On the remote North West coast of Tasmania, a small but spectacular peninsula juts out into the expanse of Bass Strait. Here lies the historic township of Stanley that Elaine Green now calls home. Visiting the area a few years ago she’d had an epiphany. ‘While on a holiday exploring Tassie, we’d stopped in Stanley for a couple of days. Strolling along the beach there one morning I suddenly wanted to stay forever!’ Elaine’s current body of work depicts that immersive experience of place. Akin to 19th century Romanticism, her concern is with the intangible qualities; conditions of sky, light and atmosphere – the ever-changing drama of wind, water and clouds, the sweeping forces of nature.
‘There is a familiarity along this coast, a feeling that I belong,’ Elaine muses. ‘Birds and wildlife are in abundance. Seagulls frolic freely in the sky above our garden, at night rabbits and wallabies roam the streets and little penguins march from the sea into the shelter of their burrows.’ Depending on the tides and weather, each morning Elaine walks her two dogs along the nearby Godfrey’s Beach. It is very same beach that had motivated her relocation from the northern NSW region. ‘I have the view of Green Hills in one direction and the steep, rocky cliffs of The Nut in the other. Stanley is famous for The Nut which is actually a volcanic plug,’ she continues. ‘Even though The Nut is iconic, I really have an affinity for Green Hills, I feel a kind of a peace the closer I get to it. There are always cows grazing up there. It intrigues me as to what those hills might look like if viewed from the other side but around there is only accessible by boat. My dogs are West Highland White Terriers whose ancestors originated in Scotland, like mine. Green Hills reminds me so much of Scotland, I think that is why I have such a sense of belonging.’
‘Living so close to the beach I find seascapes creeping more and more into my works, although the skies above still fascinate me,’ Elaine relays. ‘The smell of the sea and the sound of the wind fills my studio while I am painting the hues and moods of this place. The views here are incredibly inspiring and sometimes I also love to paint them en plein air. However, the inclement weather often necessitates the use my car as a sheltering, mobile studio.’ She opines that nature’s atmospheric poetry can never be adequately expressed in a formal tradition. ‘My paintings are more about the sensory experience of unbounded nature rather than analytical representations.’Elaine responds to the aesthetic promptings of a work in progress, allowing her brush gestures to govern the emerging image. It is a thoroughly intuitive process. A certain area will engage her attention and its presence will then be augmented through scumbles of brush and palette knife markings. ‘My works begin as abstractions; manipulating oil paint, exploring spaces that exist only on the canvas, blurring and rubbing back, adding and losing detail to reveal the story.’ A coalescence of meaning and medium, Elaine’s art offers transcendence. Boundaries both physical and intellectual dissolve into a mystical sense of oneness.
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