I have been painting in oils and pastels for about twenty-five years in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. Landscapes, streetscapes and still lifes are my principal subject matter, although more recently I have done figure work (pleasingly, I won a prize a number of years ago for a figure study, which gave me new impetus to explore the figure). I enjoy viewing and reading about all types and styles of visual art, but am principally a tonalist and colourist - believing that tone is the central building block and then colour can be used to give a painting excitement and vitality.
My approach strives to combine tonal accuracy and colour vibrancy to capture distinctive moments in the landscape and urban surrounds. I enjoy portraying those special moments that take our attention and stimulate the senses, yet experiences that can be fleeting such as an evocative street scene, golden sunlight catching the surface of a river, or a striking combination of shapes and colours in a city view. It has been said of Corot that he considered art simply as conveying a sensation, using a natural vision. This is what I follow, while paying due regard to the concept and structure of each painting and hitting a few well-chosen high notes to provide excitement and interest.
I have been influenced to varying degrees by the Australian tonalists (such as Meldrum), the Scottish colourists and the Barbizon school. The great Australian painters such as Roberts, Streeton, Withers and McCubbin are acknowledged as guiding lights. I particularly admire the work of Rupert Bunny and Charles Conder.
I have studied with a number of tutors and teachers, and more extensively with: Peter Smales, one of the Melbourne 20; Ross Patterson and Max Wilks (also in the 20); Yvonne Audette; John Wilson (Sydney); Joseph Attard; and Regina Hona. However, my painting style, my artistic "signature", and what I want to express to the viewer, are entirely my own and I am pleased to say that I am still on that exciting journey of discovery.
I sign my pictures as Max Walker, using the long-standing nick name of Max. Sobriquets are endearing as they form a special link between the person and the group of contacts or friends who use them.