Arthur Boyd and Merric Boyd

I’m heading up to Bundanon (Arthur Boyd’s beautiful property in southern New South Wales that he bequeathed to the people of Australia as an artist retreat) this weekend to work with the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra. We’re going to be creating a Shoalhaven Symphony together (the Shoalhaven being the river that runs through Bundanon and the whole region), taking inspiration from some of Arthur Boyd’s paintings, such as this one:

I love projects that grow out of artworks. Boyd is a particularly inspiring starting point, as he has such a vigorous, energetic painting style, and creates his landscapes often through mere marks and lines, overlapping each other… you get a sense of the haze that is so often washed over the Australian bush, courtesy of the light here. There is also a strong sense of love for humanity, and humanistic principles, in his work.

As I always do for these kinds of projects, I’ve been reading up on Boyd to get as much detail in my head about his life and work, as you never know what story might spark a completely new turn in the composing process. I happened upon this site that gives a biographical overview of Merric Boyd, Arthur’s father, and images of much of his work. Arthur Boyd’s great humanity and generousity are placed in even stronger context after reading this description of Merric Boyd’s life. Do visit the site (even if you have never heard of Arthur or Merric Boyd – or Doris or Mary or any of the others in the clan, for that matter). The description of their home ‘Open Country’, filled with artists (family members and adopted others), is always inspiring, and somewhat humbling.

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