A Beautiful Place

Last Sunday, after enjoying a nice afternoon tea at one of our favourite cafe’s in Picton which is about 15 minutes drive South from where we live, we decided to head out to Lake Burragorang which is part of the Sydney Warragamba Dam Catchment, Sydney’s main water source.

We are so fortunate to have such a majestic and beautiful spot that is only 32 minutes drive away.

Lake Burragorang is a man-made reservoir that was created by a Dam. Unfortunately, to create the reservoir, it was necessary to relocate residents who had lived farming towns in the Burragorang Valley since the early 19th Century. The lands actually belonged to Gundungarra Aboriginal tribe.

Construction of the Warragamba Dam commenced in 1948 and was completed in 1960 and is surrounded by a 3km exclusion zone to ensure the integrity of the water supply. It is sad that such a beautiful spot was created in this way, however, the end result is certainly a jewel to the eye.

My first visit there dated back to the 1980’s when I was just getting into Photography. I’ve been back there with social clubs and with my SLR/DSLR on a number of occasions. It has BBQ facilities, seats, amenities and is a great place for a picnic.

My previous visit was back in 2018, a year before those horrendous bushfires ripped through various parts of the state, including the Burragorang Valley. Even the though a lot of the green has returned in the past year, down in the valley, you can still see clear through to the ground where there is still little or no undergrowth. It will take time, but it will eventually recover.

The only camera I took this time was my phone as I wanted to concentrate on sketching and also writing some Poetry (if the mood captured me). My wife, Susan took her Crotchet with her, and after a brief walk we settled down to enjoy the surroundings for the next 2 1/2 hours.

The light was impressive throughout the afternoon as it danced and highlighted different sections of the landscape intermittently. I felt so relaxed.

I went away with the feeling that ‘I had indeed been away’ and not just been on a Sunday drive. The light, the ambience felt almost Spiritual.

We certainly won’t be leaving as much time between visits next time.

Written by David Johnson

16 February 2021

Sources of Historical information:

https://www.theland.com.au/story/5702018/painting-revives-rich-burragorang-history/ ; https://historyofaboriginalsydney.edu.au/south-west/location/burragorang-valley ; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-03/how-sydneys-water-needs-drowned-burragorang-valley/9390170

Art, Politics and Self-Expression

The inspiration for this article came from a Facebook group I am in where a participant yesterday posted two images, a line drawing before and after Watercolours were applied.

The subject matter was met with angst from some of the group as it was about ‘Black Lives Matter.’ There was a torrent of negative commentary from some in the group eg; ‘Political posts are not welcome in this group, “I come to the group to get away from the world and Politics’, ‘Art has nothing to do with Politics…’ and ‘We see enough of this stuff on the news…’

*Thankfully, the Admins have stepped in and advised that Political Art (and comments about the Art) are acceptable, just not Political commentary.

I would like to thank Krishna Patel for allowing me to use the image in this article. It is very much appreciated.

Krishna Patel BLM

I would like to address a couple of points in relation to this:

Art:

Each of us must (either intentionally or unintentionally) process these feelings every day and how we communicate this in our daily lives varies. Those of us who are creatively inclined express ourselves in some artistic or literary form.

It is called self-expression.

Krishna obviously felt drawn to this subject and had some feelings that she wanted to express and we should be grateful (whether we agree or not) that a person has taken the time to express an opinion.

Art, Politics and News:

I was quite intrigued by the comment, ‘Art has nothing to do with Politics’, in fact I laughed when I read this. Art and Politics have been intertwined for Centuries.

I do understand how we can be overloaded with (bad) news, though. Out here in Australia, after the horrific bushfires then Covid-19 and all the negative that surrounded those two events, I think we all felt like we were drowning in bad news so I can understand (to a certain extent) those who ’seek shelter’ in a group, hopeful that the world’s issues will not be raised.

A few days ago, I decided to ‘not look at the News’ for a period of 7 days. It was a refreshing experience that I encourage everyone to do from time-to-time.

Art is a way of expressing how we feel about things whether that is the painting of pretty pictures of flowers, an architectural delight or something that is happening in the news… Art has many different meanings and interpretations but I think we can all probably agree that whatever terminology we apply to the word it is about the self-expression of an individual or group and then the reaction of the audience.

The way we all see, feel and interpret the world is very different. There exists darkness, light, fun, sadness, joy, anger, peace, war and beauty but to name a few.

The subject of the Art-work is in the news because obviously there are issues that still need to be resolved.

We observe behaviour and then we internalise it and subsequently have to deal with our emotions and how it makes us feel.

In Closing:                                      

Art (in whatever form it takes) can be a powerful tool in instigating change. We should be thankful that people care enough about the world and what is happening in it, to stand up and express their thoughts and feelings.

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’ – Margaret Mead


Written by David Johnson

14 June 2020

Eyes Are Burning

Eyes are burning3