May 2017. The joy of slow travel, in this case a train journey over 13 hours from Sydney to Broken Hill. Across several NSW regions: the Blue Mountains in early morning mist and fog, across the farming regions of the central tablelands, the central west slopes and plains, five hours across the vast, what seemed to be never-ending plains. Sunset somewhere between Eurabalong West (population 70) and Ivanhoe (population 200). Far horizons red gold landscape.
Intensive six days of painting and art practice discussions at Fowlers Gap, a remote research station in the arid zone of NSW in the Barrier Ranges which form the border between NSW and South Australia. Located 112 kilometres north of Broken Hill. A working sheep station with an abundance of kangaroos, emus, goats, and bird life, with several studios for visiting artists. For this time of year, sublime weather, warm to hot dry still days, clear clean air.
First impression flatness, vast infinity of space. Need to focus on scale and details while trying to walk the fine line between realism and abstraction without tripping over entirely into either. Some of the artists discussed and other art references, NSW western regions and Central Australia, below.
Maybe too much fresh air out there, but came away with a simple question. Why not aim high and try to pull together the entire history of landscape painting? Symbols, fact, fantasy, ideal, natural, light, order (reference Landscape into Art, Kenneth Clark 1949, history of western landscape painting), swill it all around for long enough in the hope, in future, to achieve the probably impossible one shot action painting with a sense of place.
The X Box Studio
Ochre House Studio
Sense of Place
Sketches in ink, gouache, and acrylics
Broken Hill Regional Gallery 29/5/17
Henry James Johnstone, A Ford on the Acheron River (1881)
Lloyd Rees, Summer Morn Near Kiama (1945)
Lloyd Rees, The Pool (1946)
Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Wildflower Dreaming 2
Sidney Nolan, Little Boy Lost (1983)
John Olsen, Clarendon Spring Make Sure the Sun Wipes its Feet (1984)
Other landscape references
Uragami Gyokudo, Frozen Clouds and Whirling Snow, early 19th Century, Kawabata Collection, Kanagawa Prefecture
Pablo Picasso Landscape, 1972, Musée Picasso, Paris
Exhibition: Picasso masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, AGNSW Nov 2011 – Mar 2012
Art references NSW western regions and Central Australia
Hans Heysen, The Hill of the Creeping Shadows, 1929
Sidney Nolan, Salt Lakes ,Wimmera. 1966
Sidney Nolan, Desert Storm 1966 (1st panel of 8)
Fred Williams, Lysterfield Landscape, 1969
Arthur Boyd, Rocky landscape with two figures, 1973
Brett Whiteley 8 miles out of Cootamundra 8.28 pm 4.1.84, 1984
Poly Ngal, Bush Plum Country, 2002
Elizabeth Cummings, From the Two Tanks Fowlers Gap, 2012