Artist Profile: Allan Wolf-Tasker

FROM HIS STUDIO IN A PICTURESQUE VICTORIAN SPA TOWN, ARTIST ALLAN WOLF-TASKER LETS HIS IMAGINATION TAKE HIM TO THE RUGGED NORTHERN TIP OF AUSTRALIA, CAPTURING ITS ISOLATED BEAUTY IN HIS VAST AND CALM CANVASES. HELEN MCKENZIE WRITES.

AS CO-OWNER OF Lake House Lodge in Daylesford, a picturesque country town 100 kilometres northwest of Melbourne, artist Allan Wolf-Tasker lives amongst a landscape that is sought out by city-dwellers looking to get away from it all. The idyllic countryside of springs and lakes have consistently captured the artist’s attention, alongside other stretches of Victorian coast such as the Great Ocean Road and Port Phillip Bay. But Allan and his wife have their own idea about getting away from it all. It is a place far-removed from his southern hometown, at the far northern tip of Australia, that has recently crept under the skin of the artist.

“The opportunity to fully exploit the colour palette proved too tempting,” Allan explains to Art Edit of his recent shift of focus. “It also offered the chance to explore the vigorous brushwork that has been a bit rampant in the studio of late.”

Experimentation with colour and brushwork are evident in Allan’s new works, but the process is tried and true over decades of artistic practice. Allan says, “Everything begins with a thumbnail sketch. A careful drafting process comes next, then under-painting, blocking, or the scrubbing-on of basic colours. Next, is a meditation of layering on colours. This can take some time, but I can’t rush it. I never know when I’ll be done until it’s done. In a sense the subject matter is secondary to the finished effect. I spend considerable time observing, recording and then drafting each image onto the canvas.”

Allan’s paintings may take him on a flight of imagination to the tip of the country, with all its ruggedness and isolation, but in his studio it is another story. “The studio is the best shed you could ask for, set in the fern gully at Lake House. It is full of paintings, paraphernalia, articles of inspiration, vinyl records, music, a soft chair, drafting equipment, and sometimes a dog. Hotel guests pop in and say hello. Some of them stay and we enjoy a drink in the late afternoon sun,” he says.

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