June 2019

Shiptons Flat again.

We went back to Shiptons Flat last October.

Shiptons Flat is just south of Cooktown. An exquisite place.

Tucked up against Mt Finnigan,

and intermeandered by the sprightly Parrot Creek,

after it tumbles down from Finnigan.

When I was much younger I spent a bit of time in North Qld particularly at Shiptons Flat.

I was doing art works as usual but also making a 16mm film, very low budget; about Tropical Rainforest.

We made friends with the Roberts family at Shiptons Flat during these visits.

The last visit was in 1989 when my kiddies were quite young.

With Charlie Roberts we climbed almost to the top of Black Mountain… and also up Mt Finnigan. Charlie also took us for a walk up Jubilee Creek.

Little James at about 3 found lots of hanging vines to swing upon.

Eva must have been 9, and Anna 11.

We all swam in a big pool on the Annan River near our camping spot. Later we were told that Saltwater Crocodiles had been seen there. Ho Hum.

This latest visit, last October was with Jeanette, my darling lady friend.

It was lovely to meet up again with the Roberts family, some of whom are still there: Lewis and his wife Edith, and brother Charlie.

They are still living an idyllic lifestyle, in one of the loveliest locations on earth; with minimal consumerism.

Lewis is a leading botanical artist, currently working on a volume of all the local orchids.

He and Charlie are much respected naturalists; world authorities on North Queensland Flora/fauna.

I was greatly excited to see that the “Red Scrub” (actually an area of lovely tropical rainforest growing on rich red basalt soil) was still there; and the road going through one edge of it, which I call the “Red Scrub Road”.

And here are the first of the paintings (all oils/canvas):

Mt Finnigan and Guinea Paddock

Mt Finnigan and Guinea paddock.

36” x 36”

Mt Finnigan is a high mountain with cloud forest atop. I’ve climbed to the top a few times. Its very close to heaven: whatever, wherever, whenever that is.

I have tilted the Guinea grass paddock somewhat, for some esoteric effect. Dry season. Guinea grass absent.

Red Scrub Road 1

Red Scrub Road 1: Cauliflorous Figs.

48” x 36”

Lovely to be back. First impression.



Red Scrub Road 2: Emergents

70” x 48” (That’s pretty big.)

I tried to make the foreground squeeze the emergents up into the clouds.


Red Scrub Road 3: Cripta

70” x 48” (Yes yes, big too!)

I keep seeing Gaudi’s Cripta Colonia over-arching the road in this one.

And a few jobs from Cape Tribulation, which we visited on the same trip:

Creekside Architecture

Creekside Architecture; study

36”x 48”

I left this one in a shabby unfinished state. Will do a bigger one one day. Maybe it will look like ruins overgrown.

Cape Trib Creek

Cape Trib creek

70”x48” (Big again; what a busy time for me!)

Down the centre of the painting the components are smaller, lighter, brighter and more contrasty. To the left and right; progressively larger, darker components; less contrast. I was listening to Ravel’s excruciating “Gaspard de la Nuit” while doing this one. Infinite refinement and invention is possible.

Oliver Creek downpour

Oliver Creek downpour

Pastel. 29” x 21.75”

Lovely to get back to see Oliver Creek again. And show my darling Jeanette, who loved it: (as well as Cape Tribulation, and Cooktown, and Shiptons Flat and the Bloomfield Track!?)


Mt Sorrow: Aunty Reta’s Sculpture Memorial to Eric; my dad

48”x 36”

My dad suicided at 54. Reta was his older sister. She said she never quite recovered from his death.

In my imagination I have made Aunty Reta a sculptor who specialises in outdoor installations. Looks like she was using glazed terracotta here for Eric’s portrait and the birdy things.

See Aunty Reta’s Sculptures on the Pinnacle. Click on November 2012 on the right here >>


Mt Sorrow Ridge: Impermanence

48” X 36”

Impermanence, interdependence: from here to the outermost reaches of infinity. Without a break in the continuity.

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