by Alison Houston
A SOUTH African safari, together with the nature at times found literally on her doorstep at Pearl Beach, has provided inspiration for Marijke Greenway's new exhibition, Wildlife, in Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens.
Marijke admits to having been "very focussed" on this exhibit, walking in the early morning and then painting all day to create 60 new wildlife paintings in less than a year.
"I could have gone on and on; there are just so many wonderful subjects," she enthused.
But having reached the point where her physiotherapist told her it's time for a break, Marijka said she is now "very happy with the result".
The exhibit is one-third South African subjects, two-thirds Australian, and includes everything from a goanna she found on her doorstep, to emus, tawny frogmouths, koalas, wallabies, a cassowary and black cockatoos to rhinos, lions and elephants.
But arguably the most striking painting of all is Giraffes in Camouflage, which has an equally interesting backstory.
Standing back having completed her painting of the giraffes from a photograph taken on safari, Marijke decided it was "too perfect".
"I wanted it to have that feeling I had of the safari vehicle hurtling down the road in the heat, and me spotting something and shouting out for them to stop," she said.
The answer was to literally throw paint at the problem - an action she admits initially horrified her husband, John.
She then pulled the orange-covered paintbrush down the canvas, creating the wonderfully colourful 'camouflage' we now see in this unique standout painting.
At almost 75, having painted for 35 years, daily since moving to Pearl Beach some 20 years ago, Marijke said she cannot imagine being without her art.
"Painting is what makes my life exciting and pleasurable," she said.
Her joy is painting nature and she is well known for her paintings of trees and landscapes which capture that feeling of "being there".
Marijke's exhibit is at the Palm House in the Sydney Botanic Gardens, and will run from April 2-20. Entry is free.
You can find out more about Marijke and her work at www.marijkegreenway.com or visit her in her home gallery on Sundays from 11am-4pm (call first on 4341 6004).