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Slacks Creek oil painting and time-lapse (Work in progress)

The mouth of Slacks Creek at Logan River — Image: Wikimedia

The mouth of Slacks Creek at Logan River — Image: Wikimedia

My next commission is for the Logan City Council in Queensland, who are restoring Slacks Creek, a tributary of Logan River.

Due to land clearing and the build up of waste-water, the river’s health has declined severely. The council aims to develop native floral successions from the river, to the bank, and beyond. They’re planning on implementing citizen science, ongoing water testing, and monitoring of the local bull sharks.

Since I’m yet to fully dive into the world of digital animation, I thought I’d do an ‘analogue’ time-lapse painting of the creek. I chose oil as it’s a rich and evocative medium, albeit hard to handle.

The council initially wanted me to represent the creek as it went through the various stages of restoration, weeding, cleaning, replanting, etc.

To capture this process through paint, I thought it might be interesting to use clear acetate and do multiple paintings and layer them over each other to suggest time passing: 1) Dilapidated creek, 2) Repairing creek, and 3) Restored creek.

I thought I’d film the paintings on time-lapse, and then layer them together for the finale. The time-lapse footage will feature on the creek restoration project’s website. The final scene will be a composite of the three paintings, with each component of the painting hyperlinked to the relevant pages on the site: tree planting, citizen science, shark tagging etc.

Here’s a sketch with and without annotations of the previous, unhealthy phase of the creek.

And here’s a sketch of the creek post-restoration:

For this final panel, it will be a feat to include the various components of the project plus the plenitude of plant species. The prospect is daunting and exciting.

Here’s a quick oil paint mock-up of a banksia with a larger resolution than it will appear in the final painting/animation. And here is a sketch of the various activities to be featured in the final frame:

I’ll link to the piece when it’s finished :)