Sunday 17 February 2013

A lovely Sunday...QAG and Ian Fairweather

Detail: Work in Progress - Riverside - oil on canvas ©2013 Carol Lee Beckx 

A lovely Sunday - a few hours painting on a new work - a detail of the painting is shown here, then into the city to the Queensland Art Gallery. The late paintings of Ian Fairweather are being exhibited at QAG. I arrived in time to join a guided tour of the paintings.

The paintings come across on a first impression as being sombre and severe. Certainly there is an extremely limited colour palette. Fairweather, having travelled extensively discovered Bribie Island , north of Brisbane and lived there from 1953 in a hut on the Island until the end of his life. His lifestyle was simple in the extreme - no electricity and he painted flat on a trestle or with the paintings pinned to the wall.

Art supplies were meagre - he used ordinary house paint mixed with gouache on cardboard or even newspaper. (I am sure these prove to be a nightmare for the conservation department.)

On close examination the paintings reveal numerous layers. Paint is built up gradually, and little jewel-like areas are a delight. I have included details of a couple of paintings. 

Detail: Painting III

Detail from Painting II

The influence of Cubism and Abstract expressionism is strong as can be seen in Kite Flying which also shows the influence of his interest in China, Chinese calligraphy and customs.

Kite Flying - Ian Fairweather 1958 - synthetic polymer paint with gouache on cardboard on composition board. (The painting is made up of a number of pieces of cardboard joined together)

The exhibition is on until March 3 2013 and is certainly worth a visit.


  1. Your abstract is vibrant and energetic, a good few hours spent. Fairweather's work is intriguing. The last one reminds me of the later years of Cubism. The others remind me of a painting I did in the seventies, also using housepaint. Fairweather's work fortified that decision I made years ago to paint in the negative over the positive to get another positive perspective. Make sense? If not don't worry about it. Great post. A pat on the back for me.

    1. Makes perfect sense - in fact many of his paintings had these layers of under-painting and then here and there shapes that suddenly pull the composition together.

  2. Hi Carol.
    Beautiful colours. All the best.