"GOT to do it while it's there," says Boronia artist Jock Laing.
His choice of subject matter, which includes the Bayswater level crossing — if not his style— is reminiscent of the famous 'urban landscapes' of Jeffrey Smart.
Laing is intent on recording the passing of Bayswater landmarks, hence that one statement sums up the new Our Community exhibition at The Hut Gallery in Ferntree Gully.
The exhibition showcases artwork depicting distinctive landscapes and streetscapes in Knox and surrounding areas.
The changing face of Knox — from farmland to suburbia — has inspired artists to pick up their pencil or paintbrush and capture what lies on their doorstep.
Laing has several pieces in the show featuring the Bayswater level crossing, Boronia streetscape and The Hut Gallery.
"The crossing, that's going, the landscape is changing around Boronia and Ferntree Gully, and one day down Boronia Road it will be a double-lane highway," he said.
Charlie Wallis, who has been painting for more than 40 years, agreed that painting was at least partly about preserving history. Wallis and Laing have different methods when it comes to painting their landscapes: Laing photographs the scene he wants to draw, Wallis works in the open air and spends about 45 minutes painting.
Other recognised Knox scenes captured in print at the exhibition are a statue in Ferntree Gully, the creek beside Ferntree Gully library and images from local historical homesteads. Laing said that as the area developed it was becoming harder to find inspiration. "Unfortunately at the moment, we're losing the atmosphere of a country feeling because there are too many units," he said.
The artists have to travel further and further out, according to Wallis. "I go to Cape Schanck, Warragul, anywhere in the bush or by the seaside," he said.
But both agreed that parts of Ferntree Gully and Upper Ferntree Gully, as well as Lysterfield and Belgrave were still blooming with inspiration for artists.
Our Community is open from 11am every Sunday until March 24 at 157 Underwood Road, Ferntree Gully. Free admission. Details: 9758 8955 or vicnet.net.au/~thehut.