Water droplets on the leaves

It was an early morning walk through an area which only twelve months before had been touched by bushfire. Beside the trail I was seeing patches where short-lived spot fires had burned and the charcoal stumps of unfortunate trees that had caught embers and suffered alone. This hill had been spared the main inferno, but the blackened slopes on the other side of the valley had obviously had it much worse.

The morning’s clearing fog was giving me a glimpse of what it may have been like on that day when smoke filled the air, though the serene quiet now was no doubt worlds away from the roaring sound of an approaching fire front.

The way water settles on plants after fog isn’t the same as after rain. When it rains, the constant thudding of falling drops shakes plants and prevents water from beading and converging peacefully on the leaves. It was mainly the presence of water that made me notice and later paint this tiny scene. I like how the drops are clinging to the leaves, looking like they’re heavy enough to fall but somehow defying gravity and hanging on. I feel like if just one of the drops were to slip it would disturb and shake the whole leaf, making all the drops slide to the ground.

There is a delicate spider web leading from the side of the painting that looks healthier forming a bridge into the side that is in decline. The spider can move between the two, though it seems to have created a shelter on the darker side which happens to also be its safest side. I included this because although the leaves appear to be moving to the end of their cycle, they are still just as important for maintaining life and comfort.

I included a subtle hint of sunshine in the droplets, wanting it to look as though the light had been captured forever within them, rather than reflecting through them.

Water droplets on gum leaves
Oil on canvas. 50cm x 40cm.

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