This week at Bundanon I have been getting out to different parts of the property with my oils and boards to make small paintings. I have treated these paintings as small studies, mainly to reference colour. Colour and referencing the different aspects of the property has been my main concern this week. I can use these small studies, sketches and photographs to work on some larger works in the studio.
Due to the indecisive weather this past week, I have been occupied in the studio working on some larger oils on canvas. The paint application has involved mixing up buttery oil colours and applying them loosely onto the canvas with a palette knife and a combination of brushes, scrubbing in the colour, whilst recognising tone and the direction of marks to aid perspective. A broad brush has been used to drag the paint across the surface of the canvas before drawing back into areas with a smaller brush. I have been drawn to using colour whilst at Bundanon, whether through paint or drawing with pastel, this has been the most immediate way for me to represent the landscape. I am endeavouring to capture a mood in these large paintings and play with big skies. The paintings below are all works in progress!
Photographs further below feature caravans gifted to Bundanon titled ‘Travelling Colony’ by artist Brook Andrew.
Reflecting on my time in Bundanon after the first week, I can honestly say it has been food for the soul. The property is historically and artistically rich and I have spent much of my time exploring it. The property is overwhelmingly beautiful and there is a real sense of imagination that is present within the landscape, flora and fauna. I have been observing and making studies, predominantly featuring the landscape, by taking many photographs and short films, drawing and making oil sketches en plein air. All of my oil paintings have the lovely edition of bugs that did a kamikaze directly into the wet oil paint. Proof that the paintings were made in situ!
Much of my time here so far has been consumed with forming a connection to place and researching the history of the area, in and around Nowra and the site of Bundanon. This country was originally the land of the Wodi Wodi people who speak the Dharawal language and in 1805 Government surveyors made first contact. Transport to the area at this time was by punt up and down the Shoalhaven River and by horse and cart. The property has Scottish roots as it was bought and farmed by the McKenzie’s in 1839 straight off the boat from Scotland. They retained the property for four generations and built the sandstone homestead in 1866 that Arthur and Yvonne Boyd lived in.
Other places I have visited in Nowra include the Regional Gallery and the very quirky and outrageously painted all original Merroogal House; the interiors of which are sure to enter my work. The camera in this instance has become my sketchbook, snapping away at objects and artefact.
This week I will work up some of the oil sketches and drawings into bigger canvases in the studio.