I recently took a much-needed break to spend some time in nature. Driving through the hilly countryside and hiking among the gum trees, I was reminded of the paintings of the Heidelberg School, who were a group of Australian artists working in the late 19th century, capturing rural life and the landscape around the outskirts of Melbourne.
When I got home and looked through the photos from my trip alongside paintings from the Heidelberg School, I was delighted to find a lot of similarities between the two – which speaks to just how brilliantly these painters captured the Australian landscape. There’s something about the way the light is depicted, and the shapes and colours used that seems so familiar and accurate, I can almost hear the magpies warbling in the trees when I look at one of these paintings.
Putting together this little collection of paintings and photos has been a great reminder to consider the sense of place in the images I make. Tiny details like choosing a specific type of tree to draw can add so much to an image; anchoring it to a time or location, making it more believable. Yet on the other hand, intentionally mixing up sources of inspiration can create a sense of otherworldliness, from things seeming unfamiliar and unique. Getting the balance just right is certainly something that I intend to pay more attention to in the future.