Angorichina, Flinders Ranges – Landscape Painting

August 2014

Another escape from the urban jungle. Wandering in the landscape away from the cityscape, the air conditioned termite mound that never sleeps. Away from the maddening crowd. Even though the urban jungle is a great place to live, it has reliable water, food, shelter, transport, art galleries, libraries, and museums, there is nothing like being in the outback to reconnect with clean air, space, intense colours, the silence, the night sky. However, only a true pioneer can survive out there with only a couple of camels and a dog 1. For most urbanites at least one or two experienced persons are essential to the team in wild places to do the navigating and for dealing with repairs both human and mechanical.

Much of the Flinders Ranges could probably be best defined as landscape not wilderness, that is it has been managed by humans for tens of thousands of years (Australia the greatest estate on earth)2. Since European settlement much of the land has been overgrazed, mined, and feral animals (particularly goats in the Flinders) now run rampant, and yet in these remote areas the wildness continually reasserts itself, a ‘bewildered landscape’3. It’s overwhelming and if you stray too far, or put one foot in the wrong place, it can kill you. Gives the edge to painting out there.

No matter the definition, wilderness or landscape, the Flinders Ranges best described as vast, timeless, with special light, the ‘bones of nature laid bare’4. Before the expedition revisited the classics Hans Heysen and Harold Cazneaux who captured the essence of Flinders Ranges (see below).

Locations
Angorichina
Parachilna Gorge
Blinman
Ochre cutting – road to Blinman
Riverbed – road to Blinman
Brachina Gorge

Some photos of locations and paintings below.

Sense of place

p1020020Riverbed, Angorichina 7/8/2014

p1020031Riverbend, Angorichina 8/8/2014

p1020028Riverbed painting location 8/8/2014

p1020048Sunrise Angorichina 9/8/2014

 p1020056Near the sheep station painting location 9/8/2014

p1020083Down river ruin – goat herder’s cottage 11/8/2014

 p1020066Road to Blinman painting location 11/8/2014

p1020079Sunset Angorichina 10/8/2014

 p1020088Ochre cutting Road to Blinman painting location 11/8/2014

p1020094View from the camp, Angorichina 11/8/2014

p1020097Riverbed Road to Blinman painting location 12/8/2014

p1020104Local critic on a grassy knoll Angorichina 13/8/2014

 p1020112-2On the road to Brachina Gorge 13/8/2014

 p1020122Brachina Gorge painting location 13/8/2014

p1020110-2Local critic on the run, Brachina Gorge 13/8/2014

 p1020129Riverbed early morning Angorichina 14/8/2014

 p1020132Riverbed early morning Angorichina 14/8/2014

 

Sketches in ink and acrylics

p1020024Angorichina late afternoon from the camp 7/8/2014

p1020032-2Riverbed 8/8/2014

 

2014-angorichina-2View from the camp, Angorichina 11/8/2014

2014-angorichina-flinders-ranges-p1020133Riverbed early morning Angorichina 14/8/2014

References

1 Robyn Davidson, Tracks (1980)
2. Bill Gammage, The Biggest Estate on Earth – How Aborigines made Australia (2011)
3 John R Stilgoe, What is Landscape (2015)
4 Arid Arcadia – Art of the Flinders Ranges, by Alisa Bunbury, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2002

Hans Heysen, by Rebecca Andrews, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2009

heysen-hans-the-hill-of-the-creeping-shadows-1929
The Hill of the Creeping Shadows (1929)

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Patawarta: Land of the Oratunga (1929)

Cazneaux – Photographs by Harold Cazeaux 1878 – 1953, National Library of Australia 1978

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Harold Cazneaux, The shadowded hills the Flinders Ranges (1935)

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Harold Cazneaux, Far Flung Ranges of the Flinders (1937), Art Gallery of South Australia

 

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North East Coast Tasmania – Landscape Painting

October 2015

It had been a while. My last journey to Tasmania was in January 1983 during the Franklin River Campaign (see links below). At the time an escape from life drawing classes and surrealist parties to engage with far more important issues. A large proportion of the state has been protected since then, but I was apprehensive given the continuing threats to open up logging in old growth forests. The fight to protect the Tarkine goes on. The drive through part of Freycinet National Park on the way to Bluestone Bay brought home the problems facing national parks and wilderness areas. Major fires the previous two summers, lower than average rainfall and no green shoots. Normally there would have been signs of regeneration within a month. The forest looked dead. The frequency of major fires in the old growth forests and alpine regions signal that the tipping point on climate change has been reached (see article link below). The other extreme hit Tasmania in June 2016, flooding rains, and probably more damage.

Before I left for Tasmania, I revisited some of the greats of Tasmanian wilderness photography: Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis (see additional links below).

As the trip unfolded, optimism restored to some extent by the stunning coastal scenery. Zen- like experience in some places with pure white sand, sculptured granite rocks, and turquoise sea. ‘The true method is no method’ (Sengai Gibon). With that idea in mind got the most out of the painting days. Although, the wind caused some extra interest on a couple of days with the need to lash a painting to a sign post and then on another day to the side of a boat shed. All experimental, being in the moment anything can happen.

Places
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston
Low Head
St Columba Falls
Binalong Bay, southern Bay of Fires
Sloop Bay, Bay of Fires
The Hazards, Freycinet National Park
Bluestone Bay, Freycinet National Park
Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park
Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)

Some photos of locations and paintings below.

Sense of place

150930-low-head-p1020189

Low Head at Low Tide

151001-low-head-light-house

Low Head from the light house

 

151002-st-columba-falls

St Columba Falls

 

151003-binalong-bay-p1020229

Binalong Bay

151004-beach-binalong-bay-p1020242-2

Beach, Binalong Bay

151004-sloop-bay-p1020236

Sloop Bay, Bay of Fires

151004-sloop-bay-p1020234

Sloop Bay, Bay of Fires

151005-bicheno-wildlife-sanctuary-p1020256-3

Local critic, Bicheno

151006-hazards

The Hazards, Freycinet National Park

151007-bluestone-bay-freycinet-national-park

Bluestone Bay, Freycinet National Park

151007-blue-stone-bay-p1020268

Bluestone Bay, Freycinet National Park

151008-wineglass-bay-cruise-p1020298

Along the coast, Freycinet National Park

151008-wineglass-bay-cruise-p1020292

Along the coast, Freycinet National Park

 

Sketches in ink and acrylics

Focus on line, tone, and texture. Will tackle composition and light further down the track. Yet another step on the learning curve.

2015-low-head2-thurs1-oct-2015

Low Head

 

2015-binalong-bay2-sat-3-oct-2015

Binalong Bay

2015-sloop-bay-tasmania

Sloop Bay

2015-the-hazards-coles-bay-tues-6-oct-2015

The Hazards

2015-blue-stone-bay-freycinet-national-park-wed-7-oct-2015

Bluestone Bay

Reading and video links

The Franklin River Blockade – Part 1 and The Franklin River Blockade – Part 2).

dombrovskis-peter-morning-mist-rock-island-bend-franklin-river-tasmania-1979-2

Peter Dombrovskis – Morning mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, Tasmania, 1979

Dombrovskis collection of Tasmanian wilderness photographs, 1978-1995, National Library of Australia.

Gordon Splits, film by wilderness photographer Peter Dombrovskis.

Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis, edited excerpt from ABC TV’s Wildness website.

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Olegas Truchanas – Lake Pedder 1968

truchanas-olegas-beach-dunes-lake-peddar-1971

Olegas Truchanas – Beach & dunes Lake Pedder 1971

Olegas Truchanas Lake Pedder audiovisual collection, National Library of Australia.

In the Balance: Art for a Changing World, exhibition. Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2010, included David Stephenson photographs:
Drowned No. 62 (Lake Gordon, Tasmania)
Drowned No. 176 (Lake Pedder, Tasmania)
Self portrait looking down a survey cut, proposed site of Gordon below Franklin Dam, Tasmania

Into the Wild – Wilderness Photography in Tasmania, Exhibition Catalogue, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, 2013

Fires in Tasmania’s ancient forests are a warning for all of us, David Bowman, The Conversation, 29 January 2016.

The Future Eaters, by Tim Flannery

The Savage Crows, by Robert Drewe

Death of a River Guide, by Richard Flanagan

 

sengai-gibon

Sengai Gibon 1750 – 1837

Zen mind, Zen brush
Japanese ink paintings from the Gitter-Yelen Collection, exhibition AGNSW, 2006.
The true method is no method – Zen master Sengai Gibon 1750-1837