60 x 80 cm
Polychromos and Prismacolor pencils on Canson Pastel Board
I remember entering the corridor of a deserted farm building at the historic property of Cheshunt in Northern Tasmania’s Meander Valley. To my right was a partially opened door that revealed a silent, lonely room, just crying out for artistic interpretation!
Before entering the room the first things that struck me were the graffiti on the door and the shaft of light that appeared through a large, vertical crack in the back wall.
The atmosphere was thick with dust and I could only spend up to 15 minutes at a time in the room. Armed with my Canon digital SLR I proceeded to record as much information as I could.
How does one record silence?
How does one record the history of tragedy and triumph?
The table stood there defiantly, an old armchair nearby and a once proud fireplace lay in decay.
I sat the enamel mug that I had found outside, on the table to catch the light. I wanted to show the negative side of farming; the despair and hardship so often faced by those who work the land for a living. But I also wanted to acknowledge the daily life that was then, but now seemingly forgotten. The graffiti on the door is a time capsule of events that were a daily part of past farming life.
The door is a brilliant subject to paint. It’s full of marks, scrapes, dabs of paint, human and animal graffiti. There are lovely areas of abstraction that I find particularly appealing. The rusty chain and lock add to the door’s charm.
I love subjects with shadows and in this room I found a wonderful series of shadows broken by a strong shaft of light. These shadows aren’t particularly cold, so I avoided using black, preferring to work with cool, warm and French greys.
This indeed is a special place, perfect for artists to interpret.
I feel privileged that the Paul and Cate Bowman allowed me on to their property. What a wonderful place Cheshunt is!
This drawing has taken me on a wonderful journey of discovery, not only of the appreciation of an historical subject, but of myself. I’m starting to realise what my art is all about.