nicholas nicola etchings

cooks river


Cooks River in the Earlwood-Marrickville environ is very near where I live and it has become an increasingly common past-time to go for a walk along it. The Cooks River etchings are based on sketches and photos which I have taken of this waterway. With the smaller squares I have taken to experimenting with aquatint and sugarlift. I think it is fair to say there is the influence of the renowned Australian painter/printmaker Fred Williams (a favourite Australian artist of mine) in these smaller pieces.  There is an increasing abstraction in my latest work which I became conscious of while doing the Coledale series. (Looking at what - at first sight appears ordinary - and making ‘something of it’ is a worthwhile challenge). With this increasing abstraction and move towards the simple over the complex I should also acknowledge the influence of Aboriginal art on these recent prints; especially the flat forms of Rover Thomas that especially had some bearing on various coastal etchings. 


Another agenda to consider which only came to my own mind rather recently is that with a somewhat 'Aboriginal accent' in some of the images there is the ideological cultural undertone that as the river is 'imperially named' after the European who claimed the east coast of this vast contient for a colonial power one could say that on this cultural level that with this art work this waterflow is being 'reclaimed' to the original people who resided here for many thousands of years. However, this idea is very much limited by the fact that I am also a European; all I can say is that at least I am aware that I am a mere 'visitor' to this wateflow; that the true owners were driven away from it during the period of colonial expansion ( although this is an expansion which could be argued continues to this present day...). Curiously, it is not common knowledge as to what is the original Aboriginal name of this river. (Whenever I find out it will be added here).


Finally, a friend once said that she oould sense the 'ancient spirits' on this river and yes, one can perceive their presence on a windy day and the water of a swifter current is choppy; (see the videos reflecting this perception on the light of God webpage). 


  • river scene                                
  • dance of the dead
  • reeds
  • reeds
  • reeds of life
  • mangrove 1
  • reeds 1
  • under the shade
  • fallen angel
  • '...still the sky is blue...'*
  • the river is calm
  • riverbend

All S size. small (S) medium (M) large (L) extra large (XL)                           

* see acquisitions




              94                                                                                               95

               96                                                                                              97

               98                                                                                               99

             100                                                                                              101                 

            102                                                                                                103




          93River Scene.B&W. 20cmX5cm.plastic plate. Cooks River. S N/A

          94 ‘Dance of the Dead.’ sepia. 10cmX7cm. aquatint.sugarlift. zinc plate. Cooks River. S

          95’Reeds.’ B&W. 10cm.X7cm.aquatint. sugarlift.zinc plate.Cooks River. S

          96 ‘Reeds’. B&W. 10cmX7cm.aquatint. zinc plate. Cooks River. S

          97 Reeds of Life. B&.W.sepia.10cmX7cm.aquatint. zinc plate. Cooks River. S

          98 Mangrove 1.. sepia. 10cmX7cm aquatint. zinc plate. S

          99 Reeds 1.B&W.10cmX7cm. aquatint. zinc plate. S

          100 Under the Shade.B&W. 10cmX7cm. zinc plate. Cooks River. S

          101 ’Fallen Angel.’ sepia.10cmX7cm. aquatint. zinc plate.Cooks River. S 

          102 ’…still the sky is blue…blue & black on white. aquatint. zinc plate. Cooks River . This two tone-image is based on a remark in Marcel Proust’s ‘Remembrance of Things Past.’ The woods may be dark but one can look heavenwards for inspiration and hope. S 

           103. ‘The river is calm.’ B&W. 10cmX7cm. aquatint. zinc plate   Cooks River . S

           104 Riverbend.  B&W.10cmX7cm.zinc plate. Cooks River. S







          colour theory. cooks river festival. steel park. april 2006.


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