It didn’t matter what was on the walls. I came back, put up the photos, undercoated canvases, spread out paper. It didn’t matter. The pressure was on, I had spent a week camping in the West MacDonnell ranges -the colours, the dingoes, the swag, the rocks! I tried capturing the gentle greys and naple -ish yellows of the sparse vegetation, the subtle greens of spinifex by throwing watercolour and gouache at paper. I tried mixing a mountainous amount of orange-red oil paint and slashing it onto canvas. I even pulled out the blue! I knew it was over.
I thought I could do the same as any series of works -prepare the studio, surround myself in the odds and ends that I had brought back but nothing worked. I had scrawled “Nadapa” in red chalk -“welcome to this place” but it was alien on white walls. The Alice was my studio for the week, I immersed myself but it was obvious in my return that you cannot take that country home. The Papunya artists know.
I admire the painters who have gone and painted and conquered but nothing on paper, canvas or film will ever be enough for me.