Where there is water there is life. It is a simple concept but, in our climate stressed environment water is becoming increasingly transient, rare and precious. A small shallow seemingly perfect, round freshwater lagoon on the east coast of Tasmania is filled with water for the first time in many years and life crystalizes into action accompanied by a cacophony of sound as birds, frogs and insects all sing with an intensity ‘of the moment’ as if their life depends upon it. There is a full-bodied luminosity in the light that is polarised by the dark melancholy of all that has been in the landscape as well as what is to come. Within a few weeks the water recedes, and life returns to the shadows or is hidden invisible beneath the ground. It is a poignant and precious moment to witness.
In these miniature paintings I hope to reveal this tenuous voice of the pulsing life of a lagoon; the embrace of its reaches, the flatness, the shallowness, its constantly shifting light patterns and the movement of wind imprinting on both the water and the feathery expanse of grasses and sedges. I am imagining the soundtrack of place and the rhythm of its pulse playing on the inside of the water as well as the on the surface in the calligraphy of reeds, sedges and the play of light and shadow.
The paintings either 8 x 12 cm or 8 x 24 cm completed between 2017 and 2019, are based on experiences and time spent exploring wetlands on the east coast of Tasmania. They are all watercolour and gouache on paper using techniques from Persian miniature painting as well as European watercolour traditions.
A selection of the miniatures from the series, The Voice of Water, feature in the publication of the same name, co authored with Tasmanian poet Adrienne Eberhard. Please see News and Text section in menu to find purchasing details.