about the artist
Warwick Fuller is a renowned proponent of plein air impressionist painting who has been painting professionally in Australia for over 40 years.
Fuller lives on the fringe of the Blue Mountains, in a remote location deep within the Kanimbla Valley. Perched high on a hillside and with breathtaking views of stunning local scenery, he doesn’t need to travel far for inspiration. Yet the artworks featured in this particular collection indicate travels throughout regional and coastal New South Wales.
The majority of Fuller’s paintings are painted on location, often where he is racing against time and changing light conditions. These smaller paintings are closer to the pure moment of perception. His larger studio paintings – some monumental – are developed from these smaller paintings he calls ‘sketches’ and capture the essence of the original scene, yet transformed skilfully into a celebration of the sublime in nature.
With more than sixty solo exhibitions and countless awards and accolades to his name, Fuller’s recent career highlights signify an artist in his prime. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, for whom he has served as Official Tour Artist on three occasions, have acquired fourteen of Fuller’s paintings for their personal collection.
In March 2020, Fuller was featured on ABC TV’s Landline, where he was invited to paint the aftermath of the bushfires for a segment about renewal and regeneration.
In July 2020, Fuller was also honoured with a survey exhibition at Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of the Lewers Bequest, to celebrate its 40th anniversary. This major public exhibition featured 86 paintings, borrowed predominantly from private collections.
Never would I have imagined that my portrayal of a mildly brewing storm would have precipitated Towering Facade of Light. When I was standing outside the back door of my studio painting the bold clouds and darkening landscape, I didn’t think, “that could be a monumental subject”. A lot of adjectives and impressions flashed and, I hope informed the little picture, but monumentality wasn’t involved at that stage. To start a little sketch with no anticipated destiny, other than going some way to capturing my emotional response to the subject, is more than enough to satisfy me. But for it to lead me to a picture like ‘Facade’ is a rare and wonderful addendum to the thrill and joy I find in painting from life. It was after painting the sketch and working up the first study, followed by what I thought was the crowning conclusion (now in my private collection) that the notion of the fully developed major work evolved.
When I pick up my brushes, I know what I want. I know that I won’t often achieve what I want. And I know that I might, with the next painting. I’ve articulated many times the passionate desire that drives me, the intuition that guides me and the occasional glimpse of what’s possible, that tantalises and sustains me. The outdoor paintings are at the nucleus of what my joyful struggle is all about.
Unusually, in this exhibition there is a greater body of large works. Travel restrictions have kept me close to home lately. Though never short of inspiring landscape around the farm, as the collection titles attest, the studio has drawn me in. There was no plan or goal to this.
For me, the downside of studio painting is a natural gravity towards analytical, object-driven, reasoned decision-making. These might be wonderful ideals in other situations but not for me in my grapple with expression, whilst chasing the light. It is an anathema to my outdoor mode. It restricts, it slows, it engenders formulae; which can all stifle creativity. On the other hand, studio painting facilitates qualities often impossible to realise ‘on location’. For a number of reasons, I might decide a painting is worthy of being ‘writ large’. I might see where or how I could express more evidently an obscure intent in the sketch. I might raise up a more dramatic event, object or light that didn’t reach its intended heights. It could be as simple as a change to the composition that would make it a better painting. Better these things worked out in a new painting than to strangle the life force out of the flawed intuitive sketch.
A trivial though interesting observation made when we had finalised the exhibition selection was that perhaps my two most favoured paintings are Hillside Impression (sketch for) and Towering Facade of Light; the smallest and the largest paintings in this collection.