Russell Mckane
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Painted off site from drawings done in 1981 and completed in 1983. This Bloodwood in slow growing bearing the scars of growing in a difficult and parched space. Uluru is the indginous name for Ayres Rock. Colour wise and symboliclly this painting is a metaphore od an old and ancient stuggle in the land made worse since White settlement. 600x900mm Oil on Canvas

Thanks Jacq_Sarah This one is a play on the famous Monet painting Dejoneir su la herb.

"They were naked and not ashamed" is a painting that is a metaphore of humanness. These two Backhousia's take on very masculine and femanine characteristics. In the words of "While you were sleeping" He is leaning. All my paintings explore the human as recreated in nature via the trucks of trees. I am very photographic in approach and very faithful to the forms found. The paintings take about ten weeks to complete, painted completely on site. Which is why I like this facility in Google earth as I can locate them precisely and others are able to visit the specific trees. This is an Oil painting on Linen 750mmx1050mm

This is a painting of two Australian Rainforest trees - backhousia mytlfolia (Spelling ?) It is in a rare piece of Western Sydney Dry Rainforest. I am fairly confident that these entwined trunks belong to the two main trunks starting as root shoots which is typical of Mytles. It is an Oil on Linen 800x800mm.

Wonderful collection of paintings Russell. I like your style.

“Return to the earth” Figure in Landscape No 12 2005 Oil Painting on Linen 750 x 1050mm

Australia as a landscape is populated by trees and characterized by its’ trees. Each painting in the series is a complex metaphor for aspects of human life. Trees are chosen for their sculptural presence and placed forward and central in the canvas much like a portrait painting.

This young Angophora certainly has a sculptural human like presence. On the side of a road cutting it has had its roots laid bare. The Angophora has an amazing ability for its roots develop into trunk material when exposed to air and to cope with any obstacle in its way. This first group of paintings in 2005, has a common theme expressed in the passage from Romans 5: “Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…” Romans 5:3-5

A tree with an easy life may grow straight and tall but does not develop character. It may be condemned to be only another tree in the forest. So also with humans, depth of character only comes through struggle and pain. Here is the greatest hope. But humans, like the trees will return to the earth. The figurative gesture of this tree reminds us of our judgment from Genesis 3: By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken: for dust you are and to dust you will return. Genesis 3:19.

“Between a rock and a hard Place” Figure in Landscape No 22 2006

Between a rock

A tree with an easy life may grow straight and tall but does not develop character. It may be condemned to be only another tree in the forest. So also with humans, depth of character only comes through struggle and pain. Here is great hope.

and a hard place.

This old Banksia not only grows in sand between two large rocks but its hard place is on the edge of a large cliff, exposed and wind swept.

Sentinel it holds back the leaf litter and in doing so provides for itself vital nutrients. The rock crevice also provides protection just as Moses hides in a crevice as a much more awesome being passed by.

A hard place is also a metaphoric place. Standing on the edge of things, living on the edge, a precipice - it breeds greatness. Australia as a landscape is populated by trees and characterized by its’ trees. Each painting in the series is a complex metaphor for aspects of human life. Trees are chosen for their sculptural presence and placed forward and central in the canvas much like a portrait painting.

“Hope” Figure in Landscape No 15 2005

“Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…” Romans 5:3-5

The final stage of struggle: this tree is the epitome of hope. Its majestic and healthy trunk is bathed in the most amazing coloured robes. It is not until you look at the roots of this tree and consider its hold on a steep slope that you realize this tree was born in suffering. Then its’ size and its’ grandeur assures us that there is always hope in suffering.

The angophora is a unique tree of all our trees. It has the ability to grow its roots in, around, and over rocks in an amazing way. It also changes colour from a soft grey in winter to startling oranges, pinks and purples when it sheds its bark around Christmas. The colour is also cyclic over three years depending on the seasonal conditions. For a short time the bush is ablaze with these wonderful colours and the ground littered with bark confetti, only to be washed grey in the summer rains.

Painted off the Putty rd Colo it is typical of the trees to be found in the Hawkesbury, the greater Sydney basin, and the Woolami National park.

“Passed by” Figure in Landscape No 17 2005

Thousands of people a day pass by this old gentleman. A relic of a past life the old ironbark stands with an iron heart. Scared by its life it stands destitute but proud. The main trunk is long gone and its replacement is also dead yet its life goes on even if passed by.

The painting is also about looking: For those with eyes to see. I, myself passed by this tree for a year without seeing its hidden beauty and then it haunted me for the next three. Like a beggar on the road we don’t see or choose to look the other way. We live in a world where the insignificant are passed by and the ugly are cut down.

Started in 2004 this painting is a part of the Figure in Landscape series. It is on a main intersection of Putty Rd at Wilberforce. Australia as a landscape is populated by trees and characterized by its’ trees. Each painting in the series is a complex metaphor for aspects of human life. Trees are chosen for their sculptural presence and placed forward and central in the canvas much like a portrait painting.

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