Old Shack and Tank – Early Work No 7 (43 x 31 cm)

The artist painted this acrylic landscape very early in his career. It shows what an Australian settler’s home could have looked like in a bygone era.

In this painting, the artist attempted to use the ‘rule of thirds’, both vertically and horizontally. There are three distinct sections to the painting with the tank, door and front post placed at the focal points. However, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the splendid tree in the background. Short, overlapping brush strokes, applied with a flat brush, give texture to this tree, where light and shade are distinctly visible. The artist used the end of his wooden brush handle to mark in dead trunks of young trees in the distance, and grass in the mid-section.

Colours are appropriately earthy and warm. Yellow provides energy to the painting. The red-brown colours of the dirt and tank harmonise with the cooler purple-blue colours on the shady side of the shack. The hazy background creates atmosphere.

The thick, long brush strokes on the textured roof suggest it is made from bark. Light flows across the roof, and shadows are cast on the red-brown earth beneath.

The mood of the painting is lonely. The scene is devoid of living creatures. Yet one can imagine the wallabies resting in the shade, on a hot, summer day, and visualise the people who once lived in the old shack, a century ago.

Acrylic on Masonite, early 1970s. (Cleaned and framed. Mild restoration.)

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