Oil on canvas, July 2021
153cm x 102cm x 1.5cm
Some people have a mid-live crisis and buy red sports car, others buy houses (and/or stupidly, Great Dane puppies). Fitting then that I’ve done this painting on the eve of Kim’s next milestone birthday, 10 years after the last milestone birthday (when we brought the house).
The painting is not of our beach house. The painting is looking up Wimbie Street, from Wimbie Beach, three streets away from our not on the beach house. We could afford three streets away from the beach as, at the time, the price of houses went down approximately $100K for every street you were back from the beach. Probably, the differential between beach frontage and stinky creek frontage (where we are) is even greater now. If you factor in climate change and rising sea levels, the cost of beach frontage should be dropping as beach frontage becomes less desirable. Our little house on Bayview Avenue, which does not have a Bayview at all, might now be worth more or because of climate change might, one day, have beach frontage or at least, better water views than stinky creek.
It’s a very ordinary, unpretentious little house. And definitely not as cool as the 60’s beach shack has become. Think cheaply build, early 80’s prefab. Wimbie Beach, like the house (and us) is a bit grotty and underwhelming and is therefore a dog friendly beach, which suits us fine. We do not get down there as often as we would like or should, so we share the house with a group of friends and acquaintances who also don’t mind that it’s a bit down market either. Kids, dogs and grown-ups don’t have to behave too perfectly in a not quite on the beach house.
Wimbie Street is very typical of the South Coast and that is why I wanted to paint it. Topography and trees, houses, streets, driveways and nature strips. I’ve always loved the way that the trees get tall and straighter as you head down the Clyde to the coast from Canberra and the look and feel of that soft, spongy, zesty green coastal cooch on my bare feet as I walk up the hill from the beach carrying way too much stuff. It reminds me of summer, even when it’s winter. Stuff just grows down the coast with all that sunlight and moisture, unlike Canberra with its scrubby, stunted trees, bindies and burnt off brown stubble. When it rains at the coast, as it does often, the sky gets all washed out and pale, which is neither as attractive as a bright blue, or as beautifully dramatic as a stormy one, but I like the way it makes everything more contrasty.
I’m not entirely satisfied with this painting, it’s neither beautiful nor particularly well crafted, but it is kind of representative of how I feel about the place. Let’s face it, everyone else paints seascapes and I’m not really a beach person, but I do like being there, when I am there, because it’s somewhere else, that’s not here…..even though I also like being here.