Sometimes I find myself working with patches of abstract paint that originate with visible textures of bark, twigs against their shadows, leaves against sky, leaf litter, shines going behind dark objects, etc etc.
They decree their own colours.
Lines and volumes begin to extend in all directions. The origin is soon forgotten and the white stallion of reckless adventure sweeps me away.
Theme and variation games ignite.
A matrix spreads; pregnant with possible images.
This stuff gets reworked and I play with the embryonic images.
If they intrigue me enough I delineate them a bit clearer; regardless of relevance or logic or context, yet with reckless confidence.
Even if the white stallion wanders into another paddock.
(Who’s painting this stuff? Me or God?)
In Cerulia my original intention was to take a tiny native terrestrial orchid Caladenia cerulia and magnify it; looking deeply into it.
I was hoping I could make it emit life forces and astound me.
I wanted lots of sky, to try to suggest some sort of kinship or origin for the blue of the orchid. Also I wanted to suggest the season of early spring.
What else is happening in Big Bush at this time?
While I was working we were visited by quite a lot of Swift Parrots, so they were included.
(They migrate every winter from Tasmania feeding on nectar and pollen from the eucalyptus blossoms. Swift Parrots are very rare these days. They breed in Tasmania, and their breeding habitat is being destroyed by Tasmania’s forest industries.)
click here to read how Swift Parrots ruined my life http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter-nsf/Attachments/LJEM-6MHVGE/$FILE/2005%20Swift%20Parrot%20Newsletter.pdf
The owls and the shinglebacks insinuated themselves. A lot of the painting is that matrix stuff done with thin paint and shabby, streaky, dotty, slitherydithery brushwork. I began organizing the blue sky into rivers and canyons…
Another job where I was hoping to create a moment of awakening by contemplating an object. This was an unhung Wynne Competition entry, about 2000.
(In my early days I was hung in the Wynne Competition every time….about 12 times, even after I left Sydney and my decline accelerated.)
So it began with a large Cecropia leaf I picked up on a track and brought back to my studio in the Amazon. It was nearly a metre across. I had the notion of it falling, about to alight.
Eventually it seemed to have fallen into a stream and was settling on the bottom. Birdlike orchids, lichenlike fishes took up residence and a throatlike sunset happened.
It became a landscape of organlike entities. Very Amazonian. I worked on this one for many frenetic months.
This was something that started well but we became becalmed. The white stallion had become a donkey.
Years later I brought it out and began frigging around with it. I allowed, nay encouraged images to suggest themselves. They seemed to begin as body parts thrown together. A grasstree becomes a waterfall; the rear end of a bull reverses into view; lanterns and cages dangle themselves. And one morning there she was, her little teeth gnashing as she marshaled her invasive tresses.
I was very happy to preside over this apparently uncontrolled/choreographed fiasco of unhingedness.
Quandongs are a feature of Big Bush (where I live).
Dabs of violent red in the dusky dusty greybrowngreen chalkiness.
Another close scrutiny seemed called for.
This job went through several “finishes”, none of them quite happy. It’s really three or four paintings on top of each other; but the big quandong is still there. Eventually it became an astral traveling machine landing near the portal of the great Lutfullah mosque of Isfahan.