fine art > A Tale of Two Trees | Dahl Fellowship 2023

ink, tingle charcoal, red-flowering gum charcoal ink + wax on board
76cm x 102cm x 2cm

The Red-flowering Gum (Corymbia ficifolia) was first botanically described in 1860 and the Red Tingle (Eucalyptus jacksonii) in 1912. Both trees are endemic to the high rainfall zone of southwestern Australia and generally found within a small area near Walpole on conservation estate. Population sizes and distribution is still relatively unknown and whether tree numbers have changed over time since mapping began. With a progressively warming and drying climate influencing fire in the landscape, understanding these gum trees, and their ecosystems, is more vital than ever.

This piece is inspired by a recently unearthed 1919 WA state forestry watercolour map illustrating the distribution of karri-red tingle forest as potential ‘useful’ timber. It was soon recognised that the tingle wood was difficult to season, warped easily and had a low recovery rate.

Using contour drawn lines layered with red-flowering gum charcoal-ink washes and shaded with tingle charcoal symbolise edaphic features in the local landscape such as topography, the contoured hills and lowlands, earth pigments and fire. Follow the journey up the Deep, Walpole and Frankland rivers from the inlet, through tingle (ochre yellow watercolour wash) and red-flowering gum (vermillion pink) country. Preserved in wax layers creates a misty, cloud like quality to the image.