Sassafras clinging to soil in a Rainforest
Figure in Landscape No.36

Sassafras: Figure in Landscape No. 36 2021

Oil on Linen 510 x 702mm $1600

Sassafras: Figure in Landscape No. 36.

Not destined to be tall, this Sassafras clings to the soil underneath the canopy of a large Beech Myrtle. It captures the light as it can. The leaf litter sustaining the tree and rotting out its trunk at the same time. It is to be found in a remnant patch of rainforest next to the car park at Liffey Falls camping reserve Tasmania. The first three paintings completed in 2021 are all within this forest.

About the video

As an artist, I am often asked, what do I paint? I answer I distill light and time to find the essence of place. I could say I paint trees, but this is far from a satisfactory answer. This film explores the process of distillation. In one sense all or art is a process of distilling something. The result is a canvas or sculpture, abstraction in some way.

What makes my paintings unique is the combination of Plein Air painting and traditional old masters glazing techniques mainly reserved for the studio. Because I sit in the environment for so many hours over many many weeks, I am gifted a unique experience on the place and the subject before me.

This process of taking time to distill what I see and experience onto a canvas brings a magical quality to what otherwise may be considered just another realistic painting. I explore the distillation of dark as well as light onto the canvas. The distilling of time.

The connoisseurship of capturing moments that add up to a whole. the pouring out of years of experience painting Plein air. The influence of the birds and animals that visit during the making that contribute to the feeling of the painting. The being one with the place.

Listening, looking, and recording I discuss why our eyes are not like the camera and thus why my painting while realistic is not photographic, nor a photorealistic copy. You too can hear the birds as I paint, get an understanding of the contemplative nature of the process. For those with eyes to see let them see. For those with patience, I provide a glimpse into how one distills a masterpiece.