Inspired by the view from the summit of the “Big Monks” hill in the south of Canberra, Australia, looking away from the city and toward the ruggedly mountainous Namadgi national park, with the hulking Mt Tennant dominating the scene on the right.
First and foremost I wanted to capture the feel of hazy late afternoon, with sunlight filtering down through thin cloud cover illuminating everything in a golden glow.
On the hill on the foreground stands a solitary tree, a “Kurrajong” tree which are native to Australia’s eastern forests. They appear quite often on hill tops around Canberra, though how they came to be there is a mystery. This one is quite old – how old, nobody knows, but it almost certainly predates the creation of a city in this region, and probably the arrival of European settlers as well.
There’s a tradition among First Nations people of trees being the silent witnesses of the events that take place around them, observing and remembering, and I can’t help but wonder what this tree has seen in its vigil over the valley below. The arrival of white settlers, the mass clearing of the forest by convict labour so settlers could graze sheep, the construction of the city of Canberra, the invasion of foreign pests and weeds, the neglect … yet still it, and the valley, remains hauntingly beautiful.
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.