Joseph Zbukvic – Hidden Treasures 2016 – Part 1

1 Venice in Winter‘VENICE IN WINTER’

Most paintings of Venice portray it in sunshine and full of colour. I try to visit it when it is meant to be devoid of tourists, in dead of winter. However there is no off season in that amazing city. It’s easy to see why as it looks beautiful at any time. There is no city that can match its beauty. It has fascinated artists for centuries and provides endless subjects. This time I particularly liked the reflection in the wet pavement which provided a great foreground in this painting. Joseph Zbukvic

 2 The New Kitchen Hand


I observed this little story at my local café quite some time ago. Everyone could see that the pot was boiling over, but the head chef was too busy talking to notice it. The kitchen hand kept quiet with a smug look on his face. Possibly a payback for some past indiscretion. Eventually the chef noticed and dressed him down for not telling him anyway. I did a small sketch at the time, but most of this work was done from memory. Artists can retain visuals for future reference for a very long time. Joseph Zbukvic

 3 Frosty Evening


When portraying winter light, one is faced with the problem of making warm colours appear cool. I think I managed to interplay with the right mixture of colours in this typical country town piece, to make it look like winter. The smoke from the chimney pots helps as well. I think I managed to achieve just the right balance and am very pleased with that soft winter evening effect. By the way, I also froze to death doing a study for this! Joseph Zbukvic

 4 Morning Blues


I had a bit of fun making up this title, which is obviously a play on words. This was painted at Williamstown which is one of my favourite painting locations. There are fewer of them nowadays, but there are still some lovely old wooden boats there. The reflections on the water have always fascinated me and I love painting them. However many a time I end up cursing them as they need to be painted quickly and in one go! No second chances. Joseph Zbukvic

 5 Home Paddock


Most farms keep a few animals close to home on what’s commonly called a home paddock. There might be a milking cow there or some chickens and maybe a retired horse. It also sometimes has discarded cars or machinery lying about. When I paint a scene I try to tell a story rather than just do a picture of it. Therefore these innocent details become actors to assist in this tale. It can be quite subtle or exciting, depending on the scene. Not much happens in the country so it needs a quiet story with lazy action. Almost a detached sense of being a quiet observer in this scene. A horse race or busy city would be told in a totally different manner using action and movement. Joseph Zbukvic

 6 Fence Repair


I was attracted to this scene because of the old sheds on this property. When it was done I felt it was a bit empty and lacked actors. The horses were there but that wasn’t enough. The man was originally meant to be feeding the horse, but I decided to make him work on the old slip rail fence. Figures in my work are there to engage the viewer on a personal level. Sometimes they are actually there as well, but most of the time I place them in with care to give painting life. Joseph Zbukvic

 7 Wet Day, Amsterdam


This painting is my first from the lovely city of Amsterdam. It reminded me somewhat of Paris but on a much smaller scale and instead of the river Seine there were endless canals meandering through it. This scene attracted me more than the barges and what one might see as a classic Amsterdam view. I always try to find a new angle and a different perspective to old favourites. Of course, I often just paint classic compositions as well, but it’s exciting to find something new. It also appealed to me because it had a similar palette to rainy Melbourne. I often get asked if I use different colours for different countries, which is a strange question. Rainbow has the same colours in it world over. It’s how I see the subject that results in which colours I choose to use at that place. Joseph Zbukvic

 8 Sunny Corner, Paris


I almost gave up on this piece once I started. It has so many elements and they all had to be painted in! It wasn’t an easy piece to manage but I was happy with the end result. One of the difficulties of painting street scenes such as this is their complexity. If you compare it with a seascape or a simpler landscape you soon realise how many more shapes there are in this. The watercolour medium makes it harder as well as it does not allow for too much fiddling or it loses its freshness. However I like to challenge myself and am glad I had a go at this. Joseph Zbukvic

9 Beachcombers


I don’t paint seascapes very often, as it is a subject favoured by many painters. I was on a weekend drive near Lorne on the Great Ocean Road and when I stopped for lunch I couldn’t resist painting this classic scene. There was a drizzle at the time so I did it standing under the tailgate of my car. I have also done work on what I like to call “steering wheel easel”. Painting ‘Plein air’ presents many difficulties but it also offers many opportunities. I prefer it to studio work. By the way, the figures in this were carefully placed into the picture in the studio. I try not to finish the work on location. I just capture the essence and add detail at home. Joseph Zbukvic

Zbukvic Signature

Exhibiting July 2016 at Red Hill Gallery

©  Red Hill Gallery

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