This Oil on Board was about evoking the really great memories of the Pental Island experience in January 2017. The caked dry banks of the River Murray touched on memories of the major droughts experience across Australia in 1984, that impacted Cole as a young girl on a bore water/ rain water dependant cattle property. Somehow the revisiting of the Murray, awakens in the painter a sympathy and a passion for the harshness and beauty experienced by so many, of this land, of the elements.
“This trip was great, the dogs loved canoeing up the river at dusk as much as we did.” Cole says, ” It was the perfect time of the day to commune with the cockatoos, flocking in the gums that line the river. Brad and the dogs would head off to explore while I’d set up on the edge of the cool muddy river to sketch and paint. Nostalgia wells up as I think of the Colin Theile book, River Murray Mary that I read as a kid, and the camping trips and holidays alongside this, Australia’s biggest river.”
This painting will mean something to those who know the immensity of the trunks of these gums, the solid, cold, clean white density of the gum, and the textures of the older bark at the edges, blocking the pelting midday sun in a black shadow. Words capture the moment in a completely different way than paint.
Joanna Cole continues to sketch and paint the banks of the river, This is a beginning.