When I first saw this gnarled old redgum it was a bright sunny day on Sammy’s Hill (north Canberra) in early summer – it would have been baking hot if not for a cool breeze up on the hillside.
The old tree was flowering and covered in monarch butterflies, and my first thought was to paint them, but as I progressed I felt the tree should be the hero and tell its own story, with its twisted branches and trunks, its patterned bark and cascading leaves swirling in the breeze. It’s flourishing despite its age, a symbol of survival and renewal as it shed its old dead wood to make way for the new, and a refuge and habitat bursting with life.
It was that sense of it standing strong and firm, a survivor, and also a kind gentle presence providing cool shade in the heat of the day and a sanctuary for birds and animals, that I tried to capture in this painting. The eastern rosellas were a finishing touch – they forage for food on the ground but are watchful and ready to fly to safety at the least sign of danger, so I felt they belonged perfectly in this scene.
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.