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19 December 2005

Polar Artist

Take a journey from Tasmania to Antarctica with artist Jenni Mitchell.

JENNI MITCHELL, ARTIST: It took nine days from Hobart to reach Casey, and as we got further south and each day the waters seemed to get - well, they got wilder and rougher. It got colder, and you would wake up and put more layers on. You actually had the feeling, the sensation of travelling south. You just felt like you were going deeper and deeper into something.

To me, every nuance, every little turn of the ship produced a different light. There was a different painting - there were just thousands of paintings, and for me the challenge is to try and get on to paper or through the camera what I was experiencing, and I just felt that was almost impossible to do.

You just can't interpret the enormity of the ocean or the light. It's a far more colourful place than people expect.

Before I went people said, "All you need to do is take blue and white," and it was a great joke.

But that's one of the things that I hope through my painting people can see, is the array of colour and the absolute gloriousness of it.

We were leaving Casey Station. We were a day out of the station, and 12 o'clock midnight it was just the most extraordinary thing. I don't think for the rest of my life I'll be able to experience such a powerful New Year's Eve. The sun set behind this enormous blue iceberg. It had these sort of fingers of orange streaking up towards us, and that's the midnight sun painting.

The turning berg, which was again at one of those sort of twilight, probably two o'clock or 11 o'clock at night, two o'clock-type lights. It's pink. It's an image of a berg that's dissolving. One of the great things to experience is when they're actually rolling over. I would really like to share that almost transcending feeling that the ice had for me. There were times when it was so beautiful it was almost painful.

It is a wilderness that has a fragility about it, but also an amazing strength about it.

The twilight is a God-like beauty that transcends everything that I know from anywhere else I've been. I think I've been to lots of interesting places. I've been to lots of wild places. I've searched for wild places.

But this really has got to be the most extraordinary place, and it is so important that we look after it.

story notes

Took is the past tense of the irregular verb take. Foillow the link to listen to some examples.
more information: take

Hobart to reach Casey
Hereís the journey that Jenni took, from Hobart to Casey. We say that this is the route, which is the direction you follow to get to a palce.

The place you start your journey is the origin.
The act of leaving is called departure.
At the end of your journey, you arrive at your destination.

Example: Jenniís destination was Antarctica.

Here got is the past tense of the irregular verb get. Follow the link to listen to some examples.
more information: get

To interpret means to explain or translate something - to work out what something means and then express it in another way.

The word enormity refers to the great size or importance of something.

Went is the past tense of the irregular verb go. Follow the link to listen to some examples.
more information: go

The word array refers to a range or group of things.

Glorious means very beautiful. We wouldnít usually use the word gloriousness - but here Jenni uses it to emphasise the beauty and glory of the colours she saw.

The prefix extra means outside, or beyond. Extraordinary means very special or unusual.
more information: extra- prefix

Wilderness refers to a wild and unchanged land that has not been built on or farmed and has no roads or buildings.

Fragility is the noun form of fragile. Fragile means easily damaged or harmed.

Twilight describes the kind of light that appears after sunset. Itís the light thatís in the sky when the sun is below the horizon, but you can still see reflected sunlight.

To transcend means to go beyond. The beauty of the twilight goes beyond anything Jenni has seen before.