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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Painters and dockers - Artist in Residence on the tall ship 'James Craig' Part 2

 unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Artist Jane Bennett
 Starting my plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" 
 I had originally stored my paints, brushes, canvases, table, chair and easel in the deckhouse of the James Craig, but I realised that the ritual of unlocking and sorting through all my stuff wasted too much time. Now I keep the half-finished canvases on the 'tween deck of the James Craig, and leave the table and easel in a corner on the floor of the dry dock.

 unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Artist Jane Bennett
 unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock"
 It's quite a hike down from the ship to the floor of the dry dock.

 unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Artist Jane Bennett
 unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" 
 I choose a position where the ship looms toward me between the walls of the dry dock.
 unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Artist Jane Bennett
 Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" 
 I try to make sure that I have enough room for the mast, rigging and the dockyard crane overhead.

 unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Artist Jane Bennett
 unfinished plein air painting of   'James Craig in drydock being painted' 
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm
$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com 
I knew that it would be overcast and so prepared a few canvases with a black imprimatura (underpainting). I find that this gives the clouds a more 3 dimensional quality.
Artist Jane Bennett with her unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock"
Artist Jane Bennett with her unfinished plein air painting of   'James Craig in drydock being painted' 
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm
$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 Portrait of the artist in full PPE (personal protective equipment) regalia.
Artist Jane Bennett with her unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock"
Artist Jane Bennett with her unfinished plein air painting of   'James Craig in drydock being painted' 
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm
$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 Hard hat, hi res jacket, tinted safety glasses, earmuffs and metal capped boots.

Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
Unfinished plein air painting of  'James Craig in drydock being painted' 
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm
$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 There is another tall ship, the HMB Endeavour, in the dry dock, but I can't get too close to her as she is being sandblasted back to her original wood and can barely be seen in the dust haze.


Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
Unfinished plein air painting of   'James Craig in drydock being painted' 
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm
$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 The dark bulk of the 'James Craig' stands out dramatically in front of the threatening clouds.
Marine art - plein air oil painting of  "HMB Endeavour with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
Unfinished plein air painting of   'James Craig in drydock being painted' 
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm
$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 I was worried that it was going to rain. It's risky starting such a large canvas as it takes so many trips back up to the top. The dockyard steps are narrow and a wet canvas has to be carried on its own without otherr luggage.
.
Unfinished plein air painting of  'James Craig in drydock being painted' 
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm
$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 Suddenly I realised that I wasn't the only painter on the dock floor, as 2 white clad men started to haphazardly spray patches of red on the prow of James Craig.
Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
Unfinished plein air painting of   
'James Craig in drydock being painted' 
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm
$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
They cheekily "offer" to pose for me. They don't actually mean it, but I paint them in anyway.
Their figures provide a useful gauge to judge scale. This painterly device is known as "staffage" -  the size of the figures can be compared and contrasted with the size of the ship
Tim Drinkwater, the dockyard manager of the Sydney Heritage Fleet, told me that the painters would only be there for 8 minutes, but that was long enough for me to block in the basic shapes.
 The painters came up later to take photos of my painting of them.
They will be back to finish their painting on Tuesday.
I like the patchy 'work in progress' look of the hull, so I'll try to finish my painting before theirs.

Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
My half - finished painting of
 'James Craig in drydock being painted'
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm

$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com

 This canvas is in a 'portrait' format - vertical rather than the more usual horizontal one.
Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
My half - finished painting of
 'James Craig in drydock being painted'
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm

$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 i wanted the ship to dominate the canvas and used the extreme perspective to make it feel as though it is towering over the onlooker, and the prow almost poke you in the eye.
Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
My half - finished painting of
 'James Craig in drydock being painted'
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm

$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 I am quite short, so I have to fold the legs of the easel up and set it on the ground as I'm not tall enough to paint the masts and rigging with it in the ordinary position.
Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
My half - finished painting of
 'James Craig in drydock being painted'
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm

$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 At least this way it won't fall over in the wind.
Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
My half - finished painting of 'James Craig in drydock being painted' 
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm
$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 They keep moving the dockyard crane. Any further to the left and it will be out of the picture. I can only just manage to squeeze it in without it looking too cramped.

Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
My half - finished painting of
"Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" 2013
oil on canvas 75 x 100cm

Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
 I like the final position of the crane, though, as it won't be obscured by the masts and rigging. It gives the composition a little more drama, as it looks as though it could topple into the dock with a gust of wind.
Unfinished plein air painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
My half - finished painting of
"Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" 

2013 oil on canvas 75 x 100cm
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
The end of my first full day painting on the floor of the dry dock.

Marine art - plein air oil painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
My studio on the 'tween deck of the 'James Craig'
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com
Marine art - plein air oil painting of  "Painters with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
 'James Craig in drydock being painted'
2013 oil on canvas 100 x 75cm

$7,700
Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com

Marine art - plein air oil painting of  "HMB Endeavour with 'James Craig ' in Garden Island dry dock" by Jane Bennett
'James Craig and HMB Endeavour in drydock 2'
2013 oil on canvas 75 x 100cm
$7,700

Enquiries : janecooperbennett@gmail.com

Tall Ships - Endeavour to be ship-shape again

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Artist in Residence on the tall ship James Craig Part 1- Sailing to Garden Island

I packed before dawn so that I could hitch a ride with Sydney Heritage Fleet's Tall Ship James Craig on its way from its usual berth at Wharf 7, Pyrmont to the dry dock at Garden Island.
Plein air painting of the tall ship  'James Craig' and Sydney Heritage Fleet's tug 'Bronzewing'  by artist Jane Bennett
My small gouache study of the Sydney Heritage Fleet's tug 'Bronzewing' alongside the 'James Craig'  
I painted a few small, quick gouache studies of the tall ship and tug on board, just to warm my hands up.
Plein air painting of the tall ship  'James Craig' and Sydney Heritage Fleet's tug 'Bronzewing'  by artist Jane Bennett
My small gouache study of the Sydney Heritage Fleet's tug 'Bronzewing' alongside the 'James Craig' 
Enquiries
I will be 'Artist in Residence' at the Garden Island dry dock painting two tall ships, the 'HMB Endeavour' replica and the 'James Craig'.
They will be getting their undersides ship shape in preparation for the International Fleet Review in October.
Plein air painting of the tall ship  'James Craig' and Sydney Heritage Fleet's tug 'Bronzewing'  by artist Jane Bennett
My small gouache study of the Sydney Heritage Fleet's tug 'Bronzewing' alongside the 'James Craig' 
Enquiries
I have stashed my easel, paints, brushes and lots of spare canvases in the deckhouse of the 'James Craig' which will be my studio until its departure from Garden Island on or about 15th June.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Not the Writers Festival- Exhibition of Pyrmont Paintings by Jane Bennett at 2013 Pyrmont Festival

I have regretfully decided that I will not exhibit my paintings at the 2014 Pyrmont Festival. It has always been chaotic and gets more so every year. Much as I love Pyrmont, there is too much risk of damage to valuable and historic paintings and the display conditions are utterly inadequate to do justice to the artwork.
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival



The weather couldn't have been better for the 2013 Pyrmont Festival. A couple of the calmest, sunniest autumn days I've ever experienced in Sydney.
This festival is held on the former Water-Police site, where I used to have several studios during the late 1980s - mid 1990s.
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival


This time the festival in Pirrama Park was for the whole weekend, which gave many more people a chance to see my exhibition.
 I had brought 55 paintings on canvas and board for the exhibition. The largest was the 61 x 183cm canvas of a panorama of "Union Square" and the smallest was a tiny canvas of a strange little sign on top of the former F.L. Barker/Waite and Bull woolstore on the corner of Pyrmont Street and Pyrmont Bridge Road.
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival


This year I had written 2 small booklets about my paintings and drawings of Pyrmont. The text was partly based on some of the posts in this blog.


Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival
Enquiries 

I printed some prototype copies as an experiment, intending to display them at the festival. I partly wanted people to be able to read the text as, even with the help given to me by  my gallerist Frances Keevil I can't always manage to talk to everyone who wants to know something about a particular painting. My other goal was to get some feedback. 
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival


 One of these booklets, "Pyrmont - Shadows of the Past" was about my charcoal, ink and gouache drawings of Pyrmont  in a simple, classic black and white format. 
The other booklet "Pyrmont Paintings" displayed the paintings to great advantage on a dark blue background. but unfortunately this choice made the black text almost invisible. The printer service had offered a very limited choice of templates, fonts and colours. I had used them because I had been flat out painting and exhibiting since the beginning of this year and had very little time or energy left to prepare for the Pyrmont Festival. The booklets were an afterthought. I wrote and designed them both in a single day to meet the deadline for a discount printing deal.
In a way, this was good. I have a tendency to perfectionism, and faced with limitless choice and no deadline I can become paralysed with fear. I thought that I needed to write something, anything at all, however lame, and then improve it.
I wasn't actually intending to sell them at all. I gave copies to the people who bought paintings, or were seriously interested in purchasing. I also gave a couple to the gallery so that we could . I was stunned at the number of people who flatly insisted on paying $10, $12, $15 or even $20 for a booklet! I tried to insist that they were free, as they were just experiments. Apart from a misplaced comma and a couple of oddly proportioned margins the black and white booklet looked very elegant, but the beautiful blue background of the painting book had unfortunately made the writing completely illegible and there were a couple of font discrepancies. Trying to finish the 2nd booklet by the midnight deadline had nearly sent me cross-eyed.
I pointed out the errors, but it didn't seem to faze anyone; they still insisted on paying for them! 
We sold over 50 booklets, and we weren't actually even trying to sell them at all!

Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival


I only have one of each left now, and I'd better hang on to them as I'd like to have them in front of me when I finally sit down with the gallery's designer and plan a better publication.

So, it's not yet the Writer's Festival, and I'm not an author.
However the reaction has given me a great deal of confidence. People have been nagging me for years to write about my paintings, but now I know that they are serious.
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park
"Decisions, decisions... which one should I buy?"
Exhibition of paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett at the 2013 Pyrmont Festival


As well as my unexpected excursion into literature, it was a very interesting and successful event on a number of different levels.
I reconnected with lots of people who once lived or worked in Pyrmont as well as many of the new residents of Jacksons Landing and the apartments on top of Pyrmont Point.
There were several sales and I am now preparing to paint an extremely large and prestigious commission resulting from a contact made on these 2 days.
However there are problems with this venue and the organization that make it unlikely that I will return to show my work.

Paintings of Pyrmont by Jane Bennett in Pirrama Park