was the only woman amongst the men to exhibit her works in 1874, she was accepted and respected by the members of this innovative circle.

A beautiful woman, she was one of Édouard Manet’s favourite models, he had painted twelve portraits of her. Berthe Morisot later married his brother Eugène Manet.

Berthe Morisot’s paintings brought a new female perspective, capturing women of the time, living as she experienced it. Her works are filled with luminous light, bright summery colours and feathery brush strokes that evoke a sense of freedom.


Painting: Bergère couchée, 1891
Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris
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