A Modern Pre-Raphaelite


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I found that I naturally drew the model, a sculptress friend, as if she was one of the Pre-Raphaelite muses, pensive, unsmiling, probably thinking of poetry. Being British, I have grown up with images created by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of a by-gone supposedly-perfect age.  A view of Britain, in her medieval heyday.  The Pre-Raphaelites, founded in 1848, strongly resisted the increased mechanisation of their time, particularly of traditional crafts, by looking backwards and recreating idealised medieval scenes of Britain.

Now that I live in Australia.. I see the same wistfulness in the art of settlers who came here from the UK, famous artists like Arthur Streeton (1867-1943) and Tom Roberts (1856-1931), viewing their paintings you can see the European gaze on a novel landscape.

So, here is my view of a current “Pre-Raphaelite” woman: she is idealised, she looks sulkily on her environment. The Pre-Raphaelites liked to include accurate depictions of nature; European native plants that I love to draw are all invasive weeds here. I see a correlation to the Colonists, spreading like weeds, very rapidly changing the Australian landscape.  However, all is beautiful, the woman and the weeds are encased in gold.  I have this painting hanging opposite a window so the gold-painted ground always shines.

Permanent acrylic ink and acrylic paint on wooden board. The sides are painted white and it is ready to hang.  Dimensions: 60 x 50 cm

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