Monday, 22 May 2017

A Torii Gate Inspired Award

The Gleeson Wetlands is fast emerging as one of the hidden gems of the Clare Valley. Having been constructed only a few years ago, the native trees and grasses that surround three small lakes are starting to grow, while birdlife is increasingly being attracted to this quiet, natural haven.

Visiting the wetlands for the first time, Jules and I followed the trail around the lake area and we were thrilled to come across a striking Japanese torii gate that we later learnt was a gift from Clare’s sister city of Yoshinga. Having lived in Japan for four years previously, this traditional structure brought back plenty of sentimental memories, but even more significant to us, the gate represented a personal and symbolic connection between our past life in Japan and our future life in Clare.

I knew at some point that I would love to depict this impressive torii gate and the tranquil wetlands environment of Clare within in an oil painting. On another walk, a view across the lake eventually inspired ‘Afternoon Reflections, Clare Wetlands’.

This piece was entered into the 2017 Clare Rotary Art Show and I was particularly pleased that it was awarded the ‘Clare Valley Acquisitive Art Prize', sponsored by Senator Don Farrell. The award is given to an art piece that highlights a particular aspect of the Clare Valley region. 

With Senator Don Farrell at the Clare Wetlands

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Watershed Art Prize 2017

The Watershed Art Prize is an initiative of the city of Salisbury that encourages awareness of water as a precious resource and significant environmental management issue. Now in its ninth year the art prize exhibition has seen its reputation continue to grow amongst the art community of South Australia with 60 finalists displaying their works at the John Harvey Gallery. The works on display this year once again represented a wide range of creative interpretations of the theme of wetland biodiversity and water sustainability.

The painting I chose to submit was titled ‘Bird Hide’… In the early heat of summer, we seek waters trapped by winter rains. A wetland sanctuary teaming with life, yet a place of solitude and the soothing sounds of nature. Birdlife abounds, trees thrive, their deep shadows providing contrast to native reeds sought for nesting. We are out of place here, an intruder, yet this is a sanctuary for the soul. We find a place to bunker down, to observe and reflect in the bird hide. 

I was very pleased with this painting as it seemed to capture the silence, calmness and solitude of the Salisbury Wetlands and was therefore thrilled to receive first prize for the piece.