Pond and Creek
Living in the Central Highlands of Victoria, this rural environment offers access to many dams and creeklands which change, live and breathe on a seasonal basis. They may dry out in the heat of summer, but mid-winter sees them refreshed with running water and birdlife. In these quiet places, I love the sound of wind in the reeds, and seeing the bright grasses bent in the current beneath the shining surface of the water. Rivulets and streams are created by sudden rainfall, in ditches and old watercourses, and all around the vegetation springs green and blossoms appear. Birds hunt and sing, stretches of water mirror the sky, and the landscape fills with light.
To borrow from the description of my collection of environmental landscape works recently exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ballarat (in the ‘Nature Works’ group exhibition which ran until early November 2021):
Each painting begins with looking. That act of quiet, close observation is a meditative act, which pauses the business of the world, and feeds into the painting as it emerges. In her painting, Clarke aims for a strong representation of the places that have inspired them, as she tries to understand the language of the natural environment, and keep its forms and patterns, the shapes of trees, the activity of light, respectfully in view. But in all her works, there are also personal, abstract, expressive, imaginative and ornamental elements too.
These works are in oils, or synthetic polymer on stretched canvas.
Some of these works were recently shown at the Art Trax Gallery in Beaufort, as part of the Hidden Gems Artist Studios Group exhibition (a group of collaborative art venues based around Smythesdale, Haddon and Cambrian Hill). This vibrant collection, which includes a celebration of the immersive beauty of that most valued and ancient colour - ultramarine blue - focuses upon the precious miracle of water in the bush landscapes surrounding my studio, and the local countryside.