Bottom: “The Secret Stream”
Both 40 x 60 cms, coloured pencil on pastel board. Own references.
This coming weekend, my wife and I are heading to Alice Springs in Central Australia for a week’s holiday. We have been before and we’re keen to return to what is a very ‘different’ part of Australia. The landscape there is so opposite to Tasmania’s (where we formerly lived) and indeed to the one where we’re living now (Far North Queensland).
I remember the impact that the ‘Red Centre’ had on my work when I returned to Tasmania, and I have included 2 of my coloured pencil drawings as examples of how the landscape there influenced not only my art, but my way of thinking.
Does the environment you live in influence your art? Even if landscape isn’t your main subject, your immediate environment will influence your artwork. The landscape, the people, the climate, the sounds and the smells around us do in some way, influence what we create. The ‘crisp, clean, sharp’ smells of a Tasmanian forest, the smell of rotting vegetation in a warm, damp tropical rainforest, the heat, glare and stunning colours of Central Australia, the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s Circular Quay, the sight and sound of waves as they hit the beaches at Port Macquarie, the isolation one feels on a lonely beach etc etc. Even if you shut yourself away in your studio every day, something from the outside world will in some way, find itself resonating in one of your artworks.
To say that the environment of Central Australia has had an impact on me is a gross understatement. It’s all about colour and changing light, of eroded landscapes and countless thousands of years of history. It’s also about respect for the traditional owners who understand this harsh environment. The memory of artist Albert Namatjira’s life and work still preside in a world that’s fighting to keep its ancestral roots in a world of commercial reality and unfortunate necessity.
This landscape is well-suited to coloured pencil drawing, and I’m looking forward to seeing what impact this trip has on my art ‘thinking’ as well has my future art subjects.