Ontmoeten in De Bos (A Chance Meeting in the Forest)

Lisa McKimmie
   
January
   
21
 -  
February
   
1
"Repetition of the same landscape over the seasons was absorbing and inspiring."

INFORMATION

In the Dutch summer of 2019 I began sharing a small studio in the forests on the edge of The Hague.

I started drawing and moved to oil painting in the late summer and autumn. While I originally planned to use the studio as a base and move about the forests and dunes to work, I ultimately worked in lockdown in the clearing by the Princessetuin garden, painting the same view again and again.

The shuttered windows wrapped around the studio allowed natural light and a safe way to communicate, occasionally, with passers by as more and more people found their only way to get out of the house was a walk in nature.

Being absorbed in the shifting green landscape was a panacea to the difficulties of negotiating the stress, the sadness and the losses of 2020. Repetition of the same landscape over the seasons was absorbing and inspiring. The changes in depth and complexity, line and colour, while ultimately impossible to catch in their complexity, became my project. Sometimes grand changes in composition became necessary if a summer storm or winter squall took down branches of even an entire trunk. Light changes on the same day might completely change the depth, focus and colours of what I was looking at. It became a year long meditation.

Sometimes I would receive feedback from others using the forests. “I can see the influence of Dutch painters yet there is something in all of these that is not at all Dutch. Is that Australian?”.

The observations by strangers that I brought something of my culture, my Australian eye, to painting in The Netherlands, led me to think on the early European landscape painters in Australia and how it took artists such as John Glover and Arthur Streeton to translate their experience of the antipodean landscape and how they and other artists laid the foundations for a recognisable Australian landscape tradition. I mused on the persistence of landscape in the mind of a painter and thought perhaps it is like spoken and written language, where it is said a culture cannot really be understood unless you become fluent in the language. Art is often considered a visual language.

I am grateful to the lovely Florence Fernhout and the Wassenaar Gemeente for the opportunity and to the staff at the Raadhuis De Pauuw.

 

In the Dutch summer of 2019 I began sharing a small studio in the forests on the edge of The Hague.

I started drawing and moved to oil painting in the late summer and autumn. While I originally planned to use the studio as a base and move about the forests and dunes to work, I ultimately worked in lockdown in the clearing by the Princessetuin garden, painting the same view again and again.

The shuttered windows wrapped around the studio allowed natural light and a safe way to communicate, occasionally, with passers by as more and more people found their only way to get out of the house was a walk in nature.

Being absorbed in the shifting green landscape was a panacea to the difficulties of negotiating the stress, the sadness and the losses of 2020. Repetition of the same landscape over the seasons was absorbing and inspiring. The changes in depth and complexity, line and colour, while ultimately impossible to catch in their complexity, became my project. Sometimes grand changes in composition became necessary if a summer storm or winter squall took down branches of even an entire trunk. Light changes on the same day might completely change the depth, focus and colours of what I was looking at. It became a year long meditation.

Sometimes I would receive feedback from others using the forests. “I can see the influence of Dutch painters yet there is something in all of these that is not at all Dutch. Is that Australian?”.

The observations by strangers that I brought something of my culture, my Australian eye, to painting in The Netherlands, led me to think on the early European landscape painters in Australia and how it took artists such as John Glover and Arthur Streeton to translate their experience of the antipodean landscape and how they and other artists laid the foundations for a recognisable Australian landscape tradition. I mused on the persistence of landscape in the mind of a painter and thought perhaps it is like spoken and written language, where it is said a culture cannot really be understood unless you become fluent in the language. Art is often considered a visual language.

I am grateful to the lovely Florence Fernhout and the Wassenaar Gemeente for the opportunity and to the staff at the Raadhuis De Pauuw.

 

FEATURED WORKS

Lisa McKimmie, Yellow blossom at winters end, 2020, oil on linen, 72 x 72 cm
Lisa McKimmie, The Princessetuin in Winter the Persistence of the Australian Landscape. A Long Summer, 2020, oil on linen, 185 x 95 cm
Lisa McKimmie, Sapling, 2020, oil on linen, 76 x 120 cm
Lisa McKimmie, Princessetuin in Summer the persistence of the Australian landscape. An early summer, 2020, oil on linen, 137 x 84 cm
Lisa McKimmie, Greenery, 2019, oil on linen, 106 x 76 cm
Lisa McKimmie, Greenery II, 2019, oil on linen, 106 x 76 cm
Lisa McKimmie, Early Autumn, 2019, oil on linen, 76 x 106 cm

OTHER  EXHIBITIONS