Monthly Display - March 2023 - Page 1 (of 2)

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Monthly Display - March 2023:


My Entries in the 2023 Park Lands Art Prize


Piece No. 1: Great Inspiration in Karrawirra (Park 12)

Great Inspiration in Karrawirra (Park 12)

71 cm (wide) x 51.6 cm (high), pastels and charcoal on paper.
Dates produced: 2006, and December 2022 and January 2023

The subject of this artwork is a magnificent Moreton Bay Fig tree, growing in Karrawirra (Park 12), a highly accessible public space of the Adelaide Park Lands. This image was developed from several drawings and colour studies made on-site. It felt special to be inside the spread of such a huge living organism, with its massive boughs and exposed buttress roots. It was important to spend many hours under the tree’s dense canopy observing and enjoying the colours, tones, forms, spaces, sounds, smells, and general magic. It was exciting and enjoyable to see a range of small animals at the tree, and to consider their connections to it.

I am keen to use more abstraction in my pieces - that is, intelligently and/or emotionally using bold relationships of abstract elements to express some aspects of the subject more efficiently.

This piece is an example of an image based on ‘simplified and flattened’ shapes. The colours used have come mainly from the understanding gained from my accurately observed colour studies, and from working on this piece directly from the tree. I enjoyed consciously ‘reaching within my intelligence and feelings’ for the solutions I finally settled on.

After reaching a reasonable stage of development, the piece felt as if it needed the inclusion of indications from other senses, such as sound, and smell. After experimenting with modifying colours, and still feeling the need for more, I decided to include a couple of stylised birds. These were developed a little more, and led to including representatives from much of the animal life that I observed at the tree over the course of the project: Rainbow Lorikeets, warbling Magpies, rats, many types of insects within the leaf litter, and the amazing little jumping spiders. These were all developed carefully so that they felt ‘right’ with the rest of the image.

Overall, it was an interesting piece to produce, and very satisfying to see it realised to this level of development. It is the most recent artwork piece that I have been working on. I was extremely disappointed that this piece was not chosen as one of the finalists in the 2023 Adelaide Park Lands Art Prize.


Detail 1:

Great Inspiration in Karrawirra (Park 12) - Detail 1

Interesting central forms.





Detail 2:

Great Inspiration in Karrawirra (Park 12) - Detail 2

The small jumping spiders were fascinating to watch.

They would often try to climb up to the highest point of my drawing board or easel.

I would sometimes find them on top of my hat. Just before they jumped, they would slowly extend their two front legs out in front, then they would launch. Even though they tended to jump only short distances, they could jump quite incredible distances, and they would always have some fine thread linking them to where they had just jumped from.





Detail 3:

Great Inspiration in Karrawirra (Park 12) - Detail 3






Detail 4:

Great Inspiration in Karrawirra (Park 12) - Detail 4

  Magpies would warble beautifully amongst the branches.





Detail 5:

Great Inspiration in Karrawirra (Park 12) - Detail 5

  Rainbow lorikeets eat on ripe fruit that is high up in the canopy, and screech loudly, giving the tree a tropical atmosphere.





Detail 6:

Great Inspiration in Karrawirra (Park 12) - Detail 6

A rat runs along one of the exposed buttress roots.

Among the leaf litter are a variety of beetles and other insects, feeding off the rich soup of fallen fruit, decaying leaves, and other accumulated debris. 




A sequence of stages of development

A set of 7 images, taken at various times during the development of this piece.

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Stage: (You can enter 1-7 and press the tab key to go directly to that image)


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Monthly Display - March 2023 - Page 1 (of 2)