I always loved landscapes best. I worked on these paintings over several years in my Leichhardt studio on Parramatta Road. Most of them were destroyed in the studio cleanout. It’s amazing to think how much time and effort went into these paintings. I was very proud of them at the time, but I can see now that were “bad” paintings. If you don’t paint badly, you don’t learn to paint at all. To be a “good” artist you must start painting early in life, and never stop. Still there is a certain naive charm and interest to them.
When I think of the fate of these paintings it reminds me of the strange destiny of paintings throughout human history. How many are painted? How few survive? The biggest exception is the rock art scattered in remote places across the globe, the remaining traces of little understood cultural expression from the first 100,000 years of homo sapiens. Paintings in earth materials, ochres, chalks, charcoal – hands stencilled on walls, animal figures, hunters, spears – elements of everyday life made sacred by being represented. What was in the minds of these earliest artists? Was artistic creation coded into the human genome? Is that why we just seem to be unable not to paint, at least some of us, in every time and place?