Local landscapes make a comeback

Local landscapes make a comeback
Rhonda Dredge

Everyone loves a landscape and if you’ve been to Airey’s Inlet for a beach holiday the image of Eagle Rock might still be conjuring up the mood.

Many artists have tried to capture the distinctive rocky outcrop near the lighthouse.

Bridget McDonnell has had a few rock paintings in her Faraday St gallery.

She currently has a Jan Senberg landscape of Aireys, although the scene is less recognisable and the painting quite stylised.

Ms McDonnell said that people typically had “a yearning for a place” from their holidays but collectors rarely rushed in for landscapes in February.

The yearning grows until winter when she is happy to oblige. She encourages browsers, which is half the fun of collecting. You never know what might catch your eye.

The gallery is a local institution, in Faraday St since 1986, and Ms McDonnell reported a bumper month in December, selling 40 to 50 works out of her Christmas exhibition.

“It was a good show for us,” she said. The works were all priced below $3000 to make them affordable.

A large, bold waterfall by Lucy Boyd, youngest daughter of Arthur Boyd, also sold for $3500.

A smaller Boyd is still up for grabs, a painterly impression of the Melbourne Cemetery with bold brushstrokes and vivid lighting.

“It’s a gutsy little painting done eight to 10 years ago when Lucy lived in Park St.

People will want it because of the painting rather than the actual location,” Ms McDonnell said.

Landscape is difficult to paint because artists can be overwhelmed by the specifics of a well-known place.

Cemeteries are more generic and allow for poetic expression, although the artist has brought in the Dandenongs in the background to give it context.

A good proportion of McDonnell’s gallery is filled with work by Boyd and Perceval descendants.

“I like the continuity,” she said. “They learned from their parents and became innovative. They didn’t have a choice. They all know how to paint. Celia has made a good living from an early age.”

Ms McDonnell mostly stocks Australian works but also a few by Russian artists because she admires their more adventurous and confident handling of paint.

She said they were trained up like gymnasts.

One painting on her wall by a Russian art professor is livelier than most of the local works put together.

“I love researching pictures, finding out the back stories and showing artists not represented elsewhere,” she said. She got her research skills from her mother who ran an antique store in Hampton •

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