New project in progress ‘My Country’

Currently I am working on new paintings for an exhibition at the Creative Arts Gallery in Gunnedah, opening Friday, 29 October 2021. The exhibition is a series of paintings that respond to the poem ‘My Country’ by Dorothea Mackellar. The artworks revisit the collection of watercolours created by Jean Isherwood in the 1980s with a contemporary perspective, exploring the Gunnedah region’s distinctive landscapes and the poet’s connection to the area.

My family have lived in the Gunnedah area for generations, and I feel a strong sense of connection to the land. For this series of work, I explore the theme of ‘My Country’, taking inspiration from the words of the poem and developing artworks that reflect a contemporary interpretation of the Gunnedah area’s landscape.

// I am aiming for 30 paintings and will put images of the works up on the site as I prepare for the exhibition in October.  Wish me luck!

Each artwork in the series measures 36cm (h) x 56cm(w)

My Country by Dorothea Mackellar

The love of field and coppice 
Of green and shaded lanes, 
Of ordered woods and gardens 
Is running in your veins. 
Strong love of grey-blue distance, 
Brown streams and soft, dim skies 
I know, but cannot share it, 
My love is otherwise. 

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze ...

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.