I return to Australia after a residency in Los Angles for the last 10 months.
California. I love Los Angeles, you don’t hear people say that often. I have been coming here since I was 19 years old and have lived here on and off since 2013.
I love the light and the people, the architecture, the hills and the beach. One of the great galleries in Los Angeles, LA Louver is in Venice just a few streets away from this view.
I was standing on the jetty looking back to shore, when out of know where this huge sequence of waves rolled in. I’d never seen the back of a wave from that angle before. It was so beautiful it became the subject of this painting and a TV show I did in 2016.
You can view the TV show here.
In 2013 I began painting whales and other sea mammals.
I began painting whales in 2013, there are now 27 whale paintings, all sold except for this one which hasn’t been exhibited yet. Most are of Migaloo the white humpback whale who travels the east coast of Australia. When I came over to LA for the show I already had the idea I wanted to paint a Blue Whale. They are incredibly elusive to see in person, the beauty and size is very difficult to conceptualise. I
I want you to feel like you are there on the boat with me. Smelling the ocean, and then that waft of fishiness brings a frown to your burrow. It doesn’t matter though as you look over beyond the aqua water at the sea lions on the rock. As you get closer one jumps off the rock and inquisitive as he is comes slightly towards the boat. He is young and boisterous, he can sense your interest and begins to play and show off in the water.
I painted this painting so that your memories, igniting all your senses, of that time you saw sea lions in nature will be felt in your home. Brining alive once more that sense of oneness with nature.
This work encompasses so much, there were too many influences in the end and I simplified.
All my work is mathematical, it speaks in other languages besides words and image and is open to many interpretations.
It suggests music, the intricacies of microscopic worlds or the vastness of space.
The colors are based on a place we lived when I was a small child. Exmouth, a place where the red desert meets the dark sea. Also an American base at the time, no town back then. My young parents were adventurous taking two small children to live in a caravan in the desert.
At one point I wondered off into the desert alone. Fear crept in as I realised I was lost and alone. Looking down at the red earth and my tiny feet in appropriate shoes. I came across a snake. This is one of my first memories and it’s like a picture in my mind. Look at at the tiny sand dune I had to walk up to see over each time. The spiky grass bushes. Around the moment of the snake slithering off.
As I get older more memories come back from this time and this amazing place. In the middle of nowhere. In the middle of nowhere only exists in space now as we have filled all the middles with places.
Other influences. Australia in general, Impressionism, aerial view, memories, an artist friend Robert Natkin, Damian Hirst, tattoos, my previous paintings.
It was my dear Aunt’s funeral. We had just buried her and the mourners were all gone but immediate family. Looking around the dry desert graveyard on a hot summers day there was one bright spark of life. These Liliums lay on the ground, wrapped in cellophane, waving at us as though she was there. Ooohoo, here I am darlings, don’t leave me here.
When we took them back to the house and I put them in a vase they came to life, opening with more abundance each day.
There was no note on the flowers, it probably blew away with the wind. Perhaps Fran left them there for us so she could be around just that little bit longer.
My time with my dear aunt has finished but I had more time than others because I got to paint this flower and hear her voice while doing so for several more months.
In Memory of Frances Burns.
Almost figurative, verging on a having a personality.
Bought at my local farmer’s market in Hollywood, Los Angeles on a recent residency. This flower welcomed me to the dawn of each day. Brining memories of art lives past and mentors honoured.
A couple of years ago I lived in Lake Arrowhead in California for 6 months. I loved it up there and had an amazing house. The lake was beautiful and I loved swimming in the deep dark water with family and friends.
There is an island in the lake and on the fourth of July many of the wealthy families that own properties up there bring there boasts and have picnics on the island. The island is very close to shore but very deep between creating that dark color of the water.
South Coast NSW
Arthur Boyd, one of Australia’s great artists, was a family friend. He had a property on the Shoalhaven River which he painted often. Many of his great paintings of the river I saw in his studio in Suffolk before they were exhibited in Australia.
A few years ago I lived south of this river, driving over it on my way to and from Sydney.
This is the view from the south side.
When I lived on the south coast there were many times of massive rain downpours.
I had just started this painting when it had been raining for weeks and one of my friends came in making a joke about the rain.
When I paint I need to see what I am painting, have it fill my eyes and my memory and then it flows through me to the canvas. I hadn’t seen anything but rain for weeks.
I thought I was going to do an abstract painting, when I stepped back to my canvas I could see I was painting rain reflections.
My father was a great boating man. He was still alive when I started this painting. But his illness was too much. He needed to leave. I a glad to say he escaped and is in a much better place.
That was my interpretation of “Crocodile Rock” but of course everyone has their own story. Paintings only speak to their viewers.
Australia is a vast continent that has many uninhabited areas. Some where there are still places where the forest meets the sea.
This is a gorgeous painting, very blurred in nature. Very like my vision underwater when diving.