Local artist profile: Dr Jeff Woodger

October 24, 2021 BY

Romantic Landscape is part of the Sandhurst Club Collection. Photos: SUPPLIED

THIS week we speak to Bendigo master landscape artist Dr Jeff Woodger.


What motivated you to become a landscape artist?

My grandfather, a Melbourne art collector, owned paintings by John Olsen, Arthur Boyd and Brett Whiteley amongst others. He also had 19th Century British landscapes including Clarkson Stanfield and Samuel Prout. His art collection fascinated me.

As a cartoon enthusiast, I was included in Larry Pickering’s book Cartoons by Australian Kids and presented to the Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Later, in Europe, I was inspired by artists copying famous paintings in art museums.


Can you describe your style?

My painting style is Romantic Plein air landscapes.

After graduating with a BA (fine art) La Trobe University, Bendigo, I began employment at the Bendigo Art Gallery (1987-88).

I was intrigued by the 19th century collection of landscape paintings including Louis Buvelot and the French Barbizon School.

In 1992-93 I did my MA (fine art) with a post-modernist theme to copy in situ Barbizon School landscapes held in the Bendigo gallery collection.


Why did you choose landscapes as your subject?

My mother was a great international traveller and together we explored the landscapes of many countries.

Teaching in regional schools; the journey driving to these places inspired me to do countless pen and ink drawings of the landscape.

I conducted a survey of people visiting the Bendigo Art Gallery. The majority expressed interest in the genre of landscape.

Master landscape artist Dr Jeff Woodger.

Which artists inspire you?

The French 17th century classical landscape painter Claude Lorrain’s space, light and grand design combined with an evident Japanese Kano School influence has inspired me.

My assertion of this theory was the basis of my Ph.D (fine art) thesis, informed by 15 years residency in Japan (1994-2010).


What have you been working on lately?

Recently I collected an antiquarian copy of the five volumes of John Ruskin’s Modern Painters 1843.

This insightful analysis of Romantic landscape painting has fuelled an enthusiasm, a spirit of connectivity for the infinity of earth and sky.

I’ve also been executing small landscapes and studies of eucalyptus trees, skies, rocks and water reflections. I’m combining these to create large Romantic views of the central Victorian landscape.

COVID-19 has caused me to postpone my plans to travel and exhibit in Japan and New York. It has also delayed a commission to paint a view of a castle in Scotland for a Ballarat art collector.


What are some fond memories you have from your career?

Fond memories include successful solo exhibitions in Japan, which were reviewed in a well-known Tokyo Art magazine B.T (Bijutsu Techo).

Having successfully exhibited in Chelsea, NYC, reviewed and advertised in magazines which included the renowned Art in America.

Gaining collectors in Japan, America and Australia have been encouraging.

The late Bendigo businessman Phil Lazenby introduced me to clients from Melbourne and The Sandhurst Club, who acquired a classical landscape of mine.

I’ve had numerous paintings acquired by private, university, corporate and museum collections both nationally and internationally.

I’ve had solo art museum shows at Warrnambool Art Gallery (1998) and Swan Hill Regional Gallery (2005).

Achieving my aims, I have done some hard yards, sleeping in my van, showering in the forest whilst enjoying caviar in a caravan.


How can people view/buy your work?

Contact me via email regarding landscape painting commissions as well as exhibitions: [email protected]

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