Inspired by Country: a Book
Inspired By Country: An artist’s journey back to nature landscape painting with gouache is my latest book. It celebrates creativity, and in the process teaches creatives the essential elements of painting Country with gouache.
Other names for gouache paint are gouache water colour or opaque water colour. Gouache is not dissimilar to water colour paint because you mix it with water and the brushes are cleaned with water.
In this book you are taken on a journey back to nature specifically to the Springbrook National Park in southeast Queensland. Here you are introduced to the concept of plein air painting and you
- learn the art of painting compelling outdoor compositions to create beautifully expressive subjects and themes
- learn time-honoured techniques of painting with the most versatile, daring and expressive of mediums – gouache.
- get a snapshot of Australia’s antiquity and how Indigenous Australians responded to Country through art and ceremony
- and, escape day-to-day existence and experience mindfulness at its best
In my experience of how I perceive Country I have moved away beyond the Anglo sphere to a mindset that has a heightened awareness of what Land means in this country of Australia.
It is not just learning about Aboriginal culture it’s about learning through Aboriginal culture, embedding Aboriginal perspectives into the psyche, and developing awareness of and acknowledgement of the traditional custodians and their long and continuing relationship with Country. It’s a recognition of the Law of the Dreamtime.
Painting Country and getting inspiration from a place like the Springbrook National Park is a journey back to nature and in the process this takes you into another world.
At one level it is a rewarding, artistic experience which can be full of joy, a healing, and adventure. At another level it is mindfulness in practice.
We escape our day-to-day existence, we centre ourselves, and we are taken into a realm that is calm and focussed.
We contemplate the beauty of Country; we have an in-depth experience that takes us into our inner world. This is mindfulness.
Our emotions are stimulated, fresh ways of thinking open up, and we enjoy simply being.
Australia’s antiquity of art
In addition, visual representations of Country have been going on in Australia for probably much longer than 65,000 years. They are part of an ancient tradition of art making in Australia.
This long and ancient tradition of being inspired by Country and painting Country has a shared history with the more recent European tradition of what is called en plein air. Within this context I’ve shown how our perception of Country can be enriched by understanding the religious, and innate connection to and knowledge of land.
Inspired by Country is beautifully illustrated with my own paintings. It’s perfect for all artists who want to paint in the open air and it’s for those who want to understand that art making outdoors in Australia springs not only from an Impressionist tradition but from Australian antiquity as well.
Be inspired by Country, appreciate its historical and cultural implications, and experience it beyond the simple visual perspective.
Author and Coach