Jacks Pencil Palette



Big Red Kangaroo near Broken Hill



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DESCRIPTION: This image has the largest animal in any of Jack's drawings. Yet strangely he is as much a part of the landscape as the tussock grass. This is a life enhancing image as the Big Red Kangaroo is very much alive and he is studying you the audience. You can also see the two signature birds in their usual position. Big Red is a composition of harsh contrasts, as there is only the hot blue sky and the hot red soil. This is an extreme place and the master of it all is Big Red. Jack has captured his character both in his face and in the whole languid posture of his body. The Red is the largest of the Kangaroo family and it inhabits huge areas of the desert and the semi-desert. Jack saw this kangaroo near Broken Hill, which is in the extreme west of New South Wales. This same area is illustrated in "Lake Menindee".

JACK'S DESCRIPTION: When you set out to draw the details in a kangaroo’s face, then bit by bit fill in the lines, you see revealed before you a face that is uniquely Australian. Of course, the desert is not uniquely Australian, as there are plenty of deserts on other continents, but Australia is the driest inhabited continent. Thus, the desert somehow has the most influence; it is somehow typical of Australia.

And the lord of the desert is the Red Kangaroo. It has the proud bearing of a creature that has triumphed over adversity. And proud too is that supreme air of triumph of a kangaroo bounding away at full speed. There is a sublime grace in its strength and beauty that is also uniquely Australian. Its whole being is so finely balanced in the air between each bound.

So it was that in the desert country, some distance from Broken Hill, that I took an interest in that kangaroo studying me, as I studied him. He was away in the distance, on the stark red soil, under the blazing sun in the perfect clear blue sky.

So strong, so stunning, so proud, so Australian he was.