Monday, September 24, 2012

Late afternoon - Hill End

As my time here at Hill End draws to a close I have been contemplating this unique place and my experiences of it. It took me a week to realise Hill End is more special than I had imagined.
Hill End forms an enclave of sorts, with paling fences, remnant and recent orchards, and historic grand avenue trees. Surrounding this, the Australian native landscape blurs at the edges of town with an abundance of pioneering wattle and thick coppice forests. Outward veins of eroded gold mining gullies and stunning panoramic lookout views sit close to town before the wider rolling hills and rocky slopes take over.
Hill End is perhaps not completely unlike Rome with it's ancient city walls; in the sense that it is a town shaped by strong cultural heritage, now constrained, or maybe conformed is a better word, to the past, for now and into the future. Hill End presents an environment shaped over many generations with each stage still evident in some form - it is what I think makes this place so unique.
What has been most present in my mind during this residency is thoughts about time - time and history are evident wherever I look in the landscape. In many scales, from the daily routines of night and day, to the rich abundance of sensory seasonal displays, from annual climatic ranges to the historical remnants and activities over many periods which have shaped this place. Elements of time, both natural and man-made are the marks and shaping factors of this environment.
There is, of course, much more than this to Hill End, the community and family history heritage over generations; the surrounding pastoral farm land, the tenacity required to live in this type of climate, but like most artists I'm sure, my eye is drawn to particular elements of this place, my mind contemplates particular relationships here. Perhaps we each find a slightly different story in this place.
It has been such a pleasure to have this opportunity of sharing time in Hill End. To catch a glimpse of this unique place. I would like to especially thank Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Richard, Robina, Emma, Marion, staff and volunteers of the gallery; National Parks and Wildlife Services NSW, the community of Hill End and most of all my husband Phil for his ongoing support.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Spring

In just a short couple of weeks I've been able to watch the trees transforming here at Hill End. Spring is beautiful to watch with it's incredible surge of new growth, pollen, bees and birds, all in a frenzy. So different from the change of seasons in subtropical Queensland.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In the moment

When I'm working outdoors in the landscape, making plein air marks and surfaces, observing the environment and all the species making it up, photographing and wandering around; I also like to make some time for still contemplation. I'll put everything else away but my visual diary and find a spot to sit and feel the place. Then I record all my senses response to what I have seen, heard and felt in that place. I find it's often a good memory capture of the experience of a place, something I can reference back in the studio when making more works.

These are a few notes from a trip to Golden Gully at Hill End one afternoon - " the sky is a flat matte azure backdrop behind the sunlit trees, some vibrant in their white-grey others sombre and dark grey-brown, the rough bark shadowed and dull compared to the smooth reflective surface of the pale gums. Bird calls fills the sky. The gorge illuminates in pockets of broken light, a filtered glow of orange sandy dirt walls. Cathedral like in organ pipe form. The sky is dominant on these sunny days. Leaves hang silent from the trees, pendulous; a frog croaks. Midges hover above the trapped water pools, while ants run over the rocky pebble creek bed. One bird calls, calls, calls. Shadows grow as the sunlit areas shrink and cool air begins to fill the gully theatre. Bees buzz on the creek beds muddy water pool edges. A frog closer by begins to croak, steadily loader, rrr, rrr, rrr, until it finally changes its tune and stops. A partner bird arrives on the wing and conversation about the day begins. They tussle through the air and then admonish one another. More cool air decends, it's time to head home.

Hill End ecology - part two

I've been doing a bit of bird watching while here, seeing several species I've not seen before. This bird, an Eastern Spinebill has been in my home garden, but not so frequently sighted as here at Hill End in the quince blossom feeding.

Images of plum blossom and a visit to the cemetery.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hill End ecology

My little table of bits and pieces from around the streets of Hill End is gradually growing. Plenty of textures and colours to work with.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Golden Gully - Hill End

There is a wide range of diverse landscapes here at Hill End. This is near the Arch in Golden Gully, an area mined extensively during the gold rush. It's a striking eerie sort of place.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hill End

Beautiful Hill End on the first day of Spring.