Friday, March 9, 2012

The Call of the Easel

As I've mentioned recently, it's necessary that Sandi and I remain in the city for the time being. The location of the house we purchased late last year was a significant factor in our choice and points to our shared love of wildlife and the bush. The flats and riverine reserve indicated above are within easy walking distance of our home and act as a haven not just for us, but for the local bird-life too.

Through these past summer months I've made the half-hour trip into the city and have managed to be at my desk by 7am. I'm not a natural early-riser and this arrangement isn't quite ideal, but the opportunity to leave work at 3pm allows me to put the remaining daylight hours to good use and is a compelling reason to continue this routine. Whether I'm able to drag myself out of bed at 6am as winter approaches and the days shorten remains to be seen!

Many of the recent photographs I've been able to collect would not have been possible without the use of our kayaks. We can strap a pair of wheels to each of them and walk them to our launch spot at the nearby weir in the space of 15 minutes. With the wheels stowed behind us under the bungee-cord on the kayak decks, we're no sooner in the water than photo opportunities begin to appear.

The hum of traffic in the background is a constant reminder that the city is close by, but there are occasional lulls and we can sometimes forget briefly that the suburban sprawl lies just beyond the riverside vegetation. The illusion of solitude is enhanced somewhat when we choose to paddle downstream towards the bridges where the river is at its greatest distance from the surrounding roads and houses. 

Although the process of collecting these images is a worthwhile activity in its own right, the photographs are not an end in themselves; as I sort through them after the kayaks are safely stowed away, I discard the majority of them and mentally short-list those I feel would make worthy painting subjects. I've owned my new camera for a short time, but have already gathered a wealth of useful reference material and received a much-needed boost to my enthusiasm levels where turning some of them into paintings is concerned.




Amanda Russian said...

lovely photos're lucky to be living in the city but so close to such an abundance of wildlife. Out of all these shots, I think I like the last one of the 'Water hen' with all the reflections.

Clive Meredith said...

fantastic photo's pete,i can see how you would be inspired by these surroundings.The kayak must help a great deal with being able to get closer to the wildlife.look forward to seeing what you make of these.

Peter Brown said...

Thanks Amanda - you're a good judge! I measured up some paper this afternoon in readiness for an attempt on the Purple Swamphen!

Peter Brown said...

Thank you Clive. It's surprising how close I can approach wildlife in my kayak if I'm careful to move slowly and quietly.

Jeremy Pearse said...

Looks like a wonderful place to visit! Great photos too, looking forward to seeing more (and paintings too:).

Peter Brown said...

Thanks for dropping in Jeremy! I'm feeling inspired enough by these recent photographic outings that I plan on completing or reworking some old pieces before I even begin converting some of these new photos into paintings.