How Meagan Jacobs wound up 'Round a lazy bend'

Photograph by Lloyd Jacobs

How Meagan Jacobs wound up ‘Round a lazy bend'
by hamish richardson
I tried to paint like other people – more intelligently, more space... then I came back and things started interlocking and I felt happy.”
Round a lazy bend from the South Coast’s Meagan Jacobs is an exhibition by an artist on the move – through time and space, through her own awakening.
You don’t have to know Meagan or her past work to realise the influence of the outback, where her recent travels have taken her, is strong in these latest works. The inspiration she has drawn from the enormous sky, from the sweeping plains, from the far horizon, is evident.
These paintings are big and they are bold.
The scale of things has changed,” admits Meagan. “I just wanted to free up in my painting – keep them all quite loose.
When I first came back from Darwin I was a bit confused about what I wanted to paint. At first everything felt  a bit too much like other people, but I just had to keep painting through, scratching back, allowing things to come to the surface,  then they became my own.”
Meagan’s work has always portrayed a sense of connectedness – the difference now perhaps is the intensity of that feeling within each of these new works.
There is a depth that draws you into the landscape, into the story, into the dream.
My paintings do start off wanting to be realistic – then they become suspended between an imagined place and the landscape I visited.
It’s like recording nature in my own language – weather patterns and how they make their mark on things, the way the water lilies reach down into the river bed, the shadowing... the little things.”
Despite the influence of the desert, Meagan says she can still recognise elements of her beloved South Coast in her latest offerings.
I think now they’re just that combination of the Australian landscape – little snippets of what I see and where I’ve been.
After I finish a body of work I enjoy reflecting on why I do things.”
But it’s the factor of surprise, looming large ‘round a lazy bend, that is at the heart of Meagan’s method.
When I’m painting I’m looking to be lost in the moment - I’m not thinking about the finished work or too concerned with colour placement, I depend on my intuition during this process.
There are beautiful moments when you’re painting like that, then coming back into the studio the next day and think, OK, that happened.
I’ve always loved drawing, doodling. It doesn’t have to mean anything – just the act of making a mark. Now we always have to feel it says something or it’s about something.
But isn’t it enchanting for someone to be able to stand in front of a painting and feel what it brings to them.”