Reg and I continue to potter around in and about our studio retreat here in northern Victoria, planning our next tour. This year we are touring south-eastern and eastern Australia, and we are currently enjoying short trips in and around northern to northeast and central Victoria.
I have been working on some art, inspired by a recent visit to KidsTown in Mooroopna and enjoying being in my on-site studio where we have set up the lovely new glass top open U shape desk space. It is very Feng Shui, positively invites me to want to create art and write. Even on a hot day, I have the fan on. Dappled light comes through the bamboo roller blinds creating shade to keep the window surface and the studio cool, yet I can get the benefit of the natural light, and best of all I can see the dappled pattern of foliage from the shade trees outside, on the blinds.
I love our summers in northern Victoria, its Australian colours of green trees, gold, oat stubble and blue skies.
Jane Mutta Portrait by Ryn Shell
Child Portrait Inspired by Margaret Cilento's Art
Portrait of Leanne, by Ryn Shell.
I do love this Ryn Shell portrait painting, and the sitter, because the eyes speak so much of the personality of the person so close to me.
This work has a character that you don't get from photo realism. You can tell that this is art as all the pencil renderings can be seen. It hasn't been overly refined. As soon as the artist has 'told the story,' they stop and do not fiddle and ruin it. I was inspired by the beautiful portraits of the artist, Margaret Cilento, to produce this artwork.
When I first saw Margaret Cilento's portrait of this girl, it shocked me that she had captured such sadness in a child's eyes. Yet, I loved it, because the artist saw the black dog of depression that would follow the girl. Now that is a real artist, one who can see into the mind of their sitter and capture personality and not just an outer image.
I gave the girl Cilento's portrait of her, and I kept this one, my portrait of her, and my attempt to capture in art those beautiful, expressive eyes. I treasure this artwork and keep it on show in my home, a reminder of a girl, now a woman, I love and am proud of.
Margaret Cilento b. 1923 - 2006
Also known as Phyllis Margaret Cilento, Margaret Cilento-Maslen
Painter and printmaker. Resident of Queensland, New South Wales, America and Europe. Underhill firmly believes that Cilento should be acknowledged as introducing Abstract Expressionism to Brisbane.
A Ryn Shell portrait painted in pastel pencils completed during my commissioned portraitist days.
This shows how important my Rural-Lit novels are to me, that I gave up such a successful painting career to focus on writing.
A realist portrait such as this would have represented a months work. Writing a novel, or a series of novellas takes me a year.
I far prefer impressionist art, or writing, it is more creative. Photo realism is nothing more than painstaking copying. I can say that because I can do it. It isn't art; it's craft, and easier to learn to do than fine art. I'm not an admirer of photo realism—I just did it, for a few years only, for clients who wanted art to look like a photo.
After I completed this work, I never made another photorealist painting again. I do not even exhibit this work. I cannot see it as art. I'm not proud of having spent a month copying a photo. Not my finest creative moment. To me, art should set itself aside from a photo and be so much more.
Australian Aboriginal Man from Materanka
Pastel Pencil portrait by Ryn Shell
CAUTION: Read before opening closed section.
Permission was granted by the sitter to Ryn Shell, the artist, to exhibit his portrait. Ryn Shell is aware that viewing this portrait of a deceased Aboriginal person might be disturbing or offensive to some people, so she gives notice that you might wish to not look at this picture.
This portrait shows the versatility of pastels as a portrait medium. It was painted in pastels with full permission of the portrait sitter.