Another painting inspired by walks across Sammy’s Hill in the far north of Canberra. I’d stopped for a picnic lunch under a tree on the summit, and noticed a wedgetail eagle lazily gliding across and into the valley to the west. It was moving fast on the wind so I assumed that’d be the last I’d see of it, but when on my descent I looked back up the hill and saw that it had returned, circling slowly with a friend for company.
It was a sunny day but a storm was slowly building, a common sight in the months of persistent La Nina. The eagles were completely at home up there, masters of the skies and the thermal air currents rising off the hill. They didn’t seem to be hunting, or in any hurry to go somewhere, they were just happy to effortlessly drift and soar. They knew a freedom that so few of us share.
I must say I relished painting this one, as I could be totally free (as free as the eagles?) in my approach to the sky which I wanted to dominate the composition. There are many, many layers of paint and ink there, applied with large brushes and with ink dropped onto the wet horizontal surface and allowed to spread naturally into cloud shapes, then continually changing my mind and adding colour and white here and there until the banks of clouds matched my imaginary vision of how they should be. I wanted the warm sunlit hillside to provide a strong contrast to the dark blues of the sky, with cool colours echoed on the boulders.
I spent considerable time on the higher of the two eagles. Had I taken a photo of it on my walk, it would have appeared as a dark silhouette against a lighter sky, but had I painted it that way it would have looked ominous, a hunter stalking its prey, not what I wanted to convey at all. Instead I envisaged an eagle full of subtle colour and sparks of brighter light – full of life and magic.
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.