It’s a good thing that popularity didn’t come early – because I wouldn’t know as much about painting as I do today.
There has never been a strategy to Haynes’ career, he has never become clichéd, and the need to find answers to creating art has been his motivation, particularly the use of colour.
For years Haynes earned his living by teaching and painting plein-air landscapes.
It was the landscape that shaped his ideas on colour and his tendency to bend the rules or shatter them if they did not fit the need. If the tome and warmth of the colour are correct one can paint yon green tree red. If you get the tone spot on and the temperature right there is a good chance it may work, he wrote in an introduction to a catalogue of his work in 2007. All moods are expressable with different colour combinations. In fact I think the pleasure of seeing colours reacting to one another is very similar to the aural pleasure one can get from juxtaposed sounds.
In this picture “The Valley Below” the tone and warmth of his colours are spot on – to use his terminology. The foliage doesn’t have to be green for the viewers to understand that we are flying over a dense and heavily forested valley that covers an immense area. The volume of the landscape is further understood through the hint of water, a lake perhaps, or a river in the center left of the picture plain, seemingly insignificant but very important to quantify scale.
The movement of colour from warm to cool further reinforced the vastness of the area and that the atmosphere is moisture laden. Perhaps we are flying over a valley in the South West or in another region of the planet, maybe Asia or perhaps India.
The subject really doesn’t matter as this is not a literal scene, it is a celebration of colour and a demonstration of the artist’s ability to make important art that can enrich and provide endless periods of discovery for his audience.
George Haynes is an important Australian artist and he has made a significant contribution to the development of art in Australia. His work is represented extensively in the collections of institutions throughout Australia.