The Waterfall

It’s an art school cliché that the most naïve and fresh out of high school student will always paint a waterfall; just like they will always develop large, underexposed glossy black and white images of their dog or cat in their first Photography lessons. What’s important and touching to their impressionable eye and sensibilities is banal shite to the initiated mind and trained eye.

I grew up near a waterfall and typical of most parts of Australia it was either trickling like a gutter in dry spells or gushing like a Hydroelectric Plant after periods of rain.

The local council have built a walking path through there in recent years; it’s kind of lost it’s charm as it was such a difficult spot to climb down to many people didn’t bother making the effort. I honestly believe there will be more damage done to the forest rather than prevented by visitors. Idiots in grass roots council can never be told.

I have done a series of painting relating to the waterfall over the years, because it was a place my friends and I visited and had adventures in; later we drank booze there by the fire and took girls. It was a magical kind of place; the constant running water was kind of meditative; like white noise in the background.

I like the idea of it being a secluded and relaxing place but with an element of danger. When I began this doodle I had included a figure of a man looking down on the woman lying in the sun below. I painted him out of it; it made me uncomfortable but perhaps it was a mistake. Who knew what the man’s motives were. Was he a dangerous man, looking to harm her… or just looking..? Was he a gay guy walking his dog, admiring her fashion sense..? Was he her boyfriend, bringing her some lunch..? I like this ambiguity.

Many feminist thinkers, artists and philosophers have suggested that the waterfall as a motif is a euphemism for the vagina. The meeting point of a valley, moisture, somewhere life springs from. Goodness-gracious. How embarrassing, he said, mopping his brow. I do like girls, very much actually, but I don’t think I had this in mind.

Or did I..? The collective consciousness may be having the last laugh.

I think the painting needs to be pushed a lot further so I view this as a study; an experiment.

Stay tuned; when I find time I may just be able to get back into the waterfall again.

No comments: