This is this piece I have done for this the first Womens Footy Almanac 2017.
It has been more than a while since I last sat at the computer to write anything at all. I have been fairly well buried plying my trade in the studio with my mind fully focused on whatever piece it is I have been working on.
One of which was of course the cover art painting I did for this year’ first ever Women’s Footy Almanac 2017.
While I knew the Almanac writers were busy documenting and crafting their words to share and capture the many feelings and experiences of this first season I was caught a bit when I realised the Almanac team were publishing and looking for an image for the cover so early in the year.
Working with John and Yvette a conversation began through which I was able to absorb a few ideas and thoughts and then allow them to cure in my mind so that I could pull together an image that was authentic and real to not just the prospective audience, but to me.
My initial thoughts and sketches began with the first bounce of the first game. Whilst there is nothing right or wrong with this idea, it was simply that, an idea that when given a little time, was able to formulate into what it eventually became.
The first AFL women’s season was more than the first bounce.
The season itself was shared and played out across the country and invited into its realm a real breadth of personality and character. A sense of place was noticeable in many of the games, with backdrops ranging from suburbia, to bush and magnificent sunsets in Darwin.
Many of the venues were open spaces, with tiered terraces, older styled grandstands, visible horizons and vast skies. A refreshing image that gave footy fans a break from the largesse of the big stadia and recalls games I attended in my own youth creating a sense of familiarity to me.
The AFLW season was notable for the strength, confidence and enthusiasm of women and girls as this first season came to be. For me the season was a direct statement:
“Here we are, look at us”
Community excitement was palpable.
With these thoughts in mind the painting evolved.
Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Erin Phillips were depicted for their ability on the field and as representatives of the two teams that made it to the grand final. I needed a third figure to bridge the two women. I was not inclined to paint a generic ten year old. I needed to paint someone I had a link with and so I asked Jasmine if she would like to be the subject in my painting.
Jasmine plays with the Caulfield Bears in the first ever girls Under 12 team. I have had my own kids playing with the Bears since 2003. It has been a terrific club that embraces its local community, offering and widening social connections and a sense of belonging, and now it celebrates our footy loving girls too….out with the raffle tickets and in with the awards.
Jasmine represents all young girls looking ahead, looking towards the future with hope and opportunity.
It was great to be a part of the Women’s Footy Almanac 2017, absolutely terrific, and I did have a chuckle seeing David’s photo of my painting on the mantelpiece at the North Fitzroy Arms Hotel alongside Percy and Jezza, and of course David’s pint.
At Jasmine’s age Percy and Jezza were my heroes. I think if I was to ask Jasmine who her heroes are, I am fairly certain Daisy Pearce could be No.1.
And at Jasmine’s age, I could not have thought back then that I would be painting an image of three women celebrating the first season of AFL Women’s league. And, like wise who would have thought so many years on that I would be a Dusty lovin Tiger fan…sorry Percy.
How things change!
(The painting is oil on canvas 50cmW x 60cmH. It took me several days to do; a solid period of time and concentration required for the portraits, a morning for each figure plus background, which was loosely based around the stand at Norwood Oval where the Lions and the Crows played in Round 5)
Let me know if you would like a copy of the book or you can purchase here online