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Distilled Art on your wall.

Don’t you just want to be there? Just to sit under the tree, legs dangling, overlooking the vista. Basking in the sunlight. Or do you prefer to be enclosed in a fern-rich rainforest – listening to the chatter of small birds and the sound of the flowing creek? Maybe in the high country, the air is so still that you can hear the peeling of the bark as trees shed their winter skin.

BIG Announcement

EXHIBITION: Cardinal Light.
Rainforest Paintings and
Cider Gum Photo Artworks
Sept 30 to November 13th.
Poatina Tree Gallery
Poatina Tasmania Australia.
Fridays to Sundays only

A Tree Fern supported by a Myrtle supporting a Sassafrass

Recently we have all spent too much time inside our four walls. Enough time to contemplate redecorating, do those odd jobs, freshen things up. But do our living spaces have those special features, such as Art that takes you somewhere else? A painting can bring the environment into your home. Quality art brings the eyes and the mind into another world. A Russell McKane painting on your wall can transport you into this other world.

It’s not just about décor – Your walls are your visual retreat. They’re your place of contemplation and focus. You have on your walls your memories and treasures. But often we leave that feature wall to chance and fill it with temporary decorations. This is your chance to give yourself that visual retreat. Give yourself a holiday in the bush every day.

Of Winters Past Figure 33

I can just picture myself stepping in and becoming part of the painting. It brings me a feeling of peace and wonder of nature and creation. There is something special about owning an original artwork and Russell’s talent for capturing nature in a moment is worthy of recognition. I feel honoured to own a McKane original knowing the process he goes through to create each peace.

AK Client living in the Hawkesbury NSW

What is Distilled Art?

Great art isn’t just about an artist’s talent. It is about distilled artistic vision harvested with the passing of time like a good wine. Then the artistry is matured in the oaks of experience, developed with skilled craftsmanship and distilled onto the canvas.

Renew: Stump in rainforest

All landscapes we experience have formed and matured over time. As humans, we stand in awe in the midst of this world. We have an innate desire to capture this feeling. We want to click a photo – capture that moment and feeling. What often alludes us is distilled on the canvas of master painters.

As a landscape painter, I find art is always a process of establishing a dialogue with the environment. But this takes time. It also takes intimately knowing the place you set up your easel. But more than this, it is listening as living organisms include you in their lives and relationships. My task is to bring this richness to you.

Rare, crafted, time distilled paintings.

Being mindful of the land we are on and its past

Russell McKane Painting

I pay my respects to the First Nations elders, past and present and future on whose land I have had the privilege to walk, paint and dwell. Particularly to the Lairmairrener, Tyerremotepanner and Kooparoona Nations where I am currently living and working.

Unique distillation

Russell captures the unique nature of the Australian bush both physical and metaphysical. His work demonstrates an intimate and personal relationship with each place that he makes sacred. The very spirit of these hidden places, with peculiar, exotic shapes, colours and powers, comes to
life. A Realism whose point of view is so personal that it almost becomes surreal or even abstract in nature. His work has a great painterly or expressionistic quality that resonates with spiritual relatedness.
Extract from Critique of Russell’s work by artist Bob Matthews

Time lapse of Artist painting on location

Distilled Time

Distilling time on canvas takes time. This video clip is two hours of time distilled to less than two minutes. The short clip shows me beginning one of my rainforest paintings. I use time-lapse photography throughout this website so you can observe the process of painting. This video demonstrates how I establish the first layer – from a white canvas to a covered blocked-in image. Each layer is important as it provides texture and nuances for the layers following it. So, this first layer is reasonably detailed compared to a straight blocking in of tones.

Unique investment

My time-distilled approach brings many artistic challenges that are not found when painting from a photograph. But then no camera can capture an image like I can on canvas. My process adds richness and this richness becomes summative as I distill vision onto the canvas.

Blessed are the poor

Painting in this way makes the paintings incredibly unique but also valuable. But not simply monetary value, these artworks add all this value into your lounge room, on your walls. These artworks are an investment in your visual peace and pleasure. They distill the experience and skill of the artist developed over many, many years of painting on location. Because they are distilled over time, they become timeless. For you, the owner of a Russell McKane original on your wall, you will find that same sense of wonder, awe, and satisfaction. You will get caught in the details or lost in the moment. The environment will truly be in your home.

Figures in Landscape No.1

Plein Air

I paint Plein Air (that means outside on location), but I use more traditional painting techniques developed by renaissance painters rather than the more contemporary Impressionists. This is unusual in a plein air painter. As these longer techniques are usually reserved for the studio. There is a reason for this – they take time.

Nhulunbuy Trees

Distilled Environment

By taking the techniques outside I have developed a unique approach that not only distills time it becomes summative: Summative experience, summative time, summative environment. Each canvas takes up to forty hours to complete. During this time there are constant artistic decisions taking place: What to highlight? What to leave out? What moment needs capturing? At the same time there are countless environmental influences on the artist: sights, sounds, encounters with creatures from mosquitos and flies to special animal encounter moments. One special moment this week was when I spied and studied my first freshwater lobster. It was feeding in the water among the rocks at my feet.

Emotions distilled into art.

All these moments add to the feel of the artist. This is the vibe that gets translated into brush strokes. Imagine painting this in an angry mood – resulting in a vastly different result, I’m sure. Emotions are also distilled into art. So those moments of wonder and encounter also build into the mood and drama of a painting.

Golden Pond Liffey

In this painting what looks natural and energetic – even sped up – is a result of years of learning, thinking, observing, and trialing how to paint water. In this layer, I am mainly painting the bottom of the water. Transparent glazes will build up to give the water a surface and dive right in quality – this may take more than ten layers to achieve.

Having fine art on your wall does mean bringing with it the emotions and mood of the artist. You need to ask the question: what emotions do I wish to live with? Am I going for neutral sterile but perhaps calm? Something I can ignore but looks good and fits the colour scheme of this month. Or do I want a work that engages, has a wow factor – that people notice and comment on? See my notes on choosing an artwork here.

Do you have owning a Russell McKane on your bucket list? What work would you want to live with? Go to my gallery and dare to dream.


My Blog – the inside stories.

Painting Sassafras the process of distilling

Where the environment meets the artist.