SOME of the best art is born out of adversity or serendipity.
Covid-19 forced artist Greg Baker to cancel his annual painting tour of France and hunker down in Coogee, where he gained a newfound appreciation of the seascapes and coastline.
The vistas inspired him to paint 40 stunning new works, which combine the ruggedness of the ocean with the soft dying light and perpetual blue skies.
“Living in a Lightscape relates to the seasons through the year, with our unique West Australian light, varying palettes of ocean and sky and some landmarks relating to our development and history,” Baker says.
“One such landmark is the Munitions or ‘Ammo Jetty’ at Woodman point (soon to be replaced) which has a fascinating story to tell and features in several works as the Disappearing Icon series.
“Another series relates to the walkway thats runs parallel to the beach between Woodman point and Coogee.
“A monument sits on this walkway noting the failed Clarence settlement of 1830 and in due course its future spread to the surrounding areas we know today.”
In some works, Baker superbly captures the power of crashing waves and swells off the Cockburn coast.
“Of the 40 paintings in the exhibition, 30 works are oils, mostly on canvas and in some cases treated with heavy impasto to create texture and movement, like a heavy swell as witnessed during storms through the winter months,” he says.
“I worked with pastels en plein air in some situations due to their portability and immediacy, but several larger studio works convey a softness and subtlety of palette synonymous with the medium.”
Baker is a seasoned artist with 70 exhibitions under his belt, including shows in France, London, Singapore and Hong Kong, and is known for his skills with oils, pastels, acrylics and watercolours.
Growing up Baker says he was inspired by the French impressionists including Monet, Manet and Degas, but he also cites English artist Turner as an influence, which is perhaps most evident in Living in a Lightscape.
Also on show at the exhibition are new beach sketches by Baker’s longtime friend Greg James, a Fremantle artist best known for his Bella, Bon Scott and Fisherman by the Sea sculptures in the port city.
Living in a Lightscape is on March 15 -18 at the Coogee Beach Surf Life Saving Club on Poore Avenue.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK