Yesterday I went for a walk on Lake George (or Weerewaa in the indigenous language). Though no, I wasn’t walking on water, Lake George hasn’t had any water in it for years, since late 2002 in fact. (Besides, I lost my Jesus-like locks recently). The lake bed is quite expansive and rather flat. It is not a salt lake, but rather converts to sheep grazing when there is no water, which is not that unusual, though it can be up to 5 meters or so deep when full. The Federal Highway from Canberra to Sydney skirts the edge, so I have passed it often and it is an incredibly beautiful landscape. The play of the changing light on the lake bed and the hills on the far side mean the view is never quite the same. Yet, though I sometimes stop briefly at one of several rest stops along the way, I have not before walked out onto the lake bed itself. At the moment even the grazing must be quite marginal, the soil was cracked and crumbling and the dry plant cover sparse. I did a few sketches, took many photos, collected two sheep skulls and some dirt to take back to the studio, and made a bone circle to leave on the lake bed.
Many Canberra artists have made Lake George the focus of their attention for a period, it seems to captivate people. One of my favorites is Rosalie Gascoigne’s ‘Suddenly the Lake’ made from tin and ply. There was water in the lake in the mid 90’s when she made it, and when I first saw the lake. Click here to see an image. Perhaps I will have a Lake George period soon?