As an avid outdoorsman, Adrian Bradbury spends much of his time in the Tasmanian wilderness either hiking, climbing or helping to maintain and improve the various tracks in the region.
However, Bradbury’s love of our native environments has also found an outlet in artistic expression with a selection of his oil paintings currently on display at Freycinet Lodge in Coles Bay. Focusing on how Tasmania’s fickle weather moves across the landscape, his work offers dramatic scenes of forests, ocean and rain.
“My love for wild places arose from many camping trips and day hikes with my parents in places like Mount Buffalo and the Grampians, which was developed further in my early twenties odd-jobbing in vineyards and orchards, working ski seasons and in my discovery of rock climbing,” Bradbury explains.
Bradbury went on to land a job doing track work for the Three Capes Track upgrades on the Tasman Peninsula, before going on to other projects on Port Davey Track as well as the South Coast Track.
“Work on the Three Capes Track involved some clearing with a chainsaw and brush cutter, digging trays for the gravel track with a small excavator, building boardwalks and also employing dry stone techniques to create steps and retaining walls.
“The improved Three Capes Track is a very high-grade walking track accessible to most people, so I hope it becomes a really popular hike.”
Like many others before him, his appreciation for the natural beauty on offer in Tasmania motivated Bradbury to want to protect it from the interests of the resources industry. Having started climbing in various places around the island in the early 2000s, he went on to help set up some ‘tree sits’ for activists seeking to block logging companies in the Florentine.
“It seems the forestry debate has slowed down in recent years as larger tracts of forest have been given World Heritage listing, but there are still large amounts of old growth, temperate rainforest that hasn’t been protected, such as in the Tarkine, and these continue to be threatened by the expansion of mining and logging operations.”
Originally taking up painting as a graphic arts student at RMIT, Bradbury has gradually honed his talents, now employing them to great effect in revealing what he sees as the beauty of Tasmanian wilderness. Using a wide range of strokes, Bradbury’s paintings exhibit the various textural effects that can only be achieved with oils.
“Oils can be applied thick or thin, dry or wet and runny. This is interesting visually and also a very useful quality when trying to depict or evoke the feeling of a diverse and ever-changing landscape.”
On display this summer in Freycinet Lodge, his works are being shown alongside other local artists such as Judy Antill and Ben Miller.
“Given everything I do with my time, I consider myself a painter first and foremost, so it’s been a real thrill seeing my paintings hang alongside the work of Judy Antill with the magical Freycinet coastline just outside the windows of the gallery,” he says.
Adrian Bradbury’s works will form the central feature of Freycinet Lodge’s gallery space from the 11th of December. You can find more of his work online via his Facebook page.