Saturday, July 30, 2011

Naracoorte Caves

"Naracoorte Caves"
Acrylic on Board  1300x940   $2400.
painting by Peter Kreet.
Recently on a painting trip to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia I stopped over at Naracoorte to view the famous caves there. They are reputed to contain the fossil remains of ancient Australian animals some 500000 years old. At the time I had no idea of their importance or why it had been listed as a world heritage site.The cave system has a number of hidden entrances and the native wild life would fall down these opening to the cave floor were they died. The internal environment of the cave atmosphere is such that their remains were fossilised, so that today a visitor may view the remains of tree climbing kangaroos, giant kangaroos and any number of animals now extent in Australia. It is possible to explore the cave system and view the  fabulous domed ceilings, extensive stalagmite and stalactite deposits as well as the fossil collection. If ever you are in that part of the world it is well worth a visit. Personally I was able to produce several interesting paintings.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Watercolour sketches for Fragments of Memory. Portugal

"Muro No 2"  Watercolour  & ballpoint pen sketch.
21cm x 30cm on paper $240.
Peter Kreet

"Muro No.2"
Acrylic on board.  by Peter Kreet.

This painting was developed from the above sketch in the studio. Various textured effects were developed with sand and glazed washes. The original doorway was located just down the street from my apartment in Sintra.
See whole exhibition "Fragments of Memory" in earlier posting.

Portugal is a country obsessed with ceramic title decoration on both buildings and pavements, each town all over the country has its own local pattern. Their overwhelming presence dominates your vision in downtown Lisbon, whole facades of buildings both old and new are covered with decoration becoming  to the eye.
I was surprised to learn that many contemporary architects design their own title patterns for new buildings, so the art form is still very much alive.

This overwhelming intrusion into every day life not only brightens up urban landscape, but make it difficult for a stranger, particularly a visual one to ignore. Introduced into the country by the Moors in the 6th cent. the colour and vibrancy of tile decoration has been taken to heart by the Portuguese population.
It is wonderful that in this age of mass production that whole workshops and studios employing twenty to thirty artists are still kept busy designing and hand painting  tiles.

Many are quite roughly worked ,while are others have a more controlled even mechanical finish.
Every one to their taste, but all have an individual presence.

Watercolour Sketch on paper  21cm x 30cm
Peter Kreet  $240.

Watercolour and ball point pen sketch of a traditional Moorish tile patten. Many of these tiles have fallen off their walls over the years. There are workshops specialising in making reproduction for repair purposes, but each is hand painted so as to be honest to the original design.

"Tomar No 2" Details Fragments Blog
acrylic and sand on board 700x1000
Peter Kreet. $2400

The exhibition I held earlier this year titled "Fragments Of Memory" was greatly inspired by this Portuguese experience. I would spend many hours walking around its towns and cities making rough quick sketches of both the street scape and various patterns, their ceramic embellishment at times looking rather the worst for wear, but still showing a smiling face to the world.

Last week while going through a folder of work I came across a number of watercolour sketches made in Portugal from drawings and later developed into full scale paintings in the studio. As you can see from the examples shown I have not diligently transcribed the sketches into paintings, nor have the watercolours followed the original drawings. I try to make may work a living thing as life is always in a state of flux from one second to the next ,we never know what will happen next so I see no reason to make visual statement that have remained static.

This free approach has allowed me to place tiles were colour may be needed and to control the eye movements of a viewer. What ever the final outcome, I have shown a number of watercolour sketches along side finished paintings so you may to some extent follow their development. In addition as so often happens in our contemporary world [ mind you the ancient one was not much better] the public have made their contribution to the finished works.

"Sintra Wall"
Watercolour and pen on paper 21x30
Peter Kreet $240.

These tiles belong to a Moorish fountain in Sintra. This watercolour has not been developed into a finished painting.

"In Search of Memory"
acrylic and sand on board 1000x700
Peter Kreet  [details on Fragment Blog]

I have used scattered tiles to introduce colour and patten across the painting surface. This helps enliven the work and introduces movement a sense of the unknown beyond the picture frame.

"Water outlet"
Watercolour and pen on paper 21x30   $240.
I have introduced some defacement onto to titles as tends to happen to public art works over the years.

Title defacement Tomar I have taken considerable liberty in the graffiti
Watercolour sketch 21x30cm Peter Kreet

"Fragments of Memory" Peter Kreet $240
Watercolour sketch for painting by the same name.
In both works I have used a free random pattern to break up the more mechanical design of a formal treatment.

"Fragments of Memory'
see comments above and exhibition blog.

Untitled watercolour on paper to date has not been developed further.

Untitled watercolour needing further development.

"Courtyard fish pond"
Watercolour on paper experiment with shadow on title floor

"Search for Time Past"
acrylic on board [see Fragments Exhibition blog]

I have introduced a new sense of scale with the figure , this has the effect of making the titles appear very large in comparison to the person. Also a new relationship has been created between the viewer and the work. Often when walking around Portugal modern and past seem to interchange with each other, so creating a new visual experience.

"Street scape"
Watercolour on paper 21x30cm Peter Kreet
Further experiment of shadows onto tile walls with graffiti

"Evening"   $240
Watercolour and pen sketch on paper 21x30cms.
Peter Kreet has not been developed further.

"Church in Tomar'
Watercolour on paper 21x30cms. $240
Peter Kreet

This is a reworking of a boarder pattern in a Romanesque church in Tomar. To date I have not taken the idea any further although I feel it has possibilities for a larger painting.

"Image from the Past"
acrylic and sand on board [see exhibition blog]

Many titled walls have been worked over or rended with concrete or other materials over time.
In addition I have introduces figures from Sumar

Untitled watercolour  and pen sketch on paper
Tradition Moorish design   $240

"Tomar" [see Fragments Exhibition blog]
Acrylic and sand on board 100x70cms.
Painting by Peter Kreet
A work were tiles , Templer Knights Castle and defacement are combined as a contemporary comment .

Tomar Church pattern , Watercolour on paper still to be developed.

Peter Kreet  21x30cms  $240

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tonal images of Tasmania

"Packaged Tour Hobart" by Peter Kreet [Creet]
'Yellow bloom of Summer"
 by Peter Kreet

"Wrapped Tasmanian Landscape" by Peter Kreet

"Southwestern Tasmanian"by Peter Kreet

"Packaged Tourism" by Peter Kreet
A few more tonal images of the Tasmanian landscape for a new perspective.I often try to break the fairly conventional approach to landscape painting, sometimes hopefully with humor. The paintings fall into different moods, generally with some political  suggestion. It is very sad that everything in this world seems always to be viewed solely from commercial viewpoint and not for the wonder and awe they inspire. The natural world makes no demands on us personally it simply is there for us to enjoy. One of the great tragedy of modern life has been mass tourism were wonders from the past are defaced , often destroyed for no intelligent reason that I can think of. There are some more images in this style in the blog  New Landscape.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Religious Art

In this secular age in the west it's unusual for artists to engage in religious painting. Having studied stained glass at the London  Central School it seemed that was a  possible means of earning a living when I returned to Australia in 1963. However at the time such an enterprise proved to be outside the general artistic activity then current in Australia. This led me to take an interest in religious paintings . The Blake Prize for Religious Art had been established by the Commonwealth Bank in 1951 thus offering a possible exposure for religious subject matter. Over the years artists of Christian, agnostic and atheistic belief  have all exhibited so there did not appear to any  reason why strong religious conviction was a prior requisite. In recent years all sorts of paintings have been include often with little or no spiritual content.

"Calling of the Apostles"
acrylic on board     6ft.x 4ft.
Painting by Peter Kreet    

"Crown of Thorns"
acrylic on board 6ft. x 4ft.
Peter Kreet 1968.
"The Calling of the Apostle" was exhibited in the 1967 exhibition and deals with the conflict between spiritual belief and secularism. The subject matter deals with the apostles Peter, James and John returning empty handed after their fishing trip. Christ instructs them to go further out and recast the net resulting in the enclosure of so many fish the boat starts to sink. At the time I was attempting to amalgamate figurative and abstract elements into the same work. In this painting the apostles and Christ symbolise the spiritual side of human kind , while the abstracted shape of the Sydney Harbour stands for the secular and commercial aspects of life.

Later I encluded nails into the works to take the concept of suffering a step further. Eventually I abanded the religious theme altogether and developed a series of nail works. The reference point for much of these painting were the demolition sites in Sydney at the time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tasmania Mt.Field's Tarn shelf.

Looking down on a mountain tarn

Rocky outcrops

Mountains as far as the eye can see

Ideal spot for lunch

Alpine vegetation

Deep water tarn

Wind swept alpine tree

Fagus leaves

Alpine growth a fairy meeting place!

Striding out across the plateau in Mt Field National Park in autumn can be an accelerating experience. Whether stride is the right word or clamber closer to the truth is a matter of opinion. The climb to the snowfields after an hour of rock hopping and odd slide down on your backside encourages a sense of anticipation of what may lie ahead. The gray figures of dead trees trusting  out between the crevice and rocky outcrops bears witness to the harshness of the climate here.

Cabbage plant

Our family has made many pilgrimages to these mountains and tarn shelf, viewing the fagus forest and alpine plants, this is the world of Tasmania's highlands rarely visited by the short term tourist. Try to visit in the autumn when the fagus trees are dressed at their best in soft fading colours. I have  visit in  the depths of winter when the rocky crevices are filled with snow. Once I took a Jamaican artist studying here up there in deep winter, he felt compelled to experience trudging through deep snow. He was so concerned about dying in the cold that he dress himself in my daughter's antarctic all weather suit. I don't know if you have ever seen a black man go red, but I did that day the sight was very amusing especially when he unzipped his jacket and let out enough steam to drive Watt's steam engine.

"Wrapped Landscape"
acrylic on board  Peter Kreet
Now days you are able to walk out on duck boarding with only minor rock  climbing events. The fagus tree is to my knowledge the only deciduous tree in Australia and the walk is well worth the effort. Take your lunch and enjoy the view sitting beside a tarn in this high country. All the plant life up here is very stunted and bent against the wind, so think how lucky you are to be beside a tarn and gazing out across one of the roofs of the world. Finally if you feel like swimming be quick the water is very cold. Once in British Colombia my wife decided to go swimming in a Rocky Mountain lake, she jumped in and out in one movement not unlike a silent movie being played backwards.But  I promise it will freshen you up! I have included the painting above "Wrapped Landscape" so that you can see the relationship between my mountain hikes and visual work.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New directions

"Fraser Island"acrylic on board. 610x450
Peter Kreet
In order to jolt my mind and conceptual thinking ,I often paint a small series of work completely out of character with current work. These paintings have been developed on and off over the last year so while working on the series Fragments of Memory [ see blog]. Such activity ensures that I can continually approach my work with fresh eyes and not become bogged down in repetitious series of variations as often happens to many artists. Often galleries and dealers require a continual output of related work.

acrylic on board. 610x450
Peter Kreet

"Nambucca Heads"
acrylic on board 610x450
Peter Kreet

"Nambucca Heads II "
acrylic on board 610x450
Peter Kreet

"Coastal Vista"
acrylic on board 610x450
Peter Kreet
With this in mind I have attempted examine and reduce subject matter to basic elements, the simplified strong colour contrasts and surface textures enable me to look at landscape in a new way. At times I am able to introduce lively linear pattens and clashing colour effects such discords as red and green or blue and orange. This approach to painting is nothing new as both Henri Matisse and Andre Derain developed the style in 30's. Sometimes the exercise propels me towards either a new abstract or figurative series. These paintings were based on sketches I made on a trip to northern NSW and Queensland hope you like the results.

"Approximate Portrait of M"
acrylic on board
Peter Kreet

"Shepard Girls" by Peter Kreet
acrylic on board

This is a possible new appoach to portraits ,most likely I shall have to develope a different treatment of the face. In "Shepard Girls " below I reduced the figure to a siluette but this is not satisfactory for a portrait.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dorpfeld's Theory on Odysseus' Cave

'Port of Nydri' acrylic on canvas by Peter kreet
 Dorpfeld Street was named after a 19th cent. archaeologist who  held the view that Lefkade and not Ithaca  was the home of the Trojan hero Odysseus. This viewpoint is reasonable as according to Homer his kingdom consisted of Lefkade, Corfu, Kefellonia Lefkade , Ithaca  and possibly also Zakynothos. There is evidence to support this theory although in recent times it has fallen out of favour.

The result of all this is that I have decided to explore this part of the Ionian Island on a quest to try to find a likely cave that fits Homer's description. I had already spent a week on Ithaca without any positive results. Now I intended to work my way down the mountainous east coast of Lefkade. To date I have inspected a large cave complex south of the city, unfortunately the caves proved to have been highly modified in recent times, many interlinked with tunnels down which some had railway lines. My guess is that they were used during WWII by the Germans as some sort of ammunition supply depot.

Further down the coast I inspected a bronze age site and took a boat from Nydri to Meganisi to look at the Papanikolis caves. The Germans had used these also to hold a submarine and seemed unlikely to have been the site the kindly Phaeacians would have deposited Odysseus.

It seems reasonable to give a brief outline of Odysseus' trials over the ten years he took to return home from Troy. Unwilling to leave his wife Penelope and infant son but was persuaded to go and once there proved to be a highly skilled not only as warrior, but also an orator and cunning tactician, Odysseus came up with the idea of the Trojan Horse [ not in Homer].

On his homeward journey he fought off many perils such as the one eyed Cyclops, the witch Circe [ who turned men into pigs], the seductive Calypso and then Sirens' island where he had too block his ears with wax  to stop being seduced. His blinding of Cyclops angered Poseidon [god of the sea] resulting in the loss of all his companions. Eventually the Paeacians took pity on him and returned him to his home.On arrival he found his wife Penelope was being besieged by a hundred suitors, so disguising himself as a beggar and with the support of his son and Eumaios the swine herder killed them all.

Homer's Odysseus is one of the foundation books of western literature and the wonderful think is even two thousand seven hundred years later is still in print.

Sirens Isle  acrylic  on canvas  Peter Kreet

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Montebello Atom Bomb Testing

Not many people today believe me when I tell them that in the 50s I was required to walk around the ship I was serving on off the West Australian coast ,giga counter in hand to take radiation readings. Every four hours a crew member would set off in his typical tropical rig of tongs, shorts and sometime singlet to do the readings.The British Government carried out atomic testing on Montebello Island just off the Australian coast near Derby . Little or no concern what ever that such activity posed any form of health risk was considered.Our Federal government at the time assured the general population that all safety measures were in place. No white gloves, mask or safety helmet  nothing in fact was even considered necessary. I have no idea how many seaman if any ever suffered any side effects from this exposure as most would be dead  by now time heals everything. All this of course sounds like agent orange in Vietnam fiasco also claimed to be harmless. The important thing now for every Australian is to make sure such  political spin never see the light of day again.

Friday, July 8, 2011


A few months ago southern Tasmanian was treated a beautiful eclipse, often the colours in such events boarder on the sublime. In this painting I have tried to capture the feeling of midnight lit at first by bright moonlight that suddenly  veiled by some hidden hand. The topic was quite difficulty as to how to enliven the painting with moonlit trees while showing the eclipse.

"Eclipse" by Peter Kreet
acrylic on board