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Flame Trees ·

Flame Trees
Medium: Oil
Base: Canvas
Year: 2012
An old friend of mine grew up in Grafton, NSW. He often called it the Centre of the Universe because of his love of this town, the river, the pubs and his passion for rowing. Every time I hear the song "Flame Trees" it reminds me of this friend and the beautiful trees that grow there. It is in dedication to these memories and this friend that I painted "Flame Trees".
Whilst training for my Diploma of Visual Art (Fine Art) I have researched a lot of material to challenge myself with. It is not only a matter of slapping paint on to a canvas for me, or randomly running colour together to see what happens (although I do that sometimes for my own education). I am not an abstract artist by any stretch of the imagination. I go out and take photos, I look at friends' photo albums and make mental notes of places that mean something special to them.
With a fairly good photographic memory, a library of photos of my own and loads of sketches I can usually build up an image to paint which includes my increasing artistic licence to make changes to reality for the creation of a unique artwork rather than just a record of reality. After all I am trying to convey emotion, atmosphere and passion along with the texture of the paint or whatever material I am using.
That is why roads often do not have markings on them but look more like a country lane, why colours may be more intense, why things from the real scene my be omitted or new items included.
I don't get the opportunity to travel a lot as finances don't allow it. It is because of this that I build up my images from everything that people tell me, their stories and their fondest memories, from the fleeting images of their life that they share. I then think about these as I paint and hopefully all of these things come together in the painting.
Flame Trees was also an opportunity to experiment with complimentary colours, to push tonal values and to create from a scene that exists in real life but if you went there, would not represent reality. I also applied the paint more freely without concern for minute detail which I felt was very liberating. This painting was painted on on canvas that I stretched myself and mounted on a stretcher that I constructed.
Something must have worked as I had tutors and other students in more advanced classes dropping in to have a look at it. That was a real honour. I finally took it to the Berwick Artists Society for an outing this year to check out practising artists' opinions and enter it into the monthly competition, and it did really well.
Rather than keeping this little gem in the studio for myself, I am now passing it on to a fine art admirer of my work whom I have known for over twenty five years. It is great to know that he and his family will get enjoyment from it for years to come.
Dimensions: 46 cm (width) × 60 cm (height)
Ownership: Private collector

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