15 September 2012

Elena Parashko looks through the porthole of 'John Oxley'

            The coastal steam ship, John Oxley (1927), is on the floating Heritage Dock 
undergoing major restoration. Donning a hard hat, climbing up the scaffolding to board 
this vessel and walking through the deteriorating compartments of the John Oxley 
gave me an insight into how magnificent this steamer once was and will eventually be again. Small details instantly caught my eye and imagination. In my artistic practice, much of 
my work is aimed at highlighting the beauty all around us that often goes unnoticed 
in the busyness of our lives. I found much fuel for inspiration here.

During this pause in construction, painting there and then on board John Oxley 
was not an option, so I relied on taking quick photographs to record
 the images that made a visual and emotional impression on me. 
I worked from these reference photos and my personal experience back home in the studio.

 An open porthole with cracked glass transported me to a different time and place. 
I empathised with all sailors who travel far from home and miss their loved ones 
and imagined them being on the open sea and thinking of 
their wives and children who were waiting for their return. 
That inspired me to paint “Thinking of You”. Looking through the porthole, 
I painted a view of the open ocean instead of the current reality of the shipyard setting.

Thinking of You