News: September 2008

Selected as a finalist in the 2008 Heysen Prize, for Interpretation of Place

I am very happy with the news that one of my pastel paintings was selected as a finalist in the 2008 Heysen Prize for Interpretation of Place. It's the second year that I've entered this competition, and the second time I've had my work selected as a finalist. I have been very pleased with the way that this competition is organised and presented. The organisers obviously value the artists and work submitted.

The Heysen Prize is named after Sir Hans Heysen, one of South Australia's finest landscape artists, and is held in Hahndorf, S.A. (where Sir Hans Heysen lived). The exhibition was held from Saturday 27th September until Sunday 2nd November, at the Hahndorf Academy, 68 Main Street, Hahndorf, SA.

My selected entry:

“Under the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Angas Gardens, Adelaide”

Under the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Angas Gardens, Adelaide

53 cm x 73 cm, pastels on coloured-ground acid-free ‘Canson’ paper.

This piece is related to my “Microcosm” project (concentrating two years’ work on one Moreton Bay Fig tree), because it was produced from the same tree used in that project. However, this piece was produced during 2007 and 2008, rather than during the two years of that project (2005-2006).

With this piece, I am attempting to express the forms and space experienced, using mainly colour and tone. Surfaces that are close to me are made more orange, and those that are further away are made more blue. I have tried to indicate the air that surrounds the forms using blues. I found that the overall tone was very important for the expression of the subject.

This piece was produced mainly on-site (directly from the subject - by far, the best way to study the subject), but also partly in my studio from a ‘black and white’ 3-D photograph that I had taken especially for working on this drawing away from the tree.

I tried to work quickly, focusing on the main ideas of this image. I developed an image I was quite happy with and then looked at refining that image further, to improve on what had already been achieved. Considerable experimentation took place with colours and tones, ‘feeling the results’ as I worked; “Could I get this section to feel like it was in front of that other section”, etc. Being at the tree, there’s a constant stream of stimuli, (such as birds calling out from various locations in the canopy, or the wind gently moving the leaves and boughs of the tree) that makes the whole experience real and enjoyable. Producing this type of image requires an exploration of the world around, as well as an exploration of my inner-self.


Detail 1:

Under the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Angas Gardens, Adelaide - detail 1


Detail 2:

Under the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Angas Gardens, Adelaide - detail 2


Detail 3:

Under the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Angas Gardens, Adelaide - detail 3

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