2015 Paradise Found - Close to Home
Paintings of Brisbane, - the urban and suburban landscape
I am attempting to paint the world right outside my back door. This world is naturally interpreted and filtered through everything that has made up my artist's journey to this point. It has taken my lifetime until now to realise that my true subject matter is all around me.
I live in Brisbane's Paddington, an area close to the CBD, quite hilly and dotted with original workers' cottages and steep streets. There is a semi-tropical ambience created by the abundance of greenery; fig trees, Poincianas, Jacarandas, palms, bougainvillea. The vistas in every direction are full of trees.
I see the area as a kind of living organism yet it is simultaneously very much a man-made landscape. The lives of generations are concentrated and layered. I try to include the everyday life of the streets overlaying its botany and its geography. There are beautiful moments and bizarre details; the angles of rooftops, TV aerials, fences and telephone poles.
Brisbane has a sleepy lushness. Some parts are picturesque, none are majestic or imposing, few are particularly well designed on a municipal scale, which is possibly why it is the domestic scale that interests me most, not the city or the bridges, but the verandas, the mango trees, the scrub turkeys, the Hills Hoists. And I can't resist adding a contemplative cat or bird or a strolling dog or two.
The fundamental values of an artist observing the world around them remain immutable. Baudelaire in his "The Painter of Modern Times" urged artists to look about them for their subject matter. Jeffrey Smart has stated
"I am trying to paint the real world I live in, as beautifully as I can, with my own eye."