One of my favourite local hill climbs is Isaacs Ridge in the inner south of Canberra. It’s not the most pristine of environments, with a mix of old abandoned sheep paddock, vestigial native forest, and patches of old derelict pine plantation. Perhaps it’s the general feeling of neglect that appeals to me, as nature is gradually reclaiming the land, often in unexpected ways. It could also be the spectacular views from the top of the ridge that draw me, along with it being one of the less frequented walking areas.
Anyway, I decided in this painting to focus on one of the pine plantations. Towering radiata pines cast deep dark mysterious shadows over a ground covered deep in old needles with the occasional profusion of grasses and weeds.
At night, these artificial forests are forbidding places – you just don’t want to be near them as those shadows become ominous, but around sunset with the low light breaking through creating corridors of sparkling colour, there’s a magic to this place.
Just for fun I added my old border collie Cooper, who in his younger years used to love exploring off the leash and would cheekily refuse to come when called if he thought he had better things to do (i.e. so much to explore) – he’d look at me with a silly grin on his face, just as he’s doing here. He’d have loved this forest, though I’m not sure what he’d have thought had he met one of the occasional kangaroos.
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.