Friday, April 29, 2011

Moleskine Project Exhibition

Hey guys,

So what started last year as a pet side project to improve my sketchbook studies has now found itself into a gallery space as a full solo exhibition in San Francisco! It will be the inaugural exhibition for Spoke Art in the new gallery space too.

The opening night is May 5th, 6-10 pm.
 It's located on 816 Sutter Street, near corner is Jones Street. It's nicely located right near Union Square, close to a block of Academy of Arts it's Cinco de Mayo!

The gallery space itself is new and gorgeous- nice high ceilings, generous floor size with great windows at the front entrance.

Big thanks to Ken Harman for finding such a great place to start a new chapter for Spoke art and my career too, he is also responsible for choosing and organising the beautiful frames you see below.
It was a difficult journey to be here- I had to slug through two solo shows, a group show and other things, and Ken had to deal with a gallery that went bankrupt, find a new place and sort out the frames and promotion.

I hope you can turn up to the show if you're in SF, I'd be happy to meet you all.

Framed Pieces


Monday, April 18, 2011


Hey guys,

Just wanted to post up some new art! The opening night was great, it was really good to meet everyone who came. I had 25 works hanging in the Phone Booth Gallery, we've sold 7 so far. Much thanks and love to those who made it out, and the buyers in particular for their support. All pieces come framed.

Click the title link above the image to be taken to the price, size and media info. There's also detail and framing shots.

I've posted a selection of the works- a mix of generally unseen work. For the rest, please follow the link below.

Photo of me with Kevin Tong (left) the buyer of this piece, who also happens to be a great artist, and a top bloke!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New moleskine pages

Hey guys,

Just started a new moleskine now that Anima is finished with, thought I'd share where I'm up to. Looking forward to this one!

There's also a preview for my solo show up with some new unseen images at the Hi Fructose blog, big thanks to Ken Harman for the generous write up.

Please check it out here if you have the time.

"Opening tomorrow night (Saturday, April 16th) at Phone Booth Gallery in Long Beach is the debut US showing of young Australian artist Rod Luff. The discerning eye of gallery director Garry Booth has introduced us to the works of Handiedan, Lara Zombie and Kevin Tong, and we are once again impressed by the progressive curatorship from the Long Beach based gallery.
 Entitled 'Anima', Luff's first stateside showing comprises of a variety of oil paintings and drawings on paper, an impressive body of work, made equally more intriguing by the artist's young age, attractive price points and emerging status. Get a look at some of the pieces from the show below, and if you're in LA tomorrow night, please be sure to swing by. Highly recommended."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Continuing with the themes of introspection and imagination, I feel that the ocean is a great metaphor for the mind. Trying to hold onto one thought for a long period of time is nearly impossible for me, and its amazing how they ebb and flow like the rhythm of the ocean. Some thoughts are a rip tide that pull you away from familiar shores and some are dead flat.

 There is the idea that our minds go much deeper than we can consciously explore into a dark, uncharted abyss, or even further down into the trenches. Now I'm no psychologist or anything, but these were the thoughts that were swimming around in my fleshy brain case as I drew this picture in my uncle's super awesome backyard studio.

One of the exciting hilights was turning around mid session only to discover a gigantic swarm of bees 7 foot high, a big buzzing cloud that made me jump out of my chair. I moved the table to the other side of the yard and faced the bees so that I could keep an eye on them in case they decided to go all jihad on me.

Sorry that the scan is so over exposed- all the subtle light greys were washed out with white- I took it to Kinko's since I have no scanner here.

Anemone is 14 by 17 inches, made with pastel and pencil.

Progress shot on the easel:

The finished scan (detail)

Richard Schmid Lecture Notes

I visited the Pasadena Museum of Californian art to check out their latest show, which was a great exhibition. As I was about leave, I overheard someone mention a slideshow presentation. I checked my brochure and found out there was a Richard Schmid lecture starting in five minutes!

I also quickly shook his hand and said thankyou just before the lecture, never washing my hand again!!! must extract the dna and make a schmid clone teach me to paint!

Here are the rough notes I made, I hope they might help in some way! They are just my personal notes, I'm not trying to teach anyone but myself, and writing helps me get my thoughts in order.

I managed to scribble down some quotes too.
Lucikly I found some of the paintings he used in his lecture too!


Schmid eased us into the talk with his oddball sense of humour, getting us relaxed as he made his first point: the primacy of direct, sensory experience is most important and can only achieved by painting from life. No digital camera could ever capture that same experience, visually or otherwise. He then stated every painting is a self portrait in a way and that every artist in this sense has an obligation to be introspective.
The external reality only serves as a springboard to allow the artist to explore their inner landscape.

One of the funny images Schmid used throughout to make it a really fun experience.

The presentation consisted of slides of both his and his wife Nancy's work, pointing out the importance of design, edges, colour and various other aspects you can read in his books.

The portrait lighting - lit from both sides. One side has to be dominant, even if slightly. Difference in temperature has to be observed carefully between the light sources. Always check the shapes.

There were a lot of direct advice on painting a still life.

- Painting every part of the flower including the stems, paying attention to the subtleties of the leaves and the symphony of their motion, the design shape created by its beauty and variety and of course to love every second of it.

-Painting the dead leaves as well, or the different stages of life. The browns harmonise nicely with the fresh ones and create a richer, deeper and more balanced images. Flowers from the florist come too perfect and clean- get out in the real world and paint them as they are.

Spend as long as necessary to set up a still life- even if it takes a week or two. Find objects that are interesting and pay attention to the way it is set up.

This was the still life included in the exhibition

An example of a more elaborate set up. The one he used in the presentation was more involved and complex.

Preparation is key according to Shmid, because once your technical skills are in the right place, then all that is left is to copy the set up in a painterly fashion, to copy the shapes and use the brushwork to describe the edges, lighting, drawing and design.

Nancy Guzik's painting of children: He showed a series of his wife's painting of kids.

-She finds parts of life that any other artist would overlook- a child clenching her foot so the shoe won't fit. Find these aspects in life through experience and understanding.

-importance of design elements in foreground leading up to the focal point- use nature to find interesting shapes for your composition.

This image wasn't in the lecture but still a good example, the river leads in, and is kept interesting by attention to its unique, natural design.

There is a strong no nonsense approach to schmiddo, to him art is not just a verb but an entire sensory and emotional connection to the interior and exterior world.
Even after talking about art history and the slow development of understanding up to the pinnacle of 19th Century art, he would quickly let his words disintegrate into a blah blah blah. He is not even interested in his subject (though he does contradict himself there) or symbolism for that matter.
"People want to know the symbolism behind any paintings and I make up a different story each time."
He tells a story with direct control of brushwork and edges, his experience of the moment, a visual language that scholars can only dream of controlling. It makes sense. Writing about his art is for writers to do. His role is to do it.

-The one point he made about styles- it is important to have different approaches and techniques to use, because it is akin to searching for the perfect turn of phrase, or having an expansive vocabulary to draw upon- the paths to expressing oneself all depend on the mastery of the technique. He broke technique down to four points- Good drawing, value, edges and colour.

-He then proceeded to introduce a new method he had been using to absolutely stunning effect.

-After making a mid toned wash of stand oil, damar and turps (I think) he then proceeded to rub out the wash to form the distinct design of the petal with a towel and cotton tip to reveal parts of the white beneath. He then introduced opaque paint over these areas and created a powerful image- there was a clear distinct cleanliness to this method which seemed to take it to a slightly higher level.

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks, but an old dog can teach himself new tricks"

These were painted using that technique and were used to demonstrate its effects.

Schmid is all about observation and technique- there is a sense to his works that he does not try to glorify his objects, but copy them and let them reveal their own beauty. There isn't exaggeration of colour or any of the overkill that is present in a lot of landscape work.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

anima sneak peek 2

Set up a little studio in my Uncle's backyard here in LA so I can squeeze in some more art for the shows.
Will post the Schmid lecture notes tomorrow or Sunday.

This is the current piece I'm working on, about 2 days work so far. I think I'll need one more day to finish it. It's pencil, 14" by 17". Might add dashes of pastel after. Sorry for the bad photos, the second one was taken as it was getting dark so it's not very clear.
It's cropped in a bit too, there's more space around it.

And a close up of another piece that's being framed, the detail show is a little bigger than the actual size.

The original is 12" by 19"

and lastly, a shot of my super cool backyard studio :)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Anima sneak peek

Hey guys,

Please forgive me if you've been told a few times on different websites, but as it's my first show I'm trying to get the word out as much as possible. If you can make it, please do as I'll be attending from Australia and I'd love to meet you all!

The show will open at Phone Booth Gallery on 2533 East Broadway, Long Beach on Saturday April 16th at 7:00 pm and will finish at 10:00 pm.

There should be a total of 23-24 works in the show, as I have been trying to squeeze in some extra work the past few months, so there will be a good amount of unseen work for those who are already familiar with what I've done, as well as plenty of affordable, small works for those who are interested.
I'm also going to be blogging a bit more often, with some hi res sneak peaks, some good news about the Moleskine show in San Francisco, and some info and notes on a Richard Schmid lecture I stumbled into by incredible luck.

If you are interested in attending the show please RSVP on this Facebook events page, because it might help us know how much booze to bring for you all, haha ;)
Thankyou and here are some pictures of the work at the framers, and a close up of a painting.

More soon!