Bunbury, WA

Bunbury, WA
Oil on canvas, April 2020
62cm x 76cm x 4cm
In his role at the Regional Australia Institute, Kim spent (until recently) a lot of time in ‘the regions’. Occasionally, on a morning run, he would see something and send me a photo which I would print out and squirrel away in my list of possible things to paint.
When I think about what I’m going to paint next, the image has got to resonate with me in numerous ways, otherwise, it just sits there.
Colour, for example, is important. I want the palette to be different to the last painting, as it’s more interesting to paint that way. Subject matter has to be relevant to either me, the moment, or the person I’m painting it for.
This image, is from near Bunbury WA and has been sitting in my possible painting list for quite some time. I liked it as it has some of the elements that interest me (and you may recognise from previous paintings) such as a slightly malevolent natural beauty juxtaposed with a man-made structure, like a road or a building.
This week, this image resonated with me because it suddenly occurred to me that the house in this picture is really a metaphor for ‘I’ or ‘self’ and particularly, an older ‘self’. I remember Bunbury being full of rather brash, new, gated housing communities quite unlike this house which looks like it’s been there for ages and holds all kinds of memories of different kinds of dreams and of a different kind of Australia. The structure of the house is sound, its bones are good, it’s a resilient house, but it’s still slowly falling apart (a bit like me, a bit like most of us). The house is embedded in its surroundings, in a world in which there is no control. Not that we ever had control, just an illusion of it. I am not religious, however, being Easter, I put in a blue sky in the background to offer a sense of hope (another construct of control) but also the chance to see things in a different light. Resilience, rather than decrepitude. If I think about the image in this way, it also makes me think of the people in my life who, through age or circumstances, no longer have good bones, but are no less important because of it and my thoughts this week are with them and honoring who they are now and have been.
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