2 people are viewing this right now
In these latest paintings I have been exploring the qualities of natural environments, from the random growth of branches and sublime reflections of rivers to the vibrant optimism of the sun shining over a hillside, or the energetic, lush sclerophyll bush of Mount Donna Buang’s Mountain Ash forests or the mysterious River red gums and Wetlands of the Barmah State Forest.
Nature is at once obvious and infinitely subtle, the perfect muse.
The oceans from Victoria’s southern coast are beautiful, peaceful places that also harness the corrosive and purifying power to break down all things that enter it. Similarly the ominous, energetic power of the mountains of the Great Dividing Range provide a focus of growth and stability.
Each untouched scene creates a challenge for me to navigate the tensions between representation and abstraction, to share my intuitive and emotional responses to it. In this way, whether I’m visiting a family favourite beach or sacred rivers discovered on cultural tours, all become locations that inspire unique painterly responses. Then in my studio, I can go back to these places, through memory, photographs and personal experience whilst painting.
In my role as a Visual Art teacher, opportunities to connect with nature have arisen at different times. I facilitate and mentor students in an Indigenous Partnership Program and through this position I have been very privileged to be welcomed to Country by indigenous leaders in significant places such as Tiwi Islands, Yuin country, Gunditjamara and Barmah Forest, (Yorta Yorta). From these experiences, I feel a little more connection to the ancient land and spirit of Australia.
In addition to being inspired by indigenous people and particular sites, I have also been inspired by retreats to Arthur Boyd’s Bundanon Centre in NSW. I have been visiting Bundanon since 2009 with some of my Senior art students, and through participating in annual workshops there, have honed skills in landscape drawing, painting and printmaking. The visits to Bundanon and Arthur Boyd’s studio reminded me of visiting my own Grandfather in Tasmania when I was 11 years old. and. I remembered watching him painting his landscapes in his studio and thinking as a child, how amazing it would be to be able to paint landscapes as well as he did one day.
I hope that these paintings are able to share some of the delight that I feel when I see glimpses of the energy of the natural world.