It was about this time last year that I visited the Blue Mountains for the spring Garden Festival at Leura. I got some wonderful reference shots of the canyon walls, including the one I painted this picture from, taken from the top of Wentworth Falls. This painting is built on a textured base of torn strips of thick hand-made paper to suggest the feel of the rock strata. I’ve used unblended rectangular strokes of strong colour to bring out the colour variations in the cliff face. Sadly this year parts of the Blue Mountains have already been damaged by fire and many homes lost. Fire is a constant danger in this region and I fear this summer is going to be a bad one.
I guess this would be called a quadtych – but that sounds strange. After painting my twenty small paintings for uni (see my post – ‘What a beautiful place to live’ ), I’ve been experimenting with doing groups of small paintings mounted together on coloured backgrounds. I’ve used small canvas panels for the paintings and have mounted them together on studio wrap 38mm deep canvas. The scene is a small part of a glorious sunrise I saw on my last visit to Port Macquarie, but it really could be anywhere along the coast. I’m putting this one in a show at Lismore in a couple of weeks time.
These are three paintings I developed from the small paintings I put up in the previous post. They are all scenes from Mudgeeraba Creek, a few kilometres down the road, right up in the headwaters of it, where it is very shallow. There is a fantastic quality of light there in the early morning, when the sun is lighting up the tops of the trees but the under-canopy is in shadow. The colours of reflections this makes is amazing – like liquid gold and green satin. The work is currently on display at Monet’s Art Garden Gallery, Metro Centre, Hollywell Road, Labrador. The mosaic table-top in the foreground is also my work, if anyone is wondering.
I recently had the task of painting twenty small sketches of “my place” for the Fine Arts painting unit I was then doing. These are some of the paintings that resulted. The exercise focused my thoughts on what I find so special in the place where I live. Many of the paintings were of Mudgeeraba Creek, an unassuming little water-way that wends its way through sub-tropical rainforest, often very shallow, rippling over polished river stones.
I’m trying a different way of combining the figure and the landscape here — the landscape is in the figure, rather than the other way around. I’m not sure what anyone else will make of it, but I’m rather liking it. Instead of being a straightforward narrative, the viewer has more freedom to create their own meaning. For some reason, as I was painting it, a verse of the Rubaiyat came to mind (verse 32 Fitzgerald trans.):
There was a Door to which I found no Key:
There was a Veil through which I could not see:
Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee
There seemed — and then no more of Thee and Me
Not sure if this even fits the painting, or what it means, but that’s what came to mind.
As part of my current university studies in painting I have recently been investigating the effects of time at a particular place. I have been working on my favorite little beach on the Gold Coast. We’ve always called it Echo Beach — I don’t know if that’s its real name — a tiny little cove nestled into Burleigh Headland on the side of Tallebudgera Creek. For this exercise I have had to paint three sketches each of different times of day, then a more finished painting of each of the three times, then two paintings further exploring the concept of time at that place.
From Sunday 24th February the Royal Queensland Art Society is hosting an exhibition of work done in their life drawing sessions. These are my contributions. This is in addition to their usual monthly show, this time themed “Fakes and Frauds”. The gallery is at 25 Broadbeach Boulevard, Broadbeach (next to the Broadbeach Surf Lifesaving Club) and it’s open from 11-3 weekdays and 9-5 weekends. If you are wondering why I have three naked ladies and only one man, it’s because we very rarely get a male model. Nothing to do with my preferences.
All the works are for sale, by the way — a very reasonable $40.00 each for the graphite sketches (mounted on black matt board) and $80.00 each for the pen sketches, which are attractively framed.