Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Friday, March 16, 2012

Walking with Boyd

‘Namaste’, Veronica and I bow down in gratitude for the day that is going to be at Bundanon.

Returning to the veranda the mist has lifted leaving a damp dew on the paddocks and an added sweetness to the breakfast of the bulls. Hot coffee, substance, strength, we enter our respective studios for a morning of work.

Purple, no grey, cadmium red or alizarin ? What did I have in mind for this canvas? Better still, I’ll just erect my easel in front of the window. With a view of the bush I look and put, scratch at the surface with charcoal and smear it with paint. This is much better I think, as I work responsively. A damp rag doubles as a painting tool and a cooling neck bandana as the sun continues to rise.

By Lunchtime I have worked up a sweat and three new paintings sit propped up against the wall, humble in their size but not of the place in which they come from.
‘I have to show something’ Veronica is at my door, eyes wide, toes wiggling in excitement. I follow her into her studio; new paper works lay draped on the floor as extensions of space, with fresh marks locating them in the energy of the day.

We convene in the kitchen and compose a picnic basket, time to reward our efforts.

Sticks in hand we march across the fields, Veronica leads the way, through warrens of wombat holes and thickets of decaying thistles. A welcome breeze picks up the pollen and carries my gaze across the cobalt sky and onto the blades of grass, iridescent in the sunlight. Leaving spiked mountains behind we pursue the river as respite from the afternoon heat.

Our picnic rug paints a pink square on the green paddock. We sit together and fork a rainbow of salad into our mouths, marvelling at the red and green peppers and polka dots of olives.

Now fed, it is time to be watered. Having slipped into the river I Hover on the surface, arms outstretched, I admire the transformation of my skin, glistening under an amber film. With eyes at water level I am one with the landscape, watching as ripples disappear into the distance to meet with the sweeping current. I let it take me to a beach downstream that is sheltered by the shadow of pulpit rock, fierce and majestic. Welcomed by a chorus of insects, I Rise from the water and join the lone footprints of the birds. Beads of water trickle down my arm and evaporate in the steam of midday; I take to the bush for shade, wildly seduced.

Licking Sweet Kiwi juice of our fingertips we finish lunch. Enormous blue clouds are building behind us and are inching toward the sun. It promises a storm, a reprieve for the heat of the day. We pack our goods and set back across the fields.

Unable to paint in my studio that is blanketed in heat from the setting sun, I recline in the cool of my bedroom, reading about Karel Appel’s fantastic animals, eyes soaking up the rich images. Tired from the adventure of the day my eye lids start to flicker and fall, soon I am no longer reading, but dreaming.

A crackling of the clouds gives seconds of warning before an enormous thunder clap splinters the sky overhead, sending vibrations into my bed. I sit upright to a view of a transformed sky, grey and turbulent that is engulfing pulpit rock at a distance. Within minutes Sheets of rainfall, engulf the studio in a fierce storm, Battening down the hatches, Veronica and I wind in our windows and slide close the doors – taking refuge in the centre of the house we are safe from the water that seems to be thundering on every surface.

Just as inspiration strikes in a powerful instant, the storm has passed through in a moment, leaving the landscape and course of the day utterly exulted: cool, calm and collected. Pulpit rock is no longer the eye of the storm but sits knowingly on the horizon, sharing the reminiscence of a day with a young writer in her studio at Bundanon.

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