The Three Sisters at Barwon Heads

I’ve been working on this painting over the past few weeks and it’s close to finished. It’s been a bit of a meditative work so has taken as much time as it needed.

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This is a homage to my aunt Shirley and her three girls. We farewelled Shirley at Barwon Heads just on a year ago, about when I started this blog.

The cliffs in the background were from some pictures I took that day.

It’s a wonderful place to be. Shirley was a great artist and loved the beach around Barwon Heads.

When my dad spoke about Shirley at her farewell, he said that her best work was still to come. She painted a lot of still life works as well as some larger landscapes but she was doing more abstract and larger pieces and it was wonderful to see her still going for it despite dealing with cancer and all its horrors.

In this painting and another painting I did this year – ‘To the Lighthouse’ – I wanted to portray a sense of the precariousness of the domestic order we try to place on our lives.

There is a constant balance of instilling beauty – the wisteria, the white jugs – against the reality of the unknown – the crumbling cliff face, the advancing tide – and a realisation that the reassertion of nature will prevail over everything we would wish to control.

Against this apparent doom I still subscribe to optimism in humanity and the wonder of the world we live in and anticipation of the moments we have still to experience.

I’ve enjoyed having the time to reflect and work though the emotions of loss while I’ve been painting so I thought it would be good to show the process.

The realisation that those we love are always with us is something I hope the painting also represents.


2 thoughts on “The Three Sisters at Barwon Heads

  1. I love the title of this piece and the slide by slide build up, with the warmth slowly creeping in. I often think about how unpredictable our security is. We see news flashes of people in bomb-damaged cities who, only a year ago, lived a normal life with no great apprehensions. We are the lucky ones and we have to hold on to the knowledge that in spite of these troubled areas, there are fewer wars today than in the past.


    • Hi Hilary thanks so much. Yes we are supremely fortunate. I just watched a bit of a documentary about the man hoping to bring some form of peace to Somalia after being a refugee in Melbourne and now becoming an Australian citizen. Splicing scenes of Melbourne with views of Somalia made for an unsettling contrast.


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