I headed down to Denmark on Friday to check out The Old Butter Factory.

The premises had operated as an art gallery for years until it closed down about two years ago. It has now re-opened as a cooperative art gallery featuring paintings and sculptures by a handful of Denmark artists. There’s some beautiful work on view and you might even catch some sculpting in progress in the downstairs workshop.

If you’re in Denmark (Western Australia), check it out.

After visiting the gallery, I took a drive out along Scottsdale Road and several other roads in the area that I just happened to turn down. The region from Denmark to Walpoloe is spectacular – and quite different to any other location in Western Australia.

Large rolling hills are a big part of what makes this area different but on top of this you get majestic karri trees and numerous creek lines. Roads wind their way through the farmlands and there is a lot of potential painting material along the way. The only difficulty is the lack of safe parking (or even standing room) exactly where you want it.

But I did eventually find a spot to park coupled with a view to paint. I wandered around for a while, checking out different vantage points before settling on one looking almost directly into the sun. The farms around here are bounded by mostly-remnant karri forest and most farms have old karris scattered throughout. This tree was set high on a hill, almost as if it was standing guard over the region. It was begging to be painted.

I completely forgot to take a location shot of the finished painting so you’ll have to trust me that this is 100% plein air. Here’s the painting as it stands.

Karri tree. Plein air landscape oil painting by Andy Dolphin.
(Lone Karri. Plein air sketch. 25x30cm oil on board. © Andy Dolphin)

Back in the studio, with the sun no longer threatening my retinas, I can see a few things that need adjusting to enhance and strengthen the overall composition. At the very least, it could use a bit of saturated warmth in the foreground. I may make the adjustments on the painting itself when it’s dry enough, or I might use it as reference material for another painting.