I drew this Eucalyptus in 1997, I’m pretty sure. I was in year 11, probably fifteen, and I had gone to our local primary school park on Priestley Street and actually taken my fineliners and egg tempera paints with me. I still remember the experience vividly. I did used to take art materials with me to that park all the time, there were big, grand eucalyptus trees everywhere.
Sometimes, you look back on the things you release into the world, groan, hold your head in your hands, and basically have to learn how to deal with people not only seeing, but sometimes even owning things that you can’t stand.
Sometimes though, you look back on things and think, ‘wow, could I actually do that again now? Do I have that same vision?’ And I don’t. I do have vision, but it’s not this vision. I think, personally, that it shows my obsession with unconventional colouring, something I’ve always kind of had. I feel like this with writing, too. I look back on things I’ve written and sometimes wonder who that person was, what she was thinking, why she chose the words she did, how she managed to execute a sentence that I’m not sure I could execute now.
Eucalyptus trees are fantastic subjects, they’re graceful without being too ordered, they have a lazy way of growing their branches which translates to wonderful curved lines and robust curved leaves on the page. More than that, there are hundreds of species of eucalyptus to choose from.
I used to do most of my artwork outside of and independently of class, despite taking TEE Art, and Art & Design. Sometimes I’d try and cheat and find a way to add it to my portfolio by making something up, and hoping for the best. But ultimately, I drew this eucalyptus because I really felt like this eucalyptus wanted to be drawn by me. It’s my favourite kind of art; art that is a communication between subject and artist, and is its own pattern of interspecies or interobject understanding.
It has nothing to do with deadlines, commissions, commerciality, making money or even personal philosophy and politics.
It was a tree. It was some tempera paints. Some ink. A fineliner. Some paper.
I miss those days. I don’t draw nearly as freely anymore.