We drove north of Sydney to find a pine forest, seeking the tall needled trees for this collection's inspiration.
After a highway-hour drive we entered Onley State Forest and took the longest-way round to the aptly named The Pines Campground. In the middle of typical Australian bushland we found ourselves immersed by tall pines, forest birds and mostly silence.
The towering slash pines that make up this forest were planted as trial plantations in the 1920s and 1930s. The remnants that remain making a romantic almost-alpine backdrop for tents, camp-fires and picnics. We made our own picnic assembling sandwiches and hugging cups of tea in the brisk winter air. At first a magpie then a beautifully purple satin bowerbird caught our attention, inspiring the moody purple palette of The Black Forest artwork to come.
There was lone camper there that day; a lone camper and her dog - a Jack Russell. Mark loves dogs but some just don't care to love him back. And this little dog was one of them, trying his best and successfully nipping Mark’s calves. After the little canine was called off we headed down for a micro-hike down the Pines Walking Track. Fresh rain had the path muddy, slippery and full of leeches. We made our way down over a rotting foot bridge, following the sounds of trickling water to a small waterfall. We busied ourselves taking photos of this cute waterway until the threat of leeches got the best of us and we headed back to higher drier ground for an ankle inspection. We found one in Mark's hair, sleazing its way towards his neck. Yuck.
Satisfied we had not been leeched and after extracting the two parasites that had made their way into our car we headed the shorter way home via the sea.