Posts Tagged ‘Namadgi’


February 12, 2012

Yesterday I finally did something I’ve been saying I was going to do for at least a couple of years.  Not that it was difficult or needed a huge investment in materials, it just takes me a while to get to things sometimes.  So, I’ve made myself a nice big chalkboard!  As simple as buying some paint and applying two coats to the back of an old door.  Fabulous.  So today I got to play with it.  Unsure what to draw first, I flicked through some old sketchbooks, and chose a small pen drawing that had never progressed into anything else.  It was labelled ‘Nursery Hill from Little Pig Swamp’ and was in my sketchbook from 2009 when I spent a fair bit of time in Namadgi National Park.  You’ll be able to find Nursery Hill on the official maps, but Little Pig Swamp is unique to my personal mind map.  When you are in the bush on your own for a while, these things can happen.  It was interesting to work up the tiny black on white sketch, into a larger white on black image, with the visual memory of the place somewhat faded now, so pretty much relying only on the sketch.  Anyway, here’s the chalk drawing.

chalkboard drawing, Peter McLean, 2012


October 22, 2010

Kangaroo jaw bone on the ground near Mt. Clear, Namadgi National Park, Australian Capitol Teritory.

‘Jaw Bone’, Wood engraving printed on Kozo Light paper.

and meanwhile, wood engraving

May 22, 2009

Regular readers will know, that I use this space mostly for some random musings, some disconnected photos and the sharing of images relating to some of the ephemeral art I make outdoors with found materials.    Now and then I do like to bring the discussion round to good old fashioned pictures on pieces of paper.  I call myself a printmaker after all, and I have been busy making prints and other work on paper – they just don’t make it to the blog so much.  Earlier this year I had the opportunity to do a wood engraving workshop at Megalo print studios.  I’ve been meaning to post something about this for a while, but somehow I kept getting put off .  In brief, wood engraving is a form of relief printing that makes use of hard end grain wood, sanded to a high polish.    Because of the qualitys of the wood used, and the fineness of the specialized tools, wood engravings can achieve incredible detail and accuracy of reproduction for a relief print.  Instead of telling you all about the workshop, I’m going to suggest you go and visit Ampersand Duck’s blog, since she was there too and has already given a blow by blow account, and with pictures!

So now I’m right into wood engravings.



This was the second engraving that I did – showing a campsite among the rocks in Namadgi NP.  My project this year is in part about the human presence within ‘nature’.  Wood engravings tend to be small – this one is perhaps two inches long, so probably about the size you see it on your screen.

I quickly became interested in finding my own wood to use, instead of pieces that had been machined by someone else from timber that I knew nothing about.  I wanted to see what could be achieved using the humble sticks to be found on my walks.  After collecting, cutting and much sanding and polishing, I become somewhat attached to these little pieces of wood.  I began to think about printing them just as they are, without doing any carving at all.


relief print

Now I hope you can see what I meant in a previous post about circles referring to elements of nature.  The prints are like little windows into another secret world – especially when you hold it in your hand on thin seemingly fragile Japanese paper.  This little block (about an inch long) then got an image carved into it before printing again.


Right now I’m late for a class, so I’ll leave it at that – more about engravings and circles later.

the true essence of camping

March 28, 2009





March 24, 2009


I’d been thinking about territory and access to land – the implications of “ownership” and the circumstances of being excluded from ownership. Being in a National Park is the nearest I can get to legally rightful access to land right now. Then I came across these markers (and others like them) while I was out in Namadgi lately. Exactly what they mark and for who I do not know. They mark a walking route yes, since I was following a worn footpad at the time, but it is not actually a National Parks walking track as such, and not really the way to anywhere in particular – other than the sort of semi-random ramble I was doing. Do they mark something else of significance to someone? Was the footpad created by someone checking on whatever the markers indicate? What was also interesting was that if you know a little of the recent history of the site then there is a clear marker of time in the paired old and new stakes – obviously before and after the fires of 2003 that devastated much of this region.

A little earlier I had climbed a hillside up away from the river, then kind of suddenly decided the days’ exploration had reached it’s zenith and it was time to turn about and angle back towards where I had started. I sat on a log to rest a while and just as suddenly thought I should build a cairn of sticks – not initially really sure why. I’d been looking at Richard Long and Hamish Fulton books you see. I think I was marking “territory” – the furthermost point I had so far reached in this part of Namadgi. Thus part of my personal “territory” – even if I was the only one who knew it.



March 21, 2009




Does it count as land art if the work is not left in place but eaten instead?

One of the great unanswered questions of life.

Gudgenby River

March 6th








rendezvous creek

January 15, 2009


This is the track up the valley at Rendezvous Creek in Namadgi National Park.  Readers of this blog will be hearing a fair bit about this place over the next year as it will be the focus of this years projects.  I plan to set up camp deep in the valley, taking a range of art materials with me – exactly what work I’ll be aiming to do  I’m not sure yet – I’ll need to spend a bit of time up there first.  This photo was taken recently on a brief day trip – didn’t do any art work, just wanted to check things out.  What I saw certainly seemed positive.  The track is basic and sometimes a bit hard to follow, but quite ridable (I rode my bike through this open cleared area that makes up the first part of the track – but it could be cycled all the way).  Creek still had plenty of water – a lot of the creeks in this area are very unreliable in the summer but it seems like this one will be fine.  The creeks up there are too small for propper swimming holes – but I did manage to find some rocky cascades with a knee deep, bathtub sized pool ideal for a cooling dip – an essential amenity for camping in the summer.  Potential campsites a plenty and I think there will be plenty to inspire the creativity.

pic of the day

January 6, 2009


art in the snow

July 16, 2008

Well I made it back from six days camping, cycling and hiking in Namadgi National Park.  As hoped it snowed on the first night.  Spent most of my time exploring and taking photos (700 of them!) but I did manage a few little ‘art out and about’ works.

snow about

July 9, 2008

It’s cold, and there has been snow in the mountains with more expected the next few days.  So I’m off camping!  Heading down into Namadgi NP on my bike tomorrow for a week.  Very exciting – over a year since the last bike trip – though this one I am going to really just stick mostly to the road using the bike to get there and back but stay put once I get somewhere down near Gudgenby and do some walking (and arting out and about).

%d bloggers like this: