Exhibition: Mountain ~  Valley ~ River

I came to Murrurundi to undertake a series of workshops during  2020 and 2021 held by the Murrurundi Arts and Crafts Council and taught by Jelle van den Berg. This exhibition is the result. In this series of watercolour paintings, I worked within the tradition of landscape painting which embraced the Romantic movement in the 19th century which continues to evolve today. In preparation for this work, I particularly focussed on British landscape watercolourists between 1850 and 1900 such as John Sell Cotman and JMW Turner, exploring in my work how these artists painted, the techniques they used, the subject matter, the colour pallet and style. I explored past notions and representation of Romanticism that people had of the landscape, my own reaction to that, and then moved to exploring a more contemporary expression of similar themes.

The painting workshops involved walking and sketching outdoors in a variety of places around Murrurundi. The experience of moving through the valley, along the river, bounded by mountains, across smoothed river stones, through different vegetation, damp morning mists and blazing sunsets underpin these works evoking a sense of this place – the weather, the colour, the texture. The paintings are dynamic, alive, full of movement and they breathe, glow, and occasionally heave, just as the natural landscape does.

Jen and Des Dugan then gave me the opportunity to show this work the old church community building, in the place they were conceived and made, for which I am very grateful.

Pilar Helmers 18/9/21