Artists of the Outback Creative - Tracy Waite
Tracy Waite – Artist of The Week
Who are your influences?
I would have to say that my desire to pursue my art and teach myself to paint, was originally inspired by a book I picked up at a library, almost 18 years ago. It was a collection of the French Impressionists paintings and I was totally captivated with the colour, the way they painted the light and how they used the colour to model form.
Not long after, I discovered the Australian Impressionists. The works of Arthur Streeton, Charles Condor and John Russell, all so incredibly enchanting! This is where my love for painting the Australian Landscape, comes from. The Australian Impressionists are my heroes!
I also feel a very strong connection to the land which I believe comes from the Indigenous heritage of my Great Grandmother, a connection that I would like to explore, a little more in the future, both personally and in my art.
Where in Australia, do you find is your best source of inspiration?
I have spent the most part of the past four years, travelling Australia, in a caravan and painting along the way. I have been compelled to paint so many of the landscapes I have seen but the dry, sun bleached grasses, pink orange dirt and vivid blue skies of outback Queensland, where we are at present, is one of my favourite landscapes to paint. It is my palette, and I am in awe of the rugged beauty out here.
I have taken thousands of photographs but I have only been painting for 18 months, after a 15 year break. I have hundreds of photos of the Kimberly and Murchison areas, in Western Australia, my home state which are still waiting to be painted. These whole of this magnificent country is inspiration for me!
What do you find are the most difficult subjects to paint?
I don`t paint a lot of water. I am not sure why? It may be that I am more drawn to the outback, red dirt, dry and dusty, big gum tree and pink grasses type landscape than I am to the ocean.
Don`t get me wrong… I love a day at the beach as much as anyone, I am just not as moved to paint seascapes very often so I do find the ocean presents more of a challenge to me, when I do.
What makes you start to create a piece and how do you know when you are finished?
Light… it`s usually light and shadow. I love the contrast between light and shadow and sometimes just the light. The colours that magically disappear in the lit area of a scene or appear the in the shadows.
If I think I am close to finished, I take a photo and change it to grayscale. I can tell from the photo, if I am finished. I do like to take another look, a day or so later, just to make sure it is really done.
Sometimes, before I take the grayscale pic, I will ask my partner if it looks done? (he would say that I don`t listen to him anyway, haha!)
Do you have an artwork that you are most proud of and why?
Wildflower Wonder- painted from a photo that I took, whilst in the Murchison region in WA, a couple of years ago, during Wildflower Season. It is one of two larger works that I painted earlier in the year and I was so used to painting much smaller, in the caravan, that I was really quite worried about whether or not, I could move up to a larger format, so quickly.
I got it done and I love it! It is full of colour and texture, my two favourite things!
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can`t live without?
My palette knives and my homemade easel which comes apart and folds flat. My easel fits on the caravan table and it can, actually, hold a backing board for an A3 sheet of canvas, if I need it to. It`s ability to flat pack is invaluable for carrying it all over the country, in the caravan.
I have two favourite palette knives and I couldn`t live without them either. I don`t really use brushes except to gesso my canvas or board.
What would you like to achieve from your art?
I always want to feel that my last work is my best work. I want to feel that I am always improving and evolving as an Artist.
I like to produce work that evoke the same feelings, in the viewer, which both the Australian and French Impressionists evoked in me. When someone says that they just want to walk right in to one of my landscapes or touch the petals of one of my florals, I have achieved what I set out to. I set out to paint every painting with this intention.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?
Probably still travelling and exploring this beautiful country. Describing her beauty, for others, with my palette knives and oils.