POSTCARD FROM KANGAROO ISLAND
I’ve been given the opportunity by a friend to ‘paint the atmosphere at Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island’. What a brief! Kangaroo Island is off the south coast of South Australia. South of here is Antarctica. I write this at Vivonne bay, after a great morning of painting the sunrise, eggs for breakfast and coffee for thinking. There is very patchy phone coverage and no internet – bliss. Little wallabies come into the garden in the evening, possums at night, seals in the ocean, and a couple of goannas on the headland. I have a week to observe the colours and rhythms of nature. For reading I have my trusty copy of Carlsons Guide to Landscape Painting, by John F. Carlson. It’s a classic and a good one to immerse myself in my subject.
View from the platform that I called ‘my office’.
I’ve discovered a disused viewing platform at the beach that gives me a great overview of the ocean. Each morning I go there to watch the sky, weather, and sea in motion. They pose interesting relationship tensions that are a struggle for me to understand. I study their colours and tones closely always comparing what is dark, what is light? Is that reflection warmer or cooler than the next? What are the shapes and colours in waves? How do those colours alter when a wave breaks? Is the sky warmer and darker at the horizon when the sun is about to rise compared to above me? These are some of the many questions running through my head as I try to understand the changing relationships in nature. I also notice my resistance to making a formula out of it. I want to remain open to a new impression each day. After a while I stop thinking and just mix paint as fast as I can in response to what I witness. The transition time of sunrise and sunset are difficult creatures to capture. Throw in an approaching storm and you really have a challenge on your hands as a painter.
‘Fallen tree, Passing time’.
I’ve managed 2 -3 paintings a day, all 20cm X 20cm approximately. Not all are ‘keepers’ and some are useful for reference material for a couple of larger studio works for my friend. But most importantly I feel full of experiences and atmosphere after having braved the dark early mornings and weather. Experience lies in showing up, being present, observing and doing. That’s the real reference. These little paintings are doorways into body experiences.
Friend, this has been a very special experience for me and I’m glad to share a glimpse of it with you. I hope you have gained an insight into some of my working process. Thanks to my friends for the comission and thankyou for reading my post.