I have now completed my series of Plein Air Landscapes in oil of the Tweed Valley Region. After one year of work I have produced 150 pictures.
As it has panned out, the exhibition has become somewhat of a geographical survey of the region. What started out as an attempt to paint every beach and headland from Ballina to the Border was put on hold after a morning painting session that went awry….I was going to set up my easel at Brunswick Heads but a cyclonic North East wind made it impossible. I decided to drive inland and after 20 years driving past Hulls Road I drove down to explore the ridge.
I drove down that country lane and was absolutely spellbound by its beauty. A door had opened for me and I saw the landscape in a way I had not seen before, luckily for me I saw it in a way I could interpret.
I started out two years ago with a series of 10 pictures of the cane fields of the Wooyung Valley.
When I moved from Brunswick to Cabarita a whole new section of the coast and valley was opened up to me. And keeping with my initial discovery of Hulls Road I have made a point of painting whatever I find appealing on the day. I am allowing the last picture to dictate terms of where the next shall be and when I am stumped about what to paint, I make a point of driving down a road I have never driven down before.
It’s the element of exploration in both the environment and my painting practise that defines my work. I have become enthralled with the light of the valley. Especially the afternoon light-addicted to those last 2 hours of atmospheric magic as the sun descends towards the Calderas Rim, through those tumultuous cloud groupings that layer upon themselves, then split open allowing shafts of light to illuminate the hills and fill the valleys behind as if they were bowls of light.
As much as the subject is ‘The Greatest Performance on Earth’, so too must my role be in the ordeal.
To paint En Plein Air is to perform at your very best, to put all your energy, focus and technique to the test. To spew your heart and soul out, to battle with your psyche and question your existence in order to produce something of beauty.