I’m an artist, though that’s a rather large and flabby word these days.
Let’s just say I’m a drawer and painter. As such I have a heightened aesthetic sensibility and like to think of myself as especially observant. But sometimes one gets to dominate the other.
Recently I started a series of paintings around the NSW Southern Highlands, a country I’ve always loved; rolling plains and hills, deep valleys and high ever-changing skies. I stayed in a remote place called Bullio and drew and photographed and walked the land. When I started painting back in the studio I slowly began to realize that I was painting not the wonderful country in my mind but the effects of drought. These are dramatically revealed in the tones and forms of what was there before my not quite as observant as I thought eyes.
My aesthetic sensed had trumped my being on the site observation.
Though drought is a regularly repeating event , somehow the land looks worse than ever, exhausted, dying. It’s hard not to put this down to global warming rather than a naturally occurring cycle. At the end of days there will be a terrible beauty.
Michael Fitzjames

Audio produced by Gretchen Miller, sound engineering by Judy Rapley.

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