Can ‘Silence’ be Drawn?

“Silence at the Table”

70 x 50 cms: Prismacolor Pencils on Canson pastel board, own reference

A lonely mug catches the morning light in a deserted room in a disused shearers’ quarters in Tasmania. The dusty room belies its hectic past. Silence is now its tenant. The door is a storybook cover, the furniture lays idle, but the memories remain.

I love visiting old homesteads, buildings and farming properties. I’m fascinated not only by what there is to see, but to dwell on their history. The older and more dilapidated, the better. Cracks in walls and ceilings, shafts of light, dust, cobwebs and general decay all make for wonderful drawing subjects, but what of the general atmosphere of these places?

The first thing that comes to mind is the ‘silence’ that so often is found. Piles of dusty objects left lying about as if someone had simply got up and left, never to return. Now that’s my kind of subject matter!

‘Cheshunt’ is a working farm in Tasmania’s Meander Valley with a long history. The property is no longer as large as it once was, but it’s still a going concern. What has interested me for the past 15 years are several buildings that are in need of urgent restoration. One can feel the ‘history’, smell the dust and take in the silence that is truly evident when one enters each of the buildings, especially the former shearers’ quarters where subjects for the 3 drawings featured today came from.

“Silent Light”

70 x 50 cms: Prismacolor pencils on Canson pastel board, own reference.

“In the Light of Silence”

60 x 80 cms: Prismacolor pencils on canon pastel board, own reference.

“Deserted – The stillness of Silence”

50 x 70 cms: Prismacolor pencils on Canson pastel board , own references

Not everyone who went to war came home.A symbolic still-life of a deserted shearers’ quarters that lies silent and decaying.

The floor is slowly being reclaimed by the earth, the door won’t close any more. A cardigan waits for its owner to return. The mug on the table is thirsty.On the door is written a century-old diary of daily activities. For some reason the entries have stopped. In the hallway, the floor is but a memory, the front door now resides in a pile atop a dry, rusty fuel drum. No need for tractors any more. No-one there to gather hay that doesn’t grow.No laughter of children. No sounds of running water. Gone are the days of weary shearers and farm hands, of chatter around the dinner table and of heavy night-time snoring. The sun rises every day, everywhere.


Can you feel the silence?

Can you sense the history?



About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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10 Responses to Can ‘Silence’ be Drawn?

  1. Edna says:

    A great series Richard. Full of atmosphere.

  2. sharonsskow says:

    Deafening silence….

  3. Denise Dallatore says:

    Not only are you a great artist, but an excellent writer.

  4. Absolutely wonderful, such skill!

  5. Amazing work. Listen to the quiet.

  6. Ann Oliphant says:

    …and your prose is as beautiful as your pencil work.

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