Eucalyptus are a passion of mine. We lived next to bushland
and spent hours playing among gum trees as a child and the smell of eucalyptus transports
me back to those carefree times.
An iconic symbol that infuses Australians with a sense of
place, is the Coolabah Tree. Waltzing
Matilda’s words ‘under the shade of a Coolabah tree’ raises goose bumps and confirms
I belong – I am Australian.
When I paint, I usually include the human form and often a
sense of what it is to be Australian.
This piece features the Coolabah tree; sitting underneath is
a female figure, what is she doing there?
In my practice my preferred medium is oil and cold wax, this
enables me to utilise many layers of paint to create interest and depth. Myriad
scratched and gouged layers of blues, greys, pinks plus whites are utilised to
portray the Coolabah tree and female figure.
My friends all know that I like to resurrect pieces of driftwood and natural pebbles
So friends often turn up at my studio with a piece of unusual driftwood or pebbles that they have found whilst they were out and about.
A while ago a special artist friend turned up with a long and interesting piece of pandanus tree that she had found washed up on Burleigh Headland.
It was bruised and battered and looked like it had been floating in the ocean for a long time, full of holes, but what an interesting and unusual shape and patina on the timber!
It was beautiful but the shape was so usual that I could not decide what I was going to do with it.
I placed it in a prominent position in the garden, near the pool, where I could look at it daily. It took me over 4 months but I finally felt the piece ‘speak’ to me.
The Pandanus spiralis is an Australian shrub or small tree up to 10 metres in height. It has long, spiny leaves organised in a spiral arrangement. The plant bears a large, pineapple-like cluster of fruit that turn orange-red when ripe. Wildlife including birds take advantage of the spiny leaves by living in the tree for protection. They also favour its fruit.
So I decided to continue with the Australian theme and I covered it with shapes and stripes in Australia’s earth colours of orange, yellow and yellow ochre.
When I had finished I found that I ended up with my very own didgeridoo.