Saturday, February 07, 2009


                                                         Rain Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2009

                                                           Blue Gold Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2009

I am continuing with my focus on water. All sorts of ideas come to me as I paint. Also, with such extreme weather happening in Australia at the moment we are living the truth that water, whether its too much or not enough, is an important topic.

We can read about the floods in Northern Queensland...or we can see them on the tv, but until the experience touches personally it seems distant. I remember the floods in and around Dalby in the early 1980s. These floods cut roads, destroyed houses, businesses and crops. My father's farm suffered massive errosion along one boundary. He could never plant crops in this soil again because of the flood-created gully. This also amounted to a sustained financial loss.

Dalby Flood
It was during this flood that I started my first job. This was at the National Gallery in Canberra and I was beside myself worrying about how I would get to Brisbane to fly to Canberra. My Dad ended up driving me to Dalby in our largest truck as it was the only vehicle that could get through the flood waters. In Dalby my boyfriend [later my Husband and now my ex!] picked me up in a landcruiser. We spent hours getting to Toowoomba as most of the roads were also cut. We took back roads and ended up getting severely bogged. We were saved by a farmer who happened to have his tractor nearby. I got the feeling he thought we were nuts! I finally arrived in Brisbane and then flew to Canberra where everyone had read about the Dalby floods and were very impressed with my efforts to start my first job.

In Goondiwindi I lived through a couple of floods. Admittedly not as bad as those currently in Northern Queensland. The Goondiwindi floods could be considered the positive kind of flood where waterways, catchments and so on were replenished after years of drought without the loss of life or major destruction of property. People were happy to put up with the irritation of cut roads and minor damage to equipment etc. I will never forget being in a dinghy having a look at the extent of flooding and coming close to a submerged fence. The top row of wire was above the water. Along it were dozens of brown snakes clinging to keep out of the water! We very quickly decided to keep our distance.

During one flood our house was an island surrounded by water. We had deliberately built the house so it would be above flood height. My garden was largely under water and we could not drive out along our access road to the main highway. I had two small children at the time and my greatest fear was that they'd be inquisitive and get too close to the water, be swept away or be bitten by a snake...or some unforeseen calamity. I have great empathy for people in Northern Queensland with young families trying to keep them safe... and occupied

I have another story about a friend of mine who lived way out of town and went into labour during a flood. She had to be driven to town on a tractor...and I cannot remember how many gates there were!

So, to my new paintings. I have uploaded two of them. In both I have used text including $ signs.
I have deliberately used the colour red to indicate the fertility rain brings to the earth. The $ signs are symbols of the wealth associated with rain and water whether it be created wealth or the loss of it through destruction or the monopolisation of water by certain people/countries. The painting 'Blue Gold' refers to the increasing view that water will be the next oil ie: 'Black Gold'. The proposition that wars could be fought over water is frightening. I have faith that somehow we can avoid this happening.