Monday, June 27, 2011

Road to Flinders

Painting Australia's desert regions was very much ignored for the first hundred years of settlement , only in the early years of the 20th cent did artists start to take any interest. The early settlers wanted views of their new estates to send back to their families in Britain and hang in their own homes as a mark of their success in the new colony.

"Bridel Gap ,Wilpenia Pound"  Peter Kreet. [sold] $2400.

Hans Heysen's Flinders' Ranges painting during the late 1920s were the first. At the time they were not greeted with great enthusiasm when exhibited in Melbourne. People were not drawn to the harsh images of this other Australia and it was to take a long time before the settlers were to accept that the country amounted to more than the fertile areas around early settlements and along the river courses. Many were to follow Nolan, Drysdale, Williams to name just a few until today the Australian outback and central desert are considered by many as quintessential Australia.

Peter Kreet  "Flinders' Encounter"
acrylic on board  1265x920   $2400
In 2005 I drove along the Great Ocean Road [ one of the great Australian drives] to South Australia before heading north up into the Flinders Ranges. All these paintings were developed in the studio from sketches and water colours executed during the trip. Like Heysen before me it proved very difficult to paint on the spot apart from the scale of the work, you have to confront flies, mosquitoes and various slender insect of all kinds intent on dinner.

Peter Kreet  "Flinders Gorge" 
acrylic on board  910x650  $950

Peter Kreet  "Corridor through Time"
acrylic on board   1265x920    $2400
Peter Kreet  "On the Road to Hawkes"
acrylic on board    $1500

acrylic on board  1265x920   $1900
The first few works are of the pound itself which in the early days was used as a cattle property. As a extent volcanic core it possessed ready made walls to keep livestock  from wandering off. There are very few ways in and the "Bridal Gap" painting was the entrance for an early bride of a squatter. The Pound as it is called has in recent years been a national park. Within the park are several roads often subjected to flooding in winter and inevitable we were caught and had to spend a couple of nights cut off by swollen creeks. On the plus side we had plenty of fresh water. "Flinders Encounter" was a sharp turn in the road were the water tended to flow across at normal times,but at least I had plenty of time to observe the cliff  faces.

While driving out of the pound after the flood, my wife and I discovered  what was called a Feral Restaurant. This establishment situated in the middle of nowhere and exists on a vast flat plain running away as far as the eye can see. The only company being a watering tank used  by steam trains and a few odd out  houses rented out to itinerant workers. I tried to buy the morning paper on the bar but was told that it was not for sale as the paper took a week to arrive. The menue was something people would die for kangaroo of course, but then lizard, camel, snake, buffalo and some sort of desert rat. I settled for the camel that in fact was quite sweet. People seem to fly here from all over the country as it would be hard to find another restaurant like it.

The famous rain line ran through here some where, this was what was then considered the far est limit to which farming was considered profitable. Beyond which settlement was discouraged, not that stopped settlers as abandon rusty farm machine left scattered across the country testified.

Peter Kreet"The Grotto on the Ocean Road"
acrylic on board  1265x920  $2400.

The Grotto is one of the many beautiful stops on the Great Ocean road.

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