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Early Days at Manly (91.5 x 60.5 cm)

This acrylic seascape is representative of the view from some early Australian beachside streets.

As a rule of structure the artist has chosen the ‘rule of thirds’, horizontally and vertically, and the painting is broken into nine sections. He has placed the sky, and the hills of the distant island, in the top third. The mid-section holds the sea, and the bottom third contains the street scene. The electric light poles on the left hand side of the painting, along with the tree on the right, balance the painting. Artistic licence has been used in placing a symbol on the roof of the building to the right. By doing so there is further balance of uprights (line) and shapes in the painting.

The point of focus is the cottage with the chimney, in the lower centre of the painting, but the viewer’s eye drifts to the island hills on the horizon, where sand dunes are clearly visible. An illusion of visual depth has been created because the artist used deeper tones in the foreground, and manipulated tones in the central section, so that as the sea receded towards the horizon the painting became blurred and blended with the hills where the colours transition into soft sky tones.

The source of light is entering from the left side of the canvas, and the booth on the footpath on the right side of the painting is casting shadow. It probably is mid-afternoon.

The artist used red-violet colours for the roofs, and rose and pastel colours for the bitumen and bricks. This is a popular colour choice in many of his paintings as is yellow-green that gives the painting energy. The foliage on the trees has been brought to life as the artist ‘stippled’ variegated colours across the canvas. He used this technique on the brick fence also. It contrasts well with the smooth, well-blended paint on the roadway, the grass, and the sea.

Attention has been paid to detail and soft touches of white have been placed on the sparkling sea.

The mood of the painting is calm, nostalgic and harmonious. This is the good life then and now.

Acrylic on Masonite, early career. (Cleaned and framed.)

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