Neville Pilven – Landscape Artist
Neville Pilven – Landscape Artist

Well it’s very important to show a body
of work and you do that by having an exhibition it sort of gives people an
idea of where you’re going and yourself too I mean you know to see it all hung and it’s a good way to analyze what you’re doing and I know the money is sort of
boring to talk about and it’s necessary so to sell so that you can buy more
materials and so on but I think it’s a real bonus that somebody puts their hand in their pocket and buys something you’ve created I think that’s you know that’s
amazing that that happens to me Well the cottage is in the Wimmera, but
I’ve always loved that flat countryside I know it’s got hills in it and so on, it’s just got that wonderful sensation about it for me I love it I love being there and with the dry grass, the ochre grass, then you
might get a thunderstorm and the odour from that the smell of the grass with
the damp rain making it damp it’s just absolutely marvellous so that’s why I like being there but it’s an inspirational countryside Why do you choose to paint landscapes that are degraded by human activity? It’s all taken for granted and we don’t do a lot about it. Yes so I’ve had people
comment without any previous conversation with them on that very
aspect why your landscapes so barren and I said well we’ve ever looked at the
Wimmera or the Mallee seriously yeah, and then around that you
get pockets of wonderful outcrops like the Grampians and so on which I also
enjoy painting and Kakadu and Kimberley and so on. This is a landscape that’s only a couple
of hundred yards from my front door up there down a lane way and I love coming
down here and just hanging over the gate and staring across to the Grampians
which are way in the distance they’re covered by smoke at the moment it’s so flat and beautiful particularly in the evenings or the mornings [Music] I like the contrast between the country and the city I paint in both places but one’s an inspiration place and the other’s
stimulating in terms of social activities and so on Do you have previous sketches of this one? No I don’t sketch everything, I do once I get something going now I might try to elaborate on the painting through a sketch or two I notice that this paintings got a lot more greens and blues that aren’t sky compared with? Compared with previous ones. Yeau well you’re right. I think it’s to do with the drought breaking over the last year or so covering my work with cooler colours so
the influence around the Wimmera, it is so green, that’s just incredible compared
with previous years so it has had an influence there’s no question and so I’m turning, turning it into more of a romantic interpretation of the landscape a bit of poetic license where it can be really beautiful too should I talk about this? this picture is obviously indicating further north somewhere with that Ayer’s Rock look. It’s amazing how much contrast there is in the colours when rain happens and the green grass shoots out amongst the orange and red earth And things start flowering so you get yellows You do yes and why it’s all sorts of colour. [Music] I was just observing the layers of
work on this piece well yes there’s lots of under painting which is what I like to do to throw a major section of the painting up and also this
area here well it’s very much textured and and then layered work on top of that. There’s probably five or six layers of paint on this A lot of painting is accidental, in terms of picking up a brush and making marks I mean sometimes I know you always got the hand on the brush but sometimes things happen with
paint and between paint and canvas that you weren’t expecting and that’s
exciting so you can develop pictures from that point of view and very often
it is stimulating and creates a bit of a new dimension in the way you work. So perhaps by accident Yeah, what you’re happy with in the end can be quite different from how you saw it qt the beginning? Absolutely yeah A painting can change so much in, perhaps go in many thousands of different directions while you’re working on it so you’ve got to be able to try and stick to that memory base
that you felt you would like to portray or express and see what happens so but yes it’s always changing sometimes disastrously and sometimes excitedly In the Wimmera you get these outcrops of
rocks and in this flat landscape and I really love it I’ve seen that in this
lots of rounded hills and stuff which make it really gentle but then you get
this sort of very sharp outcrop I should be going back and looking at it now I
wanted to make that, those ridges through there a bit more, stronger, not too much more Ah just slide it straight across Liz How long ago was this painted? Probably four years it’s called ‘Tank, Haystack and Hill’
it’s to do with the drought period The ochreish grass It was an extension
of a series of paintings that I did called ‘Paddock Fire’
I saw a guy one night take a burning tyre drag a burning tyre behind his tractor to burn off an old crop paddock and so I had this mid cross in the night in paddocks and it was really quite something and it was so strong and powerful an image that
I did a series of pictures But it’s the flatness and the harshness of the
landscape that’s what I like. In the middle of summer you know you can hear a
blowfly at 100 metres and you might see a bearded dragon and scurrying across
the road, the hot road, in 42 degree heat it’s just got that wonderful sensation
about it for me Blue edge it’s a Wimmera inspired image and it’s set against a river and I was pleased with the the architecture in the picture and
the color combination and so on had a nice feeling so I developed it a bit more and it’s reflecting something like summer after rain water, golden grass and a dryish landscape this image is called ‘Golden Black’
it’s 180 cm square It was an image that came to me as I was
driving towards Kakadu last year a wonderful contrast between the ochre-ish gold and grasses, a distant pond and the black, black-rock hills and structures,
ancient structures behind this gold it was really wonderful powerful image so it was immediately was set into oil paint on canvas for me and that’s the result. [Music] I find that the older I get the more
abstract my paintings become. It’s just exciting that each new canvas that goes
up in front of me, you know, does become easier to paint but more difficult to develop an
interpretation of what you want to say So I’m not Fred Williams or an Ian Fairweather I’m a Neville Pilven hopefully that might say something
different from those guys I don’t know

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