After the Fire 2006 acrylic on linen 82 x 102 cm
One of the first paintings I made when I moved to Australia. Bushfires had recently swept through the Brisbane Ranges west of Melbourne and the roads had only just re-opened when I went out there. The silence was the first thing that struck me. No birds. The sounds of leaves and trees in the wind were deadened by a thick blanket of ash that covered the ground. As the undergrowth had disappeared, it was possible to see much further through the trunks of the forest than would be usual which meant I could appreciate the scale of the forest much more easily.
Forest fires are terrifying and for those who live in or near the bush they can result in catastrophic damage and loss of life. However, many plants rely on these events in order to germinate seeds and reproduce. The fires are a natural part of the cycle of the forest. Not one that I would want to be anywhere near though.