ArtView May 2015 - Page 47

Photograph (1a) to realise that I was being attracted by backlit scenes everywhere. I would see afternoon light through trees on a street in Leichhardt, where I lived for five years before moving to New York, and I would literally run home and grab my camera to take photos (this was before we all had cameras in our phones!) I understood more and more that it was the resonance of light against dark that was becoming my visual passion. I wanted a fluid subject matter with which to explore this and there it was – light filtering through trees. Over the years, the photos I have taken and felt worth using as reference, have been printed and put in a basket, which I dig through periodically when I am thinking about my next painting. My photo basket is one of my most valued possessions because is has a selection of photos within that span across a twenty year period. Many of the photos have been with me through hours of painting agony and during moments of painting breakthroughs. And many of these dirty old photos are the basis for compositions that I have revisited several times over. You may wonder; why paint the same thing again? Wouldn‟t that be boring? Wouldn‟t that be copying? And that would be “no” to the last two questions. As for the first question; when I revisit a composition, it is at a stage when I feel that there is something more for me to discover. In most instances the shapes within the photo serve as a starting point. Thereafter, the scene on the canvas should take on a life of its own, which is not hindered by an attachment to the original image. Gosford Afternoon is the first example that I am using to show the stages involved in exploring my subject matter. In this instance I went from photograph, to drawing and three paintings over the past 10 years. It began one afternoon, about twelve years ago, when I was visiting a friend near Gosford, north of Sydney. As we were out for a walk I spotted some beautiful light filtering through trees and snapped a few photos. The lab developed photos sat in my photo basket for several years until one