Liffey Rainforest Painting Site

Painting in a rainforest

Liffey Rainforest paintings

I have completed six paintings at this site. As well as 5 works in progress. You can follow here for updates and progress images of the paintings. Perhaps you have met me at Liffey Falls reserve, or perhaps you intend to visit. I am always up for a chat and don’t find onlookers distracting as I paint. I know – it doesn’t fit the usual creative narrative. If you are visiting contact me and let me know when. Due to the weather I only know a week in advance when I will be at this site – but worth a try.

Breaking NEWs

My solo exhibition is now open at Poatina Tree Gallery Oct/Nov 2022. PS the painting above has been completed and is SOLD.

Completed paintings so far.

Work in progress

Some updated images – remember that these are progress paintings. As I paint in layers- up to ten, the images will change as the work progresses.

Progress report

27 September 2023

I am back. Long covid has been defeated and I am painting again at Liffey. Just after my last entry, Liffey River suffered a catastrophic rain event leading to flood damage. The Park was closed. The landscape was stripped of ferns and moss. Fortunately most of the trees I am painting have survived. I am having a big push to finish all works started at the lower Camping Reserve by the end of the year.

The exciting news is that this week a First Nations man, showed me a precious location near where I have been painting and this will be the subject of new paintings in the New Year.

15 October 2022

Between the last update and March has been mainly long COVID, so once again painting plans have been derailed. But I have completed six works which are now in my exhibition Cardinal Light and for sale. I am hoping to get paint on some of the unfinished works in the next few weeks but will not be able to seriously paint again until January. In the meantime, my COVID situation is improving. So ever hopeful.

31 March 2022

Completed works are rolling off the brush each week as I finally catch up on the time lost last year. One work has been entered in the Hadley prize for 2022 so no images of it appear here. I had been preparing it for the Glover Prize but ran out of painting time. So it is currently in front of the selectors. It is a tall thin canvas from this location.

I have now started painting from the Upper Liffey track. With my restored knee I can hike up and down hills so I am planning the next set of paintings to come from there. It does have many more visitors using the track. If one of them is you don’t be afraid to stop and chat.

13 September 2021

Winter paintings are almost completed and I am back to working on my ‘summer’ ones – This means back into the lush rainforest. With the exhibition coming up I am working hard to complete current works and start new ones so they will be finished in time. Today I completed stretching 4 new canvas with beautiful Belgium Linen. I start painting them tomorrow. I should also finish the painting of the Silver Wattles tomorrow! (See above – center second row).

July 2021

Two winter paintings begun (last two above) – as the light is limited to painting between the hours of 10 and 3 in this location in winter, I am only able to work on one painting a day. The winter weather has set in and you will catch me with fingerless gloves and much warm gear. Also, I took a trip to the mainland to cuddle my new granddaughter so with that and an enforced quarantine, not much happened in June. I am itching to get back to painting.

May 2021

One painting is completed – see above for details. Winter light has hit and so I am pausing the above paintings until September when the light will return to the conditions similar to when they were started.

Winter paintings have begun – utilising the northern light and locations where the sun shines more frequently – read warmer. This is the first layer of one of these – magnificent Silver Acacias found next to the car park at the lower Liffey campground. Pop by and chat with me while I work.

Painting the Rainforest

The treasure of the sheltered rainforest is that I am able to paint here in windy weather. The wind is a significant issue when painting on location with large canvases. The paintings become sails or kites even in light winds. This is a major limitation for Plein air painting. Tasmania is renowned for its winds. The Liffey rainforest provides me with an ideal painting location on windy days. But more than this WOW: what an amazing place to paint.

I come to this painting series with the experience of painting the Temperate rainforests near Marysville Victoria. See Here. Capturing the light becomes the focus of plants in a rainforest. This is also the focus of the artist. Light is transient and a plant might only receive 5 minutes of direct light a day. Consequently, I am also making constant decisions on which parts of the rainforest painting will be immortalised in light, and which will spend their life on the canvas in shadow. These are artistic decisions.

What is a rainforest?

Rainforests are special places. They are close and personal. They are full of life and activity and they are hard to paint. My close-up trunk-focused style suits this environment. It takes a lot of time and close observation to know and appreciate the complexity of the rainforest biome. Liffey Falls region of Tasmania is host to many small Rainforest biomes. These forests host Beech Myrtle, Sassafras, magnificent tall Acacias, Leatherwood, and grand Tree Ferns. These rainforests are surrounded by Brown Top Stringybark and White Manna Gums. Under the canopy the rainforest is host to myriads of ferns and unique fungi. An area is classified a rainforest by the very small amount of clear sky visible through the canopy. Consequently rainforests are cooler and wetter environments often with their own microclimates.

Water is a feature of a rainforest. Temperate rainforests are generally found in protected gullies. This means there are plenty of streams and rivulets. The Liffey rainforest reserve is host to the beautiful Liffey Falls.

Liffey’s Tragic History needs to be acknowledged.

The area surrounding Liffey Falls was a meeting place for Tasmanian Aborigines for thousands of years prior to Colonialism in Australia. The Liffey River was originally called Tellerpangger by the Panninher clan who occupied the area. In 1827 a significant massacre of up to sixty of the Pallittorre clan by European colonists took place during the Black War.[4]

 …Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser reporting on 6 July 1827 (page 4, The Natives) on a dispatch from Launceston notes that

“They were surrounded whilst sitting round their fires, when the soldiers and others fired at them when about 30 yards distant. They report that there must be about sixty of them killed and wounded.”

Some of my Photographic work at Liffey