© Nellie Zimmerman Online Portfolio © 2017
Nellie Zimmerman © 2017
My affair with the Victorian Alps began when I was pregnant with my first baby, Lara. It began most unromantically as morning sickness and the serpentine mountain roads conspired to do their worst. But even so, the experience left an indelible impression on me. I had not seen the snow since I was a six year old child back in Russia, and I felt like a kid again when I saw the first clumps of snow along the roadside.
My first impression was that it didn't have the same smell as it did in Europe and it wasn't that cold. My second thought was how amazing it is for one country to have such extremes in climate where in the space of a couple of months a mountain goes from being a tinderbox of eucalyptus oil and woody scrub, ready to ignite, to a magical watery wonderland of snow and ice.
'Melbourne on ice' is based on landscape and aerial views. It was also a very well received series. I was developing a recognisable style of my own, without the influence of any other artist. I love the contrasts and contradictions of the weather in Australia especially in Melbourne. In Europe, in winter it is winter, and shall remain in such a state until spring emerges at its set time. In Melbourne, anything can happen at any given time of year. The crisp chill that is embodied in the ‘Melbourne on Ice’ works is a phenomenon that can happen at any time in Melbourne – from the crisp early hours of an April morning on the Peninsula to an eye-wateringly frosty July evening in the Dandenongs.
The tactile aspect or my work was mainly inspired by my firstborn, Lara’s obsession with touching different surfaces. It is a fascination that never really leaves us - as adults we still harbour that desire to touch beautiful and interesting objects. I also attribute the layered effect and the build up of textures to my lifestyle at the time, in particular the continual interruptions in my work to attend to my children and other household duties. Acrylic dries quickly, so within an hour of finishing one layer I could start applying the next, and the depth and texture is formed. I view the evolution of this technique, which was purely coincidental, as a payoff for all the hard work we mothers do.