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First Light, Karijini National Park, Pas

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Early Morning Magic

Pastel on Paper

46cm x 30cm, 18”x12”

While most of us use our eyes every day without thinking, one of the biggest lessons I learned in my art education was to retrain my eyes (and my brain), to really ‘see.’


One weekend, as I was gathering subject matter for my paintings in Karijini National Park, I came across this section of road on Banjima Drive. The brilliant red of the dirt intercut with yellow-green vegetation, the hill in background banded with grass, the texture of the tire treads and the twist in the road leading to parts unknown. It was an intriguing scene, to say the least.


In the past, I might have grabbed a few choice photos and continued on my way but, having retrained my eyes to look critically, I realized there was one thing that could be improved- the light. Under the noonday sun, the shadows were scarce and the colours blown out. Imagine, I thought to myself, seeing this at dawn.


That night I camped in the park and set my small, portable alarm clock for 5am. I rose before the sun, blearily made myself a cup of coffee to ward off the chill of the night and drove back out to that small turn in the road that had caught my attention.


Thankfully, my suspicions were correct. Not only did the early morning light create the magic I was hoping for but I also discovered some footprints left from Karijini’s nocturnal critters, still undisturbed on the road in the early hours of the day.

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