Dry Spell (85.5 x 59 cm)
The artist’s application of the techniques used by the Australian Impressionist ‘plein air’ painters’, (artists who mainly painted outdoors in order to capture the effects of fleeting light), is evidenced in this painting of a rural, Australian, golden landscape.
The mother colour of the painting is yellow-orange, and the artist has used lots of dabs, dots and ‘stippling’ of paint to create the shimmering atmosphere. Parallel rows of long shadows and gullies give the painting a visual effect of distance, as does the difference in tonal values of soft sky colours and the richer coloured foreground.
The artist used violet-red/brown colours to paint the principal subjects, the cattle, and the secondary subjects, the tank and fence posts. This colour contrasts with the orange-gold grass, and together the two colours stimulate the viewer’s senses. The rich colours of the grass in the paddocks, take up almost three quarters of the painting, and are reflected in the clouds and summer sky.
The well placed cattle happily graze, as their shadows lengthen in the afternoon sun. Bushes on the ridge, and the sagging fence posts make this a typical, relaxed Australian country scene. There is something poetically rhythmical about the arrangement of the elements in this painting.
Acrylic on Masonite, date unknown, probably mid-career. (Cleaned and framed.)