Sunday, April 12, 2015

Interpreting the bush

Repainted house

The drive
I have lived in my bush home since the 70s, so two or three times a day I walk up my drive to get my paper and mail. There is always something to see.

I originally saw my house from a road that looks down into our bush valley. At this time, 1969, I was renting my friend John Bevan Ford's house sited in the street above. John, previously an art adviser, had moved on to lecture at a teachers college.

One of the bridges
The previous owner of my home was a landscape gardener who said in passing the property was a 'wilderness garden.'  I think, on reflection, I took him too seriously. At this time there were a couple of tracks that didn't link up. Getting around my property required gumboots to get through the swampy areas.

Latest walkway
Since giving up on working in schools (restricting myself to writing an educational blog) I have put my energy (always in short supply) to working on the garden. With considerable help I now have a track that goes right around my section. The addition of two bridges and five walkways makes a pleasant walk which I do once or twice a day.  Prior to sorting out the tracks I tidied up my house which was in dire need for a paint.

In 2011, when visiting friends in the UK, I visited Charles Darwin's home in Kent. Darwin has always appealed to me but what impressed me during the visit was the walk he established around his property and that every day he placed some flint stones at the beginning of the walk and kicked one off each time he walked around after which he went inside to write.

Walking around the track is always a reflective act and provides lots of images to interpret through art. The trouble for me is that the bush is a complex environment - capturing its essence is difficult. How much to simplify? Can it be interpreted through an abstract  approach?

Photographs are easy and drawing is a lot slower but more rewarding - drawing from photographs I find is a good compromise.
I find drawing both realistic and interpretative reasonably easy. To be honest its the painting I want to do, and for me that's the challenge - mostly just working with oil paint.
Small recent work

Things never seem to work out as planned. Paintings seem to have a mind of their own and plans change with each stroke.  I guess that's the essence of creativity in any area of life. Only time will improve my skill.

Large painting - has changed over time

Quick sketch

Quick sketch
Playing with ideas
Detailed drawing
Large work in progress

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