‘Trigger Happy’ inspiration

The latest show at the Drill Hall Gallery is Ben Quilty’s ‘Trigger Happy’. While I have seen quite a bit of Quilty’s work on the TV, following his stint as an Official War Artist in Afghanistan, this is the first time I’ve seen a whole show of his work in the flesh.

The 'Baby' room. A number of paintings of Quilty's children and a painting by one young Joe Quilty at the Drill Hall Gallery.

The ‘Baby’ room. A number of paintings of Quilty’s children and also a painting by young Joe Quilty at the Drill Hall Gallery.

And ‘fleshy’ is definitely a good way to describe Quilty’s painting style. The oil paint is applied in such generous amounts that I had to wonder how any work painted this year managed to dry in time for the show. Not to worry they did and they are on the walls. The show includes a large number of portraits, a series of landscapes and a room of delicate works in watercolour pencil along with some prints. While I was there the room of family portraits was attracting the greatest number of visitors. The end wall is dominated by two large portraits of the artist’s son. On another side is a ‘Rorschach’ painting of his daughter (on the left hand side of the photo above) and other members of the artist’s family. While the two portraits of Joe dominate there are equally equally eloquent smaller images such as the head and shoulders portrait of Kylie and another portrait of Joe in watercolour (on the far right of the photo above. Clearly people were responding to these beautiful works – there was no 10 seconds and then move on in front of these paintings. The other room which really impressed me was the one containing the drawings. These small works demonstrated such a delicate touch and clearly showed Quilty’s fine drafting skills . I made sure I had plenty of time to see the show so I was able to do some blind drawings of some of the works I enjoyed. The outcomes of doing a blind drawing of a large gestural painting can be rather obscure, so once I got home I scanned my drawings and then did some additional work on them in Photoshop©. For the two drawings you can see the original and then the version I coloured, drawing on similar colours to those used in Quilty’s paintings. I was pleasantly surprised with the result for both images.

Blind drawing of 'Joe' by Ben Quilty, 2007.

Blind drawing of ‘Joe’ by Ben Quilty, 2007.

Blind drawing with colour of Joe, 2007, by Ben Quilty.

Blind drawing with colour of ‘Joe’, by Ben Quilty 2007.

Blind drawing of The Lot by Ben Quilty, 2010

Blind drawing of ‘The Lot’ by Ben Quilty, 2010

Blind drawing with colour of The Lot by Ben Quilty, 2010.

Blind drawing with colour of ‘The Lot’, by Ben Quilty, 2010.

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