THE GOODACRE FAMILY

My grandfather was the seventh child, born in 1895. He married Elsie Whiteman and acquired a property called Penrose near Walli, farming mainly wheat and wool. My father, Harley Goodacre was their only child. He married Phyllis Cheney in 1949 and share farmed the property with my grandparents for many years. This is where I spent my childhood.

This experience stayed with me and I feel compelled to keep returning to this landscape. There is nothing that seems more full of hope and potential than a ripe wheat crop that’s about to be harvested.

My mother’s family, the Cheneys, lived around the Blayney area. They had a small farm near the village of Barry on the shores of what is now Carcoar Lake. She studied music and became a piano and singing teacher in Blayney and Woodstock. When I was about 12 the family sold the farm and we moved into Cowra. That’s when I started painting.

I first studied part time at East Sydney Tech in the mid 1970’s and then went full time to Canberra School of Art. In 2005 I returned to the East Sydney campus, by then known as the National Art School and studied for an honours degree, which I completed in 2008. My experience there of the atelier approach, with an emphasis on drawing, led me towards a renewed interest landscape drawing and a study of the history of landscape in western art.

In recent years I have been interested in the aesthetics of crop fields. Crop landscape present a set of formal compositional problems and opportunities, being a uniform layer of colour in a particular setting, which may be marked with patterns or random machinery tracks that can appear like huge field drawings.