150 episodes

Want to hear from the painter behind the painting? Maria Stoljar talks enthusiastically with Australian painters about how they became an artist, their influences, painting techniques, current work and lots more!

Talking with Painters Maria Stoljar

    • Arts

Want to hear from the painter behind the painting? Maria Stoljar talks enthusiastically with Australian painters about how they became an artist, their influences, painting techniques, current work and lots more!

    The story behind the painting: Fantauzzo, Flint, Quilty and Dobell

    The story behind the painting: Fantauzzo, Flint, Quilty and Dobell

    Podcast listeners click here to see images of the works

    Over the years, podcast guests have shared some fascinating back stories to paintings they have made, stories which you could never have guessed on merely viewing the work.

    Sometimes that back story has made me look at the work in a totally different way and I’m bringing you a few of those to you in this episode. See images of the works we talk about below.


    * Tickets for talk with Caroline Zilinsky at the Art Gallery of NSW (Artists in Conversation)

    * YouTube video - Anthony White

    * Vincent Fantauzzo podcast episode

    * Prudence Flint podcast episode

    * Ben Quilty podcast episode

    * Scott Bevan podcast episode on William Dobell

    2:40    ‘Heath’, 2008, oil on canvas, 106 x 140cm (Collection of the Art Gallery of NSW, highly commended and winner of the Archibald Prize People’s Choice award 2008. Portrait of Heath Ledger)

    10:40    ‘Baby’, 2015, oil on linen, 105 x 90.5cm (Finalist in Archibald Portrait Prize 2015)

    15:45.  ‘Kandahar’ 2011, oil on linen, 140 x 190cmPhoto: Australian War Memorial

    18:00   ‘Captain S. after Afghanistan’ 2012, oil on linen, 210 x 230cmFinalist Archibald Prize 2012Photo: AGNSW/ Mim Stirling

    20:30    ‘Margaret Olley’, 1948, oil on hardboard, 114.3 x 85.7 cm boardCollection: Art Gallery of NSWWinner Archibald Prize 1948

    23:45.    ‘Storm Approaching, Wangi’, 1948, oil on cardboard on composition board, 32.9 x 56cmWinner Wynne Prize 1948

    • 25 min
    Ep 154: Inspiration from the archives: The Flow State

    Ep 154: Inspiration from the archives: The Flow State

    Podcast guests talk with me about the flow state!

    See below for timestamps and links to each guest's full podcast interview and video

    3:39 Julie Nicholson and Fiona Verity - Podcast | Instagram video

    6:40 Ann Thomson - Podcast | YouTube

    7:54 Joshua Yeldham - Podcast | YouTube

    10:15 Antonia Perricone Mrljak - Podcast | YouTube

    11:25 Wendy Sharpe - Podcast | YouTube

    12:51 Lewis Miller - Podcast | YouTube

    13:50 Aida Tomescu - Podcast | YouTube

    16:30 David Griggs - Podcast | YouTube

    17:27 Idris Murphy - Podcast | YouTube

    18:40 Kathrin Longhurst - Podcast | YouTube

    20:50 Anthony White - Podcast | YouTube (coming soon)

    22:07 Bernard Ollis - Podcast | YouTube

    23:59 Kim Leutwyler - Podcast | YouTube

    25:20 Tim Maguire - Podcast | YouTube

    26:40 Belinda Street - Podcast | YouTube

    27:58 Yvette Coppersmith - Podcast | YouTube (coming soon)

    29:30 Tim Storrier - Podcast | YouTube

    31:15 Jacqui Stockdale - Podcast | YouTube

    32:02 Sandi Hester - YouTube


    Sandi Hester interview on ...

    • 34 min
    Ep 153: Jan Senbergs

    Ep 153: Jan Senbergs

    Above photo of Jan Senbergs by Riste Andrievski

    Click play for my podcast introduction to this interview and scroll down for the transcript.

    Podcast listeners click here and scroll down for transcript.

    Watch the YouTube video of Jan Senbergs' studio and work here


    * Jan Senbergs' website

    * Jan Senbergs on Instagram

    * Jan Senbergs at Niagara Galleries

    * Talking with Painters YouTube channel

    * Talking with Painters on Instagram

    * Talking with Painters on Facebook

    * Subscribe to the TWP newsletter

    * PDF version  of transcript for tablet/desktop 

    With over six decades of work as a painter, printmaker and draughtsman, leading artist Jan Senbergs has exhibited in over 50 solo shows and has been the subject of three survey shows including a major retrospective curated by the National Gallery of Victoria in 2016. A rare accomplishment.

    His art evolved from early masterly screenprints to large scale paintings and with subject matter as varied as urban and natural landscapes, industrial themes, surreal structures and forms and aerial map-like works.

    This episode has been a long time coming. Covid threw out our plans for an early 2020 meeting but two years later we met in Jan's inspirational studio in Melbourne. His voice has been affected by some health issues and so this episode is coming to you by way of transcript (below) and an intro on the podcast.

    As I was setting up my audio equipment on the day of the interview, Jan and I chatted about the time he had spent in London in his 20s. We talked about other Australian artists who were there at that time. That’s where the recording of the interview began.

    Jan Senbergs

    I was the younger artist who came into that area and I didn't know anybody. I didn't want to bother the local Antipodeans (laughs) so I usually went out by myself. I headed for the National Gallery on one occasion and ran into Arthur Boyd heading there too. We travelled together on the bus from Pimlico to Trafalgar Square. It was very nice because we walked through the Gallery making comments. It's lovely to do that with another painter. We walked past one room and Arthur stopped and said, 'There's a good painting in this room.’ It was a big dog watching over a dying nymph, by Piero di Cosimo. He was such an interesting painter. Afterwards, Arthur suggested we go and have a drink, so we went across the road and had a couple of beers and then he said 'You'll have to excuse me, but I've got to go back home. I've got a few duties there.' We shook hands and I never saw him again. 

    Maria Stoljar

    You never saw him again?


    No, but what was nice about it was the generosity of the older person to somebody younger who had just arrived. 


    How lovely. But you knew a lot of famous Australian artists like Fred Williams, for example. He was a friend of yours, wasn't he?


    Yeah, I knew Fred. When I first started showing around, I mixed with some of the older artists. At that time there were hardly any younger artists around.

    • 6 min
    Ep 152: ‘Kandinsky’ with co-curator Jackie Dunn and artist Desmond Lazaro

    Ep 152: ‘Kandinsky’ with co-curator Jackie Dunn and artist Desmond Lazaro

    See a video version of the interview with curator Jackie Dunn here

    See a video version of the interview with artist Desmond Lazaro here

    The largest exhibition of Kandinsky's work ever to be seen in Australia has just opened at the Art Gallery of NSW!

    The exhibition, titled simply 'Kandinsky', brings together over 50 works of one of the 20th century's most innovative and ground breaking painters - Vasily Kandinsky - with 47 paintings from the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York.

    Curated by the Guggenheim's curator of modern art and provenance Megan Fontanella together with the AGNSW's senior curator Jackie Dunn, these works touch on the most important periods of Kandinsky's artistic career, from the early 'Blue Rider' period, to his time in Germany when teaching at the Bauhaus school right through to his final years in Paris.

    In this podcast episode (which you can also see on YouTube) I talk with Jackie Dunn about this extraordinary exhibition. She tells me about Kandinsky's life and work, including what the catalysts were for him to become a painter, his use of colour, line and form and his interests in spirituality and music.

    I also talk with Desmond Lazaro who was commissioned to design a family-friendly space where visitors are invited to follow the path of a colourful labyrinth and create drawings using the shapes that inspired Kandinsky. Lazaro is a British-Indian-Australian artist whose primary ingredient is colour. His practice explores map-making, planetary systems and the concept of the journey.

    Also, alongside the Kandinsky show is an exhibition of 'spirit drawings' created by British medium Georgiana Houghton in the 1860s and 70s. The exhibition, 'Invisible Friends', brings together a collection of rarely seen swirling, evocative watercolours.  They highlight how significant spiritualism was in early modernism.

    'Kandinsky' is a must-see exhibition.  It runs from November 4th to March 10th, 2024.  More details here.

    To hear the podcast episode press 'play' beneath the above photo.

    To watch the video versions of the interviews click on the links at the top of this page or see below.


    * 'Kandinsky' at the Art Gallery of NSW

    * Desmond Lazaro

    * Tickets for my conversation with Julia Gutman on 15 November 2023 in the Artists in Conversation series

    * Talking with Painters on Instagram

    * Talking with Painters on Facebook

    * Connect with me on LinkedIn



    'Composition 8' July 1923, oil on canvas, 140.3 x 200.7 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, by gift, photo courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

    'Blue mountain' 1908-09, oil on canvas, 107.3 x 97.6 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, by gift, photo courtesy Solomon R.

    • 26 min
    Ep 151: James Powditch live at the AGNSW

    Ep 151: James Powditch live at the AGNSW

    This episode is a conversation between James Powditch and Maria Stoljar in front of an audience at the Art Gallery of NSW, recorded by the Art Gallery Society

    James Powditch has always loved the movies. As a child in the 70s and 80s he would watch whatever he could get away with - from Taxi Driver to Deliverance.

    But in recent years, after being shortlisted in the Archibald prize with paintings of Labor leader (now PM) Anthony Albanese and journalists Kerry O'Brien and Laura Tingle he noticed other themes emerge; media and politics.

    In his most recent solo show at Nanda Hobbs Gallery he found a way to merge those interests. In Medium Cool: Journalism in Film, works took on titles of films in which journalism and politics were central themes. Beautifully composed assemblages incorporating found objects explored the ideas behind movies such as All the President's men and Network.

    James has exhibited in over 10 solo shows and has won the Mosman and Blake art prizes. He has been a finalist in the Archibald Wynne and Sulman prizes for a combined total of about 25 times.

    In this episode Maria has a vibrant (and often humorous) conversation with James in front of an audience at the Art Gallery of NSW as part of the Artists in Conversation series.

    You can see images of the works they talk about below. Members of the Art Gallery Society can also see a video of this conversation for a limited period on the Art Gallery website.

    To hear the podcast conversation press 'play' beneath the above photo.


    * James Powditch on Instagram

    * James Powditch at Nanda\Hobbs Gallery

    * Video of this interview on the AGNSW website (for members)

    * Art Gallery Society membership page

    Get tickets for the Steve Lopes talk at the AGNSW 

    Samantha Dennison interview on the Talking with Painters YouTube channel

    'Once upon a time in Marrickville – Anthony Albanese', acrylic on paper and board 190 x 190 cm Finalist Archibald Prize 2020 

    Lloyd Cole and the Commotions album cover 

    New Order - Power, Corruption and Lies album cover  

    'Citizen Kave' mixed media  200 x 300 cm, Finalist Archibald Prize 2014

    ‘Citizen Kane’ 2022 Mixed media, framed 80 x 120cm 

    'All the President’s men II' 2023 mixed media, 40 x 60cm

    'All the President's men' 2023, mixed media 130 x 282cm

    'Laura Tingle - the fourth estate' Acrylic and paper on board 204 x 170.1cm Finalist Archibald Prize 2022

    Movie poster ‘Judgment at Nuremberg’

    Digital work, James Powditch

    Peter Powditch Photograph by Robert Walker (c1970) 

    ‘Peter Powditch is a dead man smoking’ 2009, Mixed media 193 x 263cm, Finalist Archibald Prize 

    Family photo, James Powditch

    ‘Crowdy Head (after Peter Powditch)’,

    • 51 min
    Inspiration from the Archives | Risk

    Inspiration from the Archives | Risk

    Risk. Some painters want it in their toolbox while others are terrified by it. But nearly every painter will tell you that you need it in order to move forward in your practice. 

    It might be using a new material, drastically altering the composition of a nearly completed painting or creating a completely different body of work to what had previously been commercially successful and critically acclaimed. Any way you look at it, you're leaving yourself open to the possibility of failure, disappointment and probably the most painful of all - ridicule. 

    So whether we call it risk, chance, letting go of control or just leaving yourself open to mistakes, it all amounts to a greater openness to creativity. Taking the leap and seeing what happens.

    In this episode I bring together clips from eight previous guests about what risk means to them - and how they use it.

    See below for a list of the artists together with links to the full podcast conversation and YouTube video

    Press 'play' beneath the above image to listen

    * Vanessa Stockard  Podcast | YouTube

    * Paul Ryan  Podcast | YouTube

    * Guy Warren   Podcast | YouTube

    * Julian Meagher  Podcast | YouTube

    * Ken Done  Podcast | YouTube

    * Juliet Holmes a Court  Podcast | YouTube

    * Tim Maguire  Podcast | YouTube

    * Joe Furlonger  Podcast | YouTube


    Watch the Idris Murphy YouTube Video

    Listen to the full Idris Murphy podcast interview

    Sign up to the TWP newsletter

    Book tickets for my conversation with Steve Lopes at the Art Gallery of NSW



    • 24 min

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