“The Unformed Road” Acrylic and ink on paper, 50cm. x 70cm.
I have given this painting the title “The Unformed Road”, because that’s how it is described on the topographical map of the location. It has now become bordered on all sides by private properties, a landlocked strip of wilderness. This particular spot adjoins our back garden, and is a favourite shady place for kangaroos to rest in the afternoons. I have been attracted to paint here; to me it is a mysterious, wild place where nature is reclaiming what humankind once tried to fence off and control. I am reminded of Kipling’s poem, “The Way Through the Woods”. Typical English wildlife and ghosts from the past inhabit Kipling’s lost road, whereas Bandicoots, Kangaroos, raucous Kookaburras, quarrelsome Lorikeets, musical Butcherbirds, make this a magical space to me. The surrounding area shows mostly evidence of modern settlement. It has been claimed, occupied, fenced, farmed and built upon, but traditionally it is Yaegl land so I am sensitive to this fact and respectful when walking over this ground.
“Over the Fence – 2”. Acrylic on 300.gsm. paper, 50cm. x 70cm.
I have been asked what is it that brings me back to a more representational style. In other words, why am I painting these new landscapes? Am I reflecting back to the woodlands of my youth? The answer is that I do not know, nor should I be too concerned. I think that to be too analytical may lead me toward fabricating an untruth.
To me “Over the Fence” is much the same as my recent abstract landscapes. When I look back on them they seem have an element of the unknown in nature. It may be that I am responding to a fear of the unknown, There may also be a supersticious or spiritual concern in my work. Nevertheless to think too much about the reason why when I am painting would lead me nowhere. No matter what the subject, there is much intuition in my work.
Memories, looking for birds nests as a young boy in a Celtic landscape, “Too long ago”, remind me of the little Yellowhammer. Fascinated by markings on its eggs, we boys called it the “Scribbling Master”. Random scribbled markings on its shells appeared to be drawn with a frenzied fine nibbed pen.
The egg has become a recurring symbol in much of my abstract art work.It is a symbol of rebirth, of new life, a motif of regeneration following times of turbulence. I view the Yellowhammer’s primitive shell crazing as patterns that precede new beginnings, a precursor to change.
“Germination 1” and “2”
Coils of new life emerge like ribbons into a world, as if breaking away from primitively crazed shell patterning. I relate this abstract approach as a portrayal of the human spirit and its resolve to overcome adversity. A metaphor representing the struggle and tenacity of people who often escape from broken and hostile environments to start afresh in a new place.