Artist Bio: Graham (Max) Walker

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Artist Bio - Graham (Max) Walker

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. As John Berger said: "Art is an oganised response to what nature allows us to glimpse occasionally". 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 inspirational. 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.

My Influences

In My Bio, I have provided a summary of the art theories, artists and teachers who have influenced me over the years, while I have been experimenting and developing my own signature style. Essentially, the most central influence and driver of my work has been my own internal desire to capture, through sensory evaluation and contemplation of beauty, the most interesting and absorbing presentation of nature, man-made objects and urban surrounds.

I have a keen interest in aesthetics and how we can think about beauty and the memories of beautful objects and situations in our lives. For this, writers such as Marcel Proust, Vincent van Gogh (via his letters - I have read them all), Siri Hustvedt, Michel Foucault, John Berger, Martin Gayford and Betty Churcher have provided valuable thoughts and insights. Long may we aspire to take our efforts to ever higher planes in our quest to preserve inspirational scenes in a lasting form.

My Artshow Awards

Artshow: Kilmore Art Expo
Title: Early Morning, Small Town
Award: Highly Commended
Artshow: U3A Knox Art Show
Title: Big Southern Sky
Award: Second Prize, Oil Painting Category
Sponsor: U3A
Prize: $100