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  • Ray Monde

Fiddling while Rome burns


It’s been blazingly hot in Australia lately with temperatures pushing 40C (100F) and bushfires blazing across the countryside, decimating the landscape and taking stock and houses with it.

It felt weird to be painting while fires were burning not far from me, a little bit like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, but I was on stand-by with the Rural Fire Service and have a very tight deadline to get these works finished.

Normally, my studio is an old shearing shed but it’s made entirely of tin and is like a furnace in hot weather, so I took to the verandah in our garden. It was still hot and not ideal conditions to paint in as it dried almost as fast as I could slather it on. Still, an occasional breeze kept it cooler than in the house and I got to keep an eye on the dog, who’s paralysed with botulism at the moment from eating bad Christmas chicken. One painting done, 9 more to go.

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