Friday, June 8, 2018

"Legacy" - An Exhibition of 'Dunmoochin' inspired work

The Dunmoochin Foundation is located in 200 acres of protected bushland in Cottles Bridge, north-east of Melbourne. Within the bushland setting, the Foundation offers rented studios and residences for artists, writers and researchers. Established by the eminent Australian artist, Clifton Pugh AO, three times winner of the Archibald prize, the Dunmoochin Foundation is now managed by a voluntary Board of Directors.

Since its establishment in 1989, many Australian and overseas artists have had the opportunity to develop their artistic skills and experience a connection with nature. The Dunmoochin Foundation offers a place of retreat for successful applicants to experience six to twelve months in this natural setting. Over 29 years, the Dunmoochin Foundation has offered residencies to visual artists, musicians, composers, sculptors, poets, writers, dancers, puppeteers, craftspeople, video producers, film makers, researchers and environmentalists. (read more)

Legacy - Exhibition

Visitors to the exhibition (photo credit - Kristin Walker)

'Legacy', a group show featuring work from 11 artists who have spent time as artists-in-residence at Dunmoochin.  Lyn Ashby, Mirranda Burton, Jole Di Florio, Heja Jung, Lisa Nolan, Simon Pierse, Sue Robertson, Jodi Stewart, Matt Stonehouse, Mark Wotherspoon and yours truly, Nerina Lascelles, showcase work on the rustic mudbrick walls of the Eltham Library Community Gallery until July 2nd, 2018.

Dunmoochin is an incredible place steeped in rich cultural history. It seems that every artist who has had the fortune to undertake a residency has been influenced by the beauty of the surrounding bushland. 

I have three paintings on display in 'Legacy' and while I don't have any paintings that I created while actually in residence, as they've all sold :), I have had a delightful time in the studio revisiting the influences that inspired me so greatly 

It was back in 2010 that I went to live as an artist in residence at Dunmoochin for around two years.  It was during this chapter that the motif of the 'Redbox' leaf originated; and it continues to appear in my paintings. This iconic circular-shaped leaf reflects this area of dry bushland on the outskirts of Melbourne. 

Below are some the process details and finals of the paintings showing ......


“Today's studio quest has been to relay the incredible stillness and silence of a foggy morning here in the gorgeous Red Box forest in Panton Hill. Not quite there but enjoying the process :)” – Instagram April 8th 2018.

Red Box Mist | 122cm x 122cm | 2018

The two other paintings in the exhibition - and their working details are pictured below.....

"In celebration of this beautiful full moon that continues to light up the cold, clear nights here in the bush, this painting is now completed and on display in “Legacy” - an exhibition featuring the work of 11 artists who have spent time in residency at Dunmoochin." May 31. 2018 - Instagram

Red Box Forest Moon | 132cm x 132cm | 2018


Red Box Bush | 76cm x 152cm | 2018

Today, on this cold, wet and wintery Melbourne day I am also enjoying revisiting some of the paintings that I did created while at Dunmoochin.  
This painting (below) features the 'Long Leafed Box', which is another indigenous eucalypt growing in the dry bush forest in Cottles Bridge. This painting was inspired by the beautiful Japanese folding screens (or byobu) that were used as room dividers and as a means of reflecting light into Japanese houses prior to the access to electricity in Japan.
Just as an aside, this painting won the 'People's Choice Award' at the Nillumbik Art Prize back in 2011 :)

Long Leaf Box Collage, 152cm x 122cm, 2011

Here's is another painting created at Dunmoochin that features the circular 'Red Box' leaves. I recall being always so fascinated with the wide variety of colours in the leaves. Mostly of course they're a lovely pale misty green but as they age, they turn pink and even a rusty-red colour. Some individual leaves contain all of the colours on the one leaf. 
When it rains the shiny leaves reflect the grey skies above and the hue of the red box foliage seems to soften into an even paler green..... the raindrops becoming sparkling, silvery jewels.

Red Box Collage | 122cm x 122cm | Mixed Media on Canvas | 2011

To continue with a feature of some of the paintings that were created at Dunmoochin, another 'throwback' from my Dunmoochin residency that again features the Red Box leaves is this work. (below) The title of this painting is a Haiku poem written by the Japanese master, Seibi. 

"Lying down on my back
the Spring sunshine
filled my mouth" - Seibi

While revisiting the influences during my 'Dunmoochin' chapter, I found this photo of me at work in my studio. Clifton Pugh built this 'hanger-like' building when he began to create larger paintings.
While I utterly cringe to look at myself and my work from seeming lifetimes ago, this was such a magical and important chapter for me, both artistically and personally.

And to continue with a few more paintings from my two year Dunmoochin residency featuring Red Box gum leaves, the title of this work is a haiku poem by the Japanese master Kobayashi Issa (1763 - 1827)

"Under shady trees
Resting with a butterfly - 
this too, is karma" - Issa

While still strolling down memory lane - reflecting on some of the work that I created at Dunmoochin during my residency, I also found this one. This is one of my largest paintings measuring 152cm x 152cm, painted in 2012.
As with my previous post, the title is a haiku poem from the Japanese master, Yosa Buson (1716 - 1784)

"From far and near, 
Hearing the sounds of Waterfalls,
Young Leaves", Buson

...And for the last post from the rainy day reverie, another painting featuring the Redbox created at Dunmoochin back in 2012. Living at Dunmoochin enables one to connect with the landscape in all seasons, in a weather conditions and all times of the day. Nights with a full moon shining down through the redbox forest were extra special. This painting was the hero image of a solo exhibition I had at Montsalvat titled, 'Seizui - Essence'.
The title for this painting is one of my very favourite Haiku poems by Matsuo Basho.


"Clouds veil the moon, 
now and again, 
giving rest to it's beholders" - BASHO

I really hope you've enjoyed browsing through this small collection of paintings from my 'Dunmoochin' chapter - just as much as I have in revisiting them. 

'Legacy' an exhibition features  work from such a talented bunch of fellow artists who have also experienced a deep connection with Dunmoochin.

Here's hoping you are able make it down to the exhibition to have a look. Updates about the gos are posted regularly on our Facebook Page.

Also, if you're interested in commencing an artist residency at Dunmoochin, please apply via the website at

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