posted on December 10, 2008 at 7:21 pm

painting a picture
painting a picture of me n eve on a boat
sailing outta sydney
yeah yeah yeah
me n eve are relatively easy
evies characteristic eyebrows n eyes
her thick curly hair being blasted back by the wind
she grimaces almost as the boat moves thru the chilly air
me..i got my raybans on standing behind her
all well n good
the city in the distance
represented by a few vertical splodges of pastel
give em some windows n some doors
give em some light on one side
some differences in height
try to make it seem that some buildings are behind others
i guess thats the trick
to imply depth
to imply life
to imply a complete story
if this painting ever hangs on a wall
and if people ever stop to ponder it
it should have a few things up its sleeve
a few surprises
some eye candy
some inspired technical prowess
some different looking surfaces
i’m not sure what any of this will be yet
i’m just trusting in the process
(new agers can call this the universe)
i believe the process will reveal bit by bit
a map of how to complete the painting
i will muddle away until i think of something
now not having done lots of skies
n not too many seas
i see
how hard skies are
n how much even harder is the sea…or water generally
at first i had a pastel sea
my sea was green n grey n white pastel
swirled together “intuitively” to look like the sea
it didnt look anything like the sea
there were some nice patterns
soft patterns
the pastels can be smudged around with yer finger
some really juicy creamy ones will go a long way
you just move it all about with your fingers
go out n buy yourself some pastels nice paper
n a little soft rubber (thats eraser to you, mr humphries)
rub the pastel about on the paper
now put your finger in it
and smear it around
now take yer eraser n rub it away
oh ho
you see
you can rub into it
you can adjust how much you wanna take away
by how much pressure you apply to eraser
et voila
i reckon this is the easiest way to do a painting there is
my sea was lacking
my sea did not look like the sea in photo i’m painting from
my sea was kinda mellow
the real sea was choppy n sharp
with this certain pattern of light n shade n waves n ripples
that characterizes the sea definitively
i was failing to get in the hard egdes n sharp shadows
the pastel couldnt/wouldnt give it
picking up a slightly wrong sized paintbush
and after having fixed the pastel
i attempted to paint in some choppiness
the marine blue dried much lighter than it had looked
the shadows became too colourful
they were the wrong shape
why did i have the wrong sized paintbrush
in the mess of my room
i couldnt find the right sized one
a tiny little transparent detailer
i picked up another strange brush
one i have only recently begun to use
a long thin brush with very few hairs
i tried to do some white foam
i had the white gouache paint quite watery
i naively hoped it would form some watery pattern
but it just looked kinda messy
n unlike the sea
which was quite precise
you can stare at the sea or a photo
for ages n ages
but it wont mean you can crack the code of its pattern
you can stare at the sea but can you paint it?
my long thin brush had wrecked the havoc
i even tried some iridescent pastel
hoping you know
it would glitter like the water
but nope
and it schmeared all over the place
coating everything in a dull unsealike razzle
i decided to paint the whole sea in
marine blue with a little black
to darken it up
(im sure thats not a good way to do it)
so i fixed it
got out a big thick brush
splodged it on
covered it up
a greenish blueish solid thing
well yes
this has potential
the sky is all soft shapes
mauvey grey n lemon yellows
let the sea be hard…or something
my eyes fall on a paintbrush i hadnt ever used before
about 4 years ago i got a set of brushes as a present
some i still had not got around to using
this one is the opposite of the the long thin one
its got a fan shaped wedge with numerous stiff little hairs
(simmer simmer)
i paint a little patch of marine blue on some olde cardboard
i put the strange brush in some white
and in up n down strokes i do a naive wave formation
it looks good on the cardboard but alas
on the big patch of sea on my painting it looks rotten
and thats where it stands right now
i gotta consider the sea some more
work harder on understanding its pattern
its very elusive

steve klee-bee

36 Responses to “Der Kunstchwamm”

  1. avatar
    davem | 10 December 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    Talented git!!

  2. avatar
    the dean | 10 December 2008 at 9:04 pm #

    there’s a Monet exhibition at the sydney art gallery that may be able to lend a few clues to sea and sky.
    Seeing these painting that adorn choclate boxes and tea towels, I was stunned by the depth of field and movement.
    Lots of lessons for any artist there too.

  3. avatar
    heather | 10 December 2008 at 9:09 pm #

    too right Deano….check your mailbox Mr K.


  4. avatar
    Anonymous | 10 December 2008 at 9:28 pm #

    Painting the sea is very easy Kilbey. First you gotta believe and use gorilla marketing. Print up a bunch of t-shirts with seascapes and hand them out to kids. Free advertising. Next, get the components of a boy band together. Sit back and watch the money flow.

  5. avatar
    steve kilbey | 10 December 2008 at 9:31 pm #

    my dearest fiendss
    my gmail is on blink agaion
    http or https
    it just flickers from page to page
    but never LOCKS ON
    ps anon at 828
    that made me laff!

  6. avatar
    seoigh | 10 December 2008 at 9:41 pm #

    Sometimes the universe’s plan is for you to screw things up royally.

  7. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 10 December 2008 at 10:04 pm #

    Blog reminded me of “Winedark Open Sea” a wonderful, yearning MACCA song from his “Off The Ground” CD.

  8. avatar
    princey | 10 December 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    Why not take your easel’n’paints out to the seaside for a few hours sk, set yourself up somewhere secluded, close your eyes, take a deep breath, smell the ocean, feel the ocean mist, listen to the ocean(no ipod in ears ok!), swim in the ocean, take it all in, paint the colours, paint the shapes, like artists of olde dayz used to do. Easier said than done, I know, and I can’t imagine any secluded spaces left in Bondi. Oh well, just a nice thought anyway!
    Good luck with it all.
    love Amanda

  9. avatar
    Anonymous | 10 December 2008 at 11:27 pm #

    my wife paints a great sea…not so good with the beach…or the umbrellas…just the sea…

  10. avatar
    MEM | 10 December 2008 at 11:33 pm #


    x-campaignid: <>
    Date: 10 Dec 2008 12:10:47 -0800

    non-linear reply transcribe transcript:

    “jan got bouk! blan de think
    got cauz seeca n’t seadat ucee
    dan’t slin krise n icef i re ices
    irit pfl ame br oke b ack sm
    ack ki ngdiceni ce th atis! o
    oti nth esnow…”

    x-campaignid: <>

  11. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 11 December 2008 at 2:09 am #

    …never trust a computer…have some whacked out conspiracy theory that they’re all co joined on the internet waiting to take over the world (NOT)….solution to sick g mail…gargle with asprin and see me in the morning….
    your inuuendo with the rubber/eraser made me laugh….reminded me of the time that i asked to borrow a rubber from a male colleague and he said no, but i do have an eraser….guess you had to be there….
    as for painting the sea, i concur with going and having a look at monet’s paintings, such a deft touch….
    love always…..

  12. avatar
    Freddie | 11 December 2008 at 3:07 am #

    I Imagine it must be difficult with the way the water sends the light everywhere.. .full of reflection & shadow.

  13. avatar
    melissa | 11 December 2008 at 4:48 am #

    ooh, I went to the Monet exhibit in Sydney when I visited recently, and it was very nice. Though, my favourite piece was a (charcoal?) drawing by Degas 🙂 I hadn’t been to the Gallery in Sydney, it was very beautiful. Nice space to chill out for a few hours.

    Good luck with your newest work SK!


  14. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 December 2008 at 5:21 am #

    hello kilbey, what’s the title of yer blog supposed to mean, ‘cos that’s a creative kinda german yer using mate!

  15. avatar
    chrome3d | 11 December 2008 at 6:28 am #

    Some people spend their whole career trying to find the shape of the sea. It takes a lot of time to master.

  16. avatar
    markobears | 11 December 2008 at 6:34 am #

    gmail- after you submit username and pass hit stop on your browser and try

    with java/java script off, I dunno what you use but you can access gmail with basic html and none of that meta refresh, java stuff.

  17. avatar
    heather | 11 December 2008 at 6:50 am #

    hey melissa are you the girl with the cigarette?…by the tree out the back?


  18. avatar
    melissa | 11 December 2008 at 6:58 am #


    i don’t think I am !

    *puzzled* 😉

  19. avatar
    ross b | 11 December 2008 at 7:05 am #

    Sounds like it’s a wonderful process to evoke the power of the sea onto your work. I love the sea and can spend hours looking at it, being with it. Best of luck with cracking that code Steve, I’m sure you will!

  20. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 December 2008 at 10:09 am #

    I declare TTB terra nullius.
    And don’t try to separate your states. Or else.

    Queen Vic

  21. avatar
    verdelay | 11 December 2008 at 10:43 am #

    I agree with various commenteers:

    Get thee to a gallery.

    Not sure about Monet for the sea, though. Ponds perhaps, but not the sea.

    Try Nikolai Roerich. There’s got to be some Roerich somewhere in Sydney.

    Varangians in Russia (1901) has some good sea bits in it. Not too ‘overproduced’. Good wibbly-wobbly reflections.

    He was pretty shit-hot at clouds too, I might add.


  22. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 December 2008 at 10:43 am #

    ….and you need a navy for the seas. You can’t borrow mine, not without kickbacks.

    And, aren’t those anons annoying, convicts!

    And since I can make declarations,
    I also declare Batman and all the Robinsons ‘single dimensional caricatures’.

    And since I’m rhetorically dead and Betty and the Barbie Bandits inherited my reins, I also declare that I will drink more red wine to forget that none of you blokes can cut it in my matriarchal legacy. Ner!

    God Bless the Prince of Wales.

    rah rah rah

    Queen Vic

  23. avatar
    EDD | 11 December 2008 at 11:20 am #

    Cold Green?…or Deep Blue?

  24. avatar
    jaime r...... | 11 December 2008 at 11:43 am #

    I hope MWP passed on some of the Sea and Cake that I compiled for you guys …I repeat Sea and Cake …. jr

  25. avatar
    isolde | 11 December 2008 at 11:59 am #

    a) gmail
    you need to empty your cache if your gmail is not working

    b) painting the sea
    for painting the sea refer to Manet

    paint the light reflecting and the shadows on the water, remember its a mirror, it will be reflecting the sky, clouds and whatever is on it in it or near it as in this one

    c) for success as an artist

    engage in a conversation between yourself and Manet and paint yourself and Evie in a boat like this

    develop a genre of witty and sophisticated take offs and you can sit back and watch the money and invitation to art events flow in!

    for example paint your brother in this pose
    and the conversation becomes multivalent and infused with cross references that will be manna from heaven for the serious art connoisseur and rock critic,_Edouard_-_Olympia,_1863.jpg

    how about the church band in this delectable arrangement!,_Edouard_-_Le_D%C3%A9jeuner_sur_l%27Herbe_(The_Picnic)_(1).jpg

    or “the bar at the manly boatshed”

  26. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 December 2008 at 12:17 pm #

    Kunstschwamm (sic!) equals artificial sponge

  27. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 December 2008 at 12:58 pm #

    I really like Arthur Streeton’s seas. Streeton was good with water. Brett Whiteley’s beautiful blue sea with the little silver moon on the horizon is my favourite.

    I think your style might be Australian post-expressionist?

  28. avatar
    eek | 11 December 2008 at 12:58 pm #

    isolde wrote:

    how about the church band in this delectable arrangement!

    hmm…that could work. So who do you see in the nude lady roles?


  29. avatar
    fantasticandy | 11 December 2008 at 1:08 pm #

    just read andrew boe’s review….
    i’m SO pleased for ya killer!
    much love,
    andy L.

  30. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 December 2008 at 4:53 pm #

    as per the comment yessaday
    gervais is definitley the chubby kilbey
    ive thiught so for years.hell ive benn calling him chubby kilbey for years.
    hey essay k at least your the thin part of the dopple.

  31. avatar
    Anonymous | 11 December 2008 at 5:49 pm #

  32. avatar
    seoigh | 11 December 2008 at 6:26 pm #

    As to the sea question, mine beloved Sponge d’Arte, language often informs the mind in subtle ways… Think of this — you don’t refer to someone’s “hairs”, you call it hair. Think of how hair is painted. If you try to paint hairs, it will look all wrong. Now apply this concept to your sea; then rinse, lather, and repeat. Your mileage may vary.

  33. avatar
    restaurant mark | 11 December 2008 at 8:38 pm #

    hello steve…everyone
    my wife, who paints pretty well too…agrees that water is the hardest thing to paint and actually make it look alive and have depth and motion. good luck with it…i’m sure you’ll get it just right.

    been so busy working…no time to comment lately…just read and run. got the kids christmas play at school tonight…joy!!! that’s sarcasm, by the way. love watching and hearing the kids sing, make up songs and pretend…but these school functions are a little on the stale bread side of things. but…gotta go anyway. it’s a good school academically, but pretty conservative really. amelia and i are the weird, bohemian parents at the school…fun.

    take care everyone

  34. avatar
    lily was here | 11 December 2008 at 9:05 pm #

    Do you sea what i see. I googled ocean painting on youtube, quite a few different vids you can watch for ideas, inspiration, technique etc. some of that medium that you wipe off and a toothbrush for instance. Some of the music on these vids are crap. Ahh Kilbey, I'll set some up for you, Killer paintings to Killer music.

    This Meryl Streep soundalike is funny to watch

    isolde & eek – i cant remember who, but a band posed as that painting (a favourite of mine) for an album cover.

    love XOX

    ps love that review! album of the year, oh yeah.

  35. avatar
    isolde | 11 December 2008 at 10:04 pm #

    eek how’s this

    nude at rear = tp
    nude at front = sk
    chap centre = mwp
    chap right = pk

  36. avatar
    eek | 12 December 2008 at 10:36 am #


    Yes, I think that would do quite nicely.

    Now hop to it, Steve. 🙂

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.