Poetry of Place: Down Under

One of the advantages of living where I do in Sydney is that there is water all around me. I’ve always lived near the beaches of the eastern suburbs, Coogee, Clovelly and Bondi. For two years my partner and I decided to experience a harbour change, and to live on the north side of the bridge with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the bays on this side. Eventually we  returned to the beach suburbs on the other side of the bridge where you can live right next to a sandy beach, and still be just twenty minutes from the city centre. Artist Paul Atroshenko captures the beauty of Sydney Harbour in his landscape paintings.

Sydney Harbour from Point Piper by Paul Atroshenko

When I was young and fell in love with Paris I lived there for four years. It was the River Seine with its many bridges and its islands that seduced me, as well as the ancient cobblestones and beautiful architecture all around me. But I missed the ocean and the Harbour back home. I could have continued to live in France forever, but something called me back to my origins. It was partly the climate; it’s never freezing here, and it’s the sandy beaches and the water all around the place, the citrus-like smells of the eucalypts and the space and the sunshine… But I still need to take the long journey northwards whenever possible to keep in touch with those other amazing cultures up there.

Of course, water is not always benign, and can become quite violent and destructive at times, which is the theme of Paul Atroshenko’s painting “Storm at Clovelly”. On his website, Paul writes, below this painting:

“We have fierce winter storms in Sydney which mainly come from the South. Clovelly has a beach which is generally sheltered from rough seas because it is deep within a narrow bay. But, when the waves come from just the right direction, the power of the sea seems to be magnified by the narrowness of the inlet.

I have used neo-cubist devices in this painting for essentially romantic reasons.”

Storm at Clovelly by Paul Atroshenko