Painting “Newstead” 2015-16
A series of paintings about the shearing shed at “Newstead” near Inverell in northern New South Wales, where Tom Roberts painted ‘The Golden Fleece’ 120 years ago. The work was exhibited as part of Christine’s major exhibition “Shadowing Tom” at the Inverell Art Gallery in Feb-March 2017. Read More
Inspiration and off-site research
I spent several days late 2014 drawing on site at both the original shed and the “newer” shed on “Newstead”, doing prep drawings that would result in 30 watercolour paintings. It was hot and quiet in the old shed. This was the most important shed in all of the history of Australian Art … but it didn’t look the same as in Tom Roberts’ time. From that recurring thought came a second body of work about the experience of painting on site – the engraved perspex shadow boxes and artwork printed from them. Read more
‘The Golden Fleece’ is on permanent show at the New South Wales Art Gallery. I visited it there, but was also given special access to Tom Roberts’ sketchbooks from Special Collections at the NSW State Library. It was an astonishing experience to handle the small books that he used to prepare his major works. I went to the blockbuster exhibition at the National Gallery in Canberra too, and read everything I could.
From the outset this was always more than a project about a shed on a hill with a view.The title is about how the word ‘shadowing’ means following, but it also has connotations of being IN someone’s shadow. The off-site research added an unexpected dimension; the size of the exhibition space gave me room to move; the sheer unadulterated awe I felt for Tom Roberts spurred me on even more. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I didn’t want to waste it.
Most of the paintings in this series have sold into corporate and private collections from Sydney to London. Those still available are hanging in Christine’s studio in Lismore. (visit by appointment)
Click on image to see larger version.
Contact Christine directly if you are interested in any of these works. Prices range from $300-1850 depending on size and framed state.
These paintings have sold. Click on the thumbnail to see full image.
Exhibition – Inverell Art Gallery, 2017
Short description of exhibition
Gallery of images of opening night party
Copy of words of didactics with some highlight paintings or complete gallery from each body of work.
Link to blogs – leading up to and thankyou notes.
Images from different types of work- either categories or links to the other pages.
Fame and fortune
Articles about this exhibition were published several magazines:
– the international watercolour magazine The Art of Watercolour, distributed worldwide, published in English and French
– The Australian Artist Vol? Summer2017
– The digital magazine Verandah Read Article
– The lifestyle magazine Border Living
– and many comments in newspapers, magazines and local radio
- This was an exhibition in three parts.
- series of paintings of the two sheds on “Newstead” describing what the sheds look like now.
- a multi-media piece about how it felt to be there in the most famous shearing shed in Australian art history.
- a selection of paintings drawn from projects in other parts of NSW and Qld.
In Tom’s Shadow
Watercolour paintings from various projects in Queensland and New South Wales.
Of all the paintings that Tom Roberts created in his career, he is perhaps best known for his large scale allegorical works “Shearing the Rams” and “The Golden Fleece”. People from beyond the art world, and beyond the sheep and wool industries, know these two paintings. It’s like he started the genre of shed paintings (and reached its pinnacle all in the same breath). When I say I make artwork about shearing sheds, the usual response is “oh, like Tom Roberts…” I’ve spent 30 years learning how to come out from his shadow to carve my own place within this genre.
I painted my first shearing shed in 1984. Since then I’ve painted nearly 100 different sheds from Tasmania to Mt Isa. It’s the mainstay of my practice. When I visit a property, I’m mainly interested in the shearing shed. I love the iconic nature of the building and the inherent beauty of the architecture. I love the how it’s an exercise in abstract shapes and line.
However it becomes a more complete story of the property when I make artwork about the other buildings there too. I’ve painted also– and not in any order of importance – hayshed, dairy, ram shed, bowsers, tobacco barn, meathouse, sawmill, tack room, museum shed, machinery shed, tractor shed, cat shed (for the caterpillar) car shed, barn, toolshed, pumpshed, blacksmith’s shop, stables.
This collection of paintings talks of the diversity of purpose-built architecture found across rural Australia. It’s about how each place has it’s own regional elements, and each its own individuality.
It’s important for me that there is integrity of place – that it looks like it is.
I meet people from the cities or coastal fringes and hear their mis-information and mis-understandings about agriculture and grazing. It is a gradual and inevitable amnesia that describes the true balance of power in a country that still needs to feed itself. This work is not deliberately nostalgic. It’s about real people, real places. It’s about how, despite those lifestyles being trivialised by mass media and hijacked by tourism, for so many Australians this is still home.