Sunday, May 26, 2013

City of Albany - plein air oil sketch

I was out and about on Friday, on what might be described as a perfect autumn evening, when I saw the City of Albany lit up by the light of the setting sun streaming between Mt Melville and Mt Clarence.

I threw my easel up, grabbed a primed board and went to work with some ultramarine, cadmium scarlet, cadmium yellow light and a little too much solvent.

I had about five minutes of good light, then about five minutes of not so good light and another five minutes of not really light at all.

I got this...

City of Albany fast plein air oil sketch by Andy Dophin
 (City of Albany evening. Plein air sketch. 30x20cm oil on board. © Andy Dolphin)

Here's a close-up of the sunlit "houses"...

Close-up detail. City of Albany plein air oil painting by Andy Dophin

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tit Whale - thanks for the mammaries

Photo by Karleen Minney,
from the Canberra Times

On Saturday, the ACT (Canberra) government unveiled and unleashed Tit Whale, "a 23m-high, 34m-wide hot air balloon resembling a whale-like creature".

Made in the UK, the inflated leviathan, officially titled Skywhale (but Tit Whale seems more fitting somehow), resembles a creature that might be more at home in a George Lucas sci-fi fantasy movie than in a community's centenary celebrations. From the news photo, it appears to be beautifully designed and crafted and I can only imagine how spectacular it looks up close. I don't get what it has to do with Canberra's centenary, but I think I like it as an example of, err, something.

Like it or not, there can be little doubt that, with an estimated price tag in excess of $300,000 – to essentially "borrow" the balloon – this will be another art controversy.

As with most public art, there will be knockers who will no doubt wonder what the boobs in our nation's capital were thinking when they commissioned this thing.

In a valiant attempt to deduce some sort of relevance, I've concluded that, filled with hot air, its voluminous proportions are supposed to represent government bloat. Its whale-turtle characteristics pay homage, perhaps, to the slow grind of government decision-making. I suspect the nearly-exhausted glands hanging over the creature's sides represent the public teat.

I will try to keep you abreast of any interesting and relevant news.


Interested as I am in Art Speak, I decided to see what my favourite Art Critique Generator had to say about this piece.

The generator works by entering any 5-digit number. I chose Canberra's postcode, 2600, and added a zero on the end for the five numbers. Here's what I got...

I find this work menacing/playful because of the way the iconicity of the biomorphic forms verges on codifying the accessibility of the work.

I think that's surprisingly appropriate.


More words and pictures at the Canberra Times.