paintings, places, process

Posts tagged “work in progress

Urban Forest


In this city, only about 20 minutes’ drive from downtown, you can walk along a bush track and feel thousands of miles away from the crush of central Sydney.


Turn a corner, though, and you’ll find yourself facing a familiar line of skyscrapers across the harbour.


I recently came across the term “urban forest”, used to describe¬†all the trees in a city, with no distinction between bushland, street trees or those on private property.


It’s a prompt for me to think of the bush not as something separate from the built environment, but as a network extending through it, as vital as any human-made infrastructure.


Images: self-portrait and landscape drawings from art journal, c. 2016








This City I’m In

After dance classes I would walk back through the city keeping an eye out for reflective surfaces in which I could record myself as part of the urban environment.Mirror_selfie_Wynyard

In the absence of a mirror, an ordinary selfie would do.Sakkas_MartinPlaceSP_2

This small performative exercise developed into more involved photo sessions in chosen locations, which in turn became material for sketches and paintings.Sakkas_NthSyd

It’s an ongoing (maybe life-long!) project, partly inspired by the whole-body self-portraits of US painter Joan Semmel, where the focus begins to shift away from the face to the expression of the body in response to place.Walkway_sketch_Sakkas

Images, top to bottom: Mirror Selfie, Wynyard (acrylic on watercolour paper); Martin Place (acrylic on watercolour paper); back arch with cranes, North Sydney (pen drawing in sketchbook); pen and watercolour sketch in art journal

The Beaten Track

TheBeatenTrack_detailThe Beaten Track, 2018, oil on linen, 56.5 x 46.5 cm (detail). An icebreaker to get back into oil painting after a very long period working in acrylics. It was also nice to return to the uncanny bushland of my subconscious.

Drawing is a way to slow down time


Top to bottom: from late 2017, two self-portraits in journal, 30-45 min each; preparatory sketch for upcoming painting, Jan 2018; 2015 self-portrait sketch in front of studio window

In Progress

GullyDtl5 copyStudio_7_Nov_12GullyDtl2studio_dec21:12_6GullyDtl3Vanishing_Point_inprogressstudio_dec21:12_5Vanishing_Point_progresses