Highlights 2017

Well it’s a happy new year to all and time to take a step back and peer into the archives. 2017 was a year of discoveries for me and one of the biggest was my realisation that Newcastle is the best place I’ve found to buy art. It’s a city abundant with top artists producing quality pieces and so I know where my art collecting dollar will be spent in 2018. I’m not a prolific collector by any stretch of the imagination but honestly the price point is way below other cities and the standard of the art is equivalent if not higher in technique and execution. And this has me pondering as to why. My guess is we have an abundance of artists and a scene devoid of collectors. Remedying the collector problem is beyond me. It amazes me why someone would spend money buying an impersonal print from the major retailers when they could perhaps spend less in the galleries. But then I’m into art. And the rest of Newcastle is into the Knights!

So back to my highlights. Surprise surprise I found two gems in of all places Belmont Tafe. At the time of writing it was a mystery who the artist was but with the help from readers of my blog we found the local Lyn Fabian is the talent behind the brush. Her work provides a moment of cultural glory in an otherwise bland and dull life of routine monotony in the capitalism cycle.


Lyn Fabian is the artist responsible for brightening my day.

Elisabeth Cummings had me spellbound in Canberra. In the tranquil Drill Hall Gallery I was able to view her exhibition “Interior Landscapes”. For those keen to see her abstracted paintings Newcastle Art Gallery is home to this exhibition in March. Please don’t miss it. Her ability to find spirit and character in a carton of eggs is perfection!


Just perfect. Oh to paint like the wonderful Australian artist Elizabeth Cummings.

Acrux Gallery became a temporary laboratory for the artist James McFarlane. He exhibited the decaying and rather large teeth created for his Honours degree. They’re slightly macabre and a wee bit bizarre but I enjoyed them so much I now have one as part of my collection. Well one does want a collection with some strangeness and the big tooth I acquired fits into my gallery of weird and wonderful with gusto.


Teeth by James McFarland.

Love Art of Emotion an exhibition at the NGV was as much about the music as the romance. David Lang’s glorious song Just was the perfect accompaniment to the exquisite array of art and artifacts in this exhibition. I was gliding about in a realm of romantic visions, dramatic imagery and exquisite talent.


The Virgin Annunciate c 1645-50 by Bernardo Cavallino.

And finally it was only a couple of months ago I found myself in New York (yep just woke up one morning and there I was). And although I haven’t fond the time to write about the experience (besides Williamsburg)  I have to add a painting here that I saw in the Museum of Modern Art that I found astounding for its vibrancy and texture. Kandinsky’s painting “Picture with an Archer” made me appreciate this artist that previously I’d only read about. I know Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” is a feature in this gallery but this painting was my favourite.


Ah Kandinsky. You’ve won my heart.

Now it’s a big thanks to those that follow and read my blog (it’s a small portion of the world population but ah who’s counting). I’m doing this because I love art and somehow the writing clarifies my thoughts and also reinforces my preferences in regard to the techniques I find inspiring. It’s never about the subject matter (or the artist) to me but very much about the ability to extend materials and excite the spirit. So here’s hoping 2018 is full of art both sweet and heroic. Until next time cheers and happy arting!

PS Just thought I’d add that I have created an Instagram account called The_Layman_Reviewer . I see much more art than I can write about so here’s where to find more images I love.