Rainforest Dream - Winner of the Art Lovers Australia Prize 2018
In this painting I have used my multi-layer stencil technique to suggest what it feels like to me to be surrounded by the rainforest. There are many layers of pattern and detail in the forest, never fully seen, but only glimpsed. The birds in this painting are species found in our South East Queensland sub-tropical rainforests - the Superb Lyrebird, the Satin Bowerbird and the Eastern Spinebill.
I am happiest with my work when my paintings bring together many things that I love. These include, firstly, a delight in the natural world surrounding me. The Gold Coast hinterland is an area rich in sub-tropical forests and streams, full of life, colour and pattern. Layers of colour and pattern underlie my paintings, often combining natural plant forms with other elements from different times and cultures. My current work brings together a diverse range of influences including Asian philosophy and traditional art, textile pattern, bird-watching and the phenomenology of perception. As with most of my current work, this painting includes some areas of reflective metallic paint which gives the painting a changeable appearance under different light conditions. My work goes through four processes (at least) Firstly, I create an abstract colour background with fluid paint or ink to create organic effects. Then I work with my ever growing library of custom made stencils and masks – sometimes plant forms, sometimes abstract or classical patterns. In creating these backgrounds, which I think of as abstract paintings in their own right, I try to build up interesting layers of forms, patterns and colours, so that the eye looks through depths of space, and nothing is fully grasped in the instant. When I am happy with the background, then it is time to consider what bird subject it suggests to me. I paint the birds as realistically as my skills permit. I enjoy the contrast of a realistically detailed and modeled bird "popping" out of an abstract painting. The final stage is to re-balance the work tonally so that the subjects sit happily with the background. Unframed, ready to hang.
Aerosol and Oil on stretched canvas, unframed, ready to hang.