This painting is a bit of an experiment to see if I can combine colour in a meaningful way with the new urban drawings I’m making. I made a drawing on MDF using sharpies (as I’ve been doing for a while now) and then used the drawing as the basis for a painting. Thin washes (or glazes – I’m never certain with acrylic paint) of colour capture the luminosity and the mistiness of early morning in Ballarat.
The thread through all my work is “response to my environment” and in these latest urban paintings and drawings like the double landscape series I’m developing my mark-making language to better convey my responses to environments full of sharp-edged rectangles and big-box bleakness.
These works also take me back to my “placemaking” work with the Sensory Trust all those years ago where we advised on the design of inclusive public places. When I mentioned to a friend that I was moving to Australia his comment ran something like “but it’s just miles of straight streets and second-hand car dealerships with those triangular flags on string”. Well, of course it’s not all like that, but there is a remarkable amount of it, and it’s that Australian Ugliness that seems to be drawing me forward right now. Springtime will see me out in the bush, but until then it’s all soulless shopping plazas and bunting.