Boats at Brighton Marina in Old Melbourne
Brighton beach named, no doubt, after its namesake in England, is a bayside suburb in Melbourne with an extensive harbour for those Australians who love to sail. The older sections have portions of superb architectural interest with boardwalks of bolted timbers similar to those visible in Matthew's South Melbourne beach canvas but in a better state of repair.
Matthew Moss began the subject with a drawing of some detail where most of the elements reappear in the final canvas. The major difference is in the background where some of the clouds, sketched in his previous Red Sea journey by packet boat are reintroduced in place of the hills in the original drawing. The walkway appearing to the right peters out uncertainly in the sketch, but in the final work assumes a more important position in the composition by acting as a cut‑off line between the clouds and the busy foreground.
The blues and touches of green in the rear of the canvas are executed in acrylic; the foreground is a much more complex combination of both acrylic and oil. The timberwork of the boardwalk and posts projecting from the sea have been successively reworked in oil and acrylic combinations, resulting in a delicate mixture of tones. The flat shapes of the foreground boats were deliberately sought after by the artist and were obtained by executing the structures in flat oils and overpainting in simple flat combinations of acrylic. The boats appearing lightly behind the pier are in the original sketch but are now fleshed out by incorporating some of the forms from the Djibouti felucca drawings.
The painting has a very light delicate appearance, the result of the white priming and the soft absorbent pastel look of the surface. The squat heavy appearance of the boats is reminiscent of the work of Pieter Brueghel the Elder. ' Boats at Brighton Marina in Old Melbourne' was exhibited in Melbourne at the Bartoni gallery following a previous exhibition in Sydney. Hambro bank (private banking division of Société Générale group ) leased the work of art subsequently for a number of years.
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