Fiddle Icon Show in Derry, 2012.

Fiddle Icon Show in Derry, 2012.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fiddle Icons - latest news.

Huge thanks to all the generous supporters who carried me to the target of $3000 to make my Fiddle Icons show in Northern Ireland possible. As you can see from the Pozible widget at the side of the blog, we went to 110%, a brilliant result.

The first use for the money is to pay for digital capture and reproduction of the images. The paintings are currently at Brisbane Digital Images, where the work is progressing apace. The meticulous Martin Barry is scanning the images and doing the colour corrections. As soon as they are ready, I will post the images on the blog, and email them to all my supporters so you can choose the image you would like as your reward. I will also have postcards made of them.

The fiddle players to choose from are, from left to right: Emma Nixon, Nancy Kerr, Natalie Haas, Alasdair Fraser, Martin Hayes, Dougie Maclean and Ado Barker.

Although I am currently on tour with Cloudstreet in the UK, I am attempting to finish some watercolours of other fiddlers I have interviewed, to show alongside the major works at NAFCo.

The show will run for the duration of the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Derry, from 27 June to 1 July.

More news as it comes to hand!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Nancy Kerr as the Madonna of the Fiddle


Here she is, the iconic Nancy Kerr, with the Southern Cross in her dress and the babes at her feet. Sunrise and foliage ideas courtesy of Claude Lorrain, but Nancy's beatific look is all her own doing!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dougie Maclean portrait completed!


Very excited to have just finished Dougie Maclean's portrait, down to the last glaze, the ribbon of his OBE and the celtic knotwork in the background.

Dougie has played fiddle since his youth, but is best known as a singer, songwriter and guitarist with an intimate manner that reaches the hearts of his audience. When I interviewed him, he didn't bring a fiddle, but as he talked about playing and writing music on the fiddle, his hands naturally described the shape of fiddle playing with long-accustomed grace. He said he plays fiddle the way he sings, playing the airs of songs, and filling his playing with emotion.

I have painted him in a characteristically relaxed and casual pose, but surrounded him with the trappings of formality which also characterise his life. And he is truly an air-fiddler.

dougiemaclean.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fiddles are closer to Ireland already.


Huge thanks to the brilliant supporters who have already, after only a day, pledged financial support for my "art on tour" project! I have put the Pozible progress widget on the side of the blog, so its easy to keep track of how its going. This is so exciting! You can also go straight to my Pozible link.

And I'm currently working on three paintings simultaneously, having finished the portrait of Scottish fiddle pin-up girl Emma Nixon.

Emma is the driving force behind the mass playing of Scottish fiddle music in Brisbane, Australia, having started the Brisbane Celtic Fiddle Club (brisbanecelticfiddleclub.com), and leading celtic ensembles in schools and at the Young Conservatorium. She is the recipient, with Chris Stone, of the 2012 National Folk Fellowship and they have just this week completed a new album of Scottish fiddle music from the collection of the National Library of Australia, which they will launch at the National Folk Festival in two weeks.



Monday, March 19, 2012

Fiddles to Ireland!

I'm in the middle of all the paintings, and I've got two weeks to finish them. It will happen! But to get them to Northern Ireland and put on the show, I need to raise some funds, so I'm starting a Pozible Crowdfunding project. That will go live in the next day or so, and here's what I'm saying on it:

Fiddles to Ireland!

by Nicole Murray

Pledge your support to take Australian paintings on tour to Northern Ireland.



Project Description

The Fiddle Icons Project.


I'm an Australian painter, raising funds to take my portraits of fiddle players to the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Derry, Northern Ireland. The show is called "Fiddle Icons" and the portraits are of influential fiddle players I have interviewed and painted. The subjects include Alasdair Fraser, Natalie Haas, Nancy Kerr, Martin Hayes, Emma Nixon, Dougie Maclean and Ado Barker.


I decided to dream big and apply to have an international exhibition, and now they've said yes, I need to make it happen!


I've been accepted to show them at the convention, I'm presenting a talk on my intriguing process of working from video interviews to create paintings, finished with gold leaf. I have a ticket to the UK.


Now I need a budget to get the paintings there, insure them, stay in Northern Ireland for the conference week.


You can help to put on this international exhibition in Derry by pledging your support through Pozible. I'm focussed on raising $3300 to cover packaging and shipping the paintings, insuring them, and covering my accommodation and living expenses while I'm in Ireland for a week.


I'm planning a major exhibition of these works along with more from the same series here in Australia, so I'll bring them back to Australia.



About the Artist

I have been a painter all my life, and my work has often focussed on portraits of musicians. My first solo exhibition was called "The People of the Music" and showed drawings and paintings of folk musicians from around Australia. I completed my art training in Melbourne and my paintings are in collections around Australia and in the UK.


For the past twelve years I have worked in the acclaimed folk duo, "Cloudstreet", touring Australia and internationally. We have just completed our seventh album, "The Land of Bright Gold", and we embark on our seventh tour of the UK in mid-April. The Fiddle Icons paintings will be shipped to meet me in Northern Ireland at the end of the Cloudstreet tour, when I will be attending the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, as a painter (but I'll take a fiddle!).



More information.


You can buy the reward as a gift.

After you have paid, please email me at nicole@cloudstreet.org and let me know the name and email of the person you would like to receive the reward.


When and where is the show?

Dates: 27 June - 1 July

Where: At NAFCo, the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, Derry, Northern Ireland. (www.nafco2012.com). I'll update the info on my blog and website as soon as the venue is confirmed. (nicolemurrayartblog.blogspot.com, www.cloudstreet.org)


How will I get my reward?

I will contact everyone about their reward, once project has closed and payment has been received.


Need further information?

I would love to hear from you to discuss any of your queries. You can email me at nicole@cloudstreet.org.


Yes, we can exceed the goal!

$3,300 is the absolute minimum to make the exhibition happen in Derry. I am already investing a lot of resources and funds into the production of the works and the staging of the exhibition. Every extra dollar raised above the goal will go towards making this exhibition the best it can possibly be, with better promotion and high quality presentation.


Thank you for taking the time to read my page! Please support my project by making a pledge, no matter how small the amount. Every bit helps. I would also really appreciate you letting your friends know about the project. I'll be blogging and facebooking updates so you know how its all going.

Cheers,

Nicole

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fiddle Icons



In the middle of working on a new morris dancing painting, I went to New Zealand to attend Boxwood, a week-long workshop studying flute and fiddle, with three acclaimed teachers, Chris Norman, Alasdair Fraser, and Natalie Haas.

A concept for a show which had been simmering in my mind suddenly achieved clarity, and I have started a body of work called "Fiddle Icons". The works I am planning will be portraits of influential fiddle players and their instruments, borrowing some of the iconography of traditional Byzantine icon painting, which is mostly used for religious images. It has the advantage of being a beautiful form, features gold leaf, and conveys a sense of the subject being revered.

The Fiddle Icons series has been gestating for a long time. Its seven years since I met Peter Murphy, who paints icons in egg tempera and gold leaf. I fortuitously met him in Broadstairs, Kent, and got to spend time in his studio. The ideas in his work made such a strong impact on me, I have been keeping a little flame alive all that time, wanting to borrow some of the techniques. You can see his beautiful work here: www.petermurphyicons.co.uk

In that seven years I have also started to play the fiddle, and I wanted to revisit an older body of work when I was painting portraits of folk musicians.

At Boxwood, the concept and the process all gelled. In order to make an expressive portrait, I am interviewing my subject on video. I ask them two questions. "What gives you joy in your music?" and "Tell me about your instrument." I have conducted four interviews so far, and the emerging theme is that people become poetic and philosophical in a fascinating way when finding an answer to these questions. And it shows in their expressions.

I then parse through the video and select individual frames which seem to express my subject's personality. I'm seeking the essence of who they are as a musician, rather than a candid image.

From there, I create a portrait. So far I have done a small work of Alasdair Fraser, my first interview subject, in gouache on paper. It is a study. The final portrait will be in oils, I think at the moment, on board, with gold leaf. I may experiment with egg tempera, as the results look spectacular, but I would have to learn a lot about the medium.

The second part of the project is to paint the instrument. It may be a full painting of my subject's instrument, or it may be a detail of the part they talk about or favour in their interview. The instrument will be on a separate panel, hinged to the portrait.

The third part of the project will be to transcribe the interview, and select quotes which inform the viewer about the musician's philosophy.






A Year Without Painting

Its been a year of huge events. I spent much of the time for six months going back and forward to Townsville, spending time with my mother in the last days of her life. It was a profound goodbye, full of grace and beauty, longing and grief.

In that year without painting, I also toured with cloudstreet to the UK and New Zealand, as well as several Australian tours, and we moved house from Maleny to Brisbane.

Now the seismic changes are settling, and I'm in my new studio, about to start on an exciting new project.