This is a painting of Ned Kelly, (1855 – 1880), one of Australia’s bushrangers. He is wearing headgear made from farmers’ plough cultivators. The cultivators were hammered flat and then forged and moulded into shape. The pieces were held together with leather and bolts.
The focal point of the painting is Ned’s set of eyes. However, the viewer’s eye drifts to the steely gun and the billowing smoke.
The composition of the painting is in thirds, horizontally, and by placing Ned to take up most of the surface of the painting it appears that he is very close to the viewer. By using a darker colour in the foreground, figures in the mid-section, (his friends), and a less intense colour for the sky, a sense of distance has been created.
Two complimentary colours, bright yellow-orange and violet-blue interact with each other and stimulate the senses. Yellow gives the painting energy. The smooth blending and sharp edges of Ned’s headgear are in contrast to the strong curves and texture on his heavy coat.
Acrylic on Masonite, date unknown. (Cleaned and framed.)