Friday, August 04, 2017

Footy art

I have some work in an exhibition in Mildura coming up. I need to write a little spiel about why I "as an artist, love football and football art work". So I am going to write it here.

When I grew up on Tasmania's northwest coast, football was a big part of life. Around 1975 I started swapping football cards at primary school and the world of black and white footy replays was suddenly in colour. I think I gravitated to Richmond because they had the same colours as my hometown Burnie Tigers.
I started doing these design inspired by footy cards in 2012, for t-shirts. Footy is an emotional game and the feelings stirred by seeing your team's guernsey (and others) are strong and complex. I love being able to celebrate an overlooked or under-appreciated player.  Footy art makes public the sporting passion of the artist. It could be a key moment from a big game under a turquoise sky, or a couple of your favourite players in full playing gear dropping in for tea and cake. By its nature footy art appeals to a wide audience - so it brings people together. 
These 5 pieces are all recycled designs. Four are t-shirt designs while Dustin Martin was an illustration for a book project that has been canned.

The illustrations are all done digitally, with some scanned textures overlaid. I haven't used watercolour texture before the book project; I was delighted with how it came up so I have brought some into the backgrounds of Sonny, Maurice and Mitch for these prints. I had them printed on high-quality paper then worked into them with coloured pencil for some extra texture and to lend uniqueness to each print. There is a limited edition of 10 of each; three of each have gone to Mildura.

If anyone is interested in one drop me a line – each print is $65 + postage unframed.

Some other footy artists

Two images above by Kate Birrell

Noel Young

Susan Sutton

Nick Howson

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wirksworth House, Bellerive

Wirksworth House, some time between 1960 –1971.  [State Library of Tasmania]
 Marcus and I went to the footy at Bellerive Oval the other day. We parked along the beach to the east a little near the South St reserve. Getting away after the game with 14,000 other people was a bit of a business, and as we sat in motionless traffic for a while we observed a grand old house with spacious grounds which I have never laid eyes on before.

It is called Wirksworth House, and it belongs to the Education Department. It is opposite Clarence High school. In the news last month there were plans to turn the site into an early-aged care facility.

The fence and trees shown in the old pic above are gone now, so the house is easy to see from the street. In the last few years it has been extensively renovated and returned to its earlier glory, without its 1960s-era weatherboard additions.

Guilty admission: I love the weatherboard additions. I have no building engineering, architecture or history qualifications at all; but I actually love to see how a building has been adapted, sometimes misguidedly, through its lifetime.

Dining room [State Library of Tasmania]
The dining room appears to be within the extension shown above. Possibly because I am the son of a state school teacher I have a distant fondness for the sheer Education Department-ness of it all. Those chairs were ubiquitous in the days when I tagged along with Dad to Burnie High. By the time I was a student there it was all blow-moulded plastics.

From the photos online it was used for Phys Ed camps, and training Phys Ed teachers.

Photo from Miss Chicken on Flickr
Above is how it appears now, and I am sure it is a very fine restoration by BPSM (more photos on their site here). I don't really like the garish stone central tower. And I do miss the weatherboard add on.

Let's just go back to a simpler (and more glarey) time shall we?

Dover school group [State Library of Tasmania]

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bone for the dog

I was at the South Hobart butcher, and I asked if he had any good dog bones. He gave me a huge articulated thing, a backbone with some ribs coming off it that may have belonged to a wallaby. (Yes we can get wallaby meat at the butcher, we had a wallaby curry for dinner tonight in fact).

We don't often give Winston bones but after 2 weeks of school holidays he was going to be left outside on his own on Tuesday, and it would give him something to keep him busy.

I gave it to him at the front door. After holding this massive great chunk of beast for a few seconds he dropped it and looked at me, very concerned.

I am pretty sure he was thinking "last time they gave me a big bone they disappeared for 7 weeks".

But I also thought I could see in his eyes "hey, we've got to get this guy to a doctor. He's very sick".

Sunday, May 28, 2017


Please join me for a moment and let us immerse ourselves in the World of Twill.

Some of my highlights;

Twill weaves can be classified 4 ways
  • According to the stepping:
  • According to the direction of twill lines on the face of the fabric
  • According to the face yarn (warp or weft)
  • According to the nature of the produced twill line

The technical face side of a twill weave fabric is the side with the most pronounced wale.

Twills can be divided into even-sided and warp-faced

Even-sided twills include foulard or surah, herringbonehoundstoothsergesharkskin, and twill flannel.

Warp-faced twills include cavalry twill, chino, covert, denim, drill, fancy twill, gabardine, and lining twill.

What's your favourite twill?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Bree's funeral

Bree's funeral was last Thursday, 18 May. I wanted to see heaps of our former EOAO work colleagues there, but I couldn't bring myself to ring around and tell anyone the news. There was a big crowd there, but only one workmate, Ian Pirkis. Note to self: someone has to do this and next time you have to step up.

Bree's brother Christoph played guitar and sang. Bree's sister Camille, her father, and her husband Geoff spoke beautifully, with humour and strength. 

Mr Farrell told us that the day was all about gratitude. He quoted former Richmond footballer Dan Jackson, who wrote in Letters of Love - "be grateful, appreciate the little moments, as they're what you'll treasure most."

Camille (who's a bit of a hippy*) spoke about how Bree loved dressing up, and fancy dress sixties parties. "She'd borrow the clothes I wear every day which is ... weird".

Lastly Bree's close friend Jenny spoke about their years together, and the last months since her terminal diagnosis with breast cancer in February this year. Jenny accompanied Bree to Melbourne for chemotherapy and they laughed and shopped in between bouts of treatment.

Jenny told how she was worried they had too much carry on luggage. Bree said "Just pile it on my lap darl, I'm in a wheelchair, they're not going to stop me!"

At the end Straight Lines by silverchair came on. Bree's girls Hayley and Jessie, who are aged about 8 and 5, were dancing in the aisle along with some of the other kids. I couldn't see very well from the back but I have since watched the video of the service that's online. There's a bit of commotion then over the music Geoff announced "Jessie's lost her first tooth!!" 

And that's where I lost it, at the thought of so many milestones in her girls' lives that are going to happen without Bree. But – I am comforted by what Jenny said about their shared spiritual beliefs. Bree had no doubt she would be a continuing presence in the girls' lives, and its not for me to impose my own dry rational views on that relationship. What do I know?

It was the most beautiful funeral of the (fortunately) few I have attended. Goodbye Bree and thank you for your friendship.

* Sorry Camille.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bree Farrell 1972 - 2017

Bree came to the ad agency where I worked in the mid 90s, to work on reception. She was so sparky and intelligent and full of ideas that she didn't stay on the front desk very long. She got on well with everyone, she was easy to talk to and muck around with, and we became good friends.

She moved to Sydney after a few years and was doing great things there in the advertising/public relations world. Then she had her first cancer diagnosis, non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She moved back to Hobart to stay with her step-mother Connie, and underwent radiation treatment.

Bree's mother had died of cancer when she was still quite young, and she always knew that it was something that might be waiting for her and her siblings too. Treatment seemed endless, and was painful, tiring and boring. I visited her once or twice to just talk and read to her - she thought my choice of reading material (I had just discovered Saki) was terrible.

The awful treatment worked. She got better. She had new wavy slightly crinkly hair. She moved back to Sydney and we kept in touch. She mentioned she was going to travel in India for a couple of months with her friend PJ who was coming from London. I thought about that for a few days then asked her if could come along, and she very generously said yes.

And it was an amazing experience. PJ and Bree were great friends who had missed each other a lot so I sort of paddled along in their wake and did my own thing quite often.

After the trip Bree stayed in Sydney and again we kept loosely in touch. About 10 years ago she was back living in Hobart with a new husband Geoff, and a baby on the way, Hayley. I met Hayley, and couple of years later bumped into them with another new baby, Jessie.

Our neighbour Sharyn sometimes gave us news via her sister Jenny, one of Bree's best friends. I was really shocked to hear from Sharyn that Bree's cancer had returned, and she had died on Tuesday night. Jenny had helped look after her.

She was a terrific person who brought joy and fun to a lot of people and I am very glad to have known her well for that time in our lives. Peace to you Bree.

Bree’s workmates in Sydney made her take some plush kittens under glass; some kind of office tradition. She had to take photos of it everywhere. I took my Tigers sponge bag for the same reason; it was much less cumbersome.

This is at the Taj Mahal. These ladies surrounded Bree and asked her
to be in their photographs. Note, Bree is not particularly tall.
Some lads who were roped in to hold the trophies, with Bree and PJ.
We had a rickshaw race back to the hotel from the Taj.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Andrew Haines, painter

I came across Andrew Haines on Instagram. He paints urban scenes around New England. His technique is wonderful. His subject matter is often pretty unpromising, and yet he came make a compelling painting of a pile of rocks and in a deserted icy carpark. I dearly wish these were my paintings.

There is more work on his site and on his Instagram.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Our 3D printer

Thanks to the generosity and hard work of Uncle Fred we now have a fully functioning 3D printer at home! Fred bought it in kit form, as a Christmas present for us and the Applins together. It took a lot of setting up. The provided instructions were vague and incomplete, but Fred and the boys persisted and used their ingenuity and resourcefulness to fill the gaps. Below are some pictures of things the boys have printed.

These have been designed and drawn up as CAD files by someone somewhere, and uploaded for free use. The printer's "ink" is a spool of plastic filament that is melted and laid down by the roaming printer head, controlled by the three robot arms. It's all incredible really.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Rees family trip to Europe - part 6: York Minster

It was Elf’s idea to spend 4 days in York, because it’s such a historic place, and we all love history. She was attracted partly by the chance to visit Jorvik, the Viking history centre. Unfortunately after being seriously flooded, it is closed until April this year. However there is still so much to see that I’m really delighted we spent the time there.

After spending Friday at Whitby, Saturday was to be all about York Minster. It was only a five minute walk from the B&B, and we could see it over the low rise buildings. We walked through Monkgate Bar, one of the two big gates in the city walls. There were steps up onto the top of the wall (you can walk right around it) so we popped up briefly just to look at the view.

York Minster from the city wall. The steep roof on the right is the chapter house.

Walking under Monkgate Bar. There's a Richard III museum in there.
Inside the wall the street changes name to Goodramgate. It's narrow and full of restaurants and touristy sorts of things as well as usual English high street shops, but all squeezed into old buildings, many of them half-timbered. They are also narrow, and quite irregular with sloping frontages and slightly drooping overhangs. Despite taking a phenomenal number of photos I don't have any of this street scene so here is a StreetView you can explore.

Hidden behind the tree in the Streetview is the Minster - this is the eastern side, and hence the main window. It tells in stained glass the story of creation, and has an incredibly detailed cast of characters; which are just much too high for any mortal parishioner to have made out with medieval-standard eyesight. Luckily there is a touchscreen interactive kiosk to explore the whole thing, and that is where Michael spent a lot of time.

Now, stand by for a ton of Minster photos.

Reasonably nice backdrop for a coffee and a natter.
The individuality of all the carvings is marvellous. This one is possibly a warning against the sin of gossip.

We walked around to the main door on the south side - all stunned by the beauty of this wonderful building, lit up on a perfect Yorkshire autumn morning. There is a statue outside of Constantine, the Roman emperor.

Emperors seemed to like York (it was called Eboracum then). Hadrian and Septimus Severus spent time here while emperor, and Constantius I was visiting when he died. Constantine was his son, here commanding a regiment under his father. Young Con's troops proclaimed him emperor and he was crowned right here.

South face of the Minster with Emperor Constantine in bronze.
Main west door - the actual entry is a smaller door to the left.
I was quite concerned that our trip would be one church/museum/gallery after another. My feet were sore in advance just thinking about it. And even while blown away by this church, every photo I took I was thinking "uh, church photos". But it was flippin' spectacular, and all of us loved it. So much that we went back the next day and even briefly the day after that. 

So to the inside. One of the first intriguing things we saw was this series of headless saints. It's a contemporary sculpture by Terry Hamill done in 2004. The semaphoring saints are saying CHRIST IS HERE. I like that they are signalling with haloes.

The headless saints are semaphoring a message.
Honestly I forget all the terminology about buttresses etc but just look at it!
Under the central tower is the loveliest place in the minster. The light pours in on you. In the picture above you can see in the distance a screen between the congregation and the altar. On it are 16 lifesize statues of English kings, from William I to Henry VII I think.


There is so much delightful heraldry, calligraphy, stone carving and iconography everywhere. But I reckon what you'll love most is the memorial sculptures. The Relaxing Bishops are pretty great. It seems to be a tradition that they are depicted resting, after their earthly labours are at an end. To me they all look as though someone has said they'd ring this afternoon and it's now getting on for teatime. This is also me when a Premier League match is 0-0 after 20 minutes.

I could look up who these groovers are but pardon me if I don't.

Then you've got the wealthy donors who get smaller statues, and their relatives get even smaller statues. These ones have a very endearing awkwardness to them. There were coats-of-arms everywhere in the various churches we visited, which gave Michael and I an extra point of interest, being the family heraldry buffs.

We were incredibly lucky to be visiting York Minster while the London Sinfonia rehearsed for a performance that night. Their heavenly music punctuated our tour. 


The boys and I were keen to do go up the main tower, while Elf felt she would prefer to have a close look at some things nearer the ground. While the boys and I ascended the tight spiral staircase, 275 steps to the top, little bursts of Handel (I think) wafted around us. It was really one of those Moments that make the occasional angst of travelling worthwhile.

Halfway up.
At the top of the central tower, looking east…
and looking west.

Marcus took this pic, which is my favourite from the climb.

We don't have this anywhere in Australia - an urban area with one dominant set of building materials
and variations on one colour. It's really beautiful. (See also Cuzco and Siena).
And that was our day. We stepped out at some point for lunch at Costa Coffee or something like that. And on our way home we had pizza. The pizza place seemed to be run by the same people that ran 'The Viceroy' on our first night in York. Weird.

There are heaps more Minster photos coming in the next instalment, when we… return to see more Minster.