"Twisted Realism" A visual artist, creating moody black and white tonal drawings in charcoal, pastel and graphite. Inspired by the human figure, story telling and Europe.


Illustration - SALT Magazine Winter - 2011

Article - "Challenges Grow With Paradise" by Bernard Salt
Illustration - Peter Hollard (pen and ink)

I have been working on illustrations for the Sunshine Coast's SALT Magazine for a number of years and will start to include them in my blog entries. About a month before the magazine goes to press, I receive the article from Bernard Salt, and am given open slather by the editor Kate Johns to interpret the article in any way that I see fit.
Sometimes ideas are obvious and flow like sun dried salt, but often a meaningful interpretation is as hard to grind out as wet sand.
Always challenging fun. 


The Processes Employed To Make A Work Of Art - Robert Motherwell

"In Black and White" -  Robert Motherwell

About the Artist - Robert Motherwell

 "A few years ago I was standing next to one of my huge black and white pictures (In Black an White Nos. 2 - 183cm X 408cm. 1975) in a museum gallery, and a middle aged man approached me and asked what the picture was about, what it "meant".
     Because we happened to be standing in front of the actual painting, I was able to look at it directly, instead of an after image inside my head. I realised that the picture had been painted over several times and radically changed, in shape balances and weights. At one time it was too black, at one time the rhythm of it was too regular, at one time there was not enough variation in the geometry of the shapes. I realised there were about 10,000 brush strokes in it and that each brush stroke is a decision. It is not a decision of aesthetics - will it look more beautiful? - but a decision that concerns one's inner I: is it getting too heavy or too light? It has to do with one's sense of sensuality: the surface is getting too coarse, or is it not fluid enough? It has to do with one's sense of life: is it airy enough or is it leaden? It has to do with one's own sense of weights. I happen to be a heavy, awkward, clumsy man, and if something gets too airy, even though I admire it very much, it doesn't feel like myself, my I.
     In the end I realised that whatever "meaning" that the picture has is just the accumulated "meaning" of ten thousand brush strokes, each one being decided as it was painted. In that sense to ask "what does this painting mean?" is essentially unanswerable, except as the accumulation of hundreds of decisions with the brush. On a single day, or during a few hours, I might be in a very particular state, and make something much lighter, much heavier, much smaller, much bigger than I normally would. But when you steadily work at something over a period of time. your whole being must emerge.
     In a sense, all of my pictures are slices cut out of a continuum whose duration is my whole life, and hopefully will continue to the day I die." 

Twisted Realism Reaches Europe

In a few weeks time we leave for Europe. Ever since my “A Stranger in Familiar Place” Exhibition back in 2007, I have wrestled with the notion that I am a misplaced person.
All of the artwork that I bring to my paper and canvas, has no Australian influences, never has. Yet when I strolled around France on my first visit, there was an overwhelming sense of being “home”. 
This will be third visit in six years, and each trip feels more and more like a reconnaissance for something more permanent. This time the journey is interspersed with a wonderful week long residency, teaching my art processes and practices to senior Art students at the International School Lausanne, in Switzerland.
As I’ve prepared for this workshop, exploring my processes and practice has been very challenging, and rewarding. How much we take for granted what we do. It just happens spontaneously with little obvious thought. I just do it! I have always just done it! As you reflect on what it is you do, you soon realise the enormous accumulated knowledge and skill that has been gained over a life time of hard graft, questioning and a deep love for the thing that is ultimately your passion.
Works from 
"A Stranger In A Familiar Place"
(Oil on canvas. 76cm x101cm)

I love art, but I love teaching it as much, and spreading the word about the joy of exploring your passions, no matter what it is.Little do the students know that the pleasure is always all mine.

‘Tables and Dreams’ (114.5 x 76.5cm) Charcoal, Pastel, Graphite on Paper

I had a dream. I climbed one of my ladders, erected under the ceiling of a cathedral, and looked down into the dark cavernous space below. There was a table, my art books and pencils, and blank sheets of paper waiting to be indulged.
Like the paintings in the Louvre, similarly the cathedrals of Europe start to look the same. But there was one hauntingly elegant church in the heart of Avignon, called Notre-Dame des Doms that possessed me.

"Inside, a cold darkness filled the empty cavernous space. Dim light revealed  balconies and arches, straight out of the mysteries of Phantom of the Opera. The interior was fat and brutish. There was power and reference within its windowless walls. As I silently walked around, the massive pipe organ to the front left struck a long sonorous chord, that reverberated through my chest and filled the sanctuary with an ethereal, far-off sound. Loud, it wrestled with the reluctant spirit within me. I moved to one side and peered up through squat stone balustrades. In the moving shadows a solitary crouching figure, lit by flickering candle light, filled the vastness with sound."
I think this is that place. 
I often wonder what I bring to the table of life?