A word or two of explanation may be required for readers below a certain age or who are not from Sydney. St George is a rugby league team. Rod Reddy was a forward who played for that team, including in the 1977 Grand Final (they won). Raphael was a painter from Italy, I believe.
I have been reading Francesca Fiorani’s excellent The Shadow Drawing: How Science Taught Leonardo How To Paint. Leonardo took the science of optics seriously, Fiorani explains, and in particular how to convey distance in a painting. He noticed, for instance, how far-distant objects take on a blueish tinge, and incorporated that observation into his paintings.
For this painting, I adapted one of Raphael’s early works. He did not apply Leonardo’s blue trick, except for some far, far distant hills. The interesting result is that the painting looks quite flat against the picture plane, I think. And the horse’s body and St George’s lance twist in several unlikely directions. It almost feels a bit medieval.
More observant readers may have noticed that Centrepoint Tower is in the far far background of this painting. A word or two of further explanation may be required if you are not from Sydney. Centrepoint Tower is the tallest building in Sydney. It is four storeys high. However, those four storeys are at the top of one of the world’s tallest poles. Minds could differ on whether this is a sensible arrangement, but the view from the top is nice if you go in for that sort of thing. You can see all the way to Baulkham Hills.
I think there was a cafeteria at the top of Centrepoint, as my memories of the view are associated with the smell of not terribly fresh hot chips, but this was all many years ago. One of the people accompanying me kept rudely referring to the building as “Centredick” throughout our visit.
It was opened in 1981, so in my painting it is still under construction. If you look very closely you can see tiny little workers crawling all over it in the blue, hazy distance.