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Cypresses, Mitcham; 20x25cm (private collection)
Places for contemplation can feel like havens in this busy world. They are places where we can be alone with our thoughts and sometimes our particular memories.
We need them, but are often too busy to seek them out. For me any natural surroundings like the beach or bushland can put me into a contemplative mood. Even while I am painting there is a level of my mind which is switched off. I suppose that is more meditative. I certainly don’t solve any life problems but I can leave them behind for a bit.
Cemeteries are strange places, and while they don’t always feel welcoming perhaps it is in the mind of the visitor. Unless it is a painting excursion, my reason for being there is usually a funeral. That is a time for contemplation of course and if there is time to wander around known spots afterwards, all the better.
Gardens and cemeteries often go together, thank goodness. As you can see in two of these paintings at Mitcham Cemetery in Adelaide, two different sections can lie within the boundaries. One work is an exercise in rhythms, while the other has a gentler feel with greenery and sunlight.
Two of these paintings and their stories are in my new book – Landscapes. Recent work by Philippa Robert.
I am convinced that art books can put people in a contemplative mood. Give it a try!