Art Works

Chronological List of Drawings, Paintings, Sculptures of Edwin Wilson

To paraphrase Flaubert (who had been talking of poetry) one’s paintings etc are never ‘finished’, only ‘abandoned’. The following is a chronological list of significant art works produced in a lifetime:

Studio, Ernest Place, Crows Nest (2009 – present)

2014, most of January was taken up with the electronic production (for Hong Kong printing) of my publication Mullumbimby Dreaming, a compilation of Mullumbimby-themed paintings and poems (plus images of some other paintings), to double as an Exhibition Catalogue for the Tweed River Gallery Mullumbimby-themed painting exhibition (8 August – 12 October 2014), entitled ‘Edwin Wilson – The Mullumbimby Kid’ (to hopefully link in with, and help promote my first book of poetic memoirs (The Mullumbimby Kid) in my Heartland of the far north coast of New South Wales).

2014, February, the Yve Close portrait was exhibited at the Royal Art Society, as part of the Teachers’ Exhibition at the Lavender Bay Gallery, and given to me (December 2014).

Paintings commenced (2014) in my studio:

2014, a square-format ‘Pink Rock Lily’ painting (‘sister’ painting to ‘Rock Lily’, with Chincogan in the bottom right hand side), was started in January as requested by Penny Fox (to sell as cards at the Spring Show of the Byron District Orchid Society). The ‘Pink Rock Lily’, Dendrobium kingianum (I prefer to retain the old nomenclature), is native to the Brunswick River valley (extending south to the Hunter River). Cards were produced and passed on to Penny at the August launch of my painting exhibition, and doubled as my Christmas Card (for 2014).

2014, commenced a smaller ‘remembered’ version of a painting, ‘Road to Lismore’ (first done in 1954, when I repeated sixth class), of the old bus travelling the back road to Lismore (from the time we went to Lismore to see the Queen). In the earlier version I had the road zig-zagging up the painting (in portrait format) in an almost abstract way, with the bus in the bottom left hand side, and luxuriant vegetation growing beside the road cuttings. In this version I have introduced vistas of Chincogan and Mount Warning in the top of the painting, with a Channel-billed cuckoo flying in the opposite direction to the bus.

2014, started a 9×5 (9 inch x 5 inch, painting, the dimension of the lid of cigar boxes used by an earlier generation of artists for painting on) of a non-dot version of ‘Lotus Buds’, entitled ‘Lotus Buds II’. Exhibited at the RAS Christmas Exhibition.

2014, total revamp over many months of my earlier (2004) Self-portrait with spiral galaxy and books down the side with daemon Muse on top of books (using hemispherical dots, projecting for an Archibald submission in 2015), now to be called ‘Stardust Poet’.

2014, at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, where I worked from 1980, I’d instigated the Spring Festival, ‘Spring in the Gardens’, in the early 1980s, and managed, developed, and built it up over many years until 1994 (when my old job was restructured, and the Festival then collapsed after 1995). On one occasion, I think it was in 1993, I was standing near the small bridge down from the Gardens Restaurant. It was a Sunday, the peak day for the Festival. The wisteria around the Restaurant balcony was in full flower, when I saw a masked procession of musicians, jugglers, clowns and stilt walkers come around the corner, and walk towards me in slow motion time. It was as if I was in medieval Florence, and this was something I had been responsible for, and how I’d wished I’d had a camera on me at the time. Then recently, when thinking about this day I thought I’d try to recreate the scene in a painting. Because of compositional reasons I moved the scene to the Spring Walk in the Gardens (south of the sandstone wall), and pulled together a number of images from the Internet to construct my ‘collage’ of procession characters, in a painting to be called ‘Spring in the Gardens’.

2014, July, have been in my studio for five years now, a significant time, on the eve of my Tweed River Gallery exhibition.

2014, August to October, the Tweed River Exhibition received very good local press coverage, with large crowds visiting the Gallery (to see the incredibly popular Margaret Olley ‘Installation’, of a recreation of a couple of rooms in her Paddington house) who walked past my exhibition on the way in and on the way out. Two paintings (‘Earth Mother’ and ‘Rainforest Poet’) were sold, plus a good number of Mullumbimby Dreaming (Catalogues), and copies of The Mullumbimby Kid.

2014, August and beyond. In anticipation of ‘withdrawal symptoms’ at the end of this exhibition I came back to Sydney with ideas for a series of north-coast inspired paintings, to give me something beyond the exhibition to focus on, and worked on them all virtually simultaneously, in a five-month burst of creativity:

The first of these north-coast inspired post-exhibition paintings was a square-formatted ‘Murwillumbah Townscape’ (after the style of ‘Mullumbimby Dreaming’, projected to finish in early 2015). At the Murwillumbah High School reunion (of 2009) I had stayed in the Murwillumbah Motor Inn (Econo Lodge Murwillumbah), with a spectacular view out the window of part of the town showing typical-style Murwillumbah houses, with Mount Warning and the mountain range beyond. At the time I had thought it would make a really interesting landscape painting, with the house immediately across the road having been lived in by Barbara Taylor, a student in our class of 1959, but I had been distracted at the time by all the reunion activities. So when I was arranging accommodation in Murwillumbah (for the exhibition) I booked into the same hotel, specifically asking for a room with views of the townscape and Mount Warning, and was given Room 30. On the Saturday and Sunday (of the opening weekend) I did a series of sketches (supplemented by photographs), including an old lady dressed in her best clothes who walked past at the time of my Sunday sketching (a once-was-teenager from my time at school in Murwillumbah). The first thing I did on returning to Sydney was to purchase a good quality (122 cm x 122 cm) square canvas of Belgium linen (for this projected painting) from Parkers at the Rocks, and launched into this work, adjusting the perspective slightly (as in ‘Mullumbimby Dreaming’) to make the mountains larger (to create impact) and the houses smaller.

Another Post-exhibition painting was ‘My Father’s Stone’ (portrait format), of my father’s headstone and marble urn (containing a Christ Thorn plant) at the Wardell Cemetery, with an inset of the flannel flower illustration (from the cover of New Collected Poems) in the bottom left hand side of the painting. Flannel flowers (and other heath flowers) once grew in great profusion at the Wardell Cemetery, before the area was more consistently mowed back. The Christ Thorn in the marble urn had been growing there for many decades. I have painted it as it appeared when visited (at the time of the exhibition), looking white and diminished, and without leaves, and a few flowers (their last flowers most probably before dying).

Another post-exhibition painting was ‘Chincogan and Mount Rushmore’, (landscape format), developed from a photograph of my face in the left-hand-side of a view of Chincogan from McLeods Chute/Shoot. My father always stopped at this place when travelling north (to admire this panoramic view from Byron Bay and the Julian Rocks through to Chincogan). As a child I had wondered how people from Sydney would react to such a view (soon to be lost when the new tunnel on the northern extension of the Bangalow bypass is opened). Visitors to this region had obviously liked what they saw (given the spectacular development of the far north coast in the last..