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.
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.
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston
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
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.
Reading and video links
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.
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.
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