Hill End

Timber and iron wall, Hill End
Timber and iron wall, Hill End

Hill End, and old mining town deep in the countryside near Bathurst NSW has provided endless inspiration to artists for over half a century.

I don’t know if there is a published review of the work of Australian painters who have worked at Hill end but there should be. I spent a wonderful weekend there at a painting workshop with Luke Sciberras which provided just the tiniest taste of the fascination this place has for the working artist. I loved the effects of the changing light playing between grass, bush and buildings, and the calm and graceful wallabies grazing here and there like hallucinations as you see them from a distance. 

Having long been fascinated by corrugated iron I plan to spend more time in this mysterious and resonant place looking at the creation of the built environment through rough timber and corrugated iron, and the beautiful shapes and textures which resulted.  Over decades these buildings have embedded themselves into the landscape offering limitless scope for semi-abstract paintings based on their graceful yet aleatory forms.

Corrugated iron nailed onto a wooden framework allows for addition, subtraction, decay, absorption into the landscape. The shapes and forms are angular and the textures striated. This makes it not so easy to paint.

 

At Luke Sciberras’s workshop in 2015 I began an acrylic sketch of a domesticated hillside with a corrugated iron building on it. It was one of the hardest images I have ever tried to capture and although I kept the sketch I never even started the studio painting from it.

Hill End iron house 2015
Hill End iron house 2015
Shed near Bathurst turn-off
Shed near Bathurst turn-off

There are many ways to think about this project and I am going to try a few different approaches before I return to work a bit more in plein air. The time of the year also makes a huge difference to the possible palettes. I will update some more thoughts on this in Posts as the project develops.