Australia 1855 – 1917
oil on canvas
49.5 (h) x 60.0 (w) cm
Wilbow collection, Melbourne
At Macedon is an intimate view of wattle, bracken and bush. As with so many of his later works, here McCubbin was fascinated with light, colour and atmosphere, and with the physical process of painting.
His daughter Kathleen is possibly the little girl seen clambering through the old post-and-rail-fence. She recalled:
At Macedon was painted by my father in the latter part of his life. It was when his art had fully blossomed, when he had mastered the technique of painting the bush around him. In this work is his beloved wattle, not in flower, for this is how he loved to paint the wattle. This painting is of the bush beside our cottage at Mount Macedon. The old fence in the work was there in the bush for many years and eventually was pulled down. My father loved those rustic fences, as they made a wonderful subject for his paintings, as did the old logs.
I can see my father going into the bush with his battered old felt hat, and his painting coat which was smeared with paint, and he carried his easel and paint box. He used to go and find a secluded spot and put down his camping stool and he would paint his subjects right there in the bush on the spot. His easel was collapsible and folded into three and was usually strapped to his paint box. When he opened up his paint box, he had his palette on one side and all his paints and oils and mixers on the other side, along with his brushes and of course his palette knife. He didn’t need to wander far because there were so many paintable subjects right there close to the cottage. He would always be within calling distance and would return very punctually for lunch, because my mother put on very good lunches (Kathleen Mangan, quoted in Mackenzie 1990, p 114).