Anne-France Fulgence keeps her eyes on the weather - for good reason.
During last year's bushfire crisis in and around Kangaroo Valley, where she has lived and painted for 20 years, her vigilant monitoring of meteorology was key to her survival, as she and her husband dodged the catastrophic Currowan fire.
More than a year later, A-F (as she prefers to be called) still admits to suffering a kind of PTSD from that terrifying time as she was forced to flee her home.
But a new exhibition of her work showcases her restored connection to the beauty of her surroundings in the Valley and all its shifting moods.
As the land has begun to slowly recover from that disaster and flourish in mysterious ways, A-F's latest paintings likewise reflect a period of recalibration, and an irresistible surge of creativity.
Weather meets landscape in her stunning new exhibition, "Weather Studies", showing at The Shac in Robertson throughout the month of May.
Her paintings capture the many moods of the region, from the dangerous to the delightful.
"My paintings can be like a poetic tale, dark, moody, evocative and atmospheric," she explains.
"The fiery dusk, the Valley heavy fog, the amazing light, colours, shadows, the vast quietness over an ancient landscape - this is what inspires me to paint.
"When the fires descended on the Valley, it felt like the end of the world. But we are still here. The land that I paint from my studio is vivid, menacing, compelling and ever-shifting."
That studio is a converted dairy in the heart of the Valley, its views extending to the dramatic amphitheatre of the surrounding escarpment.
During winter, the wind rattles its iron walls and howls through its draughty gaps.
In summer, it can be a furnace. But lately it has been a hothouse of production of her breathtaking works.
A-F was born in Morocco, studied in France, and immigrated to Australia in 1989.
She attributes her French ancestry to her sense of drama and what she admits is a "wild romanticism".
Her vision, palettes and techniques are inspired by the French poet Victor Hugo, and the work of 19th-century artists Gustave Courbet, William Turner and John Constable.
She has been professionally exhibiting her work for the past two decades, winning a string of art prizes and seeing her work collected by numerous private and regional art galleries.
A-F revels in dramatic compositions, and often unusual concepts - her portraits of hunting dogs can be confronting.
But when she turns her eyes to the wilderness and weather of the Australian landscape, she captures the ineffable in moving ways.
When she is not holed up in her studio or exploring, A-F teaches art classes in Bowral, or leads artist expeditions to remote locations such as Wilcannia or Flinders Island - even Morocco several years ago.
But she will always return to Kangaroo Valley.
"I find solace in solitude within the enclosure of the studio, where I battle with paint and celebrate any progress I make in capturing an instant of beauty," she says.
Catch A-F's exhibition, "Weather Studies" will be on display at The Shac, Gallery 2, 74-76 Hoodle Street, Robertson (next to the big potato) . www.theshac.com.au
The gallery is open 10am-4pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.
For more information on A-F visit www.affulgence.com.au
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