Near Wagga (2013)

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John Webb: Near Wagga (2013)

Near Wagga (2013)
1.96 x 1.49m

Image details:

John Webb: Near Wagga (2013) Detail 1

John Webb: Near Wagga (2013) Detail 2

John Webb: Near Wagga (2013) Detail 3

Near Wagga (2013)
(Detail 1) 
 Near Wagga (2013)
(Detail 2) 
Near Wagga (2013)
(Detail 3)  

  The painting as a Work in Progress:

I begin with the basic paper base, to which I apply many washes until I have a satisfactory resonance of colours and tonal gradations. I pre-prepare a lot of different paper with a variety of colours, tones, textures etc.

For some works, such as this one, I make a three dimensional model as part of the preparation process.

Every shape, from the biggest to the smallest, is drawn on draughting film, transferred to the pre-prepared paper, cut out and stuck to the composition with blutack. Sometimes it is then moved, modified or discarded.

When I'm satisfied the composition is the way I want it, I then spend a few days doing the final paste down. When it is all secure I apply finishing touches.  The whole process is very time consuming.

Other photos of works in progress can be seen on Joadja (2010) and on The Road to Gundagai (2012).


Near Wagga paper plan

Near Wagga clay model

 Brown paper mockup for
Near Wagga (2013)
Three dimensional model for
Near Wagga (2013)


This work:

Wagga, short for Wagga Wagga, is a large inland town in New South Wales. It is in a rich agricultural area which is fed by the Murray Darling river system. This work explores the idea of contrast between fertile, green farming land and the looming presence of the huge outback deserts, with their wild and awesome beauty.

Australian context:

From the Wagga Wagga City Council website:

"In December 1829, the early colonists first sighted the land on which the flourishing City of Wagga Wagga now stands. The persons thus privileged consisted of Captain Charles Sturt, 39th Regiment, stationed in Sydney, Mr George Macleay and six others. Settlement swiftly followed.

Wagga Wagga was proclaimed a town in 1849.The name of the City is derived from the language of the Wiradjuri tribe, which was the biggest aboriginal tribe in New South Wales, embracing the Riverina area.

"Wagga", "Wahga" or Wahgam" in aboriginal dialect means "crow". The repetition of a word was the method of expressing the plural or emphasis, thus Wagga Wagga means "crows" or "the place where crows assemble in large numbers". The Murrumbidgee River which runs through the City also derived its name from the aboriginal language and means "plenty water" or "big water".

Wagga Wagga is 518km by rail from Sydney and 432km from Melbourne on the main Southern line. It is 180m above sea level at the Council Chambers."

The Council website has a fascinating video showing life in this New South Wales town the mid 1960s, and they commissioned Wagga Wagga - A History to mark the 150th anniversary of the city.

Mungo National Park
 Crow couple
Photo: Michael Coglan

 Walls of China at sunset, Mungo National Park
(Image: Don Fuchs/Tourism NSW)
The old Wagga bridge
 Wagga Wagga township, on the banks 
of the Murrumbidgee River
Photo: waggawaggaaustralia
 The old Hampden bridge at Wagga, with
the new bridge in the background
Photo: AYArktos at Wikipedia