Caravanning with Wep – Tuesday, 23rd March 1937; Arrival in Kurrajong

Tuesday, 23rd March 1937

The first day of the diary but not of the trip. Had been out since Saturday. (Left 2 o’clock & after a pleasant but stinking up Kurrajong drive – boiled up ½ gall. Water arrived here more or less sober at 7:30 pm.)  Entertained Mollie & Petrov over Sunday. They left about 6. Monday most uneventful. Did a job for WW & moved camp to a pleasant grassy spot overlooking the world as we knew it (i.e. in sight and imagination). Yesterday made friends with Dorothy Hobbs daughter of the philosophic proprietor. Have been pestered with her ever since. A lonely nice spoken child who brings us oranges and a companionless heart. A good little girl who gets on the women’s nerves. Excess of attachment. Not shy – about 12, fine eyes, can’t remember colour – walks 2 miles to school & then comes up to take me shooting – means well. Met her brother Jack – gangling gaunt hill-billy with gum boots & gap between incisors – dog took violent dislike to him. Must be his Khaki shirt & watch stuck in leather pouch on rear of belt (with chain). Got blind tonight – returned home to find gifts laid before our doorstep. Oranges from lonely child. Shall eat two now. (11 pm). Shall write as thoughts strike me – bugger style – what we want is recreation of holiday and reactions (3rd orange.) Saw the sun rise this morning. A sat-on luminous orange all squat blood red and impossible to look upon. Dominating what (for the 1st time in my life) a materialised but incredibly ethereal Chinese scroll painting. What bloody beauty & mastery these people possessed.

Woke to find the low lands filled as with water. Mists licking the shoes of Kurrajong as though great tidal wave of vapour inundated the whole of stinking city noise smothered so far as Richmond. Sun bleeding upon incredible unbelievable pearly greys – towards Broken Bay a series of phantom hills lacking substance lacking in reality so skilfully planted by the Oriental hand & heart, bred ???? & loving mist – us sun-worshippers considering such as inconvenience to early milking. Spoke with son of the soil tonight in pub recapturing wondrous pearly pattern & was appreciated. They see but do not see. Could not bear so much for long and needs must kill or murder a rabbit. My soul too stepped in pettiness to contemplate such large scale grandeur. An overdose I can’t take. Grandeur is the wrong word association with the fulfilment of art – in actuality a false painted scene – flat but colourful – reading what I have seen into it.  The sublimity of immobility. Hills solidity vaporised to nothingness but re-concretised in my mind by Oriental calligraphy. I couldn’t stand it long. Am I still ill? – unstable?

We are beneath pines – the floor is strewn with oranges, set squares, canvas & dreams & talk. Remember yesterday near Geoff Blundens a running live stream of silver-lit bracken burnished blue against sharp red tipped green; deep lined black trunks & lush green covered scars of last October fire – couldn’t see that withered flame blackened wallaby. That poor rabbit! I killed its rhythm.

Caravanning with Wep: Mar – Aug 1937, a 6 month painting sabbatical travelling via caravan around New South Wales and south east Queensland.

Wep & Jess take a break on the way to the Snowy Mountains

In 1937 Wep took off on a 6 month painting sabbatical to travel with his wife Jess in their caravan around the New South Wales and south east Queensland countryside .  He kept a journal of sorts of that trip; a record of his impressions of people he met, the landscape – it’s colour and light and his struggle in developing his own painting style. As I transcribe this work I will be posting the entries to this blog. Later, I hope to include some of his photos and links to works which I have identified.