Some friends told me about this gorgeous old-growth tree that would inspire me to draw. The tree was the Mountain Orange Gum (Eucalyptus prava) and grows near the top of the Great Dividing Range on the Granite Belt. As I drove ever-higher elevations to visit this tree, I was struck by the drama of the sheered-off granite boulders rounded smooth by centuries of rain.
I felt privileged to be sitting by this ancient tree which almost seems to grow out of the rock itself. I drew its many delightful protuberances and toyed with painting its beautiful honey colours as well as adding splashes of orange and deep red onto the paper, I felt a sense of its wisdom in my lines.
The Mountain Orange Gum forms part of the forests of the upper water catchment of the Clarence Valley, Northern NSW. These forests slow the movement of water, as it travels downhill into gullies and creeks towards the Clarence River itself. As I painted and sketched, I was developing a personal sense of kinship with this tree, and I thanked the Mountain Orange Gum for its wisdom and fortitude.