One in a series of four images.
Now available here at Red Bubble as a print.
Original: Oil on Canvas.
Size of original painting: 4 ft X 3 ft
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“A big part of the Red Dust Girl series was about trying to convey a sense of living in a regional area or a situation far from the influence of a metropolitan city. I wanted it to reflect a celebration of outback Australia, of the people living there each day of their lives and of the purity or innocence that can be found in such a seemingly baron and harsh landscape.
Painting can sometimes be a very individual pursuit or in my case an infatuation, so I also wanted that series to express the joy (of all things) of being alone or separated, and of the contentment in that individualism. How “change” presented here as a metaphor (the seasons) can be a good thing and doesn’t necessarily need to change us as individuals.
I knew that having a young girl or woman in the picture would be the perfect vehicle to present this idea. I’m not sure how the “floating” concept came about but I had previously painted a picture of a girl floating over the landscape and really liked the whole idea of the shadow beneath the feet etc. It certainly fitted the context of “separation” and when I mapped it out initially it just looked right. I decided that nothing in each of the four paintings would touch the ground, that the earth beneath her feet would remain unchanged through the seasons. "
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THE “RED DUST GIRL” SERIES
Review by Karl James
At first glance, Leith O’Malley’s “Red Dust Girl” series invokes his love of contemporary illustration with its simplicity of design and striking power to just jump at the viewer.
These large oil on canvas works are figuratively simple in composition but make no mistake, the paint work is delicious with luscious textures, tactile surfaces and collaged with natures discards. One wants to reach out and feel the very canvas.
Full of outback hues, rich magentas, cobalt skies and desert ochre applied in buttery layers, these paintings have an underlying Australianess about them as the title of the series suggests. They also follow the seasons.
Summer with its blazing, sizzling outback.. a sort of piercing Vincent heat, invigorating and maddening. Then there are the feather-like leaves of Autumn, falling about her and nesting at her feet. Thick and pillow soft, a season of calm reflection. Winter rain. Cleansing, ultramarine and diamonds, a cool tonic for the red raw earth. Finally Spring. All petals and newness, the simple joys of life, rebirth. A warm caress and motherly wonder.
But who is the girl, this doll like puppet? Zen like in her calm yet so poetic and mysterious? Leith often incorporates metaphor in his work. Is she real or fictional? Or could it be “Eratos”, the artists muse guiding the creative spirit. Nothing is certain, but maybe we really see the artist here with his thoughts floating as visions do, bound not by the earth. Maybe he is like many of us, wary of change yet accepting of it.
Of this new work Leith says “part of it is a reaction to living far from the city in a regional area. There is an underlying celebration of solitude and adaptation to my surroundings. That no matter what seasons bring we remain unchanged, and that isolation should be embraced. I believe in my own case it really is a stimulus for creativity”.
If one looks beyond this little red dust girl of ponytail innocence and into those piercing cornflower eyes there is a knowing, an accepting. She hovers above the ground not at one with nature but unfazed by the seasons change, and like the hand that holds the brush, she adapts.