Sunday, December 19, 2010

December Rain & the Dobell Drawing Prize



Well the Hunters & Collectors song is about January rain, but this is December rain. Last Thursday at around 2pm, to be precise. This is the view from our patio looking across the road. Notice how dark it is?


Fortunately the post man arrived before the rain, as he was carrying these goodies that I purchased from Lisa Engelbrecht’s site. They are a 6.0mm Pilot Parallel Pen and an ink pencil. By the way, Lisa has the parallel pens available for US$10 + $4 shipping, and with the Aussie dollar so strong, that’s quite a saving on the retail price here. I thought it was a great opportunity to try something new cheaply.


With Christmas so close, I haven’t had the time or energy to create lately, but I did want to mention some of the artists I discovered while I was at the Art Gallery of NSW. The Dobell Drawing Prize is currently on show (and will be till the end of January) and with my current obsession with drawing it was great timing for me.

Suzanne Archer was the winner, and you can the winning work here, but I wanted to share the works that really said something to me. I’ve tried to find images of the actual work, but if I couldn’t then I’ve chosen something with the same flavour. You can see more of each artists work by following the link attached to their name.


It was great to see an artists book included. The work is a beautiful collection of sea shells and creatures, very sensitively drawn.

Dobell prizeDeborah Angus Book of the sea, pencil, pastel © the artist*

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any more about Angus online.


The work below by Anne Edmonds doesn’t show up well on a screen, but was a gorgeous study of light.


Anne Edmonds Climate Change: Beacons of Hope (graphite) Sydney*




Fiona Fenech Scapegoat (thread, graphite, polychrome pencil on mulberry paper)*



Michael Peck The land stood empty (india ink on archival paper)*



Catherine O’Donnell Number 19 (charcoal)*

This work was like a photo, and the idea that you could achieve such a degree of realism just with charcoal really bowled me over.

Another artist whose work really struck me was Annette Russell. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any images of recent work by her, although the link will take you to some beautiful ethereal installation works and photographs.

Finally here is a link to a review in Australian. I note that the author and I only selected two works in common. Having not seen the previous exhibition to which he refers, I can’t comment on that comparison. However, I would say that I agree that in a prize specifically for drawing, it is good to see some examples of what is particular about the medium e.g. Michael Peck’s work. That said, I also find it impossible to disregard the technical virtuosity displayed for example by Catherine O’Donnell.



*All images of other artists works were borrowed with no mal-intent, and will be removed immediately if requested by the artist or their agent.


  1. the dobell has long been my fav award (as a teen I had dreams that ONE DAY I'd have something in the show....... hmmmmmm small problem - I need to DRAW again to do that!)

    and I see that you are being ever more drawn (ha haa ha ha 'drawn' - I made a silly pun!) into the calligraphic world amanda! I'm sure you'll thoroughly enjoy the parallel pen (I remember when I bought one about 5-ish years ago from wills quills in chatswood they were about $20 ea - that was when our dollar was look at the difference!) I haven't really got into using it...... I DID use it to teach some beginners for a short while - I found the ink cartridges supplied were a bit thin for my liking, but I'm told you can put all many of materials through the nib (gouache or watercolour anyone?) so do let us know how your experiments go!

  2. What wonderful drawings. I'll try to get to Sydney before that exhibition closes. xox

  3. I especially like that Catherine O'Donnell picture. I love street scenes and urban artwork anyway, but, as you say, such virtuosity!

    I hope you have fun with the pen. There are few things as lovely as a delivery of new art supplies.