99 episodes

Maria Stoljar talks with Australian painters about how they became an artist, their painting techniques, influences and current work.

Talking with Painters Maria Stoljar

    • Visual Arts
    • 4.9 • 243 Ratings

Maria Stoljar talks with Australian painters about how they became an artist, their painting techniques, influences and current work.

    Ep 99: Wendy Sharpe and ‘Magic’

    Ep 99: Wendy Sharpe and ‘Magic’

    You can also watch this episode as a video here. To hear the episode as an audio podcast click on 'play' above.

    Leading artist Wendy Sharpe talks with me in her Sydney studio about her fabulous show 'Magic' at King Street Gallery on William.

    We also talk about the controversy around her Sulman finalist painting ‘The Witches’ in 2016, her involvement in the innovative SBS show Life Drawing Live, the story behind her striking Archibald portrait of Magda Szubanski and lots more. 

    I previously interviewed Wendy on the podcast in 2018 where we talked about her life and how she became an artist. You can hear that episode here.

    'Magic' continues at King Street Gallery on William until 24 October 2020.


    Artist Wendy Sharpe talks with Maria Stoljar

    'Fluid Time', 2020, oil on linen, 84 x 92cm

    'Walking home', 2020, oil on linen, 145 x 170cm

    'Night Magic', 2014, oil on linen, 183 x 145cm

    'The Witches', 2016, oil on linen, 160 x 146.5cmFinalist, Sir John Sulman Prize, 2016

    'Wheel of Fortune', 2020, oil on linen, 125 x 125cm

    'Erskineville station', 2018, oil on canvas, 145 x 183cmFinalist Sir John Sulman Prize

    'Hocus pocus', 2020, oil on linen, 147 x 183cm

    'Forever is composed of nows', 2020, oil on linen, 145 x 160cm

    'Other people's monsters', 2019, oil on linen, 125 x 125cm

    Wendy with the papier mache sculpture which she made and which appears in her paintings.

    'Magda Szubanski - comedy and tragedy' 2020, oil on linen, 183 x 147cmFinalist Archibald Prize 2020

    Sketches Wendy made in preparation for the Szubanski Archibald portrait

    Jan Matejko'Stanczyk', 1862, oil on canvas, 120 x 88cm

    • 33 min
    Ep 98: Wayne Tunnicliffe, curator of ‘Streeton’

    Ep 98: Wayne Tunnicliffe, curator of ‘Streeton’

    In the late 19th century, impressionism swept through the art world. In Australia, a group of young artists embraced the new movement - they would meet in artist's camps and paint en plein air. Among them was a young Arthur Streeton who would in due course become one of Australia's most loved and respected artists.  

    Wayne Tunnicliffe has curated an outstanding retrospective of Streeton’s work. Wayne is Head Curator of Australian art at the Art Gallery of NSW, and the retrospective gathers together over 150 of Streeton’s works, some not seen in public in over 100 years. This is Streeton as he has never been seen before.

    Wayne had the idea for the exhibition when he was curatorial adviser to an exhibition of Australian impressionists at the National Gallery in London. It was clear to him that Streeton stood out as the most significant landscape painter in the group.

    It makes sense that this retrospective is held at the Art Gallery of NSW. Not only does the Gallery have the largest collection of Streetons anywhere in the world, but they started buying his work in 1890 when he was an emerging artist at only 23 years of age. 

    In this episode we explore Streeton's life: his early years, his meeting some of the key figures in Australian art, his experience of life in London and during WWI, and his later years back in Australia. We also dig deep into a couple of the works with Wayne providing some fascinating insights.

    To hear the interview press 'play' beneath the above feature photo. You can see images of the works we talk about below.

    Streeton opens at the Art Gallery of NSW on 7 November 2020 and runs until 14 February 2021. To purchase tickets to the exhibition click here.


    Video excerpt from the podcast interview with Wayne Tunnicliffe on the forthcoming exhibition 'Streeton'. Here we talk about the iconic painting 'Fire's On' from the AGNSW's collection. To hear the full audio podcast episode (and more about this painting) click on the 'play' button under the feature photo at the top of this page.

    'Golden Summer, Eaglemont', 1889, oil on canvas, 81.3 x 152.6cmNational Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1995

    ‘Still glides the stream, and shall for ever glide’ 1890, oil on canvas, later mounted on hardboard, 82.6 x 153 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, purchased 1890 Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW

    'Spring', 1890, oil on canvas on plywood, 81.4 x 152.6cmNational Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Gift of Mrs Margery Pierce, 1978

    'Fire's on', 1891, oil on canvas 225.5 x 164 cm, Art Gallery of New South Wales Purchased 1893 Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW

    'From McMahon's Point - fare one penny' 1890 oil on canvas 117.7 x 97.5 cm National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Purchased 1972

    ‘The purple noon’s transparent might’ 1896 oil on canvas, 123 x 123 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, purchased 1896 33-2 Photo: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

    'The Grand Canal' 1908 oil on canvas, 93 x 169 cm Collection of Susan Clarke, Victoria Photo: Glen Watson

    Arthur Streeton 'Balloons on fire' 1918 oil on canvas 63.4 × 76.2 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Gilbee Bequest, 1918 Photo: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

    • 52 min
    Ep 97: Jude Rae and ‘424-428’

    Ep 97: Jude Rae and ‘424-428’

    After months of disruption and pessimism wreaked by the global pandemic, seeing Jude Rae's exhibition '424-428' at The Commercial in Sydney was as uplifting as the paintings themselves.

    The towering concrete walls of the gallery would ordinarily overpower an exhibition of five paintings but the exquisite works easily took command of the space. Viewing the exhibition will be an experience I'll never forget.

    The genre of still life has a rich tradition in the history of painting; from those Cézannian apples and Margaret Preston's flowers to the skulls of the Dutch painters reminding us that one day we’re all going to die. They say so much more than mere objects on a table.

    The subjects of Jude Rae's still life paintings, however, aren’t flowers or fruit. They range from gas cylinders and milk crates to plastic buckets, bottles and spaghetti jars. She's attracted to these objects not necessarily because of any intrinsic beauty but because of the potential they present to her as a painter. 'They give me work to do', she says.

    Jude's work is not limited to still life. She's an acclaimed portraitist and has won the Portia Geach Memorial Award for portraiture twice. Last year her portrait of Sarah Peirse was highly commended in the Archibald prize. She also paints mood-filled architectural interiors and both the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the High Court of Australia recently acquired excellent examples of those works.

    Jude is a previous podcast guest and you can hear more about her  life and how she became an artist in episode 28.

    We met at the gallery for this interview where I also filmed Jude talking about her work. That video will be online soon.

    You can also see my 2017 video of Jude in her studio here.

    To hear Jude Rae speak with me about her recent work press 'play' beneath the above photo.

    Show Notes

    * Jude Rae* Jude Rae on Instagram

    'SL425', 2020, oil on linen, 112 x 137.5cmPhoto: Felicity Jenkins

    'SL426', 2020, oil on linen, 122 x 137.5cmPhoto: Felicity Jenkins

    'SL427', 2020, oil on linen, 122 x 137.5cmPhoto: Felicity Jenkins

    'SL424', 2020, oil on linen, 112 x 137.5cmPhoto: Felicity Jenkins

    'SL428', 2020, oil on linen, 112 x 137.5cmPhoto: Felicity Jenkins

    Detail of 'SL428' in progress (unfinished)

    'Interior 370 (foyer I)', 2017, oil on linen, 260 x 198cmCollection: Art Gallery of NSW

    'SL189', 2006, oil on linen, 1050 x 1350mm

    Installation view Jude Rae: 424 - 428, at The Commercial, Sydney, 2020 (photo: The Commercial)

    • 39 min
    Ep 96: Scott Bevan on William Dobell

    Ep 96: Scott Bevan on William Dobell

    Reading Scott Bevan’s biography of 20th century artist William Dobell is like viewing one of Dobell’s portraits; Scott takes us behind the exterior of the subject and into their inner life. He just uses words instead of paint.

    Scott is a journalist, TV and radio presenter, musician and biographer. In this podcast interview, I talk with him about the life of Dobell in the context of the changing art world of the 20th century. 

    In particular, we go back seventy seven years to when William Dobell famously won the Archibald Prize with a portrait of his friend Joshua Smith. With less than flattering facial features and elongated arms and neck , the painting was a clear and challenging departure from the more traditional portraits of the previous years.

    Almost every Australian held a view on that painting. Some were excited, some were shocked - others were even angry. In an unprecedented turn of events, two entrants who missed out on the prize started a court action to try to stop Dobell from receiving the prize money. Those events in 1943 would not only change the course of art in Australia but would traumatise Dobell and Smith for years to come.

    In ‘Bill: The Life of William Dobell’, Scott takes us into Dobell’s life through the people who knew him, both in Sydney and in the town of Wangi Wangi where he ultimately found peace from the scrutiny surrounding the events of 1943. Most of all he brings to life the complex artist that was William Dobell with enthusiasm and empathy.

    To hear the podcast episode, click play beneath the feature photo above.

    To purchase a copy of the book click on the book's title in the show notes below.

    Photo: Scott Bevan stands in front of a painting by Susan O'Doherty

    Show Notes

    * Scott Bevan* 'Bill: The Life of William Dobell'* Sir William Dobell* Julian Ashton* George Lambert* Henry Tonks* William Orpen* Joshua Smith* Margaret Olley

    'Bill: The Life of William Dobell' by Scott Bevan

    'Portrait of an Artist (Joshua Smith)' before it was destroyed by fireWinner of Archibald Prize 1943

    'The Duchess Disrobes', 1936, oil on plywood, 35.5 x 27cmCollection: Art Gallery of NSW

    Mrs South Kensington, 1937, oil on wood panel, 38.2 x 33.2cm Collection: Art Gallery of NSW

    'Margaret Olley', 1948, oil on hardboard, 114.3 x 85.7 cm boardCollection: Art Gallery of NSWWinner Archibald Prize 1948

    'Storm Approaching, Wangi', 1948, oil on cardboard on composition board, 32.9 x 56cmWinner Wynne Prize 1948

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Ep 95: Louisa Chircop

    Ep 95: Louisa Chircop

    Creating her work through intuition, Louisa Chircop takes us into another world - the world of her subconscious.

    Dreamlike landscapes containing disembodied limbs, headless figures and mysterious forms - some representational others more abstract - create a surrealist atmosphere which draws the viewer closer to see what the artist has unearthed and portraits take on an extra layer of meaning.

    Her work crosses painting, mixed media, photomontage and sculpture and she has exhibited in nine solos shows. She has won several prizes including the James Gleeson Prize for Surrealism twice and her work was acquired for the Kedumba Collection, one of Australia’s most highly regarded public collections of contemporary drawing. Louisa has also been a finalist in many other prizes including the Portia Geach Memorial Award and the Dobell prize for Drawing.

    Figures and characters from art history also come through in her work and her deep knowledge of the history of art is something she passes on to her university students who she lectures in painting and drawing.

    Recording this interview in Louisa's studio in Sydney was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Her enthusiasm is infectious as you will hear in this interview. To listen to the podcast episode click play beneath the photo above.

    A short video of Louisa in her studio will be uploaded to the Talking with Painters YouTube channel and to this website soon.

    Above photo of Louisa in her studio by Simone Silverman

    Show Notes

    * Louisa Chircop* Louisa Chircop on Instagram* Roy Jackson* Juz Kitson* Hans Bellmer* Kiata Mason* Idris Murphy* Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthy Delights* Philip Guston * Movers and Shapers on Instagram* Hazelhurst Arts Centre


    Louisa Chircop in the studio

    'Juz Kitson Imitating Venus', 2018, oil on canvas, 220 x 167cm

    'Shower and Demons' (Study for self portrait - A Shower with St Anthony) 2020, mixed media and photomontage on Arches, 76 x 56cm

    'Bacon whispers sweet nothings' (Bacon murmure des mots doux) 2019, mixed media and photomontage on Arches 56 x 76cm

    'Morther Dreaming - right/wrong' 2016, mixed media on Arches, 56 x 76

    'A Garden of Earthly Delights - Happiness is like glass, it soon breaks (Panel 1)', 2017, mixed media and photomontage on Arches, 130 x 102cm

    'Juz Kitson - Love and Interrogation', 2018, oil on canvas, 167 x 130cm

    • 51 min
    Ep 94: William Mackinnon and ‘Learning to love the wind’

    Ep 94: William Mackinnon and ‘Learning to love the wind’

    William Mackinnon is a previous podcast guest. In this episode we talk about his show with Hugo Michell Gallery, 'Learning to love the wind' coming up in a few weeks.

    We also talk about his life in Ibiza, Spain, where he lives with his wife and young son, and how this body of work has developed in these times of change, both global and personal. You can hear more about William's interesting life and work in episode 38 of the podcast.

    I'll be uploading a short video centring around this exhibition to the website, social media and the Talking with Painters YouTube channel soon.

    Upcoming show

    * 'Learning to love the wind', Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide, Australia, 3 September - 3 October 2020


    'The New Family', acrylic oil and enamel on linen, 260 x 200cm

    'Post-traumatic growth', acrylic, oil and enamel on linen, 260 x 200cm

    'Burke and Wills (ii)', acrylic oil and enamel on linen, 200 x 450cm

    'Foggy brain / teething', acrylic oil and enamel on linen, 200 x 300cm

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
243 Ratings

243 Ratings

Myfanwy M ,

Another fabulous episode!

Fabulous insight into the world of painters and how they think and work. Throughly enjoyable and educational listening.

Coolcat103 ,

So inspirational

I came across ‘Talking with Painters’ about two weeks ago and have been binge listening during lockdown in my studio. Wonderful stories. Great advice. Fabulous to here from Australian artists, young and old. Fabulous!

Mozza265 ,


This is such a great podcast. It’s insight into artists, their backgrounds how they work and think. A great listen particularly when I’m in the studio painting. Inspirational!

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