The tree at Russell Falls

Russell Falls is picturesque as waterfalls tend to be. I read somewhere that it is Tasmania’s most photographed waterfall; although how that statistic was collated I’m not quite sure. It is not a sheer cascade but rather it is staggered with two main drops. What has fascinated me since I first saw it is the tree, a Beech Myrtle that grows, seemingly on a floating island at the lip of the lower drop. There it stands, perfectly adapted to this wet environment, with what looks like its own forest in miniature thriving at its feet. I was inspired to paint it by two artists from very different backgrounds who are united by their attention to detail. Last year I saw again the Lloyd Rees drawing of the trunk of a Port Jackson fig tree but what really got me going was watching Hayao Miyazaki’s anime with my grandnieces. For the last several years I have had a condition, now cured, that reduced my peripheral vision. That is why I used this tall 2:1 format. It reflects the way I last saw the tree. I reckon it emphasises its resilience. It’s going to need it. It is a symbol of what we stand to lose.

Tony Sowersby


Acrylic on linen