Three of my paintings are off to a new home ...
Two are a small pair of oils on canvas Summer Daze I & II 30 x 30cm, part of my 1000 words for Summer series.
Painted in late summer of 2011, several years before my Summer Sketchbook, in these works I was attempting to capture the ambience, the chaos, the heat of a Summers Day. Both were part of the PCA exhibition on Avalon Market Day 2011 and those who visited my studio in Avalon village may remember them hanging on the walls at my Studio Open in 2012.
The third, a larger oil painting 600 x 900cm, is from earlier years, back in 2008 when I was learning to paint.
I'm still learning, but back then, after studying drawing and painting in Avalon with Sally Horton in 2006/7, doing a lot of still life and en plein air, I started out alone in 2008 sketching in cafes, using newspaper photographs as reference for learning to paint people.
This painting was inspired by a photograph by Chris Crerar in The Weekend Australian 1-2 March 2008 in an article by Noel Pearson titled Agendas of Addiction. It was hard to find photos of groups of people not looking at the camera and having travelled to the outback, learning to drive in Wilcania, the image and article struck me.
What struck me more though, was three years later, the same photograph was used by the same newspaper in another article in the Weekend Australian on 19-20 Feb 2011 Destroyed in Alice by Nicholas Rothwell, which prompted such a response it made the ABC news.
I wondered why one of Australia's leading newspapers simply republished the image rather than sending out a photo journalist. One article was about people living in Cape York and the other Alice Springs. If they really felt it was such a terrible situation, couldn't they afford more effort? Were they really interested in seeing things change? What was their duty of care to these people in the photograph? Then again, did anyone else notice, or was it just me, because I'd taken the time to paint this painting.
I didn't write to the newspaper, I simply kept the articles and kept on painting. In time, I came to see the figures in my painting as people in a gallery transforming it's essence from tradgedy to beauty, from sorrow to joy, from helplessness to helpfulness, at least that's how it was for me.
What's really special is this painting is off to be enjoyed by someone who works in association with Aboriginal art, getting indigenous artists work hung on people's walls. They didn't know the story behind the scene, they simply liked the painting.
So it is that ...
sometimes it's not we as artists who paint a painting, create an artwork, but the artwork itself that takes us on a journey, brings us stories, experiences, tales to tell, so much so that the artwork changes us as well.
Now these paintings are moving on and the weather is warming up, I'm inspired to get my paints out. It's nice to think that 8 years later, what I did then still resonates. I can only hope things have changed and improved for the people in the photograph too.
Thanks, as always for popping by,