A common motif for me – a tree, on a hillside, at sunset. It’s actually quite representative of the countryside around Canberra – bare hills, distant mountains, neglected pasture & old trees that are remnants of ancient forest that covered the land prior to European settlement.
At sunset these hills become special and magical, full of golden light and mysterious shadows, and they have a life of their own. Native birds – magpies, cockatoos, rosellas and more – are there in abundance, feeding on the introduced weeds that are often running rampant & becoming part of a whole new ecosystem. Kangaroos graze contentedly, watching the occasional interloping human with barely a trace of concern.
In this painting I wanted to capture that sense of a degraded environment, the trees mostly gone & those that remain are aged and dying, yet it still being compellingly heartbreakingly beautiful in its own way. In this painting, rather than place distant mountains marching in the background I wanted the sky only, to create a feeling of infinite distance and giving me an excuse to be expressive with colours and brushstrokes.
There’s a lone runner, as there was the last time I climbed this particular hill near Wanniassa – he jogged past me, headphones on, eyes down, in his own little world & seemingly oblivious to his surroundings. It struck me as a metaphor for how we as a species are pursuing our own interests in our own little artificial world of make-believe, oblivious to the harm we’re doing to the natural world that created and sustains us.
About the Artist
Andy is a self-taught modern impressionist artist based in Canberra, Australia. Most of his works are landscapes inspired by the hills and wild places surrounding the city and the local region, though occasionally he paints scenes from memories or imagination.
He paints to intuitively express thoughts and emotions through his works, so his landscapes are notable for dramatic skies and intense use of colour. They often convey a conservationist theme, illustrating the damage done to nature yet seeking beauty and hope in what remains.
Andy also looks to explore light in all its nuances; his paintings are typically filled with brilliant ambient light and deep rich shadows. The scenes he creates are what he imagines them to be – landscapes as viewed through the prism of his soul.
His works are created with acrylic paints and inks, as his paintings are built up quickly through countless layers which necessitates a fast drying time, and acrylics allow the freedom to apply washes and tinted glazes over thicker impasto paint.
This exhibition, The Colours I Feel, is mostly inspired by Andy’s ventures into the wilds of Canberra during the autumn and winter of 2022 and 2023. He wanted to paint, not the scenes that the city is famous for, but rather the out of the way places where he found peace and inspiration.