Thursday, February 09, 2012


                                                              Oil on linen 80 x 150 cm

I am in a quandary. I have painted this new work above with general ideas of an 'everything landscape' in mind. Yet, I don't know what to call it. Maybe, by the end of writing this post a title will have come to me.

I was wanting to visually capture a sense of vastness at the same time as revealing the minutiae that etches character, nuance and intimacy into the landscape. I wanted the landscape to be ambiguous with regards to exact place and space, yet recognisable as landscape, yes an Australian one, but also a universal one. I hoped that viewers would 'read' the painting in a variety of ways, at one instance seeing for example, land and sea, at another instance land and sky, or maybe fire and water, or perhaps at a micro level seeing a cross section of a drop of water and a grain of sand. Maybe seeing 'everything' and every perspective at once...

This landscape took me back to my childhood growing up on the treeless Pirriunuan Plain, just outside Dalby on the Darling Downs, Queensland. Looking eastwards, the majestic Bunya Moutains cut a startling silhouette against endless skies. Looking westwards the flat horizon shimmered with watery mirages in summer, and in winter the crisp coldness evaporated mirages to almost reveal the curvature of the Earth. Within this vast expanse I could be propelled from a wonder of endless space to a curiosity of micro intimacies. This experience of close and far distance has inspired me over many years. These are the 'landscape' elements I try to visually describe.

Regular readers will know of my interest in perspective, literal and metaphoric. I have written about it numerous times. In an increasingly globalised world in which we live locally, it is imperative that we develop skills in seeing multiple perspectives...even simultaneously. The dance between the macro and micro involves a myriad of, what could be called, perspectival steps... like a tango where there are flamboyantly expressed moves and tantalisingly intimate gestures, or like a symphony where music's fulsome largess can seem beyond distance and individual notes can catapult the listener to places where seductive secrets stir.

So back to the painting above. Two of my much loved transcultural-religious trees-of-life create the landscape elements, both broadly speaking as well as in detail. The Australian landscape, particularly where I grew up, constantly changes. As seasons pass, sorghum crops swathe the landscape in rusty red, wheat fields wash it with naples yellow, sunflowers make it sing with a sunshine yellow, new seedlings whisper a soft green hue. When the soil is fallow it reveals a rich and fertile blackness. The sky can be crystal blue, sometimes greeted by fluffy white clouds, and at other times dense grey ones. At night the darkness is still, only interrupted by the sparkle of the Milky Way and the moon in its various phases. I remember when my Father, like most farmers at the time, used to burn the stubble after harvesting was completed. This was done under controlled conditions and prior to research showing that ploughing the stubble back into the soil was a better method.  The fires were outstanding, furious and shortlived. The colours were rich and thick. In drought the land is bare and naked, after rain it sings with new colours.

Intimate details such as cracked dry soil, scattered seeds, abundant mushrooms after rain, animal droppings, snake trails, discovering chook eggs in the bamboo, dropped feathers, rain drops on leaves, puddles, small insects [sometimes in plague proportions!], wildflowers and so on, are the warp and weft creating the tapestry of vastness. They are all there in the landscape me!

Regular readers might ask about my concerns for the land, and the landscape, with regards to the burgeoning Coal Seam Gas industry and the growth in open cut mining. Indeed, these activities disrupt the landscape externally and internally, visually and vibrationally. The quiet stillness of the black of night, in parts of Australia, is now silenced with the constant and persistent noise of gas wells. The landscape is visually punctuated with these same wells and underground they bore into depths where gas extraction potentially can change aquifer dynamics and soil profiles. As regular readers know, my concerns have been expressed many time before on this BLOG.

Most Australians know their landscape is affected by the volatility inherent in nature's extremes....bush fires, floods, droughts, cyclones ravage the land. Indeed, in Western Queensland and Northern New South Wales, floods are currently wrecking homes, businesses, crops and infrastructure. The town of St. George is having its third flood within two years and the town has been evacuated. Whilst the water is currently destructive, the long term benefits are enormous. The soil's profile is now replete with moisture, dams and rivers are full. Three to four years ago the soil was starved of moisture, dams were low, rivers in danger.

I think I will call this painting 'Close and Far Distance'




Two weeks today until my BOOK LAUNCH!

Just a reminder that my book launch for 'For Everyone: Words and Paintings' is Thursday 23 February! Click HERE for more details.


Not only is Kathryn a deeply talented, original and inspiring artist, she has a gift for wordsmithing as well! Utilizing the raw power of her art, ‘For Everyone’ is a masterful insight into the very essence of who we truly are, our complexities, our simplicities and who we are meant to be. Dr George Blair-West, Author of The Way of the Quest

In Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox’s book, 'For Everyone: Words and Paintings', the combination of words and images is a gift to the senses. I highly recommend it. Felix Calvino, Author of A Hatful of Cherries

For Everyone is absolutely beautiful and as I read the prose, and looked at the paintings, it was like going on a personal journey of my life. It touched on fond memories of my childhood and reinforced my beliefs in being an individual. As a teacher I know this book could be used in so many ways. In 2011 I organised and ran the Gifted and Talented Program in Writing at my school. Many students in my class published their poetry and stories in an Australian wide writing competition. I am continuing in this position in 2012 and will incorporate this unique book to help my students develop their ideas and be more expressive. The paintings and phrases in For Everyone are great conversation starters. They will also inspire and encourage students to be brave enough to share and express their thoughts and individuality. This book is a fabulous resource for educating and inspiring young people to share the beauty from within! Lou Walsh: Primary School Teacher
So, until next time,


Audubon Ron said...

The Curve of Mother Nature's Back

(What do I win?)

M said...

I really love this painting! It feels very balanced to me. It brings to mind the many cycles that govern nature. Does the day bring the night or the night brings days? Can the light, happy parts of life exist without the dark, sad and angry parts of life? I do see how you are emcompassing "everything" in this painting. It's beautiful!