I approach the Australian Bush at face value, and from inside it. There’s no hidden meaning to my work. It is the Australian Bush.
My studies en plen air are ten-fold since moving to Wangaratta in Regional Victoria. I also frequent Castlemaine and to this end, many new elements of the bush have revealed themselves to me and I have tried to include them in these new scenes. First and foremost the life, sound and movement of the ‘solitary’ landscape. Being in it, I have witnessed bark exploding off trees after the rains to reveal fluorescent pink trunks, belting heat and bitter cold, all varieties of limb arrangements and floor scenes, and all matter of Australian wildlife. My recent works look to the Australian Bush to inform the way sticks rest off trees, their spoil. The bush floor matter and its balance against the lines of trees, weeds, disused fences that have grown back into the irregularity of the bush all interest me to no end.
I take great inspiration from Danila Vassilieff in my approach to painting and living life as an artist. His simple living equated to what seems a natural ability for him to be able to choose a scene of the Australian condition and capture it. This ethos has served me very well indeed in the digital age where distraction to the character, or the scene before me could be easily missed had I not surrounded myself in the landscape and renounced distraction. His technicalities of brushstroke and blocking of the scenes inform my decisions on how and where to sit, or what element of the days’ study to paint.
In my opinion a most underappreciated figure of our country’s art history, it is through his Russian eyes that I attempt to see the Australian Bush. He was an outsider who managed to look at us so poignantly. If the viewer sees the well-known Australian Greats when they consider my work, it is because both I and they were informed by same modern expressionist father figure.