My residency has sadly come to a close, I have had the most wonderful time! My nearly 3 weeks up here have seen every kind of weather condition just shy of snow, from blazing sunshine to complete white out. I've had an alpine experience to say the least!
Firstly I would like to thank Falls Creek Arts and Culture for this awesome program and the opportunity to participate in it. It truly has been a rewarding and relaxed experience. I'd also like to thank everyone at Falls Creek Resort Management for their hospitality and assistance along the way too. It's a beautiful community up here.
The first few days I spent getting familiar with the area, going on long hikes and exploring, taking lots of photos and building ideas. I purposely didn't get stuck straight into painting as I really wanted to soak up the environment first. This allowed me to pin point to spots to travel back to to get started. Some of my favourites being Mt McKay, Pretty Valley and Mount Cope. I visited these locations numerous times. Mt McKay for its vistas, especially at sunrise and sunset, what a SHOW! Mount Cope and Pretty Valley were both really quiet areas with beautiful old snow gums butted up against the expanses of the Bogong High Plains, to me this was very iconic Victorian Alps.
Sunrise at the top of Mt McKay
Views from Mount Cope
The first week I was spoiled with crystal clear, bluebird days with little to no wind. It was magical and made painting en plein air a dream! Clouds rolled in midweek and the weather completely turned. It was around 4-5 degrees each day, with zero visibility and gale force winds, so painting outside was longer an option. I delved into my sketch book and photos and worked from there instead, in the comfort of a heated apartment.
Could be mistaken for a picnic! This was one of my favourite little locations to do some sketching. Pretty Valley.
My studio, condensed into the back of my car.
I did don my rain jacket and sneak off to take some photos around the village in the drizzle too, snow gums are at their finest when it's raining! The most incredible colours reveal themselves.
When the snow gums are wet, the colours really pop! Anything from vibrant lime green through to blood reds and purples.
On my final Tuesday night I held a community workshop with some of the crew up here. The Last Hoot kindly hosted us and we dined on delicious pizza and enjoyed a glass of wine during the class. It was a really fun social affair! I showed them some of the things I'd been working on since arriving then we dived in to have some fun with watercolour. No one dunked their brush in their wine, so I'm going to call that a win!
We had such a good time, I actually forgot to take any photos! This is the only one!
After the workshop I had a few days to collect my thoughts, do any last minute dashes to locations and start to wrap up the works. The weather closed in again, which was fortunate really as it made me regroup inside and pull everything together.
What will happen to the works I've produced? It turned into a bit of a two-fold project. The smaller works I did en plein air became a body of work in their own. I really enjoyed making these quick captures of the landscape. I'm working out what to do with these and chatting to the team up here about opportunities and ideas.
The series I had in my mind in anticipation of the residency is still yet to be fully realised, it needs some time back in the studio. I also had grand intentions of working really large, but with the weather closing in this wasn't going to be an option. I think I had rose tinted glasses on when dreaming up these ideas, and didn't factor in the reality of the fickleness of the alpine climate. I've got some things started and I want to expand on these and really lean on this whole experience to create them, with a focus on the incredible snow gums and the precarious situation they are in. I've written more about my thoughts on this in thesketch book blog post as well.
A couple of the smaller works in progress
Some of the larger works, these are the ones I'm keen to take back to the studio and mull on for a bit longer.