No other artist captures the natural light of the Australian Bush like Hal Barton. He is recognised as one of Australia’s leading bush painters. His works reveal a depth of feeling and understanding of the environment which coupled with his formidable talent and recognised technique, make his works constantly in demand.
Born in Adelaide in 1927, his passion for immortalising the land began when as a small child he wandered his beloved Adelaide Hills, sketchbook I hand. He gained his early training at the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts and had the advantage of being tutored by returning official war artists. This study involved intensive drawing and painting and he believes that this period has contributed enormously to his success.
On his painting trips to Hahndorf he received invaluable guidance and encouragement from Sir Hans Heysen. But Hal shunned the traditional sweeping landscapes o Heysen and the Heidelberg School, to which he has been compared, to uncover the unique beauty and character of the bush at eye-level, with his fine focus revealing the organised chaos of nature on the forest floor. He mainly painted outdoors and his pursuit of subjects has taken him to many remote areas of Australia. Hal later found that he preferred to paint in the comfort of his studio.
Hal was by no means limited to bush scenes. He also paints still life and after moving to the Sunshine Coast in 1972, also painted beach scenes often including banksias and grass trees. In 1992 he demonstrated his versatility by becoming a finalist in the “Doug Moran Portrait Competition”. In 1996 Hal claimed yet another major prize to add to his collection. Chosen from thousands of entries, he won the prestigious Camberwell Rotary Art Prize for the second time (the first was in 1990). No other artist has achieved this distinction. Hal painted well into his eighties and was named as one of the legends of the century of his region.
Hal had over 20 solo exhibitions both in Queensland and in other states, many of which were sell-outs. His works feature in private collections across Australia as well as New York, London and Ireland.