Caryl Plant – Time and Tide

“An artist’s view of our region’s distinctive landscape as depicted in painting, drawing and ceramic”


Opening at 11am Saturday 1st Feb 2020, at the Lovett Gallery Cygnet, with morning tea and a presentation about her exhibition by Caryl.

Opening Hours

Note that this exhibition will be open on weekdays as well as the usual Fri-Sat-Sun gallery opening hours.

Exhibition Opening Hours
Daily Sat. 1st Feb to Fri. 14th Feb 2020
10 am – 4 pm Daily

The Story

It begins and ends on islands. Philip Island, Victoria, where my sister and I were born, a place of granite and sand, my first canvas. Tasmania, now my home, a place of Dolerite and sandstone, with interesting bits thrown in, or rather, thrown up.

And in between, the Mornington Peninsula Fossil beds where a fascination for earth science was budding, encouraged by a mother who prompted her daughters to collect, explore and to draw.

Voyaging, navigating and the opportunity for more drawing continued to give me a sense of ‘place’, and a need to know where I stood. I’ve never been lost, or not physically anyway.

Our Mother wrote and illustrated a story and my sister and I have continued the trend, albeit in illustrations, both graphic and in paint. My nephew is a published author and illustrator.

This exhibition, Time & Tide, continues my exploration of the fossil record I find around me, a story beginning at the Permian beds of Poverty Point where the fossilised remains of astonishingly ancient Brachiopod shells can be seen amongst Bryozoan traces and occasionally a gastropod, a snail.

I decided to tread lightly amongst the slippery mud beds and began my drawings as rubbings, laying the watercolour paper on the ground and using graphite, to make an image. This I enhanced at home, highlighting the many species found. It was fun.

I painted the Poverty Point work with it’s cola coloured freshwater Huon waters and a line of apples washed up on the beach, finding it a bit sinister I have to say. Its ancient heritage humbles me.

I found the nearby Hartz Mountains a most compelling place. The story of massive glaciers bulldozing aside huge rocks of moraine and grinding the valleys flat, leaving perched lakes surrounded by unique Gondwana type vegetation is an artist’s paradise.

‘Waratah at Hartz Mountain’ painting came of an early morning visit where low clouds cut through the mountain range, which appeared higher above.

Drip Beach is an eroding coast, being open to strong southerly influences. Every time I visit another huge tree has fallen and more of the beautiful underlying clay is leached away. There is beauty in the graceful way these huge trees collapse and although the rate seems to have quickened, perhaps somewhere else a beach is being formed….the earth being a dynamic system. The masses of lovely pebbles interest me…..are they ancient beach remnants? So much I don’t know.

Mickey’s Beach and Randall’s Bay are magic for all sorts of reasons. To stare up at the stunning coloured Jurassic sandstone cliffs where tiny wrens forage is to know there are paintings there.

To hear the susurration of the incoming tide, the Oyster Catchers piping, the Gulls strident call, I hope you can hear them too.

To know that a Southerly weather event can have beautiful boats high and dry amongst wrack on that same seemingly benign beach, is all part of the story.

The Crucibles

Researching my modest bit of turf here in Cygnet, I found the geology is significant. Around 100 million years ago an up swelling of magma poured over the Dolerite rocks, super heating the surface. Unusual minerals abound….perhaps a little gold too.

I have had my hands full of tiny remnant bits sieved out of the native clay I wished to use in the pottery. These bits tell the story of this incursion and the clay, being ancient is beautiful. Would it be of any use though?

I wished to reference the miners who historically searched in my region for pay dirt. Crucibles can be used to test molten metal and to dip slag off the top. I have a good collection of these vessels and find them utterly fascinating. I love the fact that they’ve gone through a process involving horrendous heat and then are discarded, proudly wearing their slaggy drips.

I have blended the local clay to reflect the sandstone cliffs nearby and to maintain an industrial link. They are a bit wonky. I think I had more fun making them than anything I’ve made before.

Creativity is essential to my well being. I must tell stories and I must do it with all the craftsmanship I can find within me.

Please enjoy the exhibition.