After spending the last three years painting urban landscapes including New York, Sydney and Perth, he decided it was time to journey back to the vastness and beauty of the Kimberley.
‘I felt a yearning to get back to the outback, somewhere with lots of space and there’s not too many places that have as much space as the Kimberley,’ Darby said.
The painter travelled north with his wife, Julie, for a four-day break in July catching a seaplane to the remote location built on sand dunes at the mouth of the Berkeley River.
With limited materials due to small baggage allowance, Darby set to work on daily studies of the landscape on paper, which he turned into large-scale canvas works back in his studio.
‘Obviously the subject is starkly different to what I’ve been working on recently, so it required a completely different pallet,’ he said.
‘A lot of my later urban landscape works were very dark and by contrast the Berkeley River was full of light and air, although quite ironically, the shape of the cliffs carved by the water reminded me of cities in a lot of ways.’
Darby said his affinity to nature began during his days as a youngster growing up in Doubleview, when he loved to wade through Jackadder and Herdsman Lakes.
Darby said part proceeds from this latest exhibition would be donated to Youth Focus, one of several charities he has had an association with for a few years that is sure to continue.