We’ve all had that experience usually, but not exclusively, in nature where everything seems to hum and hover on the edge of the numinous. Where all that we see is somehow instinct with divinity. Like the word that hangs on the tip of our tongue but is, infuriatingly, just out of reach we sense and ‘know’ what ‘it’ is but can’t manage to utter it.
This is a more or less permanent difficulty in painting. We can see what we want to realise in our mind’s eye but ‘it’ doggedly and skittishly avoids capture. Mostly. The studio is piled high with failures and sometimes when I least expect it, having returned to the fray, it will be caught with a stroke of paint and spring into being.
We are a shiftless nomadic people and many of us will recognise these images from our road trips. The swiftly approaching horizon; over which a clump of trees will appear and slowly drift by. The fence line that has given up the ghost and leans away from the prevailing wind. The wind itself brushing a feathery wave across the hillside. The dragon’s spine of a line of hills rippling beside us until suddenly sighing and sinking into the earth. And in the city for me, a non-driver, bus bound and therefore slower and free to look; endless moments of bliss.
It is my belief that anything closely observed is a magnet for metaphor and therefor I have no need to ’say’ something. To lecture or hector. The observer, the witness, will find their own story and have their own memory jogged by these images. So it will be personal to you. I provide the lock you have the key. I hope it fits.
Landscape painter Michael Fitzjames received a Diploma in Fine Arts from the University of Tasmania …