Archive for November, 2009

A Funny Thing

Thursday, November 19th, 2009


“What a funny thing painting is. The abstract painters always insist on their connection with the visible reality, while the so called figurative artists insist that what they really care about, is the abstract qualities of life.”
~Marlene Dumas


Chlorosis Love Sick by Marlene Dumas

Chlorosis Love Sick by Marlene Dumas



Young Boys by Marlene Dumas

Young Boys by Marlene Dumas

Aren’t they sweet? I love this painting. The colours, the way she draws and paints, almost like watercolour but with oil. They look so cold, I feel sorry for them, wedged together on that thin slip of yellow.


Young Boys (detail) by Marlene Dumas

Young Boys (detail) by Marlene Dumas

I’ll be photographing the installation my own show today, and will post the pics soon!




New Show!

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Hello Lovelies. If you live in Victoria, please check out my new solo show. Passage will be showing from November 18 until December 17 at University of Victoria’s McPherson Library Gallery. After the work goes up, I’ll post some more photos. Phew, the paintings are finished, and photographed, signed and dry (unusual for me to hang fully dry paintings!) and I’m very happy and very tired. Cup of tea and cheesy novel? Yes, please.


Photographing Paintings

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Here is a sort-of preview of the new work, as photographed yesterday. Photographing work is my least favourite part of the whole process. I’m lying on the floor, squinting into the view-finder, dealing with tricky sheen and funky light, appreciating how difficult it must be to be a professional photographer!

Fence (detail) Lisa Hebden 2009

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it’s all about the eyes. I find if the eyes are off (and not in a good way), the portrait doesn’t work. These new paintings continue in my tradition of portraits of make-believe girls. They are composites and imaginings. One painting will be inspired by a magazine ad for handbags, but will morph into something else entirely.

Blonde in Field (detail) Lisa Hebden 2009
big-blonde-eye-detail-sm Lisa Hebden

I’m excited about this one above. She’s raw and dark.



And this one is called “Pink Lady”. I couldn’t resist. I’ll post the whole paintings after the show opens next Wednesday!

Pressure Cooker

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I have been quiet this week, busily applying paint to canvas in preparation for another show here in Victoria, at the UVic McPherson Library Gallery on the 18th. Funny how I find myself in this position yet again, hoping the paint will dry faster than chemically possible…I’ll be back here soon with photos, but it’s hard to show photos of unfinished paintings. Check in later, friends…

A Lovely Inside Day

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

I don’t have a lot to write about today, rushing about trying to get into the studio. Funny how when I most want to get my work done, that’s when other things get in the way. I sometimes wonder if it’s a challenge, like my resolve is being tested by the mundane. My old professor’s wife called this wee battle “studio tyranny” and I’ve never forgotten that. 

I just did a Google Images search for the word “lovely” and the poster for The Lovely Bones came up. I had little interest in this film until I saw that the screenplay was done by Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh, the trio that did the screenplay for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Hmmm. They seem to have the hang of adaptation. Maybe it’ll be worth a look. It looks sad, creepy and beautiful…What a lovely combination.



The Man Who Paints Those Dreadful Pictures

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

It was Margaret Thatcher who referred to Francis Bacon as “the man who paints those dreadful pictures”, and they are dreadful in a way, but so damn interesting. The sweeping marks, the reinvention of the figure, his work is so different from any that came before him. 




Francis Bacon worked in a cramped space from 1961 to his death in 1992. In 1998, his studio in London was documented, moved and re-constituted at the Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane in 1998. Lucky for us.

I got to see this preserved studio in 2006, almost by accident. There was a window in a blank wall, and I walked up to it and looked into this horrible, fascinating creative mess. I was like a Norman Rockwell girl in pigtails with her hands cupped to a sweet shop window. I stood staring at the thousands of brushes and hundreds of cans of paint for so long that my friends went for coffee and left me there! I guess everyone gets their geek moment at one time or another.


Francis Bacon in his Studio


The Hugh Lane gallery’s website has some great information about this installation:

Some two thousand samples of Bacon’s painting materials were found in the Reece Mews studio. These include hundreds of used paint tubes, jars of loose pigment, paintbrushes, utensils, tin cans, sticks of pastel, pieces of fabric, empty bottles of turpentine, cans of spray paint and of fixative, tins of household paint and countless roller sponges. No artist’s palette was found in the studio and the artist appears to have used just about anything he could find as a substitute. Even the walls of the studio itself were used to mix and test paints. From early on in his artistic career, Bacon tried out various materials in his paintings including aerosol cans of car paint, sand, pastel, dust and cotton wool. He also appears to have applied paint with the plastic lids from paint tubes and the open ends of bottles found in the studio.

Francis Bacon Studio


Francis Bacon


Francis Bacon Studio



Francis Bacon Studio

And yet more about the move (I love the numbers here):

The Hugh Lane Gallery removed the contents of Francis Bacon’s studio at 7 Reece Mews in August 1998. This operation was conducted with the assistance of a team of archaeologists who mapped the space, and tagged and noted the positions of the objects. The reconstructed studio features the original door, walls, floors, ceiling and shelves. Over 7,000 items were found in the studio and these were catalogued on a specially designed database before their replacement in the studio… The database has entries on approximately 570 books and catalogues, 1,500 photographs, 100 slashed canvases, 1,300 leaves torn from books, 2,000 artist’s materials and 70 drawings. Other categories include the artist’s correspondence, magazines, newspapers and vinyl records.

It took me 3 days and about 12 carloads to move my studio from one part of the city to another. I can’t even imagine working in a space for 31 years, and leaving all that stuff behind for those people to so carefully document and move. Archeologists! Francis must have been laughing in his grave. Take that, Maggie.