Journeying with Arthur Streeton

Streeton Exhibition – 7 Nov 2020 – 14 Feb 2021

Limited number of timed tickets now available for extra sessions: 8-10am Friday-Sunday, 5-10pm Saturday. If you already have an untimed ticket, it is valid at any time.

Last week I travelled back to see the Arthur Streeton Exhibition for the second time. The exhibition was curated by the talented Wayne Tunnicliffe at the NSW Art Gallery. I listened to an interview on the internet with Wayne before entering.

What a fabulous once in a lifetime experience, although I did get a big shock on seeing the long queue at the entrance of the Gallery. The great thing was that I had an untimed ticket, only AUS $22. It was last Thursday 4th February, was able to enter in and out of the gallery as many times as I wished. I stepped out for a very brief lunch in the Gallery Cafe and then again for afternoon tea with a new watercolour art buddy. I rushed back into view all 150 of the wonderful paintings. The afternoon was much quieter with lots of room to sit and observe.

Many people started their experience by watching the film on a large screen at the opening of the exhibition, but I charged in with much excitement, as I knew I could watch the film on the NSW Gallery’s website anytime and often if I needed to, as I didn’t want to waste any time not actually viewing the paintings. I had purchased the book ‘Streeton’ (AUS$ 59.95) about the Exhitibion on my first visit – the opening day in November 2020. I carefully zoned in on many of the works that were especially brought into the gallery for the exhibition and that I might never get the chance again to experience in my lifetime. I had my trusty sketch book with me, taking copious notes along with sketches on the structuring and lighting that Steeton used in his work.

My favourite paintings, and it is hard to pick any favourites as they are all so good and some mesmerisingly amazing, was the Still glides the stream, and shall for ever glide’ 1890 (detail) with a close tie to ‘Golden Summer, Eaglemont‘ and ‘Spring 1890‘. These all reminding me of the beautiful landscape and summers I had growing up on the farm at Gundaroo, NSW Australia. I actually did an oil study some years back on Streeton’s ‘The River 1896’ and gifted this to my little brother James only recently. ‘Impression for Golden summer’ c 1888 was just as good as the larger work and every painting as beautifully framed. I had the audio guide which I used via my iphone and floated along all day, with new ideas and learning buzzing in my brain.

I was impressed and taken away all in the same breath with Streeton’s detailed and delicate watercolour paintings. He used some lovely variaged washes and hinted as well as detailed strokes to include his figures, be they in the distance, middle and or foreground. ‘Surveyor’s Camp 1896 ‘, ‘Summer noon, Hawkesbury River’ were just two fine examples of his eye for the subtle tones and skill in capturing a mood.

So it goes without saying I highly recommend seeing the exhibition before it closes. Also everyone should get on line and order the book, it is worth every penny.

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