November 18th, 2022
New Abstract painting " Forest Rain"
The rainforest has had a profound influence on the creation of this artwork.
Growing up in Far North Queensland, Australia, I was constantly surrounded by the lush, tropical rainforests that blanketed the region. I spent countless hours exploring these forests, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the trees, plants, and animals.
As I worked on this piece, I wanted to capture the sense of awe and wonder that I always felt when I was in the rainforest. I incorporated elements that reminded me of the forest, including the texture of tree bark, the vibrant blue and green tones of plants, moss, and lichens. I also tried to evoke the sense of rejuvenation and renewal that I always felt after a heavy rain, as the forest came to life with new growth and activity.
In many ways, this piece is a tribute to the rainforest and all the beauty and inspiration it has brought into my life. I hope that it will bring a similar sense of wonder and appreciation to those who view it.
It has been a pretty busy couple of months in the studio and I seem to have gotten into a real rhythm with producing work. Loving this digital series i am working on which takes classical images and puts a modern spin on them. And by modern I mean strong bold colour explosions melted with patterns, geometric lines and symbols.
John Coburn Artwork (above)
I have been really enjoying making digital art over the last couple of years but there is a pull to do some large abstract paintings which I have commenced. The piece above is the largest I have done so far and really love how it turned out. Lots of wonderful green tones to represent the forest.
I will be sharing lots more of my process on a few different social platforms - TikTok and Instagram as well as blogging here.
Through the Looking Glass
Alice in Wonderland inspired Digital Series
Alice in Wonderland has always held a special place in my imagination. As a child, reading the original novel by Lewis Carol was a magical experience. The colorful characters, the mysterious world, and the imaginative plot all captivated my young mind.
As I grew older, I discovered other adaptations of the story, including Tim Burton's dark and quirky movie version. While each interpretation differed in style and tone, they all shared the same sense of wonder and whimsy that drew me in.
In addition to these well-known versions, I also discovered the beautiful painted interpretations of Alice in Wonderland by Charles Blackman, one of Australia's most famous artists. His unique style brought a new depth and beauty to the characters and story that I had previously not encountered.
Throughout the years, the magic of Alice in Wonderland has stayed with me, and it is only recently that I have been able to put my thoughts and ideas about the characters and story down in detail. The enduring appeal of Alice in Wonderland continues to inspire and delight me.
"Alice in Wonderland is beloved by many for its charming and imaginative nature. The quote, "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast," demonstrates Alice's willingness to believe in the impossible and embrace the strange and fantastical. While some may view this as naivety, it is actually a testament to Alice's open-mindedness and adventurous spirit. Those who are too sceptical or closed-off to believe in the impossible are not the type of people who would follow a rabbit down a hole and have the kinds of wild and wonderful adventures that Alice does. So, why waste time on sceptics when we can embrace the magic and possibility of the world around us?"
The statement "It's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then" suggests that one cannot return to the past and expect to find the same person they were before. This can be interpreted on a literal level, as Alice has undergone physical transformations that have changed her appearance and size. However, the statement also holds deeper meaning, as it can be applied to any type of personal change or growth. We are all constantly evolving and changing, and it is not possible to go back and be the same person we were in the past. Instead, we must move forward and embrace the changes that have shaped us into the people we are today.
The Cheshire Cat
"We're all mad here."
"We're all a little bit crazy here in Wonderland. The Cheshire Cat's statement captures the essence of this bizarre and surreal place, where the rules of reality do not apply. However, being "mad" or eccentric is not necessarily a negative thing in this world. In fact, it is encouraged and celebrated. This serves as a reminder to embrace our quirks and individuality, and to not be afraid to let our unique personalities shine. Perhaps by embracing our madness and embracing the unpredictable in Wonderland, we can take a little bit of that back with us to the real world and infuse a bit of whimsy and wonder into our everyday lives."
Studio NUMBER NINE
Light for any artist is important and one of the reasons I picked studio 9 was because of the natural light coming down from the sky light. During the day the space is bathed in natural light making it such a pleasure to work in. I also love the location as it is 5 minutes walk to my house.
I would have never envisioned that 18 months ago when i first picked up an apple pencil and started playing around in Procreate on my iPad that it would lead to the creation of around 185 digital paintings. My once scepticism for digital art has transformed during the process of learning how to create on an ipad. This has allowed for freedom to make mistakes without consequences.
The advantages of this is that i started taking a lot more risks and blending a lot of imagery together. Another bonus is the speed at which you can evolve your ideas AND at the end of the day you can always turn the finished artwork into prints. No more photographing artworks and having issues with light and that whole process of having to fix everything up in photoshop before you even send off to the printers. Now all i have to do is send the TIFF file to my printers and tell them what size and paper type and in 24 hours the prints are ready for collection.
Drawing on top of my digital prints is a way i can still add that person artist touch. I usually use Posca pens as they have such rich pigments and seem to glide beautifully over the top of the prints without scratching into the design. I know my clients and collectors love seeing the hand drawn elements and symbols.
Carnivorous plants T-shirt Designs
So the other day i was trolling on Etsy looking for interesting T-shirts when i came across this awesome design (click here) for the link. Having a love for carnivorous plants this really appealed to me and i had to get it! It finally showed up and i couldn't wait to try it on. As a consequence it inspired me to want to create my own carnivorous designs. When I posted the above picture on FB one of my botanist friends messaged asking if i could create a Cephalotus design for a t-shirt.
For those not familiar with Cephalotus the common name is Pitcher plant.
So i went about researching and looking up every design and image i could find on the interwebs until i got an understanding of the basic plant structure.
i then started to sketch out a design on my ipad.
This is where i am currently up to and in the next blog i will show you the finished product.
I intend to draw 3 pitchers of slightly varying sizes and have them flowering.
That will hopefully create a nice design good enough for a T-shirt. I am yet to decide if i will colour it or just leave it as a black and white image.
I added a screen printed golden flaming rose to the print above and the below image is of my screen printing paints and table where i do the work. Not a huge space to spread out but it is big enough.
So that is it for this blog. See you in the studio again soon, i am also working on a new Youtube channel which i will tell you more about in due course :)
April 09th, 2021
Above (Wild Roses growing on the frame of this Sardine Can Shrine)
I don't know what inspired me to make Tealight candle roses, at the time i was living in Norway and my art studio was in the basement and i was always burning tealight candles because i like the slight flickering the light they gave off, it was welcoming and reassuring especially when it was pouring snow outside and long dark nights. So after a while i began to collect the used metal cases (being an artist it is an excuse to hoard anything because you think you can use it for something). I did start adding them into artworks and i wish i had an example but the pictures are on some hard drive in the cupboard somewhere. But anyway from there my creative mind was just playing around with the idea and all of a sudden i had made my first metal rose. From then on i knew i was onto something!
I love the idea that they are handmade, each one takes time to craft and shape AND no two are ever the same. Also i am recycling and repurposing the metal and breathing new life into it which always excites me.
So this is my latest painting that i am working on using my Rhino Stencil design.
So that is it for this blog post. I hope it has inspired you to get out your Assemblages or paint brush and just have a play. I often hear people say i don't feel inspired to paint or create, i need motivation. That is an excuse i have found, because it is when you DO the work and just start, you will be surprised what happens.
Group Show Opens 15 May- 4th June
This year i am entering 3 small artworks into the Small Works Exhibition at Brunswick Street Gallery. The only stipulation is that the artworks are to be no more than 30cm x 30cm inc frame. Have entered this show several times over the years and have enjoyed it because there are so many artists who go into it (300+) and you really get to see how amazingly creative and talents artists are. So if you are in the area come check out the show.
Above is just a close up of one of the works i have entered into the show. The size of this work is 250mm x200mm x20mm. Mixed media on board. Really happy with how this work turned out, there are some really great things happening and some nice colours which have emerged.
Above is the 2nd artwork i have entered into the show and this piece is a marriage of vibrant colour and texture with natural earthy elements of rusty goodness. The size is also 250 mm x 200mm x 20mm. Mixed Media on board. A good combination of contrasting textures and colours and a feast for the eyes. Very satisfied with this piece.
This is the last piece in the show, the title for this one is 'Pouring my heart out'. Size is 250mm x200mm x40mm and is mixed media. This is probably the artwork i am most pleased with as there is a nice balance of textures, colour and contract.
All works will be for sale and i am also open for commissions in any of the styles that you see.
Other works in the pipeline
Above are some other works i am playing around with. Click on the images to enlarge.
August Youtube Update Video
Out of the Box Course
Small Works Exhibition 2014 (Brunswick Street Gallery)
New Works New Circular Direction
Customised Cushion and Products on Society 6
Awesome APP of the Month - TANGLED FX
There are so many awesome APPS coming out at the moment which I believe can really help an artist open themselves up to new and exciting ways to push their art.
Recently I came across an APP which I love using and so I thought I had to share it with you all. The APP is called Tangled FX and the effects it create are wonderful. I found the APP very easy to use and the results you can get with just a tap of a button are visually stunning and exciting. Tangled FX has 16 different effects but you can also customize the colour, contrast, gamma and Hue using a sliding scale. Yes the APP does cost $2 bucks but for me it will 2 bucks well spent.
Just click on the images below to see the before and after effects on a just 3 of the effects the APP offers.
New work in progress
I started working on a new painting this week and it is my plan to do a little everyday until it is complete. This piece is very intuitive and I am not sure how it will end up but I am happy with the direction it is taking. So i am putting down an under painting to start with and then I will come over the top and begin to change the layout and imagery. When I am starting out with the base painting it is all about getting to 'know' the painting. As I start to lay down imagery and colours it is like a first kiss, its unsure yet exciting and there is a need to explore and get to know the surface better. You could say each new painting is a new lover, every new painting is different, unique and you have something to learn as you explore your relationship with it. Sometimes that relationship ends suddenly and tragically with the 'painting over' or eradication of the image, OR you persist hoping that your relationship with it improves and deepens... to be continued
Merchandise and SOCIETY 6
A few months ago I decided that I wanted to put some of my designs onto functional products - Cups, pillows, t-shirts, plates etc. I had mentioned on Facebook that i was currently looking for a company who could take my designs and create a range of merchandise. As it happened someone mentioned Society6. So i checked the website out and I really liked the layout and how easy the site was to navigate. I uploaded high quality images of my art and hey presto, they do all the work. As the artist i get to keep copyright of my work, i get to decide how much i get from each sale and they do all the work. So if you want to see the variety of merchant click on the banner below.
To check out my very own range of merchandise click on the banner above to go to my shop at society6
So I end this blog with saying thankyou for your support, comments and emails. I wish you all the success and happiness in your own creative journey.
Name Change and plans for 2013
2012 and 2013
So 2012 was a big year for me. After leaving Norway in December 2011 I arrived in Melbourne. 7 years in Norway and I chose to walk away from a 7 year marriage with nothing but a broken heart and a suitcase. On the flip side I did bring with me a lot of experience, wisdom and a determination to succeed.
Admittedly the first few months were pretty tough but a combination of drinking, partying and meeting new people seemed to absorb some of the pain. 3 months thereafter i decided it was time to focus on getting a job as what money i had left was running out.
As luck would have it I landed the first job i applied for and that was working as a social worker for an aboriginal child welfare organisation. Within the same month i had secured an art studio space right in the arty area of Melbourne and also was invited to participate in a group show all about street and graffiti art.
Over the following months I took time to develop some new work, imagery and themes and as a result I now have around 25 new works which are in different stages of completion.
Hopefully I will have them up for sale in February.
First things first, 'THE NAME CHANGE'. So as a lot of people don't know, when i moved back to Australia in December 2011 I began calling myself Tobias. I had never liked 'Gary' and since i was moving to a new city (Melbourne) and only had 2 good friends there who knew me as 'gary', i decided it was the perfect opportunity to make the switch. Even when i applied for a job (Social worker for an aboriginal child welfare organisation) I told them my name was Tobias. Of course once I got the job i did tell them officially i was still Gary however once i had been living back in Oz I would change it legally. So from then on i introduced myself as Tobias.
HOWEVER, saying that I will be keeping my artist name the same only because i have built up a reputation and following under Gary Reef. However, I will be making a small change from that name and will be just referred to as Greef. It is simple, easy to remember. So i ask that if you mention me in any blogs, posts etc that you please refer to me as simply Greef from now on.
So WHAT NEXT for Greef?
WORKSHOPS WORKSHOPS AND MORE WORKSHOPS! That is right, this year is about making a comeback and focusing on teaching art techniques. I am busy applying to teach all over Australia and hopefully I will have a list of cities and towns where I will be teaching fairly soon.
I also will be starting up a new youtube channel so i can once again share my journey.
So that is it in a nutshell! I am looking forward to what this year holds and I want to thank you for your support, emails and kindness. May you always hold in your heart whatever it is your passionate about and take steps to make your passion become a reality.