For those living in Tasmania on February 7th, 1967 was a day that will never be forgotten. 62 people lost their lives in a series of horrific bushfires that swept the south of the state.
For me, that Tuesday was my first day in year 11 at the Hobart Matriculation College. The day’s lessons ended early that afternoon due to the bushfires, especially the one that was raging on the hill, (the Domain) next to the college. I made it home without much fuss, but the scene on the hills at the back of Glenorchy, my home suburb, is something I’ll never forget.
After all these years I have been moved to make both a written and a visual statement on that particular day.
More will be said in my artist’s statement that is a work-in-progress. For now, it’s a matter of developing my idea into as much an essay as a painting. This is not just about any bushfire, nor is it a commentary on destruction. This is about how I felt about that day, then and how I feel about it now. Of course the resulting devastation of such a fire will be graphically illustrated, but not over-stated. There is a deep emotional side that will be addressed.
The trees may have returned and houses have been rebuilt, but the mental scars remain and memories such as this are firmly etched in the minds of many people.
This is a reasonably large painting (120 x 80), as you can see by the A4 piece of paper attached on the top, right hand side. I decided to opt for coloured pencils on pastel board as I felt this medium would give me the best chance to obtain the ‘look’ I was after.
Time and effort will tell if I have made the right choice.