Industrial Cathedral

Industrial Cathedral
"Industrial Cathedral" charcoal drawing on paper 131 x 131 cm Jane Bennett. This drawing was a finalist in the 1998 Dobell Prize for Drawing (Art Gallery of N.S.W.) ; Finalist in 1998 Blake Prize for Religious Art ; Winner of 1998 Hunter's Hill Open Art Prize

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Royal rendezvous

Painting the Queen Elizabeth's arrival at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour 

Woke up at 4am on a grey, drizzly dawn; at the steps of the Opera House by 5am - must be cruise ship season again!
Waiting for the royal rendezvous when the Queen Mary 2 and her newer, smaller cousin the Queen Elizabeth pass each other with Fort Denison between them.
I have gouache paints and a large block of watercolour paper to catch the occasion. However this proves not to be the most sensible choice for this type of weather. The paintings turn out well, but by the time I have chased the Queen Elizabeth to its berth for the next day and a half at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, all the pages are well and truly stuck together as it starts to rain.
After a few more promising attempts at painting gouaches of the docking super liner get partially washed away, I try plan B and swap them for oil paints.
 
Marine art plein air oil painting of the 'Queen Elizabeth 2' docking at Circular Quay by marine artist Jane Bennett
I'm starting a small plein air oil painting of the Queen Elizabeth at Circular Quay Tuesday 22nd February 2011
The Queen Elizabeth at Circular Quay from the Commissioners Steps' 2011 oil on canvas 31 x 61cm

$2000
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A young couple from Melbourne happened to wander up just as I was wondering what to paint in the foreground to show the scale of the huge ship, and add some human interest. I painted them arm in arm at the top of the Commissioner's steps. (They now own the painting).

Marine art plein air oil painting of the 'Queen Elizabeth 2' docking at Circular Quay by marine artist Jane Bennett
Oil painting of ' The Queen Elizabeth at Circular Quay from the Commissioners Steps' 2011 oil on canvas 31 x 61cm

$2000
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        For information and price list -Artist information page

The rain nearly drove me crazy, stopping long enough to give me a false sense of security, then setting in as soon as I settled down to get some serious painting done, but I managed to finish this oil painting at the end of the first day.
The next day I bravely started a larger canvas, knowing that the ship was due to sail at midday. 
I managed to paint most of the ship before it left, but have to return to fix up the sea, and sky to my satisfaction.
I will post the "Royal Rendezvous" gouaches of the 2 Queens passing each other, as soon as I can carefully prise the paintings apart, hopefully without damaging them too much. At least I might be able to use them as studies to paint a canvas from in the studio.


A Tall Ship and a Lightship

The CLS 4 Carpentaria, unmanned lightship

 plein air oil painting of the tall ship 'James Craig' and lightship 'Carpentaria' at Wharf 7 Pyrmont by maritime artist Jane Bennett
Starting a new canvas of the lightship 'Carpentaria' with the James Craig behind it. In the background is Barangaroo
'The lightship 'Carpentaria' with the James Craig ' 2010-11 
oil painting on canvas 61 x 76cm
$4,500
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A lightship is a ship acting as a floating lighthouse to aid navigation and warn ships of hazards. Lightships anchor in waters that are too deep or dangerous for a permanent lighthouse to be built.

Commonwealth Lightship 4, 'Carpentaria', was one of four unmanned lightships built at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, in 1916-17. After a close encounter with a container ship in Bass Strait nearly scuttled her, the 'Carpentaria' finally retired in 1985.
 Originally she had an automatic acetylene light mounted on its tall mast, with a sunlight-operated valve to switch it on and off.
The Carpentaria barely seems to need any additional light to make her visible to navigators as she has been painted an eye-ball burning bright red and has its name inscribed in huge letters on the side. She is difficult to miss against the bland white waterfront of Darling Harbour.
While I was Artist in Residence at Cockatoo Island (for the 2nd time from 2005 until 2007 when the island was being prepared for opening to the public, The 1st time was during the 1980s while the island was still an operational shipyard) I noticed the Carpentaria docked on the southern slipway adjoining Fitzroy dock for several months. I had high hopes then that Cockatoo Island would be returned to its original purpose of a working shipyard, but no such luck.

 plein air oil painting of the tall ship 'James Craig' and lightship 'Carpentaria' at Wharf 7 Pyrmont by maritime artist Jane Bennett
'The lightship 'Carpentaria' with the James Craig ' 2010-11 
oil painting on canvas 61 x 76cm
$4,500 
Enquiries about this painting

 The Tall Ship 'James Craig'

Behind the scenestealing lightship dominating the foreground is the square-rigger, the James Craig. She is a three-masted, iron-hulled barque currently berthed at Wharf 7 of Darling Harbour, near the Australian National Maritime Museum.

One of only 4 operational ships of her era and rig , she is a true link to the heroic age of the seafaring past. In 1972 volunteers from the Sydney Heritage Fleet refloated her and towed her to Hobart for initial repairs. She was then towed back to Sydney, and after an epic program of restoration and repairs, was finally able to set sail by 2001.

The 'James Craig' is open to the public, and is crewed and maintained by my good mates from the Sydney Heritage Fleet.

"Salt in the Air"

I have recently been one of 10 women artists from the Australian Society of Marine Artists who have been Artists in Residence at the Sydney Heritage Fleet. We will be holding an exhibition "Salt in the Air" aboard the James Craig to help provide funds to restore the vessels of the fleet.

This is one of the 17 paintings I will be exhibiting. 
The exhibition will be opened by Tanya Plibersek MP at 2pm on Saturday 27th April on board the James Craig. It is open daily 10am - 4pm from Saturday 27th April - Sunday 4th May 2013

Exhibition SALT IN THE AIR from Saturday 27th April - Sunday 4th May 2013 (asma-artistinresidence.blogspot.com)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Irons in the Fire - Part 5 'Playing with Fire'

Paintings of the Blacksmiths at Wrought Artworks,
Eveleigh Railway Workshops

oil painting of blacksmith at Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh Railway Workshops by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
'Lok forging at Wrought Artworks' 
2010 oil painting on canvas 
36 x 46 cm
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It was hard to catch Lok on his own without Dave (who was centre stage in the previous painting) from the viewpoint I had, but worth it -he looks quite heroic! I didn't want to move my position in case I got in the way.
I feel that the movement implied in the pose and the glow cast by the light from the furnace capture the element of danger of this ancient craft.

I've always loved the paintings of Caravaggio Georges de La Tour and the 18th century painter of the early days of the Industrial Revolution, Joseph Wright of Derby. As well as his most famous masterpieces about the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment, the 'Orrery' and 'Experiment on a bird in an Airpump', Joseph Wright of Derby had painted a wonderful series of canvases of blacksmiths at the forge. I stayed in Derby while I was on my Marten Bequest Travelling Art Scholarship, and frequently visited the Derby Art Gallery, where most of Wright's work is displayed.
My paintings of the blacksmiths are painted from life, but also pay tribute to these masters of the effects of light and shadow.

Irons in the Fire - Part 4 'Strike while the Iron is Hot'

Paintings of the Blacksmiths at Wrought Artworks,
Bay 1/2 Australian Technology Park,
Eveleigh Railway Workshops

'Strike while the iron is hot'  is a very old proverb, and like the phrase 'irons in the fire' comes directly from blacksmithing. It means when you have an opportunity to do something, do it before you lose your chance.
Plein air painters and blacksmiths both need to react quickly.
oil painting by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett of blacksmith forging at Wrought Artworks, Eveleigh Railway Workshops, Australian Technology Park
Forging,Wrought Artworks ' 2010 oil on canvas 20 x 25cm
$550 
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I grabbed the opportunity and caught a dramatic moment in a small canvas. I don't know whether the small white hot bit of metal is supposed to be on the floor  and is all part of the process, or whether it was a bit of accidental run off. We're all wearing safety boots anyway, and it looks spectacular.
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Irons in the Fire - Part 3 'Hot'

Paintings of the Blacksmiths at Wrought Artworks,
Bay 1/2 Australian Technology Park,
Eveleigh Railway Workshops

The phrase 'iron in the fire' refers to an undertaking or project in progress. The phrase 'several irons in the fire' refers to a number of jobs or possibilities available at the same time.
A person who has a 'few irons in the fire' has a number of things working to their advantage at the same time. 


All of the above apply to me as well as the blacksmiths I'm painting.

I haven't been rushing between furnace and anvil, while juggling white hot metal, except metaphorically. I have been painting at many locations recently - 3 separate places within the huge Eveleigh Railway Workshop complex ( the Heritage Store next to Carriageworks, the large Erecting Shop and Wrought Artworks in the Australian Technology Park); the ships moored off Wharf 7 near the Australian National Maritime Museum; the top of the Sydney Ports Corporation Harbour Control Tower; finishing a panorama of Summer Hill from the top of the soon to be renovated Mungo Scott Flour Mills; and most recently, standing out in the pouring rain on the OPT (Overseas Passenger Terminal) at Circular Quay while painting the maiden call of the gigantic luxury cruise ship the 'Queen Elizabeth'. I could have done with a bit of fire during that last one, as despite wearing a Driza-bone, which I had thought might be overkill for February, I got soaked to the skin and froze.
I've managed to time it this summer so that I am painting a blazing forge in 40C degree heat and ships in the harbour on a chilly grey dawn.
'Hot' 2010 oil on canvas 25 x 20 cm
$550
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Irons in the fire - Part 2

Painting the Blacksmiths at Wrought Artworks,
Bay 1/2 Eveleigh Railway Workshops
Starting the new canvas
'Chris at the Massey Air Hammer' 2011 unfinished oil painting on canvas 36 x 46 cm
Private Collection : Sydney
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Art versus life!
'Chris at the Massey Air Hammer' 2011 unfinished oil painting on canvas 36 x 46 cm
Private Collection : Sydney
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Starting another new canvas - and trying hard not to stand too close to a pair of blokes nonchalantly waving white-hot lumps of metal around. I still haven't painted at the blacksmith's often enough to be absolutely certain as to exactly where I should stand or sit so as not to get in the way!

Almost finished
'Chris at the Massey Air Hammer' 2011 unfinished oil painting on canvas 36 x 46 cm
Private Collection : Sydney
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They only stand in these positions for a few moments at a time - but these movements are repeated sequentially over and over again throughout a couple of afternoons. I soon decide on a couple of poses that to me are the most characteristic and dramatic of the sequence.
In this canvas, the taut expression of Chris and the tension shown in the tightness of his forearms and the strained balance of his pose add to the feeling of potential danger, and are a tribute to the level of skill required by their craft.
'Forging at Wrought Artworks' 2010 oil on canvas 36x46cm  
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Irons in the Fire - Part 1 'Smith Forging'

 Painting the Blacksmiths at Wrought Artworks,
Bay 1/2, Australian Technology Park,
Eveleigh Railway Workshops

This is the first of 6 posts showing canvases painted from life during a forging.
Painting a 'forging' at Wrought Artworks, Eveleigh Railway Workshops



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Open-die drop forging is also known as smith forging. In open-die forging, a hammer strikes and deforms the workpiece, which is placed on a stationary anvil. It is called 'Open-die forging'  because the dies (the surfaces that are in contact with the workpiece) don't enclose the workpiece, allowing it to flow except where contacted by the dies. The blacksmith needs to position the workpiece to get the desired shape. The die is usually flat, but some have a specially shaped surface which may be round, concave, or convex.
Open-die forging is appropriate for art smithing and custom work.
Dave and Lok forging at Wrought Artworks 2010 
oil on canvas 41 x 51cm
$2,400
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In this canvas Dave and Lok are working hot iron, which they have just taken  out of the furnace. They are shaping the iron into curved spikes for the grill of a decorative fence with the historic 'Massey' air hammer.
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Australia Day 2011 at Darling Harbour Part 2 :Fire and Water

plein air painting of Australia Day Darling Harbour by maritime artist Jane Bennett
'The ship parade Australia Day 2011 Darling Harbour'
 oil painting on canvas 31 x 61cm 
  unfinished plein air painting
Enquiries about this painting:
janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 By about 4 I had started to move from the Endeavour jetty down to the pontoon in Darling Harbour. I had to make a couple of trips for my chair, table and easel, and it was still quite hot and humid.
I was worried that I would flake out before the fireworks which weren't due to start until 9pm, but the lead up events were so exciting that they kept my energy levels up.
After some music, the Australian of the Year, Senior and Junior Australian of the Year, and the Local Hero were introduced with short but moving speeches.
Then the old heritage Pyrmont swing bridge was opened to allow the ship parade to sail through. They were led by the 'Ted Noffs', which is usually berthed at Moore's Wharf, north of Barangaroo.This canvas shows the beginning of the spectacular ship parade. Some of the spectators are on the right, in the right background is the stage and in the centre background is the brilliant red and yellow 'Ted Noffs' Emergency Response vessel of Sydney Ports Corporation.
This canvas got quite badly smudged during the long trek back, but enough remains of the initial impulse for me to be able to rescue it.
plein air painting of Australia Day Darling Harbour by maritime artist Jane Bennett
'Firetruck Barge Australia Day 2011 Darling Harbour ' 
oil painting on canvas 15 x 30cm
$480
Enquiries about this painting:
janecooperbennett@gmail.com

A great highlight of the ship parade was when the firemen on the barge sprayed the enthusiastic crowd with water from their hose. The crowd loved it as it was still so hot. As many areas can be more accessible by water than by road in an emergency, the people on the fire barges are the great unsung heroes of the emergency services.
plein air painting of Australia Day Darling Harbour by maritime artist Jane Bennett
'The ship spectacular-Red Sails in the sunset- Australia Day 2011' oil painting on canvas 25 x 25cm unfinished plein air painting
$650
Enquiries about this painting:
janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 As the firework barges began to fizz and crackle with sparks of light, graceful yachts, with their sails tinted every colour of the rainbow began to circle them.
plein air painting of Australia Day fireworks Darling Harbour by maritime artist Jane Bennett
'Fireworks Barge Australia Day 2011 Darling Harbour ' 
oil painting on canvas 10 x 10cm unfinished plein air painting
Enquiries about this painting:
janecooperbennett@gmail.com
A quick impression- just a couple of blobs of colour; smeared on with my fingers, as I had dropped my brush in all the excitement.
The area where I had been working suddenly became open to the public. They were very well-behaved (actually quite a few complimented me on my work) but I thought I had better move so as not to get in the way while I was painting.
This tiny canvas got badly smudged but is still useful as a memory. I had to stuff it in the back pocket of my jeans to carry it back home- it was too small and kept falling out of my canvas carrier. Helpful people kept picking it up for me during the long walk back after the festivities.
plein air painting of Australia Day fireworks Darling Harbour by maritime artist Jane Bennett
'Fireworks Barge Australia Day 2011 Darling Harbour ' 
oil painting on panel 30 x 34cm 
$800
Enquiries about this painting:
janecooperbennett@gmail.com
This plein air painting of one of the fireworks barges gives a much better idea of the beauty of the reflections of the light on the water.
plein air painting of Australia Day fireworks Darling Harbour by maritime artist Jane Bennett
'Spectators- Fireworks -Australia Day 2011 Darling Harbour' 
oil painting on canvas 61 x 41cm 
unfinished plein air painting
$2,500
Enquiries about this painting:
janecooperbennett@gmail.com
The silhouettes of people looking up in wonder at the blaze of glory above. They are emergency services workers and their families, the honoured guests of the day.


Australia Day 2011 at Darling Harbour Part 1: Endeavour

Endeavour*

*Noun
1. endeavour - a purposeful or industrious undertaking (especially one that     requires effort or boldness)
2.endeavour - earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something



3.endeavour - an effort to do or attain something

4.endeavour - a sincere attempt. A determined or assiduous effort towards a specific goal; Enterprise; assiduous or persistent activity; To attempt through application of effort; To work with purpose

*Verb
1.endeavour - to try (to do something)
Marine art 'HMB Endeavour' at Darling Harbour  plein air oil painting by artist Jane Bennett
'HMB Endeavour' on Australia Day
 2011 oil painting on canvas 23 x 31cm
$770
Enquiries about this painting :
janecooperbennett@gmail.com
The word 'endeavour' seems appropriate to me on several levels as a theme for Australia Day.
Plein air painting on a popular public holiday, at the hub of all of the festivities, certainly requires a fair bit of 'effort or boldness', is hopefully 'a purposeful or industrious undertaking' and is definitely an  'earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something'.
It's also the name of one of the most famous ships to visit Australia, one closely associated with our recent Australian history.

A very short tall ship
I started my painting of the small canvas of the 'Endeavour' on Australia Day 2011, a bit after 9am. She is docked at her customary jetty for the Australia Day festivities and to give her many fans a last opportunity to explore her for quite a while.
Tomorrow the HMB Endeavour will go to Garden Island to be prepared for her next heroic voyage - the circumnavigation of Australia. This is the reason why her masts are a lot shorter than normal, as prior to this, she had some work done over at Glebe. One spectator irreverently referred to the ship as 'Mrs Stumpy'. I think I saw her figurehead wince at this indignity.
Marine art 'HMB Endeavour' at Darling Harbour oil painting by artist Jane Bennett

'Endeavour' on Australia Day
 2011 oil painting on canvas 23 x 31cm
$770
Enquiries about this painting :
janecooperbennett@gmail.com
I was able to finish this small plein air painting on the day, by just before lunch-time, despite the general craziness of the Australia Day celebrations.
My 'endeavour' had paid off!
I had chosen a good spot at the end of the jetty where I could observe and paint without being trampled.
Now the big decision- do I stay put ? Or move in search of the spot promised to me on the pontoon?
The ship parade was not due to start until after 5pm so I decided to push my luck and start a large canvas. This might be my last chance to paint the Endeavour for a long time, so I might as well make the most of it.
My family motto was "You might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb". (This could have had something to do with how some of my ancestors came to Australia in the first place!)
Marine art 'HMB Endeavour' at Darling Harbour oil painting by artist Jane Bennett
Painting the large canvas of the 'Endeavour' on Australia Day 2011 
oil painting on canvas 76 x 102cm
An unfinished plein air painting
Sold 
$7700
Enquiries about similar paintings :
janecooperbennett@gmail.com
Marine art 'HMB Endeavour' at Darling Harbour oil painting by artist Jane Bennett
Painting the large canvas of the 'Endeavour' on Australia Day 2011 
oil painting on canvas 76 x 102cm
An unfinished plein air painting
Sold 
$7700
Enquiries about similar paintings :
janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 In the background is another tall ship, the James Craig, which was sailing throughout Australia Day, but had returned by the afternoon, in time for me to include it in this canvas.
This is still unfinished, but most of the ship has been completed, leaving only the lighthouse, details of the Australian National Maritime Museum and some of the rigging to finish.  
Marine art Cannons of  'HMB Endeavour' at Darling Harbour oil painting by artist Jane Bennett
Detail of 'The 'Endeavour' Australia Day 2011 ' - 'Cannons' 
 'Endeavour' on Australia Day 2011 
oil painting on canvas 76 x 102cm

Sold 
$7700
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janecooperbennett@gmail.com
This is quite a large canvas for a plein air painting. I have included some close-up details.
Because the other end of the jetty was taken up with queues of people waiting to tour the ship, I had a fairly empty foreground which set off the bold colouring of the ship. On my left were a magnificent pair of cannons, one apparently aimed at the Endeavour and the other at the distant James Craig, and I couldn't resist including them.
Marine art Cannons of  'HMB Endeavour' at Darling Harbour oil painting by artist Jane Bennett
Detail of  The 'Endeavour' Australia Day 2011 - 'Old mate' 
Painting the large canvas of the 'Endeavour' on Australia Day 2011 
oil painting on canvas 76 x 102cm
An unfinished plein air painting
Sold 
$7700
Enquiries about similar paintings :
janecooperbennett@gmail.com
Every now and then a face would peer at me from the dark hold of the ship, squinting against the glaring afternoon sun.
When the shadows began to lengthen, I started to pack.
The Australian National Maritime Museum would be closed by 6pm, and I had at least 2 trips to make to put all of my painting stuff- folding table,chair, easel and canvases, some of it heavy and all of it awkward, on the pontoon. The pontoon wasn't that far away, probably about 400-500 metres, but the heat was stifling, and it is tricky transporting still-wet canvases around through the crowd without smearing the paint. Or getting paint on any of the onlookers! (I didn't)
People were absolutely wonderful all day long. I was handed bottles of water by perfect strangers, and volunteers or even passers by would keep an eye on my things while I moved to the new location.
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