An odd match: The Australian bush landscape and Dame Joan Sutherland.

joansutherlandsinging

I’ve never listened to opera much when I paint. It’s just too distracting. All those high notes and drama going on. Or classical music in general really. (Though I broke that rule last week as NPR  has a new recording of  Tchiakovsky’s  ‘The Nutcracker’  conducted by Simon Rattle online. It’s absolutely superb.)

Recently my favourite opera singer Dame Joan Sutherland died. In case you’ve never heard of her she was an Australian opera singer who came from humble beginnings in Sydney and through incredible hard work and determination became one of the very greatest opera singers in the world. Great artists come along so very rarely. If you’re interested have a listen to her Lucia de Lammamoor. Or Norma. She had the most incredible high notes and singing range. And tone.

I won’t show you one of her musical performances but a 1995 Australian film she was in called ‘On our Selection’. Well no it’s not the greatest performance ever but she’s an icon so we can forgive her.  The movie’s about the  Australian comic characters ‘Dad and Dave’ and their families struggling to make ends meet at the end of the 19th century. Joan plays Ma Rudd. It’s just the introduction but you can see her if you look closely.

It’s a pretty rough video so sorry about that but it gives the feel of the Australian bush landscape. With it’s washed out olive greens and greys and general scrappiness. It’s been a constant battle of mine to represent the Australian landscape in paint. It’s harder than you think. ‘On our Selection’ was filmed in Braidwood, a country town in New South Wales.

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