Conversation with the Artists & Gallery Tour

Both Queensland artist Clare Purser, and Blue Mountains artist Frances Feasey, have a long history painting their favourite landscapes. Collectively in Harmony they present an exhibition that unveils the scenic beauty of coastal landscapes and the captivating allure of mountains and trees, inviting contemplation of the intricate relationship between the natural world and the human experience.

Words can’t describe these stunning paintings. As evident in this collection of contemporary landscape paintings, both Clare Purser and Frances Feasey have taken their cues from their surroundings to create landscape art that is both environmentally inspired, energetic and highly original.

Clare’s paintings are heavily focused on coastline formations, concepts of the sublime, and the study of light, movement and colour, successfully capturing the effect of boundlessness of the Morton Bay area around Brisbane. In Clare’s paintings, the beholder’s experience of awe is generated by a sense of vastness signalled by the show-stealing blue water, rolling hills and trees, wildflowers and birds that abound. She experiments with different views, colour palettes, and abstract perspectives to produce a comprehensive look at the landscape and its surrounding ecosystem.

Clare works predominantly in the medium of oil painting with mixed media on canvas, board and paper, using photos, notes and sketches for inspiration. She lives on Moreton Bay, Brisbane where she works from her home studio. Clare likes painting and drawing plain-air around where she lives on Brisbane’s Bayside. She is interested in creating paintings that are evocative and intuitive and express an emotive reaction to the landscape. “I like to follow the direction the painting takes, taking advantage of the pliable nature of oil paint and the many ways it can be manipulated.” Themes relating to the of the environment have become central to Clare’s work; “The degradation of our coastal environment has been an ongoing concern of my work. My practice is informed by the Bay and islands close to where I live on Moreton Bay near Brisbane.”

Clare loves plain-air painting, fuelled with inspiration from the stunning locations around Brisbane’s bayside. “I find painting outside and being in the landscape an inspiring time to look and absorb deeply.” Clare holds an Honours degree in Visual Art from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

Surrounding her home in the Blue Mountains, Frances is fascinated by the exquisitely formed Australian trees thriving in the unrelenting elements, juxtaposed with the giant, gaping vastness of the valleys and rising mountains. Her landscapes feature her favourite places that have been transformed after the fires and rains, painted in her thick, energetic style that mimics the wild, windy precipices within a few kilometres of her home.

Based in the Blue Mountains, Frances Feasey is primarily a landscape painter with a strong interest in Australian treescapes. Frances embarked on a painting career focusing on topics such as back-burning and forest regeneration in her art practice. “I paint and draw trees and light. They are the main focus in all of my work. My neighbourhood the Blue Mountains is currently where I draw inspiration from. Within my work I oscillate between creating images that are representational and creating abstract marks and shapes. They are always with a particular landscape in mind, uniting the works. I’m interested in afternoon light particularly, how it highlights certain parts of a tree with bright and intense colouring for example an orange tree trunk or a vibrant red bunch of leaves or sometimes it looks like the tree is on fire but it’s just the light bouncing off the glossy, waxy texture of the leaves. These are the things I look for in a moment in the bush”.

Frances’s recent artist statement: ‘I am working on a series of drawings titled Nature As We Know It Is No More – Fluffy Trees Series, making reference to the bush fires of 2019. Regularly I venture out into the Blue Mountains NSW area, particularly Bilpin (that was hit badly by the fires) and start observing and drawing the ‘fluffy’ trees. It fascinates me how these burnt natives now look.

Uncharacteristically they have sprouted new leaves everywhere along the tree trunks. These young leaves are so brightly coloured in yellows and light greens and even reds. They look alien, especially contrasted with the jet-black thick tree trunks. These colours disperse an illuminous glow especially when the light hits them.

It is this glow that I am interested in, in this drawing. With the use of charcoal, gouache and pastels on paper I am recreating the alien-like feel and look of the trees and capturing the light that picks up different aspects of the bush’.

Frances holds an Honours Degree in Fine Arts from the College of Fine Art UNSW.