Sydney artists

Gallery 1:  Paintings - The Bourbon
I can understand why Lautrec loved drawing and painting in the Moulin Rouge. Just occasionally there is a special bar that becomes larger than life and attracts larger than life people. In Sydney, Australia that place was the Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar. For an artist who tries to capture the theatrical rhythms of life in a magical place the Bourbon was perfect. This is some of the work that resulted. If people want to associate Tony Johansen with Bernie's Bourbon that is fine by me, it was an honour to paint there.



Click pictures for close ups

Australian painting
The Bourbon at 3am
Acrylic on Panel (h)107cm x (w)134cm 
There's Jimmy and the Bourbon Band.Many times I've danced till breakfast time in the Bourbon.

I painted this painting at the bar over 6 or 7 nights, and then finished it in the studio from memory. There were no photograhs used in the making of this one and it retains that feel of painting in the bar. The individuals were never there together, however they were all there at one time or other.

The manager Mike Connors was a little apprehensive at first, but was pleased to discover the artist in the corner was popular with the patrons. Thank you, Mike.

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                        <td align=Don't Tell Momma (detail)
Acrylic on Canvas and Panel (h)110cm x (w)260cm
This was started as a small canvas on site in the bar, but back in the studio it started to grow with little additions of panel to the sides and bottom until it had more than doubled in size.

The Bourbon was just a minutes walk across the street so I would walk into the Bourbon every so often let the scene saturate my eyes then return to the painting while it was fresh in my mind, and paint 'til another refresher was necessary.

Don't Tell Momma (detail)
Acrylic on Canvas and Panel (h)110cm x (w)260cm 
The ghost of Bernie entered this picture, along with the magic of the place. Bernie's Bourbon has changed, but I have enough notes down to make new pictures for years to come.

Downstairs at the Bourbon
Acrylic on Panel (h)60cm x (w)120cm 
The big black guy in the center was there one night. He was off an American ship. He just stood there and watched all night like an Easter Island sentinel. So that is how I painted him, like a calm immovable block of stone while all around was a whirling fantasy of tangled lights and people. And quietly behind him was Tony Johansen painting.

Joe's Bar (detail)
Acrylic on Panel (h)80cm x (w)320cm

Joe's Bar was a quiet side bar in the Bourbon. Bernie encouraged personalities to shine and I enjoyed the atmosphere of this area for observing people dancing. The tables and better light also made it a good place for drawing or making watercolours.

Joe's Bar (detail)
Acrylic on Panel (h)80cm x (w)320cm

I loved the Bourbon above all else for its music and continuous dancing. The dance floor became the center around which all else was just passing moments. Some nights I was Tony Johansen the artist, but more often I was just simply one of the revellers.