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The Magnificent Moreton Bay Fig, Angas Gardens, Adelaide Park Lands


The Magnificent Moreton Bay Fig, Angas Gardens, Adelaide Park Lands
119 cm (w) x 67 cm (h), acrylic paints on board.
Date produced: October 2017 - April 2018

This was designed and painted entirely in my studio, away from the real subject. This visual composition expresses aspects of being at the subject Moreton Bay Fig tree used in my microcosm project. The basic design comes from experiencing the tree from in under its dense canopy, seeing the shapes of its many massive branches and buttress roots, and seeing the masses of foliage from inside the hemisphere of its canopy. Importance was placed on trying to express the feelings of confronting such a massive organism, with its own strong presence, in the subdued light under the tree’s dense canopy, seemingly with its own sub-environment. Nutrients are systematically collected from rotting debris amongst the buttress roots. There is an ‘exchange’ of atmospheric gases during photosynthesis. Exotic tropical bird calls ring out from various corners of the canopy.

The image is based on compiling more of a concept of the tree from the shapes of the tree’s various trunks, buttress roots, and branches, rather than being a realistic single view of the tree. I used lines of dots throughout the painting, mainly because I find these in indigenous artwork are graphically powerful, and they felt appropriate for this painting. I am not trying to produce artwork that is trying to masquerade as indigenous artwork. I am not indigenous. There is also a strong influence coming from the Japanese woodcut prints of Hokusai, in the flat shapes of colour with fine black outlines used to describe the main boughs and buttress roots of the tree.

Acrylic paint typically dries quickly. While producing this painting, I worked out a good way of being able to keep mixed paint colours for several weeks. The painting took many weeks to produce. Overall, I really enjoyed painting this image.

 

 

 

Detail 1

The Magnificent Moreton Bay Fig, Angas Gardens, Adelaide Park Lands - Detail 1

 

 

 

 

Detail 2

The Magnificent Moreton Bay Fig, Angas Gardens, Adelaide Park Lands - Detail 2


With the repeating bands of differently coloured dots in the air below the foliage, I am trying to indicate the gas exchanges that occur as a result of oxygenated photosynthesis on a grand scale.

 

 

 

 

Detail 3

The Magnificent Moreton Bay Fig, Angas Gardens, Adelaide Park Lands - Detail 3

 

 

 

 

Detail 4

The Magnificent Moreton Bay Fig, Angas Gardens, Adelaide Park Lands - Detail 4

 

 

 

 

Detail 5

The Magnificent Moreton Bay Fig, Angas Gardens, Adelaide Park Lands - Detail 5

 

 


 

Another related artwork:

 

The Tree as a Processor of Gases


The Tree as a Processor of Gases
Computer Painting
Date produced: Original versions in May 2006, then updated March 2008.

Carbon Dioxide, water, nutrients from soil and light are used by the tree in its photosynthesis processes (within its leaves) to produce energy-rich compounds that are used by the tree. A by-product of this same process is oxygen (Attenborough, D., Life on Earth, William Collins and BBC, Glasgow, 1979). Enormous numbers of ancient plants over an extremely long time changed the Earth’s atmosphere from having very little oxygen, to having a reasonably large proportion of oxygen within it (Attenborough, D., Life on Earth, William Collins and BBC, Glasgow, 1979). Animals now require oxygen for their life processes. Without having enormous amounts of photosynthesis within the biosphere to maintain close to current levels of oxygen in the atmosphere, the effect on all animal life (including us, of course) would be catastrophic.

This computer painting tries to show a new (pale blue) gas exiting the tree after the tree ’consumes’ a yellowy brown gas (carbon dioxide) in the presence of sunlight. The other most important ingredient however is water, which provides the actual oxygen (as a by-product of having the hydrogen used in the photosynthesis processes). I’ve tried to indicate the water in the final version.

The photosynthesis processes involved are then represented in the strips below the pictorial image. The second strip represents the way that animals return carbon dioxide from taking in oxygen.

 

 

 

The Base Image: Colour Overview of the Tree Alone

The Tree as a Processor of Gases - The Base Image: Colour Overview of the Tree Alone

 

 

 

 

1st Version:

The Tree as a Processor of Gases - 1st Version


Early Version, using “Colour Overview of the Tree Alone”. Note the application of layers of coloured ‘gases’.

 

 

 

 

2nd Version:

The Tree as a Processor of Gases - 2nd Version


The image’s contrast was increased dramatically to develop a stronger image.

 

 

 

 

3rd Version:

The Tree as a Processor of Gases - 3rd Version


This image was then reflected left to right so that it reads from left to right, rather than from right to left. I also then added a visual description of the processes occurring in the image underneath the resulting image.

 

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