Sunday, January 17, 2010

"The Eye of the Eagle"

 "Gorge and engorged" 68 cm x 48 cm Mixed Media on D'Arches

This recent month has seen me hard at work in my studio imagining flying over the deserts of Central Australia as an eagle and then putting this down on paper. I was amazed whilst reading up on eagles and how they see, to learn that they have pentachromatic vision (we have tetrachromatic). Eagles can see ultraviolet and infrared colours - so Wow!

Pondering the complexity of this, I felt that they saw far more brightly than we did and so I pushed a few colours round in Photoshop to see what effects I could get. All this dreaming and fiddling around has led to very colourful exhibition indeed. At first I found it too much but as I settled into it, the paintings burned into my soul and I now feel quite at home with them and their intense colours.

Why eagles and why now? Firstly, recent heatwaves have crossed the country leaving it bare and exposed, dry and parched. Daily reminders of the planet getting hotter, have left me wondering once again about Climate Change; is it real, why does it happen and what does it mean?

I don't have answers to this although I find it extraordinarily most of us I believe.

Australia is the driest and harshest continent on the planet with the most ancient and exposed soils. Millions of years have passed and former mountains have eroded down into floodplains and deserts. These cover over 90 % of Australia. The colours when viewed from a plane, are bright reds, oranges and yellows with tracks and dry river beds crisscrossing the land.

Secondly, I feel, if we could read the land, if we could understand the patterns and their meanings, then just maybe we could learn to live with the earth successfully. We could stop building cities on fertile lands and fields, we could build for temperature and climate changes, we could do things better. It's true we've survived for almost 5 million years but the recent upswing in our skills has hurt the planet more than ever before and now we worry about our own survival as a species for probably the first time ever in our history.

I have painted these paintings from a deep part of myself that yearns for a greener place, a safer place but at the same time is amazed and drawn to the wondrous colours of the earth.

Australia may be the oldest and most exposed place right now, but believe me, it's where other countries are headed over the next few thousands of years as the glaciers dry up and and the mountains erode down to floodplains and deserts. Look at this place, Australia and learn for this is where you are headed. It is not a country that can sustain many more people than it currently is not the lucky country it once was.......and we will need to move whole towns and populations as the heat increases and the desert continues to grow ever larger.

There is no doubt in my mind that human activity here in this 'sacred' place has exacerbated the rate of desertification. The ripping out of whole forests, the ploughing and chemical spraying of large tracks of land, the channeling of water away from floodplains and marshlands continues today despite the warnings written already in our land and able to be seen by the eagles looking for their old hunting grounds.

Try looking at the earth through 'the eye of the eagle'!

The exhibition can be seen at Jayes Gallery in Molong NSW from 5 February to 7 March or online closer to that date.


davidweirart said...

Hi Joy I enjoy your posts and you sound like you have the land in your heart. I lived in Kakadu for ten years with senior traditional elders and feel the land even though im living in nz at the moment i miss Our Country keep pushing your work cheers David Weir

Joybell said...

Thanx David It's so nice to get feedback on work. I do love the land - was on farms for many, many years before coming back to live in a country town. I can't imagine being in a city.......I just love flying over Oz....always get the feeling I want to get out there again! Will be going out into the desert for a bush bash around Easter! whoopee! will come home with lots of nice images in my heart and mind!