Tony Sowersby

The tree at Russell Falls, 2019

acrylic on linen

183 x 91 CM

From the artist

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.

Artist background

Lives in Victoria. Exhibiting since 1980s. Since 1998 has won the Bald Archy for satirical portraiture 2005 and people's choice three times. Finalist in the Glover 2008, Mt Bulla Prize 2009 and City of Albany Prize 2010.