KATIE MILTON DELVES INTO THE METICULOUS PRACTICE OF WILDLIFE ARTIST BRETT JARRETT.
WHEN NARRAWONG-BASED artist Brett Jarrett was eight, he would visit the local library on the week- ends and sit in a small booth, where he would spend hours copying the paintings from Robin Hill’s Australian Birds. Today he works from his own immaculate studio, “cross-referencing to photos, books, various other equipment and materials,” to produce his own impeccable wildlife studies.
Brett attributes this fascination with mammals and birds to a childhood spent on the rugged coast- line of southwest Victoria. “I beach-combed relent- lessly, finding seabirds from far-off places that still motivate my work today,” says the artist.
As well as these childhood recollections, Brett has spent many of his painting years travelling the globe in search of rare and fascinating wildlife to inspire his work. But sometimes, inspiration is not far away, “It simply comes from a koala and joey in the tree next to my studio,” muses the artist.
Brett uses quality oils on canvas or board to build his wildlife depictions. “The surface is rigid, allowing for aggressive and detailed pencil work as a lead-up to applying paint,” he explains.
At the foundation of each of his works (so metic- ulous that he only works on one at a time) is an ac- curate anatomy and a great attention to light. These elements result in finished wildlife scenes with an exceptional sense of form and a lifelike quality.
His works currently hang in a custom-built gallery space at The Bay of Whales Gallery in Narrawong, Victoria, where visitors are also invited to experience his working studio space.