A Rainforest Mind

Thoughts on works by a regional bush artist

If you live in the City, you may at times harbour a desire to live closer to nature. In Australia, this means, for all intent and purpose, living in the Bush. The term ‘Bush’ of course, covers a great diversity of landscapes; from the desert to the ocean, from the plains to the mountains. Were one to go and live in the ‘Bush’, exactly where would be a decision made through considerable consultation with people, maps, and ultimately, a feeling of belonging.

I don’t know how my friend ended up where she is but let’s just say, it is beautiful, diverse, and not too remote from centres of activity and services.

Directions. A Collection of Expressive Moments

Below is a list that references groupings of works and environmental images–arranged largely through my interpretation–across various times at Brunderee Studio.

1 May 2020 Works

2 May 2020 Context (Not Yet)

Some preliminary thoughts.

A Rainforest Mind – At work with Anja


“We are now at that point in the morning, in which the fragrance has shifted dramatically. The sun has warmed the canopy, and that eucalypt smell is starting to cut through that gorgeous, earthy dewy scent. It is gorgeous; the air is finally taking on that heat, and there is a wonderful juxtaposition between that coolness still emanating from the earth’s surface and the warmth of the air as the sun heats it…
Glorious! absolutely glorious. The dew is slowly fading and the fairy-dusted look is starting to disappear but it is still delightful. I do feel as if I am breathing some of the best air possible.”

— Anja, February 2022

Distant Hills: The wider landscape as an introduction.

Morning with Notes

“Place” is almost everything. It is the beginning and end for those who exercise creativity with frequency. Understandably, some feel less interested in expressing thoughts or emotions about their working environment. It may be inconsequential, unremarkable, uninteresting or simply private. These feelings may even vary day-to-day. Yet the environment is crucial to sustaining the urge to create, to think in magical visual terms that will eventually become manifest for others to see.

At the very least, “place’ is essential. And what if one lives deep within it? Cocooned, enveloped all around, in a home as the creative locus? Such a solitariness, a detachment from the throng of human activity, enforced by an untouched wilderness, is simply a still point for reflection and expression.

In terms of the consequences of having such a place, that is, the output of the artist, it is easy to overlook this condition because it is perhaps infrequently discussed, accepted as always conditional, that place can be defined from a variety of functional perspectives.

The Day above: The reality space for the ’Rainforest Mind’.

The living quarters. The Studio, that ’place’ where the artist produces their work, can either be of interest or not discussed at all in a wider consideration of the artist. In the life of the artist, it usually plays a significant role even if the artist works “en plein air”.

What is less accessible in a way, is how the artist feels about the world around them. One can assume inherently positive but that may not be frequently expressed as a matter of creative importance.

Introducing the Rainbow Mind

It must be understood that I am not there. I am distant but listening. I am experiencing what I’ve access to.

Methodologies of creativity are legion and erratic. Why? We want to feel that all creativity is an act of a unique being. It turns out that I or we, I should say, have access to that. We are not there either. So the experience is conveyed, in a visual sense for our purposes here. Sure, it could be video or sound, but let us take this slowly. Not overload on sensory input but take time to dwell on chunks; big chunks of information as they emerge from that environment.

The world around, there to be observed whenever the mood takes, lingers as fixed sensations in the mind. These forms of memories or impressions have no specific event categorisation. Just emotional blurs that have a curious substance and persistence.

Views of a body of water change moment by moment, with the central architectural features mapped into the mind, not solid or immutable, but rather transparent so other views can be placed over as an act of refreshing strengthening the capacity for later invocation.

The objective here is to navigate, without a destination, travelling with a restless visual engagement that connects a mind to a subtly changing environment.

Gathering of Sensations

Our artist does more with these memories. She labours over the extraction of essences; mark by mark. These marks are metaphors for the real experience.

The nearby lake: At the water’s edge.

The marks sum to a representation but they also represent restless energy always symbolised in frozen gesture, the particles of our observations. The energy can’t be captured, stored, and recast later; it must be reconstituted with precise effort.

Lake Interpretation: Intimacy and energy in colour marks.

The compulsion to sketch, suggests a profound connection, as a form of language, an inhabited space. Through all weather moments, hours of the day, and nuances of light, Anja engages, practices, and explores the context of her life. What is drawn is what is important.

Lake with foliage: Watermarks redefined.

The Garden Unbound

Where do we find ourselves? We have travelled to a point where the influence of the mind becomes evident. A will has been imposed on the environment. It is in the convergence of paths, practical open spaces, resources placed for collection or admiration, and plants, deliberately placed as an act of joy, love and passion with a vision to the future.

What is not seen, or seen only at particular times of the day, is that the boundary is marked by a clearing of space, and across that space, the wildlife roams when in the neighbourhood. Without robust walls and fences, nature in all its variation will eventually encroach. It may be quick or it may take years; it may be alive or dead. An energy nonetheless will move the natural world’s elements wherever they are free to go.

Garden edge: The space between the wild and the domestic

The Artist Revealed

To hear the artist is to know the artist. The words of such a private person emerge from moments in which their inner feelings of outer experiences need to be set free. Moments occur where words must be uttered. A voice gives to the moment, beyond the subject, that sense of what it means to be alive. To whom are these words spoken? Well, to us now. Permission has been given for the words to be set down to read, at some time, and to reflect upon. It should be kept in mind that these words are associated with moving images, video in fact.

You really get a sense of the wind moving in oscillations. Its power. Its energy. You get a real sense of it being something living, an entity all of its own.” (September)

Spoken with a view of the sky and treetops. Windy with the sounds of the rustling leaves dominating the ambience.
More words float free from days gone by.

There’s an incredible energy in the air. The air has its own unique fragrance today; every day is an extraordinary fragrance but today is something different. There’s a shift, It is both simultaneously warm yet my body is covered in goosebumps. I feel cold yet it’s not. (September)

Spoken while walking along a path in the bush. Clearly audible footsteps and the clinking of something being carried.

The sun has just peeked through the storm. (October)
A joyous utterance about the sky seen through the trees.

On a more serious note, I just want to reflect on what a positively beautiful morning it is. It is stunning. The air is perfumed with Eucalypt flowers and that soft sweet morning scent. It is warm, still and incredibly moving. The light, the clarity, the colour; life couldn’t get better. I feel sorry for everyone who doesn’t take time out, at least twice a week to marvel at nature’s glory. I think they would be fundamentally different people if they did. I think we all would be.”

Thoughts over coffee at the front door.

It is a glorious morning A. Its about 15 degrees. It is fresh but the sun is warm, and the fragrance has that sort of fresh, earthy tang, intermingled with that sweet, salty oceanic dew. <inhales>. Of course, that will change as the sun gains in intensity and those glorious Eucalypt perfumes will permeate. Feels like everything is being covered in fairy dust as it glitters and shimmers. And it is so still. “(February)

A morning reflection. Sounds of birds travel from distant spaces. Words expressed aloud while walking along a path in the bush. Footsteps audible, some distant birds and the occasional insect. Later, the leaves of the trees rustle loudly.