September 2014


Unsorted Memories.

Another “Pinnacle” painting.

Many of my precious childhood memories involve the Pinnacle.

This time I encouraged some recent travel experiences, (another visit to the Alhambra), to mingle with the hilltop memories: Certain butterflies that could be found near the top of the pinnacle, the caves, the upward-looking hilltop ambience, kurrajong trees; (larval foodplant for the Tailed Emperor butterfly)…the excitement of childhood obsessions with butterflies which I still enjoy; and along the ridge; the windows from a high chamber in the Alhambra.

The conglomerate rocks that form the Pinnacle remind me of the ceiling decorations from the Alhambra, but upside down; hanging upwards from the lichened rocks.

Pillars and arches here and there; memories still fresh of Gaudi, and Aunty Reta’s sculptures not forgotten.

Ria smaller

Here is my Portrait of Ria Murch.

Widow of Arthur Murch to whom I was a sort of apprentice many years ago.

We had a half day sitting last year when she was 95 years old. She was alert and a bit annoyed   because she had written a letter to the Manly Daily and had discovered that it had not been printed.

Frustration and outrage were in the background of her demeanour; but her charming cheeky confrontation games, so familiar to me, soon resumed. She was able to recall events from my time in that household that I had forgotten. She also talked about times long before I came on the scene.

I did some drawings and took about 100 photos.

During that half day Ria mentioned a few times that she was in pain; life was very difficult and she wouldn’t really mind being dead.

This was not depression talk; she was defiant and very tuned in to life; highly aware of injustice greed and cruelty that makes up a large part of humans-on-planet-earth: Yet fully embracing the paradox of the loveliness of people and nature.

So this is what went into the portrait.

There was an unfinished painting of Arthurs on the wall depicting Gosse’s bluff which Arthur was working on last time I saw him; a few years before his death.

(When he was young he visited this meteor impact crater and did several studies of it; which he redid many times in his long life of painting.) He was a bit more obscure and more into metaphor than ever before, that last time I saw him, and pointed out that he wanted to get into a hot air balloon and ascend 1000 feet for a better view.

I remembered this and found several such views on Google images which seemed to match Arthurs wish and I did the 1000-feet-up view of Gosse’s Bluff behind Ria.

Is she merging into the crater, or is she rising out of it?

Ria died earlier this year.

Archibald and Wynne Comps.

Is it possible to say anything intelligent, objective, unbiased?


So I will say nothing, except that I entered the two above paintings and both were rejected.

P and A smaller

Here is a portrait of Patrick and Annie Thorne. Both friends from my childhood, and still great friends.

Schlunke_David_Where_God_Lives 3.jpg

Here is another painting I’ve just finished tentatively entitled Pinnacle Lepidopterous

It is 92 x 122 cm which is 3 feet by 4 feet; (perhaps the most common size used by Turner)

I have done a lot of this painting with small brushes; very fine detail. The Lepidopterous becomes more visible with closer inspection and so I am adding here a few details. Look for fragments of butterflies; or rather butterfly-like patterns.

I spend a lot of my time gazing in wonder at the patterns on butterfly wings. As if there is some code; some magic cypher that reveals the ultimate secret to exquisite design.

I hope that if I indulge in this scrutiny diligently enough I will be able to generate such patterns and designs spontaneously in my paintings.

Is there some important message from butterflies for humans? Probably not; but funny how I seem to assume that there should be; and for the time being will continue searching.

These details below are about life size: like looking at the painting from about half a metre away.

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3 responses

  1. Hi David, We haven’t met, but I was sometimes mistaken for you…being another of Arthurs helpers, or in my case more of a helpee. Julian put me onto your blogg which I found fascinating, I really loved your portrait of Arthur yourself and George Lambert. I would have commented when i read it but couldn’t find a comment button. Thanks for that insight into Ria. It had been a few years since I saw her. I invited her to the opening of my Great Southern Wall mural at the rocks but she wasn’t able to come. I was very grateful to her as she gave me permission to include part of the overseas terminal mural, as a tribute, in my mural which in part deals with the same subject. I believe you assisted Arthur on this. Its wonderfully well painted and an inspiration to me. I hope we have done justice to Arthurs and your work. Ive enjoyed this update as well. Best regards, Peter Day.

  2. Michelle Murch | Reply

    Hi David
    Thanks for those insightful and heartwarming words about Ria.
    Hello to you Peter Day! I am fortunate enough to be the proud owner of not only the portrait of Ria but also the “Arthur, George & Me” pic. If you are ever in Sydney, let me know and you must come and see them.
    XX Michelle Murch

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Im sorry i didn’t reply to your email a couple of months ago we suddenly got busy and in the pleasure of having paying work I got side-tracked. We are still living in Sydney and were just visiting tassie, and lucky to meet up with Julian. I would love to see the works thanks, Davids style is unusual but still has something of Arthur in them and great colour, they are quite joyful. Alas, I can’t boast the same but there is rarely a stroke made that i don’t think of him. My palette is still set out exactly as Arthurs was, but its not balanced on an oid school case on a small portable metal table. Rina and I had a very pleasant visit with Ria quite a few years ago now and we were able to acquire a work.

      Love to you and your family and to David and his from Peter and Rina Day

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