Place. As much as it is a geographical location, it is also an abstract thought, a concept—a palimpsest of memories, stories, histories, images, smells, sensations, tastes, people, songs.

Painting place, prodding past.

Writing about place is an exploration. Not just into that place searching for its identity, but into my own thoughts of that place, my identity with that place.

True, through reading and research I learn the history of a place, its people purposes and importance, but they are still words or pictures until my mind processes them. Those thoughts, whether derived verbally, or through pixels, photographs, paint or printed on paper are not the actual place, yet I am identifying with it.

The Lobethal Woollen Mill has captured my attention for two decades now, and it is this continuous attentiveness, at times intensive, that has generated an exponential connection. It reaches further back in time beyond my physical relationship, before I even knew the Mill existed. I can wonder and wander back to stories told, read, written, remembered, forgotten; back to 1980, 1930, 1870, 1850, 1700, 500, 10,000BC.

These paintings of the Lobethal Woollen Mill were done at different times, noteworthy times over the past two years. This is part of my diary in oil paint on wood; reminders of enterprising businesses at the Mill, community operating daily, creativity, and also a pleasant day two years ago, before an extremely unpleasant one that threatened placelessness.

The study of place is my diary.

Coming up to the two-year anniversary of the Cudlee Creek bushfire in which our township lost so much (even though so much was saved), I open my open eyes, and look at this place.

My home, we are lucky. All I want for Christmas now is for my family to be happy, healthy and here. In this place.

Happy, healthy and here.  

The Year Before & Today

Mill Study # 13, 2020. Still an enterprising place: cheese, trucks, biscuits and wine and art. Community.

The Day Before

Mill Study #15, 2020. Nineteenth, the day before the Cudlee Creek bushfire.

The Day Of

Mill Study #14, 2020. The day of the Cudlee Creek bushfire, 20th December 2019 (homage to water bomber pilots and the pink fire retardant).

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