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Ernest Buckmaster

In their own words

Recorded 1965

Ernest Buckmaster
Audio: 2 minutes

Being predominantly, I suppose, we could say over the years, a landscape painter, battling with the changes that occur from hour to hour outdoors, trying to match the subtle changing scene, I did actually, I think, try to evolve a working method which would enable me to match, or catch, in shape, tone and colour fleeting effects of nature which would not recur again. It’s what’s known as direct painting. I think one of my exhibition managers said: ‘You’re a first-class direct painter, Buckmaster’. And I hardly knew what he meant in those days, but I can see it clearly now. There’s the subject, you put up your canvas, you assess the picture, nature provides you with the inspiration, you, in your mind’s eye, you eliminate the unessentials, you assess and you conceive your picture from what is before you.

And so, shape, tone and colour: see it, conceive it, think of it, realise it, see your picture in your mind’s eye, then pick up your loaded palette and your brushes and cover the canvas with the masses, the main masses in tone and subtle colour first; the details follow automatically as the pieces fit into a jigsaw puzzle. That has been one angle of my working method on landscape.

It’s quite a totally different technique on portraiture or figure composition. It’s a different thing altogether. It’s too involved to go into now.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Ernest Buckmaster is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Audio source

National Library of Australia, Hazel de Berg collection

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Ernest Buckmaster

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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