Ballarat East, Victoria, Australia 1897 – Millmerran, Queensland, Australia 1960

  • England 1915-19

not titled [Cloud shadows, Darling Downs]. [Cloud shadows, Darling Downs] c.1935 Place made: Millmerran, Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia
Materials & Technique: drawings, watercolours, painting in watercolour over black pencil Support: paper

Primary Insc: signed lower right in watercolour, 'Kenneth Macqueen'. not dated. not titled.
Tertiary Insc: Inscribed verso lower right in black pencil, '15018 (B)'.
Dimensions: image 39.3 h x 49.1 w cm sheet 39.3 h x 49.1 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1976
Accession No: NGA 76.1140
Image rights: © The Macqueen family
  • Purchased by the Australian National Gallery, from Artarmon Galleries, Sydney, 1976.
  • Kenneth Macqueen shared his time between watercolour painting and farming. From 1922, he farmed a property near Millmerran on Queensland’s Darling Downs and it was this landscape which provided the subjects for the majority of his watercolours. The rural landscape of undulating hills, wooded with occasional copses of trees, inspired the artist to make works in which shape and structure played a dominant role. ‘Design in landscape interests me tremendously’ he wrote, and described his creative process as originating in his response to the ‘shape of a tree, hill or cloud’.1

    Macqueen painted his watercolours in the studio, finding that to have the subject before him caused his ‘original conception to be lost in a maze of unnecessary detail’.*2 He carefully drew the composition in pencil before filling the shapes with transparent washes of colour. The flat areas of colour and sweeping rhythms of his work immediately impressed his contemporaries as embodying the ‘new vision’ which looked for ‘simplification and reduction to essentials’ in landscape.2

    Andrew Sayers, 2002

    1Kenneth Macqueen, Adventure in Watercolour, Sydney: Legend Press, 1948, p.8

    2Editorial, Art in Australia, third series, no.17, September 1926, p.2.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
    From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002