Posts Tagged ‘silhouettes’


December 26, 2011

I couldn’t resist getting a snapshot of this rather overdressed (for the beach) man as he clambered on the rocks.    There was something dramatic about the silhouetted figure against the bright seascape, dark overcoat flapping in the wind.  Then I realised why the scene, as unusual as it was, seemed familiar.  Nearly three years ago now I posted an image of an old favourite, The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Casper David Friedrich.  As well as the original, it’s an image that is often referenced or parodied as well.  A google image search for the title brings up plenty of contemporary examples.

These aren’t your average rocks of course.  They are the Moeraki Boulders, on Koekohe Beach near Moeraki on New Zealand’s Otago coast.  One of the famous boulders seemed particularly happy that day.


Bishop Pine

August 22, 2011

The older Bishop Pines have some great silhouettes.  All gnarly and weather beaten, often with a lot of snags where the over mature trees have entered into decline, and festooned with lichens enabled by all the fog.  In fact I read yesterday that many of the forests in this area gain a significant proportion of summer moisture from condensed fog dripping beneath the trees, or in some instances, absorbed directly from the air.  Near the house, and further down the valley towards the town, the pines can be quite tall and massive, but there is one nearby hill where all the vegetation is particularly contorted and stunted.  It is clearly older growth, not the vigorous young trees found in the areas burnt by the Vision Fire.  And yet quite short.  It seems to be a matter of soil, with the hillside being particularly dry and rocky looking, but surprisingly distinct from anything else immediately nearby, which is mostly pretty lush.

Bishop Pine Silhouette, charcoal on paper, Peter McLean, 2011

lakeside leaf man

June 6, 2011

It’s been a beautiful autumn in Canberra and this day was one of the best, so I had a ride around the lake, got mesmerized by the glowing Beech trees, and made a little leaf man in a quiet spot by the lake.

pussy willow

November 4, 2010

Bowral’s first taste of art out and about, on cherry tree walk.

cherry leaf wall piece

March 19, 2010

I mentioned in the last post that I used the cut-out stencil to aid in the making of a wall piece.  Below are a couple of pics of the piece, a disintergrating man, made from cherry tree leaves pinned to the gallery wall.  It was shown at M16 Gallery as part of ‘Light Industrial’, a show that resulted from a series of community arts workshops that focused on the industrial site where the gallery and studio complex is located.  While it is mostly bitumen and  sheds, an old weeping ornatmental cherry tree opposite the main door gives a touch of something growing.

Untitled, Peter McLean, 2009, leaves and pins, detail.

Untitled, Peter McLean, 2009. Leaves and pins.

The exhibition was held in the winter, but I had already collected a lot leaves from beneath the cherry tree in the autumn and dried and pressed them so despite being on the gallery wall for several weeks they were quite stable.  There was a powerful dried leaf smell when you were up close to the work too.  It was quite different seeing this type of ppiece on the wall instead of on the ground as I had made them before.  Also, although the work was still temporary, it was not exposed to the elements and prone to blowing apart at any moment like the pieces on the ground.  That’s why I decided I needed to contrive the sense of the image disolving from the base, where I had been making the outdoor work with a complete figure.

studio stencil

March 9, 2010

I made this paper cut out life-size figure a while back to assist in installing a wall piece in the M16 gallery. I stuck it up in the studio to keep it and have been enjoying the presence it has against the grimy old cupboards.  M16 is an artist run space in Canberra where I have rented studio space since 2005, and if you check out the M16 website in the next week or so you will see that one of my mushroom prints is being used to promote the studio tenent’s show which is on at the moment.  Meanwhile I am working hard at producing some new work for a group show called systematic opening March 25.

hibiscus man

February 23, 2010

My ephemeral silhouette project, which was the initial impetus behind this art out and about blog, is not something that I do so regularly now, but they do still appear now and then.  This fellow was made in Melbourne’s Domain in January.  They appear to be some kind of Hibiscus flowers, similar to the coast cottonwood.  I don’t know if the flowers usually turn dry before they fall from the tree, or if that was because it had been 43 degrees celsius and dry as a bone the day before.  While temperatures above 40 are not unheard of in Melbourne, the previous night had been the warmest minimum on record at 30.6.

roadway leaf stencil

August 23, 2009


This image was taken on a pedestrian crossing in central Canberra.  A leaf must have been lying in the roadway when the markings for the pedestrian crossing were sprayed on.  Of course the paint stuck to the leaf and not the roadway, and now this durable stencil is left, so no matter the season, there is always at least one autumn leaf on the ground!

acorn man

April 27, 2009


mushroom print figure

January 25, 2009

I recently found a huge, almost diner plate sized mushroom.  It was finally time to try something I’ve been thinking about for a while – since doing a lot of mushroom prints last year.  Using a simple paper cut stencil between the mushroom and the art paper underneath, then this striking image was created.  The figure is a little over six inches high and positioned on a large sheet of paper.  No pigments or traditional art materials are used – the image is made up entirely of mushroom spores.


%d bloggers like this: