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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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David Aspden

In their own words

Recorded 1970

David Aspden
Audio: 2 minutes

I usually find myself painting in series. I tend to work on two or three paintings at the one time, because when I get one to a certain stage I find I perhaps have to leave off for a while and think about it, and in the meantime I can go back onto another one which I’ve left previously, and I find that I can work continuously.

Although I’ve been painting a number of different series of paintings, there’s one very strong link. Although they look, tend to look very different to each other at first, is that there’s a strong colour rhythm going on in all of them, whether they’re geometric or non-geometric. By colour rhythm I mean something which you see not as dark and light, because you can get rhythms in drawings or in painting, which depend on darks and lights. Although there are darks and lights in the paintings, it’s the colour, one colour working against another, and in paintings you can eradicate the feeling of dark and light in a certain way, so that the colours work against one another, and according to choice, you can by the use of different keys, get general feeling of sharpness and liveliness, or perhaps calmness, and so on.

I’ve always thought over the years that the formal considerations of painting were very important, but more and more I think that the paintings I’m doing now, although they’re not portraits of anything, they are pictures from life. In other words, I’m becoming more aware of everything around me.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of David Aspden is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Related people

David Aspden

Related information

Painting mates

Magazine article by Michael Desmond, 2011

Michael Desmond discusses Fred Williams' portraits of friends, artist Clifton Pugh, David Aspden and writer Stephen Murray-Smith, and the stylistic connections between his portraits and landscapes.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency