There are three artist’s studios in Australia that remain preserved as the artists last left them. The studio at Bundanon is one of them.
The paintings, working materials and tools tell the story of Arthur’s practice and the solutions he arrived at in his day to day work.
In the 1980’s Arthur was at his most successful and productive. Galleries would send blank canvases and boxes of paint to him to return quickly for sale – the demand was high for his work. He said at this time he didn’t feel like an artist anymore, he was a maker of paintings. Arthur was very aware his works were increasingly becoming commodities and shied away from the commercial aspects of his field. Works from the Shoalhaven series on the east wall are an example of this type of work. Shoalhaven Riverbank I (in side image) & II, 1993, paintings were made into limited edition prints.
An inventive artist
If the tool Arthur needed for particular mark making was not available, he made it himself. See long haired brushes, bristles from straw broom wrapped with wire, and long handles for charcoal and paint brushes. Paint scrapers, spatulas and palette knives were used to apply and scrape back the paint.
The paint grinding and mixing machine, stored in one corner of the studio was used to make paint from raw pigments. Arthur created the colour sample, and his studio assistant would mix the large quantities needed and fill the lead paint tubes.
When it came to choosing the medium of copper for painting, Arthur was consciously setting himself a difficult task. It was a time-consuming occupation, detailed and precise. To facilitate the close work Arthur bought an enormous magnifying glass, new spectacles and used an arm rest while painting. Darleen Bungay
View the copper plate that Arthur painted detailed artwork onto. He used the brushes created from his daughters’ hair to produce the very fine line work.
One copper painting would take Arthur over a week to complete.
Large scale works
The long narrow window was cut by a chainsaw into the wall when Arthur realized that he was not able to get his large landscape painting Untitled (Shoalhaven Landcape) out of the Studio. This painting was the basis of the design of The Great Hall Tapestry at Parliament House, Canberra, executed by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop. The cut out hole was later fitted with a window and was used as an access point for large scale paintings.