“The Last Hurrah”, 80 x 60 cms

Luminance pencils on Canson Pastel Board. Own reference & imagination.

This coloured pencil drawing is a scene of utter carnage, but I’ve deliberately expressed it as a celebration of the natural cycle that typifies our environment, along with a second interpretation. 

My wife, Val and I have spent 2 extended periods living in Cairns (Queensland, Australia) since 2010, at Trinity Beach to be precise. We have fond memories of our time there and intend to return for future visits. Along the shoreline of Trinity Beach stand many beach almond trees that oddly enough are currently shedding their leaves. These are large leaves and when they fall, litter the ground and can be quite a nuisance at times, although they break down rather quickly as does much of the vegetation in the Tropical heat. One has to walk past them (not over them) as they can stick to your footwear or bare feet especially when they are wet.

I remember one day noticing some leaves outside the Trinity Beach Tavern, in the car park area in fact. They were flat, extremely flat, withered, shattered into 100s of pieces, the result of being constantly run over by cars, trucks and cyclists. Add rain, wind and foot traffic and you have a scene of carnage, one though that looked rather fascinating; well it did to me anyway!

This may have been a scene of death and destruction, but it was also one of beauty as the last remnants of colour crumbled and dispersed into a  ‘soup’ before its ultimate demise courtesy of a road sweeper.

Towards the end of their growing cycle on the trees, these leaves had begun to change from green to yellow, red, orange, to earthy browns before plunging to the ground below. The cycle is over, the colours have gone, now only a memory.

Our lives are like that, don’t you think? In most cases we live full and productive lives before becoming victims to either, wear, tear, disease or ageing.

Just like the leaves, we return to the ground. But it’s not all gloom and doom! We have opportunities to ‘shine’ during our lifetime: of making a difference, doing something special, something memorable, leaving our ‘mark’. It’s not about quantity of life’ it’s about quality.

For a short time these leaves dazzled their environment with a show of uplifting colour after a stage of ‘conservative’ growth during which they went unnoticed. For a short period of time they starred, they were ‘special’, it was their ’moment in the sun’.

Now that I’m a member of the ‘seniors brigade’, I’m well aware of the impact of ageing. Lately, I’ve been hampered with arthritis in both hands, not for the first time, but knowing what it is and why it occurred, I simply deal with it. I’m not as ‘sharp’ as I once were, but these days it’s a case of being driven by the emotional rather than the physical. Quality of life far outweighs quantity. Enthusiasm is the greatest motivator there is, regardless of one’s age! Like the leaves at Trinity Beach, we can all have our ‘moment in the sun’.


About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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5 Responses to THE LAST HURRAH

  1. ridgecookearts says:

    This would have to be my favourite piece and summary to date, I related on so many levels. Fantastic work!

  2. Charlee says:

    Drawing line. Drawing colour. Drawing parallels. I’m loving how you express yourself.

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