Insights into the creative practice


Still life artist and art educator, John Honeywill begins our exploration of the studio as an essential site for housing the ideas, images and objects of his creative process. A place where he can work through, leave and return to his thoughts.

At its core, Open Studio at the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) is a home for the creative process. Whether you are looking at artworks selected by each guest artist, sitting down to engage in a drawing tutorial at our drawing stations, watching artist interviews, reading artist books or exploring materials and works in progress on loan from the artist’s studio, you are connecting with the skills and ideas that inform a living creative process.

This is the first in a series of blogs that explores the artists space. Pick up clues and tips about how the artist experiments, manipulates and refines materials and processes. Open Studio is open daily and includes a range of onsite programs for creative activities and broader learning.

Open Studio, Queensland Art Gallery

Take part in two art station drawing activities specific to the artist’s practice.

Artworks on display as part of John Honeywill’s Artist’s Gallery in Open Studio

Meet John Honeywill

John Honeywill began painting in 1974 and he currently concentrates on still life, a subject that has interested Honeywill since childhood.

Honeywill engages with the genre of still life as a tradition that holds genuine relevance to contemporary life. He invites visitors to create their own still life works through two drawing stations and through a range of workshops programmed in the Studio.

Watch | John Honeywill

The first Open Studio

As QAGOMA has been interwoven into John Honeywill life since he was a teenager, Open Studio is a great opportunity to talk to visitors about the process and act of making art , and give back to an institution that has given so much.

John Honeywill’s selection of artworks on display as part of his Open Studio project includes work from artists such as Vida Lahey who have taught students and mentored other artists, along with many who are currently working as educators such as Marian Drew.

Watch | John Honeywill

The importance of the studio

A studio is a space where you work, and at the end of the day you can leave your thoughts, ideas, and when you return the next morning, they are still there. It enables the continuity of your work.

In the centre of Open Studio at QAG sits a small Artist Space filled with objects, materials, and visual stimulus from the artist’s actual studio. John Honeywill has invested time and consideration into his selection and positioning of elements from his studio to help visitors understand his way of working.

Look closely at the images and drawings on the clip board. Consider how they relate to the unfinished work on the easel and how this relationship demonstrates how an artist is able to return to the studio to pick up where they left off.

Watch | John Honeywill

Reading List
For Open Studio, John Honeywill selected these books on the artists who inspired him. To read, research or learn more about these artists, visit the QAGOMA Research Library.

Laura Mattioli and others. Giorgio Morandi: Late Paintings. David Zwirner, New York, 2017.
Paul Hills. Brice Marden. Rizzoli International Publications, New York, 2018.
Donald Woodman. Agnes Martin and Me. Lyon Artbooks, New York, 2016.
Chris Bedson. Euan Uglow: Sargy Mann. John Rule, 2017.
Michael Hawker and others. Margaret Olley – A Generous Life. QAGOMA, Brisbane, 2019

John Honeywill in his studio at Open Studio

QAGOMA Research Library

The QAGOMA Research Library is located on Level 3 of the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). Open to the public Tuesday to Friday 10.00am to 5.00pm. visit us in person or explore the online catalogue. Access to special collections is available by appointment.

Featured image detail: John Honeywill painting at Open Studio